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Continuing the story from my previous question. Here are a few developments:

  1. Mr Senior hasn't changed a bit. Things are pretty much the same. I still have no clue about that code.
  2. On the flipside, I got a whole new project to work with after raising the issue with my manager who was more than accommodating.
  3. But the project got tanked (😂) because one of my fellow developers ended up doing something in production, accidentally, that could've landed us in legal rigmarole.
  4. Out of frustration and not being able to be productive, Mr. Manager resigned. There's an ongoing power grab among developers.
  5. Turns out there's massive tech debt in other modules, also, that affects other developers. I am not the only one.

So, there is a sense of chaos and aimlessness. There are developers trying to take over the product and run the game. Among us junior developers, this power grab is palpable. Some of us don't have well defined tasks because managers have left.

In a scenario like this, how does one ensure that one is able to pursue one's career trajectory successfully? What I mean is, I would love to be able to separate my career's advancement from this chaos.

N.B.: When I say managers, plural, I mean my immediate team manager aka Mr. Manager and his manager, the engineering manager, both resigned.

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    I think the answer is, it's not your problem. Of course it's hard to work in an environment that is chaotic but if you're not a manager your options are accepting it or looking for a new job. – sh5164 Jun 1 '17 at 9:14
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    Just "enjoy the smell of the napalm in the morning" , but do not use it yourself. – Pampa Nello Jun 1 '17 at 9:58
  • What is your career trajectory? What are you hoping to accomplish in this chaos? – Erik Jun 1 '17 at 10:13
  • @Erik by trajectory I mean being able to learn new things that align with where I want to be in the future. technology, etc. – Little Child Jun 1 '17 at 10:14
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    When multiple managers resign, they know something that you don't. I'd start looking for a new job. – Snowlockk Jun 1 '17 at 10:27
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I mean my immediate team manager aka Mr. Manager and his manager, the engineering manager, both resigned

Most companies are organized enough that they have succession planning and contingency plans for managing work if key members resign (We kind of knew this was already an issue based on your other question about the lack of knowledge sharing). It should not be a matter of a vacuum getting filled by random happenstance. This would seem to be an indication of an organization with problems, from the top down.

The chaos and bedlam and the general Lord of the Flies environment that the resignations caused, and the fact that no one seems aware of it and no one has been assigned to take control of it is an indication of an organization with problems.

The fact that your senior developer has sole control and knowledge of the codebase you were supposed to be working on, and was able to deflect sharing that knowledge with you, successfully, to avoid others finding out what an undocumented, disorganized mess he had (aka, failure to properly do his job), is an indication of an organization with problems.

Generally, people higher up the ladder have more of a feel for the pulse of the company, beyond your own day to day perspective. If you trust your boss, and his boss, as competent professionals, their jumping ship should set off huge alarm bells for you, and serve as a sort of "canary in a coal mine."

If your relationship was good with your ex-boss, and you know of a way to contact him, ask about his departure, with assurances that it will be confidential (and keep that promise!). Say that you are a bit unnerved by what followed the resignation, and are evaluating your long-term future with the company. It may be something as simple as his boss getting an awesome offer, and getting to take your boss along with him, which means you shouldn't necessarily be concerned about the long-term viability of your employer. Or it may be that both of them see the company going down in flames, and are jumping ship while the going is good. Other indications you have shared would have me worried that the reason is "option B" in this scenario.

In a scenario like this, how does one ensure that one is able to pursue one's career trajectory successfully? What I mean is, I would love to be able to separate my career's advancement from this chaos.

Do you mean your career, period, or your career within this company? The two might not be entirely compatible with one another, if the company is coming apart at the seams. If you are able to manage the chaos and come out smelling like a rose, it might be the equivalent of getting a promotion to Senior Deck Chair Arranger on the Titanic, after it hit an iceberg. Protecting your career advancement might mean doing so with another organization.

Maybe, if you are able to talk to your boss, ask if he will keep an eye for opportunities in his new organization, if there is one. If he resigned, and was not let go, and didn't have any job offer in hand, then that would be an indication that things are bad where you are, as well.

I realize that this answer is probably useless in terms of addressing how you make the best of the situation within your current company. Other than recommending you go nowhere without a shiv in your pocket (just kidding, folks), I'm afraid I'd be out of my depth trying to advise you how to do battle in an unsupervised cage match setting.

  • No, to the contrary, this is a very good answer. As for both manages leaving, those were separate incidents. One of them left 3 months ago and we are yet to find a replacement for him. My team manager resigned a day ago. This set off my alarms because he was usually one one who'd ask us to weather the storm. – Little Child Jun 1 '17 at 19:34
  • @LittleChild - if one left, got established at a new place, and lobbied for them to go and recruit your boss to come over, than the time separation may not necessarily rule them out as being related, though it sounds like they probably aren't linked. – PoloHoleSet Jun 1 '17 at 19:59
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The problem is that you have not been 'enough' time with the company (according to your other question, you have been there for 7-8 months, right?). Since you are a junior - and depending on the country and the culture of the environment in which you are working - it might be more or less complicated to explain new prospective employers why you want to move. Or maybe not, but there is that risk.

If I was you I would decide whether it is worth trying to advance in this company:

  • If the answer is negative, just start making yourself visible to recruiters - as others are suggesting - and start your preparation for the interviews. The good thing of your situation is that, given the chaos, it shouldn't be very difficult for you to prepare, take some time off for the interviews and so on...

  • If the answer is negative, then I would still forget about trying to "save the place" and come out as a saviour (that never happens, specially if you are still a junior surrounded by seniors playing the "power grab" game); and would focus instead on developing your technical skills: Learn as much as you can for yourself while the chaos is in. That way, you are still "advancing your career", and when you feel the time is right you will be able to either grow within the company (if the situation improves) or leave anyway.

  • As you said, I haven't been here "enough" and that's what's keeping me here. – Little Child Jun 2 '17 at 5:07
  • Then just learn as much as you can, prepare for interviewing - with no rush - and do not drag too much the decision of leaving, unless things improve significantly. Your situation is not too rare, sadly: I have a relative with more or less the same problems. – carrdelling Jun 2 '17 at 7:26
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Do you really need to "survive" in this dysfunctional company, that may not survive itself? Perhaps you conclude that you shouldn't stay. Then start making yourself visible to tech recruiters, work-oriented sites like LinkedIn, etc.

If the company doesn't give you something to work with, you will largely sit idle and that will damage your morale and not forward your career. For the time being, use it as an opportunity to learn and make yourself more attractive to potential employers out there. Research what technologies are in demand and study them, maybe you can come up with a relevant project at your current workplace that incorporates these technologies, and gives you valuable experience?

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