I work as a junior developer at a fairly small company. I'm pretty close with most of my coworkers (hang out after work sometimes, get lunch together, etc.) and in general, I'd say that I'm pretty easy-going.

Recently, our company was awarded a couple contracts A and B. I was really excited about project A, because it's something I've always wanted to work on. When our manager assigned roles, though, I was assigned to work only on B. I'm also the only developer (aside from the project leads) assigned to work on just one project; everyone else will be working on both A and B.

I don't know why for sure, but I suspect that one of the senior developers on project A doesn't like me very much (I'm always friendly to them and try my best to be useful, but they always seem to be upset with me). I'm rather disappointed, of course, because I was really hoping to get to work on project A. Can I ask to work on both projects? Is it worth the trouble? Since the company is quite small, I really don't want to give anyone a reason to dislike me or create a bad environment because I said something I shouldn't have. Is it better just to wait it out and hope I'll get assigned to a similar project in the future?

  • 1
    Consider excelling on project B. If you have a sr dev that does not like you then some space may be a good thing.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 7:15
  • 2
    Whatever you do, don't base it on the assumption that one of the senior developers on project A doesn't like me very much. Acting on assumptions can go wrong badly.
    – user8036
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 8:02

4 Answers 4


As Vietnhi Phuvan said: it doesn't hurt to ask.

In addition I'd recommend to phrase the request to work on A (as well as B) in a positive manner. Focus on the "I was really excited about project A, because it's something I've always wanted to work on." Tell them how cool you find A and what excites you about it.

While ultimately it's the manager's decision to assign people to projects (and you have to respect that) they might take your preferences into account if they know about them. Offer to help on project A with small tasks if they have no larger role for you in that project, to get your foot in the door. (But only if you think you can handle working on both projects at the same time.) If that works out, don't let your responsibilities on B slide - otherwise you'll likely be assigned back to "B only" in no time.

Don't at this point talk about why you think you've been left out of A or what you suspect that senior dev thinks about you. I can't imagine that this would influence the discussion in a positive way.

  • Thanks, I'll give it a shot! I definitely would never discuss what other team members might think of me to the manager (or anyone else in the company), but I just wanted to include it here in case it'd influence what advice you'd recommend.
    – user60671
    Commented Nov 25, 2016 at 4:17
  • @user60671 It's very hard to know for me as an outsider whether some senior dev really dislikes you or if they just have an upset resting face. If there's a colleague you trust you could ask (in a discussion separate from "I'd really like to work on A"): "Hey, SeniorDev seemed upset in the meeting yesterday - or did I just misread him/her?". In the end, you'll have to judge for yourself if you want to be on the same project as them, somewhat independent of wether they want to be on the same project as you. Commented Nov 25, 2016 at 9:18

Don't take it personally.

You really want to work on project A. But what about everyone else? Do they all want to work on project A too? Are they better equipped to handle project A?

The company doesn't exist to give you fun and exciting things to do - the company exists to make a profit for the owners.

Now, if your personal development plan included working on projects that used the same technology as project A, and you had 3 certifications in those technologies that nobody else had, and this was the 5th time you'd been passed over, then you'd be justified in complaining.


It doesn't hurt to ask - the worst that happens is that whoever is the project lead for A shoos you away.

I have no idea how healthy your relationship is with those who are running A or for that matter B - they may have decided in view of the fact that you are a junior that you don't have the chops to do both A and B as deliverables and consequently, they're giving you B. Or they may have decided that handling B will take up all of your time. I am not a mind reader, I don't work for your company, I don't know you, so I have no way to know the back story behind their decision - it's up to you ask and find out what happened.

Asking about participating in A won't hurt you, unless you've been singularly gauche in the way you ask. If they are pissed at you as you ask, you can presume that they were already pissed at you before you asked. Over something you did or did not do. Or did poorly. Again, it's up to you to trace what happened and straighten out any misunderstanding or miscommunication.


You know, I have been in your shoes and it is complicated to answer what to do. Sometimes there is a bias and wrong information and it takes sometime for people to understand others. I don't know what you should do. You should do what your heart tells you to. But whatever be the consequence, remember not to be constrained by a company, by views of other people, remember you are courage, you are the origin of success and you can do whatever you dream. ( my choice eventually let me laid of at the worst of IT recession time - 9/11 - 2001 and I spend months getting a job I liked- rejecting juicier offers without any alternatives and 2 years more working hard in a extremely stressful SW job , before getting my dream job). It is not so hard to get what you dream, it is harder to make your dream your heaven.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .