Experienced Developer Being Treated Like a Newbie


#1

I have followed Devpressed for a while and have enjoyed reading everyone’s stories. That might sound like a strange thing to say: “enjoyed”, but it is nice to know that I’m not the only one that gets down in the dumps or frustrated with our industry.

I really need to let off of some steam and tell my story. Everyone has a story.

In the Beginning

I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Computer Science around 10 years ago, but it wasn’t easy. Before becoming a Comp Sci. major, I was a music major and majored in two instruments. Music has always been my passion and what I thought I would be doing with my life. I was very talented and enjoyed expressing myself through music.

It is weird to be writing this now, 10 years later, still having a bit of uncertainty regarding my career. I am, I feel, unlike a lot of people in our field in that I am an INFJ, or INFP depending on the day. In other words, I am introverterd, intuitive, feeling, and judging most of the days.

I am a highly sensitive person.

Sorry for going on a tangent like that. Anyway, when I was a comp sci major, I had several teachers tell me that I could never make it in computer science and that I needed to go back to music.

I even made some plans at one point to switch back to music, but by that point I was a few semesters away from graduating. I stayed and graduated with a lowly 3.0 GPA. I’m usually a 3.5 and above type of student.

I even stood up in class one day and proclaimed that everyone in there was a bunch of dorks and nerds. I felt like I didn’t and wouldn’t belong with a bunch of computer people.

I constantly felt like I didn’t belong.

Five Years Later

In 2011, I experienced my first panic attack. I was working a company that had only two developers. I was given the task of creating a payroll system from the ground-up. Having only had two solid years in .NET (I cross-trained from QA into .NET in 2009 at another company) at that point, it was beyond my skill set.

I eventually completed that and 18 other projects in the 2 years I was there, but I suffered greatly.

My time at that company was traumatic, but I won’t go into that in this post because I want to focus on what leads up to today and the reason I am writing.

Back to the Future (to Today)

Right now I work at a company that would score a 2 on the Joel Test and is definitely a toxic workplace.

Raises are infrequent (every two years if you’re lucky and even then it might only be 3%), no one has an official title (the developers are lumped into the “IT” department and simply called “programmers”), there is no official hierarchy, and there are no annual reviews or goal setting.

That would be okay if it were a startup, but this company is not. They have been around for 50 years and have around 1500 or more employees, I think. This particular company tends to do things without enough research and wind up doing what I call the “shotgun” approach to things.

The New Venture

They pulled me into their new venture which has proven to be an interesting experience.

The “Project Manager” hired his son as a contractor and they are both running the project. They are both very condescending, fakey nice, treat me like I’m a child, and the son likes to tell me what code to write and where. I’ve been doing this for nearly 10 years now and I’ve done some cool stuff.

There’s also another developer that nearly has 20 years experience that talks down to me. I feel like they think I’m new to this whole “software development” thing.

I have stepped out to let out some steam through tears in the bathroom on more than one occasion. They all walk on eggshells around me because they know I’m going to therapy for anxiety.

My Major Problemo

I have avoided this PM before he was a PM and just a “programmer” like the rest of us. During one conversation, he told me I should switch careers.

Now that I have been pretty much forced to be a part of this team, I have begun to get angry just hearing either one of them. I know all I’ll wind up doing is going to the bathroom to cry, but I’m a professional and highly talented (believe it or not). I just need to figure out how to deal with people I completely despise.

If you’ve read this far, thanks! I really appreciate you reading a stranger’s tale.

Do any of you have any advice?


#2

Your situation is definitely similar to mine.

One of my friends is a drummer and plays in 2 bands. Music is his passion on week nights. On week days, he’s a developer. Are you in the same situation ? You chose CS for the steady income and you play music in your spare time ?

You mention numerous red flags (toxic workplace, office politics, etc) and then you say you have to figure out how to deal with these people… as if your ankle is chained to the wall.

My advice would be the same my counsellor gave me: write down your priorities. What are you looking for as a developer ? What kind of work environment ? Where are you at in your career ?And then it’s time to look for other jobs.

I’m in a similar situation. I want to leave my startup.


#3

I live in the Hattiesburg, MS area. There are next to no software development jobs in this area. So I kind of feel stuck. A few years ago, my wife and kids and I (me?) traveled to Round Rock, TX stayed about a week to see if that’s a place we would like to settle down.

I wound up chickening out and didn’t get any replies to my applications anyway.

My last job was incredibly toxic as well. Now my first two jobs, those, overall, were pretty good.

With that said, I am pretty sure I know these things (what I’m looking for as a developer; what kind of environment; and where i’m at in my career).

FWIW, I would love to be at a place that valued work/life balance (my current job actually does pretty good with that), is full of very smart people, and has a collegiate environment (my first job had that kind of environment.). Oh and one that has some sort of structure and annual review cycle with goal-setting and the like.

I miss the first two companies I worked at in that respect. The only thing about the first two companies I worked at that I don’t miss is having to keep up with my utilization targets. That was a huge pain in the rear.


#4

Raises are infrequent (every two years if you’re lucky and even then it might only be 3%), no one has an official title (the developers are lumped into the “IT” department and simply called “programmers”), there is no official hierarchy, and there are no annual reviews or goal setting.

I thought - change the job, especially when being there long time.

I live in the Hattiesburg, MS area. There are next to no software development jobs in this area. So I kind of feel stuck. A few years ago, my wife and kids and I (me?) traveled to Round Rock, TX stayed about a week to see if that’s a place we would like to settle down.

IF there are no jobs in your area, I really think you have to change. You are in the united states. I believe in this count you can find lots of good programming jobs.

I also moved to the city in my country where are the most jobs of programming. It might be bit harder with a family. But if for wife location does not matter that much, I mean if she can find her job easily in the location you move, then should not be big problem. Ok, for kids, if they are going to school, might be stress to move, becuase kids in schools are not nice often. Or maybe there is some good schools, where kids would feel least stress, need to search.

If the company is dictating the rules, its just bad. And it is doing so because it knows that you will not leave them.