I've been with an academic software team for 3 months. I feel the project is doomed: management's attitude is "build features and they will come", team members are distributed and communicate minimally, there's virtually no code review, the codebase is buggy and unreadable, documentation is difficult to read, the website is difficult to navigate, nobody pays attention to competing projects and practices. At first I gently suggested improving one thing at a time (development workflow; test infrastructure; more code review; working closely with users). Lately I've been desperate and have made unconstructive comments like "this looks like s**t" or "your code is so buggy, it is unethical to tell a user they could run it in production" or generally ranted in frustration. I think the team lead wants me to leave.

Should I resign? Is there a way to regain my optimism? Is there a constructive way to alert team members to the dire state of the habits and codebase they've built over many years?

  • 4
    Have a look through the questions in the resignation tag, particularly the ones explaining in all manner of detail what a horrible idea it usually is to resign without having a new job lined up. We tend not to answer a question like "Should I resign?" because that's something you'll have to decide for yourself, but I will advise you to make an effort to reign in your frustration. If it's a systemic problem, that likely won't do anything other than get you fired and used as a scapegoat. Start job searching. Then have a look at the help center to check if you can edit this so it's on-topic here. – Lilienthal Aug 1 '17 at 19:42

Should I resign? Is there a way to regain my optimism?

You've been there only 3 months.

In that time, you've presumably gone from optimism (otherwise, why would you have accepted the job) to "this looks like s**t" pessimism.

You need to look inward for an answer.

  • How do you normally recover from disappointment and get optimistic? Is it by running away? Or do you usually find a way to get energized?
  • There must be some positives to this company. When we get down on things, it tends to have a "halo effect" and distort everything around it. Try to focus on the good if possible.
  • Are you seeing any chance that things can change? Perhaps a new project will be coming down the line after this one? And perhaps that is a chance for regained optimism?

If you conclude that you simply cannot salvage this job, think hard about what you could have done during the interview process to see what this job would become in just 3 months. Perhaps there were questions you could have asked, or outside opinions you could have sought out. Let this guide you as you search for your next job, so you aren't back in the same position in a few months.

Lastly, don't resign until you have found, confirmed and formally accepted your next job. Then give an appropriate notice period and move on. Try to at least leave on as positive a note as possible.

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    Wish I could upvote this more for the line "think hard about what you could have done during the interview process". Interviews go both ways - we need to use them to suss out the teams we don't want to be on. – SWalters - Reinstate Monica Aug 1 '17 at 20:48

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