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I am a Web developer and I am working with a relatively new company, I am hired part time because I'm a student. A few weeks ago the company hired another developer for full time that wants to do some changes and the bosses are green light about it. So here comes my problem. I asked him face to face what should I learn to be useful and he told me "X" would be good since it helps the project to be delivered faster and of course I started to get a hang on it and the bosses asked me how I was doing and what am I studying and I told them that I studied "X", because I talked with my co-worker and we agreed upon this. At that moment they asked him about this and he denied this and said that he never told me as such. How can I solve this issue without quitting or looking like I am at fault.

  • Hi, wickerman, I've read your post, but I'm having difficulty seeing where the problem is exactly. did the bosses say that studying "X" was wrong? Is "X" not actually useful for this project? Had the bosses given you other work that you should have been doing when you had been studying? – Teacher KSHuang Apr 5 '17 at 8:17
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    The bosses were asking me why did I study that because we won't use it in the near future. Before I started learning "X" I asked my bosses if it is ok to make it 50/50 learning/working and it was ok. @teacherkshuang – Schneejäger Apr 5 '17 at 8:21
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    I see now, thanks. Meanwhile, I've upvoted both Kilisi and Pete's answers, but I would also add that in the future, I would have asked my bosses on what would be useful to learn to help with the project and not the other developer. Otherwise, you find yourself in a situation such as this one. Then, if you still want to ask the other developer, you may, but just remember who you're working for :). – Teacher KSHuang Apr 5 '17 at 8:30
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    I asked them weeks before it the company changes direction and they told me that I should ask my colleague because he has more experience and would give me a better direction on what I should focus on. Ever since, I don't trust anybody and ask them if they are sure and in front of someone else too. – Schneejäger Apr 5 '17 at 8:35
  • Ah, now I understand the problem even more in-depth. In which case, I definitely stand by my upvotes for the answers by Pete and Kilisi -- always leave a paper trail. – Teacher KSHuang Apr 5 '17 at 8:40
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Just shrug it off and keep doing the best you can. It doesn't really matter unless it's impacting on your reports.

Next time ask via email so you have a paper trail. It's important to keep trails on everything, something as simple as:

"Hello [insert name], just clarifying what I should focus on, it was XXX wasn't it?

Regards Me"

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    Emails like this can look a bit odd when you're sitting in the same room. It's basically saying "I'm putting this in writing now because you might lie about it later on". – Snow Apr 5 '17 at 7:41
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    Yep, I emailed my managers back in the day when they sat right next to me :) I don't care what it makes me look like, it's not a beauty pageant. Lost count of the times when a paper trail was useful especially when I'm the only one with it :) – Kilisi Apr 5 '17 at 7:44
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    @Pete I usually just say I have a bad memory and ask them to send me an email in any case just so that I have a reminder. That way it doesn't seem odd at all. I have had people email me in the same room too. My boss and I do that all the time because we both forget things :) – user5621 Apr 5 '17 at 7:53
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    @Pete I do it slightly differently: "Hello ABC, As we discussed this morning, I will start working on XYZ from (date). Let me know if I have missed something." Now it doesn't look so strange. – Masked Man Apr 5 '17 at 10:51
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    @pete "(...) because you might lie about it again (...)" – Mindwin Apr 5 '17 at 15:27
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Since time has now passed since that conversation, it's increasingly difficult to "solve" this one.

A response would have been "Well, I must have misunderstood you - so what did you tell me?".

All you can really do is move forward from here. Over time, you'll gain more experience in assessing whether what you're being told is appropriate or not.

  • What my colleague said was appropriate but misleading and I don't want to be mislead so I don't deliver a project and by that reflecting it bad back to me. – Schneejäger Apr 5 '17 at 8:00
  • @wickerman, Personally, I still can't believe that you haven't tried to get to the bottom of the misunderstanding. It's ok if it's your mistake, but how are you to correct your mistake if you still don't know what he truly recommended to you. – Stephan Branczyk Apr 5 '17 at 9:37
  • @stephanbranczyk - my mistake is listening and trying to be helpful. From now I'll just wait for them to ask if I can and want, because it seems that being a good person is bad, real bad. – Schneejäger Apr 5 '17 at 10:41
  • @wickerman, Getting to the bottom of the misunderstanding was key (even if it meant that it would make you look bad and force you to admit that perhaps you made a mistake). Also, I hope you're just venting and not being serious in your last comment. Reacting in a passive aggressive way is not in your self-interest either. This is not your parents you're dealing with. This your employer. Your employer can get rid of you and replace you anytime they want. Letting your emotions get the better of you is not the way to go about this. – Stephan Branczyk Apr 5 '17 at 16:15
  • I was venting, true, sorry. I am trying to make everyone happy, especially the employer so I can continue working there. Cheers and thanks for the advice, I really needed some. – Schneejäger Apr 5 '17 at 18:55

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