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I have concerns that after onboarding a new hire, I won't be as critical to the team. How should I approach it?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community2 months ago

I've been 2 years in my team and I'm the only person working on the front end side. The other 5 engineers in the team are all in backend. Last month, there's a new college grad joining the team and my manager has asked me to onboard the new hire to frontend side. I have concerns that after onboarding a new hire, I won't be as critical to the team. How should I approach it?



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    Friendly Tarodactyl
    Taro Community
    2 months ago


    From the perspective of a junior developer (like myself), reading this question made me a bit sad. But simultaneously glad / vaguely relieved to hear it because I feel like the spirit might explain a bit of what I'm experiencing in my work.

    So with that in mind...

    I think I understand where you're coming from - is it coming a sense of fear for your job and livelihood due to the upheaval in the tech industry? That all makes sense to me from a survival perspective. Things are challenging.

    However, to ramble on, I guess this discussion gets to the heart of one of the reasons we're here on Taro - for a sense of community. I'm not so sure where my career in tech will go, but if this self-defensiveness becomes a core spirit of the tech industry, then I may have to make some changes (it was what I was escaping from in another industry). Maybe when push comes to shove in economic terms, it's the same everywhere?

    One of the reasons I've stayed so far has been shaped by kindness, nurturing, and instruction from senior-level and director-level folks. In general, new grads bring vulnerability, a desire to learn, and a desire to contribute (I think) that can be force multipliers for good and progress. I've loved these folks because they've been resourceful, incredibly motivated, and inspiring. I want to be like them when I grow up, and I respect / admire the folks who help. When it's time for a new job, I will remember.

    Anyway, some thoughts from a junior. Would love to hear what others in different roles and positions think.

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    Thoughtful Tarodactyl
    Taro Community
    2 months ago

    I can genuinely empathize with this feeling. After all we live in an era where we are stack ranked against our peers making tech often a zero sum game for us.

    But I think this would be a great opportunity to get better at mentoring. There's only so much your work can scale. A new grad is not gonna be able to replace you and will likely need a ton of hand holding. This could be a great opportunity for you to scale your impact on the team

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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 months ago

    I get this post (especially given the current climate), but I actually think you're flipping this situation, viewing it as a danger rather than an opportunity.

    Mentoring others has many career benefits:

    • Teaching is the best way of deepening your understanding of something
    • It builds loyalty and makes the mentee want to fight for you (i.e. If this college grad tells your manager that you're irreplaceable, they surely won't cut you)
    • It allows you to increase your scope. Once the new-grad is onboarded, give them your lower complexity junior and mid-level work. This allows you to focus on bigger, senior level problems
    • Powers up fundamental skills like communication, relationship building, project management/delegation

    If you do this right, you will become more valuable to the company, not less.

    Follow the advice here to be an excellent mentor: [Taro Top 10] Effective Mentorship And Growing Others

    The red flag here would be if the new-hire is offshore (at that point, the company is likely forcing you to train your replacement), but it seems like this new hire is in the same office as you.

    Also, you are onboarding this person, not mentoring them long-term. There is no way a college grad with 3 months of onboarding support will beat out a mid-level engineer like yourself with 2 years of experience. And if leadership is insane enough to believe so, there's not much you could have done anyways.