Got a promotion and now I do everything (develop, network, support, coordination, projectmanagement)

2 years ago I toke a webdev job for 70% in a small but worldwide operating company that produces and sells it’s own good. I mostly worked on the brand website (It’s a big website with lots of special functionalities), helped out with computer problems and did setup a new network. This was fine, it’s just a small company with around 15 to 20 people. The payment was medicore.

Over time things changed. There is a lot more work as we go more and more online. I created a very nice angular app for our distributors (my angular knowledge before was very basic), I created a huge importer for our new onlineshops with node.js (after using different 3rd party solutions that all couldn’t handle our complex stock management well). Because I did such a great job I got a promotion. More worktime (90% with option to make paid overtime), payment is in the upper class now.

The problem is, that I am also something like a project manager now. Meaning every half hour or so someone comes to me and ask me questions, tells me about their current problem that they can’t solve, etc (for example accounting comes with questions to invoice process, taxes. Or I have to track down bugs, find solutions for problems other couldn’t handle etc). I also have to talk A LOT with external developers/distributors/etc.

Currently I don’t see how I could program something new. If I start a new project I need to focus on it, especially if it’s a new topic/technology. I need my full focus to dig into the topic. I tried to program a very small script a few days ago (it would take around 5hours if I can keep on it). But I was programming for half an hour, then had to make a skype call with an external, then go back to programming just to get interrupted again by accounting questions, etc. It toke me way too long time, the context switches all the time are stressful, and I added 2 simple bugs to the script that only happened because I was not focused.

Now I talked to my boss about this and he fully understands the problem, but he can’t really offer a solution.

I wanted to ask if anyone of you can give me some advice? Maybe someone was in the same situation before?

Also while the angular app, the node.js tool and a lot of other stuff is really cool, I always switch from one technology to the next one and can’t stay at something. So I will never get really good with that technology. Could this be a problem for me for the future if I ever want to search a new job?

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I recently read Deep Work from Cal Newport

as advice from that book (maybe it could help you!)

ask your employer how much shallow work they expect you to do, give a schedule of when you are available, and try to keeo long uninterrupted chunks of time for your development

I much suggest that book

Thanks for the tipp. I will give it a try. ( I see two versions of this book, you have the one with the lamp on the cover?)

yes, but I don’t think there is any difference other than the cover

Sounds like you’re trying to take on everything yourself. You are trying to meet everyone’s expectations about you doing every job, and you need to either push back or delegate. If your job responsibilities aren’t clearly defined, ask your boss to define them.

Sounds like a good problem. Have you thought about freelancing or being a consultant?

I’m riding in the same boat. Sort of. I was hired to do 90% web development and 10% Administration/Support. Some days I wear a lot of hats. My manager asked me the other day what I could do to be more productive… I feel I’ve been giving it all I have. Working with their WordPress and Shopify sites adding new products/pages. Created a new B2B site for them with dynamic html product filters and search results tables, and help out with other projects: Accuracy Tracking System, I designed the forms using flexbox. They have about 20 virtual servers under vmWare that I help administer. Handling support of MS Office Suite, Add content to Company Intranet on Sharepoint, more software, more hardware. network, firewall… you get the point.

Not easy my friend. I’ve been with the company less than 2 years and during the first year I wasn’t sure I was going to make it… sometime I still don’t, and I’ll be 59 years young this year. Btw, I started a path towards front-end developer summer of 2016.

I try to take it all in stride and live by the 80/20 rule when it comes to trying to learn new things.

I am kind of in a similar situation, I guess. I am the sole programmer at my company that maintains the website and I also work on automating the boring tasks that are repetitive. But my desk is located in the middle of customer service, which as you imagine its full of phone calls all the time. This was a problem as it is very hard to concentrate. On top of that, My role seems more like a support role as I am answering mostly questions about problems that customers are having. The flow is that a customer service rep will call me out to ask some question, interrupting my thought process, so now i have to listen and look into their issue because they are keeping the customer on the phone and expect an immediate answer. I don’t know how I got anything done, but I did. However, it seems that my ability to concentrate went down.
If possible, you might be better off getting a new job. but this is just my opinion.
I would tell whoever interrupts you to stop doing so, especially if they keep asking the same questions. That’s what I did anyways.
Also, maybe you can get a laptop and work in a place that is hard to reach.