Okay, so I work as a Tech Support for my company doing usual support stuff for end users. My boss and I were actually close since I worked as an intern here before and later got absorbed.

He knows that I know how to code and develop web sites (asp). He started giving me programming task ranging from small scale ones like reporting, etc. For the past couple months later, he's now giving me full scale projects like an hris and ware house system, and I get to do it all ALONE. We have a db admin here but he is not proficient in web dev.

Thing is, my boss tends to give unreasonable deadlines. He wants me to develop a warehouse system in just one month while doing my support jobs. I've developed reporting sites for him but now I think I'm burning out. He rarely talks to me and sets meetings regarding the system without inviting me. If there is one where I'm involved, it's usually time to present the system. No ifs and buts.

I'm really anxious and frustrated right now, can he pin me down if I don't deliver the programming task he has given me? Am I required to finish the task even if it is not actually what my work entails?

I want to get out but I need to complete the 2016 calendar and of course, money since this is my first job.

Is there a way to get myself out of this programming side? I get no raise and see my co tech supports playing video games all day while I spend sleepless nights for a task that I am not supposed to do.

I mean, I know these tasks add up to my career experience, but when can you say that enough is enough?

Thanks for the helpful replies! So I actually pulled an all nighter alone in the office yesterday and I've finally decided to leave the company on January. I'll just wait for 2016 to end so I can receive my 13th month / bonus then I'll blast out of here. Thanks WorkPlace community!

  • yikes. I've built a warehouse inventory management system. It took 5 months, a project manager (part time), 3 developers, 1 dedicated QA person + 1 more for a final sweep, and a client who was on task and regularly reviewing and providing feedback to our work.
    – Jen
    Nov 15, 2016 at 6:58
  • You're sooo lucky to be blessed with 5 months, @guiniveretoo.. I'm working all alone right now and I'm the project is squeezed into one month. Hopefully thinks go for the better..
    – Saudate
    Nov 15, 2016 at 23:58
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    It sounds like from your description that your boss is used to handing out deadlines for things, probably because you've been doing IT support. While IT is certainly a skilled job, it's not going to be different every time you do a task. Development and programming (especially when you're learning!) are knowledge-based jobs - I know generally how the system works, and somebody asks me to do a new thing with it. Predicting how long it will take is something I have difficulty with, and would be completely ridiculous for a non-developer to set deadlines.
    – Jen
    Nov 16, 2016 at 15:45
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    Or if they do set deadlines, I'll tell them what I can get done before that time, and anything more they're going to have to get someone else to help, or extend the deadline. I'm not going to pull all-nighters for someone who thought they can dictate how long something is going to take by setting an arbitrary number.
    – Jen
    Nov 16, 2016 at 15:47

4 Answers 4


The bad news is that you are working under unreasonable conditions right now. Not necessarily with malicious intent from your boss, but as long as you don't establish reasonable boundaries, he asks for more. The negotiation style of your boss might be OK when he deals with employees who perform grunt work but is inadequate with regard to the degree of autonomy and responsibility that comes with your new projects.

The good news is that you are in a very good position to negotiate better conditions. You just need to get more assertive.

In a first job, it can be acceptable and even very good to take on responsibilities above the official job description. He may officially promote you. Even if not, it still allows you to explain to new employers what you actually did and be officially considered for better jobs. (Especially with startups this happens a lot.) I think that faster experience most of the time trumps the fact of being underpaid for the more important work. You should try and concentrate on the new projects instead of the support work.

At the very least, you need to force your boss to respect your boundaries. If a deadline is not reasonable, say so. Or tell him that this is possible only if he gets someone else to do your support assignments and let him decide what is more important. Here you could subtly hint that this might even be possible without hiring new people. Whenever he overrules your objections, make sure there is a written trace of this.

  • I did not mean to assume malice, I mean to say that the working conditions are exploitative as of now. Nov 14, 2016 at 21:07
  • Please also read more than the first words because I specifically go on to say how he can find a positive opportunity here Nov 14, 2016 at 21:07
  • 2
    I changed the wording of the first sentence Nov 14, 2016 at 21:18
  • I would have had the same issue if the statement were at the end of the answer or stuck in the middle. making definitive claims like that needs to be supported and well explained. Just softening it up to "this could be an explotive situation" would have helped, but it would still need to be explained. Nov 14, 2016 at 21:26
  • @user7019377 tone matters a lot in here. One user had his post go from -5 to 22 after a simple edit for tone. Nov 14, 2016 at 21:28

Someone I once knew had a great way of dealing with this. Whenever asked to perform additional duties, he'd say "Great, what should I put on hold?" and that usually led to either the matter being dropped, or actually redoing his schedule.

Communicate with your boss and ask him to prioritize. When he sees how buried you are, he will likely help you. You can turn this into a wonderful opportunity to advance instead of being overwhelmed.

  • The problem arises when your current task was assigned by another manager in the same project. If you ask either which should be prioritized, of course "mine is higher priority" ;) Nov 15, 2016 at 5:42
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    @JuhaUntinen then you escalate. I'm in this very situation right now. I am the only resource, I have multiple managers and VPs all demanding my time. When there are conflicting demands, the managers settle it amongst themselves, if not, than a VP steps in, if VPs are arguing, than an an EVP steps in. managerial decisions belong to management. Reverse delegation is a wonderful thing. Nov 15, 2016 at 13:12

Before you concern yourself about getting out of the work, take a step back for a second. Obviously, you're qualified to do more complex work than tech support. That's good. But you aren't assertive enough, or it wouldn't have gone this far.

The real problem is that when you got asked to do something beyond your job description, you accepted it without demanding more pay. In short -- with all due respect -- you have marked yourself as a "sucker". If you were running a business, you could simply charge more, or have the power to decline the work if a client refused to pay a higher rate. But in this job situation, the boss has the power to fire you for something not even in your job description. And unfortunately, you have created this situation for yourself by being passive and demonstrating that you are okay with being abused.

It may prove to to be very, very difficult at this point. I don't get the idea that negotiating with your boss is going to work. You may be able to go to HR or your boss's boss in order to explain your case. If they ignore you, or tell you it's going to take a long time to figure out, or that there's no more money (but expect the same work) you'll probably have no choice but to find a new job. If you're ready for more money and challenging work, take a programming job! (yay!)

The NEXT time around, don't volunteer so much if you aren't sure the company is willing to pay for it. If you are asked, "do you know how to do XYZ?" and it's not on your job description, play as if you are dumb unless it's clear that you will be paid what you're worth.

  • I agree, actually part of it was my fault since I openly accepted his requests. Now that he's crunching me like a peanut in grinder / churner, I feel so regretful of my decision.
    – Saudate
    Nov 16, 2016 at 0:01

I mean, I know these tasks add up to my career experience, but when can you say that enough is enough?

This is totally within your control.

You can sit down with your boss, and say something like "Boss, I really appreciate your confidence in me, but this isn't what I want to do for work. I'd like to go back to just being a Tech Support guy."

If you start to feel that justification is needed, you could talk about feeling burned out, but I wouldn't go there unless it's necessary.

And of course if our boss insists that you must do this work, you can always quit.

I'm really anxious and frustrated right now, can he pin me down if I don't deliver the programming task he has given me? Am I required to finish the task even if it is not actually what my work entails?

In most cases, the answer is Yes.

Unless you are in a union, or in a locale with laws that prohibit this sort of thing, you are required to do the work that is assigned, even if you feel that it doesn't match your specific title.

Consult your lawyer if you are asking about the legality of such an arrangement in your specific case.

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