Excuse me for the long passage, but I recently started my first dev job straight out of college in Texas. When I finally got my laptop and met my manager, he tells me this:
You're going on a paid trip to NYC for a developer event in two weeks. Your other colleague has the details and will forward it over to you
I read the email and discovered that it's an event at a college where I will work with high school girls to help them prototype mobile/web apps. This is part of an effort to give them an opportunity to work alongside developers. This is part of a big (apparently successful?) effort to bring more females into the field of software development.
This was actually a volunteer event, with my company being one of the bigger sponsors. The original sender of the email was some senior developer internal to the company, who mass-emailed all devs, requesting for as many volunteers as possible. Attached was a small document with the actual specific details.
The specific requirements for devs included knowledge of back-end frameworks and very specific front-end frameworks. Devs must be familiar with "hack-a-thon" style events and be able to quickly prototype mobile/web apps.
The first issue: I am somewhat afraid of traveling. The original job description when I applied for this position did not mention any travel, and neither was it brought up at my interview.
The second issue: I've never had any working or book knowledge of any of the mentioned technologies (not in the job description either). Neither have I ever attended hack-a-thon events or even prototyped any web/mobile apps, let alone doing it quickly.
The date of the message predates the day I started working, meaning my (not too technical) manager pushed me on this volunteer list prior to me even starting my job here.
I check another email forwarded by my colleague, confirming the actual volunteers that are officially going, which is a mix of employees already in the area of the event and some from other states. All of these people, according to their Linkedin profiles, are veterans in these technologies with years of proven work experience. It is worth noting that these are people who I'll never work with in the future as they work on a completely different domain from my group.
I find out I'm actually going with another colleague of mine, who has only been on the job for 6 months. She doesn't do ANY coding in her role, although she is capable of doing so if necessary (
she claims as stated by her). She was also pushed in the volunteer list by our manager but she doesn't seem bothered by it. She told me my manager put on her on the list and asked her if it was ok, meaning she originally had a choice.
Most of the people that work alongside me in the group specialize in java and none of the technologies mentioned at the event. There are actual local employees that work specifically with these frameworks who work on another floor as part of another department, yet none of those people chose to volunteer. I'm surprised that they didn't do a background check on the volunteers to see if they actually have the required expertise.
I started to feel very uncomfortable about all of this. On my 2nd day, I went up to my manager's cube and asked him if this is truly necessary. He says it was mandatory and then immediately goes back to whatever he was doing at his cube.
I have this great fear of getting on my manager's bad side as a new hire if I'm to go against the grain and refusing to do one of the very first things he told me to do. But this is something that I feel I would under-perform in and would go very poorly given the circumstances.
Starting next week, I'm bringing this up again to find out the specific reasons why he's done what he's done. Fortunately, his director is planning a call next week to get to know me as a new hire and I feel like bringing this up with her, too.
What should I do at this point if I must absolutely go if my job ends up depending on it?
Why would my manager do such a thing to a new hire?
EDIT: Someone brought up a good point. Me and the
other girl on the trip are the youngest out of the entire team. Most of the others are baby boomers.
EDIT: For some reason, some people are getting the impression that I'm just trying to avoid the event because they think I'm being lazy and entitled. I only want to avoid it because I'm afraid of making my manager look bad for sending someone without any experience. I wanted to avoid it due to fear, not laziness.
EDIT: Honestly if I had been notified of this event a couple months in advance, I would've been fine with it as I would have had ample time to prepare and learn the technologies, which I like doing anyways. It's just that it's a lot to take in as a new employee in the real world for the first time. I haven't met my entire group yet, neither have I been assigned my first real assignment, or even know the layout of the building I work in.