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What to do if I don't like the work I'm doing after starting my first job?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community8 months ago

I just started my first job out of college as a Data Scientist over a month ago. The team I got assigned to was formed just recently after a reorg and is somewhat of a mess. I feel like our team is responsible for a lot of the repetitive, low-value, and uninteresting work (i.e a lot of boilerplate SQL with inefficient cross-functional processes) that other teams don't want. Also all the ICs on our team are either new to the company or new to this product line so the team has been struggling trying to ramp up. We also have to deliver projects to our internal clients under very tight deadlines so the stress level is always high. However I do love the company and my internship on another team last year was great, so I would like to stay in this company for at least the next 2-3 years. I know the best thing for me right now is probably to keep my head down and become good at my job. However, it would be great if I can get some perspective on how to navigate this situation and stand out under this kind of circumstance. What would be the best for me both in terms of short and long-term growth?

Thanks so much for taking the time!

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(2 comments)
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    Android Engineer @ Robinhood
    8 months ago

    This is a great opportunity for growth for a more experienced engineer, but as a new grad this is unfortunately an opportunity that will inhibit your growth in the short term. Since you're at the beginning of your career, you need a stable environment to build up your fundamentals as a professional. There are things you can do though to push for a better situation:

    • I would voice your concerns to your manager that there's instability in the team due to a lack of domain knowledge and tight delivery timelines. I'd push the recommendation to your manager to push back on the timelines and to look into having a team lead (either by empowering an existing report or by getting one through an internal transfer).
    • If you feel like there's information gaps around things your team is doing repeatedly, write things down on a public document and share your notes with your team! This might even push other teammates to do the same, creating a stronger knowledge repo.
    • Building on ^, one of the main ways I built up domain knowledge in a critical domain in Robinhood that had no stable owners was that I'd help people. I tried to answer as many questions as I could about my team and the products I owned, I'd provide advice to help others debug, and I'd loop in the right/better owners if I couldn't help but I knew who could.
    • Worst case, you can look to transition into a team that's more stable and with work you're more interested in. Generally, the expectation for an internal transfer is that you need to be meeting expectations at your level on your team. I'd start thinking about this option around 6 months into the job.

    Hope this helps!

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    Career Coach • Former Head of Engineering
    8 months ago

    There was a similar question on when to preserve vs. pivot due to issues in your existing workplace such as bad team, high stress, and lack of personal growth.

    Here's my approach to assess the situation.

    Can the issues be fixed given time? Assess your span of control and span of influence. Here's a couple examples to illustrate a spectrum on whether you can fix it given time

    • Bad sprint - Bad project - Bad team - Bad management - Bad culture - Broken business model

    If you like what the company has to offer, it's more likely to be on the left side of that spectrum, which will get better given time.

    You can still do a lot with the opportunity in front of you such as:

    • Make the work less mundane for others (document well, improve process, rationalize down, automate where it makes sense)
    • Set a good example for others on how to get what's boring, but necessary done
    • Build relationships outside your immediate project starting with those on your previous team that you liked