Last week, one of our developers approached the boss and asked for "some rest beginning January". We (boss, me, other members on the team) observed that he is stressed and wants to take a break from work, but the decision is not final yet. We discussed and identified a couple of points:
- He seems to be having a low self confidence. In many of his emails, his tone sounds like he is addressing me (I am the technical lead) like he is addressing a college professor or a CEO of some very big company.
- This is his first job after graduation. It has been around one year or so.
- He focuses on his mistakes, for example spelling errors when naming a class or writing documents (which I simply pointed out in a brief comment during reviews). It appears that these mistakes are haunting him.
- He is very hardworking and absolutely puts in his best to deliver. For example, he'd respond to emails some time 22:00 (which is not expected, he can simply reply the next day, like everybody else does). When I found out I need a display cable adapter but it is not working, he'd immediately rush to the nearest store and got a new one for me in 15 minutes.
- The project, as a whole, has not been a success. It was a complete disaster back 9 months ago before I stepped in, but it's getting a lot better and we're nearly ready to launch. During all this time he is assigned to this project.
- Since we are a small startup company, someone has to do the office maintenance work like changing water bottles for the drink machine, feeding new paper to the printer etc. He volunteered to do many of this type of work.
- The rest of the team is OK - we are energetic and motivated.
So that's the analysis. The question is, how can I help?
From both a business standpoint (we don't want to lose an employee, he certainly is helpful), and from a "human / colleague" standpoint (I hate treating people like they're machines, I care about them and I wish everyone is comfortable).