During my 3 years at this company and my experience so far (almost 6 years) in programming I never faced such a situation.

I worked on a small project more or less six months ago, this project is a C# windows form application to be added to a third party application written in VB.NET.

I've completed 90% of the job, but, after two months, a new problem came up: the third party application requires the use of a VB.NET .dll to call my component. This dll is important, it enables users to easily trigger my component's functionality in the final application.

After I (partially) solved the problem with the dll, I have to communicate via email with the third party developers to get some tokens to test my application, but they take a long time to respond, sometimes there were communications problems with the other part of the development, etc, and other priorities arrive.

The project was put on hold due to the above reasons.

Current situation

Now, the work with this project has started again, but I really don't want get involved anymore with this project. My company (from what I've heard) prefers to continue with this project (and maybe, improve it to sell to potential customers).

I'm no longer motivated to work on this project.

Approaching my boss

I approached my boss a few times1 (verbally) about this issue, but his responses are:

  • "There is no one else available".
  • "This must be done".

1 about his refusal to contact third party developers for assistance with the use and implementation of the .dll with the third party application.

As I am reluctant to resign, I've search similar question and read their responses in The Workplace, trying find alternatives in order to get my point across.

These are the questions I found:

This answer says:

  • Talk with your boss (which I already did, a few times).
  • Make it work (I worked, but I don't want to be involved in this project any longer).

This answer says: - Use tutorials and StackOverflow: I have already received help, but I'm at the point where development is not the problem.

This answer says: - "Convince/communicate" to your boss about time you had use: A coworker (in a different problem) approached him and his reply was: you did spend much time in that and you had to find a efficient way.

His answer in my case was: this must be done. = basically, ignoring my request.

In this answer says: - Quote:

take the initiative and ask for something you want in return when the project is done

But again, lost of motivation, there is not a project scope.

Similar answers:

  • Find tutoring = this is not possible (I won't spend money in something that doesn't have my attention).
  • Find help from coworkers = I have, but this is related to understanding the third party application, and is beyond programming.
  • Find another job: so I don't make this story longer than it needs to be, I can't do it until I have another job and I have no other offers.

What else I can do to politely, but firmly request that this project be assigned to another co-worker?

  • 9
    Probably it's just me, but if not, change your title a bit. First I read "How politely but firmly request assasination of another coworker?"
    – deviantfan
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 21:44
  • 15
    The boss want you to finish this. Do what you boss tells you is typically the best path for your career.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 23:00
  • 5
    Just do it. Do the tasks you boss assigns and move on with life.
    – Neo
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 18:37
  • 1
    So basically you got bored with a project and want to toss it to some poor guy who now needs to start from the beginning.
    – Snowlockk
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 9:48
  • 1
    Yet the person will need to be brought up to speed, just because you are bored doesn't mean you can drop it on someone else. What happens next time when you get bored half way through?
    – Snowlockk
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 13:45

9 Answers 9


You work for this employer. Your choices are limited, especially since you've already been told it will not be reassigned. The problem here, as I see it, is that you're acting a bit of a diva.

There was a work issue with a coding project when I started at my current job where the manager we were writing the code for wouldn't test, and so came back time and again with issues, problems and addition, then got upset that he had to come back. I got to a point where the mere mention of the project made me want to throw staplers at people.

That said, in order to keep my job, I did what they asked. Why? Because I do not presume to know why they need it or why they continue to place it in priority. What I thought was merely an annoying waste of time was explained later in a congratulations letter on my performance was considered by management to be a prime concern, and the work I put into it was lauded BECAUSE I persevered.

You may get annoyed, but if you like your job, you'll do what you're hired to do, which is to follow your manager's instructions. I know it sounds terribly subservient of me, but I am not diva enough to demand that a company project be placed in other hands just because it annoys me.

  • 1
    IMHO, the diva word kind of shocked me. I thought had expressed my concerns about this project enough for show that there's no progress from both (company and third party application) about this project. AS I replied in a previous comment in another answer, I'm just waiting and see where it ends. I understand I cannot do anymore for change this situation (with my boss), so, yeah, I'll keep with this project. about the "diva" = that sounds to me like gay. I'm not familiar with such english expressions. Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 17:37
  • 13
    "Diva" is a Latin\Italian rooted word referring to either (a) a female opera singer (obviously not what I meant) or (b) a person who is hard to work with due to being self-involved. Frankly, you stated that you didn't want to work on the project because: " I really don't want get involved anymore with this project" and "I'm not longer motivated with this project.". "I" is a poor word to use in a company or team environment. It shows self-importance, as if your feelings towards the project are what should matter, not whether the company benefits or not. Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 17:46
  • SliderBlackrose, I see, thanks for clarify about the diva word. at this point, I think there's no need for add more answers, so, I don't know if I should delete my question or simply leave moderators close as off-topic... and about the "I", it's hard to me express in english since it's not my native language, but I tried put it simple and avoid enter in too much details. Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 17:56
  • 8
    No reason to close it or delete it, it was a reasonable question. Don't think that people who give you an answer you dislike think that you're not asking a proper question, they just have another view of the answer that you may not like or even might have considered. You used "I" properly, despite the language difficulty, and it worked in the context. I pointed out that it makes it seem as if you don't value any opinion but your own when it comes to this project. You mentioned several times why you wouldn't do things in reference to this product, and that seemed "selfish" of you. Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 18:01

It is always about business value

I assume you are a senior developer in your organization.

Management's job is not to make you happy, but to maximize the value of every penny spent on an activity.

