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one project leading to another?

About 10 months ago I started a new job. The job is with a research lab, and the idea was I would do this boring project that needed to be done, and then i'd get to work on one of the cooler research projects.

My 12 month contract is going to be up at the end of the summer, and the employer wants to keep me on ... working on the boring project. I don't want to work on the boring project anymore, so I am going to say "I'm fine renewing my contract, but I really don't want to work on the boring project anymore."

I doubt the lab will want to renew my contract unless i'm working on the boring thing. So, I've hedged by taking up some other contract work part time, that will lead to another job that is boring, but not _as_  boring, and much better paying than the research lab.

My question is, has anyone ever successfully been hired under the pretense of "we are hiring you to do boring X, but if you do a good job, you'll get to work on exciting Y" and actually moved on to the exciting project? 

ed
Thursday, June 26, 2003

<Chuckle>Fell for that one, eh?

That is how every maintenance programmer on the planet gets hired.

Anonymous Coward
Thursday, June 26, 2003

Yeah, I was a sucker. Even worse was that about 3 months in I realized that the boring project is a 4-year ongoing trainwreck.

ed
Thursday, June 26, 2003

Yes, there's actually a name for it which I've forgotten. If anybody knows it I would be grateful.

Realist
Thursday, June 26, 2003

bait and switch?

Andy
Thursday, June 26, 2003

ed, I am just curious.  What makes the project so boring?

--
ee

eclectic_echidna
Thursday, June 26, 2003

the project is boring because it mostly involves dealing with an enormous number of web based forms. there are new forms that need to be created all the time, and old forms that need to be changed. the other part of the project involves dealing with integrating a large number of data feeds, all in different formats. 

ed
Thursday, June 26, 2003

Bait and Switch. That's it!

Thank you Andy.

Realist
Friday, June 27, 2003

This is not a bait and switch situation because your job duties didn't suddenly change (from the way they were described to you in the interview) once you accepted the position that was offered to you.

It may very well be that your boss told you a white lie when he/she interviewed you and never had any intention of allowing you to eventually work on the "cool stuff". Even so, this isn't a bait and switch situation.

Your mistake was that you didn't get the promise your boss made to you in writing during the negotiation process.

One Programmer's Opinion
Friday, June 27, 2003

Ed that actually sounds like quite exciting work!

You could be throwing away a great opportunuity to learn new skills.

How much time do spend manually amending these forms?
How much (%age) of the amending is changing text?
How many forms contain the same data?

Upsell: Tell your boss that you can eliminate most of the maintenance work (read unnecessary cost), make the system more maintainable and improve the turnround time for change requests - They need a new system that allows web forms to be generated from a repository (possibly a DB).

To do this you need actual metrics - how much does it cost do do things they way they are currently being done - and a cost estimation for the new system. Of course you won't yet have the latter; you need permission to go and investigate a solution based on your (1 page) simple statement of requirements.

Ditto the data feeds. Are you playing with Biztalk or similar? That will look great on your resume for the next contract.

Justin
Friday, June 27, 2003

  I was hired at a company to do programming, with the stipulation that I do testing for the first year since they needed a highly technical tester. After 1 year, we shipped the product that I was testing on, and they were not able to find a replacement for me so that I could move "up". However, as soon as I gave my resignation with the stipulation that I really wanted to stay, but only if I was programming, they found another tester within a week.

  Then I saw the other side of the coin. I was managing a dev team for a company that got VC funding. I hired programmers for testing, and moved up the good ones. Towards the end, I got a really talented guy out of college, and made him the promise of moving him up in 1-2 years with full confidence that it was possible. Then came the (inevitable?) hiring freeze, budget cuts, etc., and there was nothing I could do for the guy. He would have eventually left, but the company crashed before he got a chance.

  Sometimes, "bait and switch" isn't what's really happening. I don't know if that's the case here, but maybe the manager just doesn't have any choice. Of course, you have to get what you want, but one of the best ways is to think about the manager's position. CAN he help you? And if so, is there some way you can help him help you?
  My advice? Don't hit him over the head with "I get what I want or I'm leaving", talk to him about the situation and your desires to better yourself, etc.  If you don't get what you want, leave with regret, and make the changeover as painless as possible for the manager. Make sure he stays in your "network" and stays as a good reference no matter how things turn out.

Just my 2 cents...

Both Sides
Friday, June 27, 2003

Justin, the reason they selected me for the work is because I have tons of experience with "enterprise" systems. Thus, I'm not really learning anything new. I'm not sure what planet you are living on: "possibly a DB." The whole system is database driven. Is there somewhere on earth web forms are not connected to a DB? At least I'm not working at that job. The issue with any sort of enterprise workflow system is that there is still a huge bunch of tedious work that isn't amenable to automation.

Also, it wasn't "bait and switch" it was more like "bait" and then I never got switched over to another project.

"Both Sides" gives pretty good advice. I'm probably just going to wait until abou ta month before I want to quit, and then help my boss find someone else.

ed
Friday, June 27, 2003

Hey, I even fooled myself with that one.

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, June 27, 2003

"Is there somewhere on earth web forms are not connected to a DB"

Yes. I am working on an LDAP server

Daniel Shchyokin
Friday, June 27, 2003

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