Good things, bad things, stress, responsibility, my work life.
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15-09-2014, 09:02 PM (This post was last modified: 15-09-2014 09:49 PM by Adrianime.)
Good things, bad things, stress, responsibility, my work life.
Alright, this might seem trivial to you guys, or it might completely click to those who work in project-based work environments.

But work just got stressful. And usually I'm pretty anti stress. This will basically be a rant, so read for your own enjoyment. Comments are appreciated.

To briefly describe my work situation. I'm a software developer focusing on database development for the back end of an application used by several banks and law firms. I came into this role 2 years ago, as my second professional job out of college, but my first development role. Our team is VERY small relative to the scale of our product.

When I joined we had 2 guys my age, 2 guys between 30 and 40, and 2 guys over 50 (my boss and my boss' boss). Work's generally really good. My bosses only have great things to say about me and they've given me decent raises without me asking for them. But they also keep insisting that I'm a leadership type and keep giving me more and more responsibility. Which is fine, I can normally handle anything that is thrown at me. But the last 6 months or so have been ...so ugh. Note the development team is 1/3rd of the technical aspect of the company, and the technical aspect is like 20% of the whole company.

So as a small team, we each put on several hats, and have several different focus areas in our application, with a bit of an overlap. This is also technically a 7 year old startup, so our foundation is built from scratch in "hit the ground running" mode. Our huge codebase is rife with "tribal knowledge" which makes approaching unfamiliar issues challenging at times. I was handling some Database maintenance, application APIs, and special purpose data gathering mostly throughout my first year and most of my second. But starting this year everything is changing. Things that should be considered good. But that I sometimes see as bad. More stress, more responsibility. I'll just list out the main things quickly:

1. My boss decided that I should take on an underling (I'm the only non-manager who has an underling)...so we hired a woman to work under me and do the data gathering work that I had been doing. This bummed me out a big because I actually really enjoyed that aspect of my work. But my boss wanted me to be "freed up to tackle bigger projects" which ultimately is great for my professional development, but pushes me out of my comfort zone. I have no problem with accents or immigrants, but the woman we hired is a 40 something year old Chinese woman who has some serious communication issues (her technical skills are good though). In training her I had to constantly repeat myself, and she effing interrupted me all of the time. I've even had somebody come up to me and tell me, "Adrian you are a VERY patient teacher." But after a few months she is finally becoming useful, so that's good at least. She's a nice lady over all.

2. One of the original developers left last month. This is a guy who has been here since founding, and wrote a lot of the foundational code. He is absolutely irreplaceable in our application. 2 days before his last day my boss sends me an Email saying he wants me to take over a whole bunch of the technologies written by this guy. Great, more responsibility.

3. Lately our business is growing very quickly and we are picking up more clients. Projects have been piling up to the point where deadlines aren't realistic. We have new features to build that should take months, but we are given weeks on the timeline. With the coworker of mine leaving when he did, we are down 15-20% of our manpower.

4. Today, the other older coworker (the one who actually mentored me when I started) announced that he is leaving (and guess who gets to take the majority of his work....yup, me). So now I'm going to have the most seniority in development aside from my bosses. This is huge. We are bringing in two more experienced developers, but our system is so specific, I know I'm going to be the authority on so many things for a while. To kind of describe the scale of our system....think corporate facebook, with much more content, functionality, rules, security, and legal business requirements. All built by our rag tag team of 6 developers.

My Bosses always freaking love me, and while that should be good (and normally is), it sucks a bit. I'm given more and more responsibility and have high expectations I need to meet. Overall it's great for my professional growth, but damn I don't feel settled with all of this responsibility. I prefer to be the one who is learning from his seniors rather than the one driving the ship for the juniors. But it's something I have to do. Both for me and the company.

I'm not scared. The unlikely worst case scenario isn't something that terrifies me. I just know that stress lies ahead for me. And I hate stress.

I guess I'll stop ranting and go eat dinner. Sorry for venting everyone.

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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16-09-2014, 02:20 PM
RE: Good things, bad things, stress, responsibility, my work life.
From that it sounds like you are doing a good job and more is being expected of you. Remember the reward for a job well done is more work. I suspect you will grow into the new role in no time. Best of luck.
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18-09-2014, 08:07 AM
RE: Good things, bad things, stress, responsibility, my work life.
Thanks Wazzel. I just feel that I know about 80% as much as the guy leaving technically, and about 50% of what he knows when it just comes to our specific system and business. Losing him as a resource is going to be overwhelming. I have to treat it as an opportunity...

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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18-09-2014, 08:48 AM
RE: Good things, bad things, stress, responsibility, my work life.
I think you need to have a sit down with your higher ups and work out the plan for the future.

Lots of changes to staff, responsibilities and roles and frankly, your department has had some major changes. It's time for a game plan, that everyone is in on.

It will also help you three identify where the weaknesses are, what you really need from a new hire, etc.


Make the request based on all the recent changes to staff, your responsibilities, more projects coming in.

Strong companies (and managers) plan, they don't just react.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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18-09-2014, 11:37 AM
RE: Good things, bad things, stress, responsibility, my work life.
You need to tell your bosses this. If the strength of the company is it's software, and the software gets popular, and at the *same* time all the experienced devs are leaving, the shit is going to hit the fan big time. Maybe not right away, but it will happen. Your bosses need to recognize that if what they sell is software, then they *must* throw their resources at making good software. Sure, marketing and whatever the fuck else is important, blah fucken blah, but if the stuff doesn't do what it says on the tin, thou shalt dwell in the poo my son. *Also*, you can't realistically develop new features in a short time frame without some poo sticking to you. If they think they'll just expect you to be a hero to meet every project deadline, eventually you will burn out and leave too, and they'll have even less manpower to run the show.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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