Therefore, go to your boss and explain the business value of having a junior developer finish the work for you.

It is a better use of company money to have you work on more valuable things than this project. And, by assigning the work to a more junior developer to finish - even if it takes them longer - the company will benefit because they'll learn new things and cost less to finish the project than you.

That way, your time is spent focused on more valuable activities, the juniors learn something new and the project is finished. An optimal use of money.

That is what you have to show.

  • sounds fair, if it doesn't work go for kilisi's answer.
    – Walfrat
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 8:19
  • "Person X would be a better choice to work on this project for reason Y." is much more likely to be effective than "I don't want to work on it.". Commented Mar 19, 2020 at 12:56

Be a professional. Get back to work.


As an employee, it's somewhat natural to be asked to do something you aren't necessarily motivated to do. You get paid because you do things you might not choose to do just for fun.

However, if you are really opposed to working on this project, for whatever reason, you ought to consider your boss's response:

Approaching to my boss

I approach to my boss a few times (verbally) about this issue, but his responses was:

•"There is not one else available".

•"This must be done".

Do these reasons hold up? If you're intent is to have this project reassigned, who do you think it will be reassigned to? If you have someone in mind, consider if they are qualified to take on the task, and if they are otherwise occupied. You may wish to talk with that employee to see if they are actually interested in taking the task, otherwise you are just putting them in the same position you are in.

If you cannot find someone who has availability and the skillset for this task, then that alone might be reason enough to justify your bosses decision, but it opens up the second reason: "This must be done". You seem to think that is not the case, that this project isn't a real priority? Then tell your boss what the real priority is. Figure out what you believe is more important to work on, that you can do, and ask your boss if you can take on that task instead. He can decide what will happen to your unwanted task afterwards, but you can't simply reject doing your job if you don't have something else more productive to do.

  • I understand the part about you get paid, but, the impression from my boss is basically: he is not really involved in the project, neither I know if he matters this project too. we're only two C# developers, the other one is busy but I cannot rely this project on him. not a good relation. the problem is from the third party application as well. Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 21:28
  • 3
    I may be misunderstanding you, but are you saying that you cannot ask the other developer to take on this project? If that is the case, then you don't have any option but to continue doing this task. Otherwise you are asking your boss to make your coworker do a task he does not want so that you don't have to do a task you don't want. You need a good reason why your coworker should do this instead of you.
    – Zephyr
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 14:38
  • Zephyr, you understood well except this part: (...make your coworker do a task he does not want), that's not the case. He is actually busy and we have different ways to talk. Apart of not feel myself comfortable and motivated. I don't have more choices, for now, I'm just waiting until some new happens with this project. Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 14:50

If after talking to your boss you don't want to do the tasks assigned to you, then you have a few of options.

Quit and find a job that allows you to do whatever you want. These tend to be family sinecures or govt, there's not many other jobs like this.

Start your own business.

Use up your sick leave or have a family emergency, and they will be forced to put someone else on the job (assuming you have any sick leave).

  • As I mention in my question, I just can't find another job (neither quit, for now). I didn't mention in my question, but, the company is searching more developers and none so far was able to pass the test, which leaves me in a very bad position. I have only 10 days of vacation, maybe I consider take such days... Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 21:39
  • 5
    Your Boss assign the tasks, and he asking tasks matching your job description. There isnt much more you can do about it to refuse the task. Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 2:53

The idea of paid work is that you get money for doing what you wouldn't do on your own anyway.

All jobs have tasks which nobody likes, but somebody has to do. In this particular case it is you as your boss says there is nobody else to do it. You can then either suck it up and do it and perhaps grumble a bit, or find another job which you then risk has other menial tasks you do not like either.

In this particular case you happen to know the project well. That is an advantage not all have for menial tasks. So, I would suggest you just do what your boss asks you to do, and get it over with quickly so you can get a new and better task!


The bottom line is that this is a negotiation. Of course there are other people to work on this project. Of course the project does not have to be done now.

Your job is how to convince your boss to have someone else work on it.

I am currently reading the book: Never Split the Difference it is negotiations from the standpoint of an FBI hostage negotiator. They cannot really "split the difference" when it comes to negotiations, it is only negotiate to get it all.

Hopefully you have some more delays from the third party guys, you can get this book read, and try it on your boss.


The approach I'd suggest is not your current one, "someone else should do this because I don't want to", but rather "it is better for the company that someone else do this, because then I am free to do , which has more value to the company".

Naturally, you'll need to come up with a solid rationale that will convince your boss. And even if convinced, it may be the actual case that there's no-one available, or the quickest way to get this finished and off everyone's plate is to have you do it.

So: make your case, and if you fail, suck it up or resign.

There's stuff I like to do and stuff I don't, but sometimes I have to take a dose of the latter.


Threaten to leave if you are assigned to this project.

If you’re a senior programmer, replacing you would be a very expensive process for the business - not just in terms of the job search process, but also in terms of training the new hire and getting them to an equivalent level of knowledge of business processes.

As such, you could talk to your boss and simply lay out the facts: either they can assign this project to someone else, and they can keep your expertise within the business, or they can assign it to you, you’ll work on it for two weeks while looking for a new job, and then they’ll need to assign it to someone else while going to the expense of looking for a replacement for you.

If this succeeds, it will likely harm your relationship with your boss, so only use this strategy if you’re genuinely willing to quit over being assigned to this project.

  • This is the nuclear option. But it can work. Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 3:39

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