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Sohail Nasir
Sohail Nasir

Posted on • Updated on

So I got fired


Some time ago I got fired from a senior developer position, prior to this I never got fired, always been a medium to top performer wherever I have gone and always been well loved by colleagues however things went very different here.

Where I was at

I left my previous job as they ran into financial issues also I had been there a while and felt I was getting stale in my role, I was a hybrid between a senior developer and a team lead, my team dwindled to only me towards the end.

I became unmotivated, one of the major projects at the company which my team had worked on tirelessly was canned. Over a years worth of work was in essence thrown in the bin because the company had to pivot.

So I started looking for another job, I didn't want just another development position, I wanted more of a challenge, I wanted to expand myself. I saw a consultancy who were looking for a developer with the lure of working on some cool projects. I applied, passed their tests, smashed the interview and ready to try something new.


Walking into the storm

Before I joined, I went to this company's summer party and there were no red flags, people seemed happy and the owners seemed nice.

I got my laptop and a nice welcome box and was genuinely excited, ready to re-invigorate myself and smash this opportunity out of the park.

Did my normal HR stuff, got my environment set up on the first day, then was told that the project that I was supposed to go on hadn't been approved yet. Was told to start focusing on my certifications and would be told when the project will be ready.

Got a call out of the blue from one of the owners saying that there was a front end project that needed resource to speed things along. The tech stack was a little out of my comfort zone but wanting to impress and show that I am fairly versatile was like sure I can do it, I explained I needed to get up to speed with the tech stack used and was given about half a day to read up what I needed to.

Clouds gather

I met up with the lead developer on the project, whilst he was sort of friendly, he did seem rather unhappy that I didn't have experience in the tech stack however he assigned me some tasks and left me to them until... an hour later he called me up to ask how I was getting on. Told him, struggling to get the project running locally and he sat through with me and we got compiling and running, there were a few hoops and database entries to get me running.

The tasks themselves were simple but I couldn't make heads or tails of the coding style and pattern used. Some of the decisions for this project were a bit questionable looking back at it in hindsight.

I would get calls every 2 hours asking progress and would get comments like you are slow, we are falling behind with then a quick reassurance we will get there. Very quickly I gone from I can conquer anything to maybe I suck as a developer.

It looks like its starting to rain

I really didn't make any friends or form any close bonds with the people at this company. I felt quite lonely and going from the life of the party to someone very introverted and quite reserved was quite a shock. It something I haven't quite recovered from, I am still fairly quiet and won't say much nowadays.

This carried on for 2 weeks more, the developer who had been micromanaging me needed a vacation and gave me a weeks worth of tasks.

He went through the tasks in question, we gave them estimates, at this point I was starting to become a bit ambivalent whether I was able to even perform my job.

The tasks were on paper easy but in actual fact I burned a lot of time trying to navigate the codebase. There were times I would get distracted, watch a few Youtube video too many and would lose focus quickly. I stopped caring and at this point, started to job hunt explaining I felt I made a mistake with this role.

Oooh its thundering

Now its thundering

After the other developer came back from vacation he seemed incensed that I hadn't finished all the tasks, I did put PRs up for the ones I managed to but his semi reassuring line came back "we will get through it".

Towards the end of the day I got an ominous email from HR telling me the client was not happy and I had complete an audit of all work I had performed on the project.

I completed the audit and wrote back I was disappointed with the client for not raising this with me and in retrospect this was a very bad idea. Next minute I got a HR meeting request for the next morning.

Lightning strikes

In the HR call, it was quick, told I was getting let go, I knew why and I didn't bother fighting it or arguing, I accepted it and now embraced my new found unemployment.

I felt angry for a few days after it and it showed, I lost my cool with an interviewer, was generally upset at the world. I gave myself a few days to mope and then got back on my horse and found a better consultancy though my role was less developer focused.


Reason why I wrote this article, its ok to get fired, yes its horrible and the uncertainty of finding a new role especially in todays market is a horrible feeling however as the great lead developer would say "We will get there".

Reflecting on this I needed a break, my previous role to this horrible role was so full on, I had gone through some major life events and some generally hard times, in the last year, I moved house, my son was born and switched job. I was bound to crack, my notice period was a slog and I should have taken some time off between roles.

I also think I should have taken a break from development, I feel I did lose passion for it at this stage and going into the role I am in now has helped me reinvigorate my passion for development by taking one step away from it.

I shouldn't been so eager to take any project, I should have just plainly said I don't think I can do this role, please find me another project, also should have flagged early on I didn't think I can do this work.

I should have been more client focused, this nowadays has helped me navigate through some hurdles by simply speaking to the client.

In regards to the lead developer I understand the pressure they were under, I won't bash them or blame them for my failings. However as a team lead nowadays I ensure I keep professional, encourage my team members and make sure feedback is constructive not a series of digs followed with false reassurance.

At the end of the day, getting fired isn't the end of your life or even your career, you can bounce back and use it as a learning experience.


Top comments (39)

chasm profile image
Charles F. Munat

Lessons from an old dev:

If you don't know how to do the work already, don't agree to do it. They always say that they'll give you time to come up to speed. They rarely mean it. And instead of seeing that their expectations are unreasonable, they will decide that you are stupid or lazy. Just say, "That's not what I was hired to do." If they insist, quit. Do not give in.

As soon as you see that the job sucks, start looking for another job. Don't let your performance drop -- work hard. If you slack off, then you give them the opportunity to blame you. Stay cheerful and enthusiastic and do good work, but get out as soon as possible. Don't think, "Oh, it will get better." It won't.

I have made the same mistake as you more than once. It is difficult to give up on a job so soon. But beware the sunk cost fallacy.

I had one job so horrible that I was dying to quit but foolishly felt I owed it to them to stick it out to the "big deployment." Then, just a few days before that happened, they called me up and fired me. I was so overjoyed that I literally jumped up and cheered. When I told curious onlookers that I'd just been fired, they thought I was a bit nuts. But dear me I wanted out of that awful role. Wow. Happy, happy day.

Now I just quit. I was a fool to stay as long as I did. If it's not working, get out.

darkliahos profile image
Sohail Nasir

Very true, its better to get out early rather than staying on in the vain hope it will get better. Thank you for sharing

trungphan422 profile image
Thanh Trung Phan

Thank you for sharing this.

nadiafedev profile image
Nadia • Edited

Thank you for sharing this, despite that it had such a heavy emotional impact on you. Glad that you bounced back :)

jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel 🕵🏻‍♂️ Fayard

Writing this was very smart IMHO, it's one of the best way I know to digest and make sense of an heavy emotional invent like this. Self-therapy at its best.

wojciechxtx profile image

There is no reason not to bounce back @nadiafedev People are let go on the daily basis, regardless of their expertise. Thats just reality.

crew_reynolds_6992d76737b profile image
Crew Reynolds • Edited

I feel this in my core. My role was "eliminated" after 8 strong years of extending a popular SAP bolt-on product. Lies. They just sent my role overseas. They even had me train my replacements under the guise of "needing a backup" ... just in case.

I had nothing but high praise, increasing profits, and earned bonuses, then .. See ya!

My career started in 1988 after one interview at JCPenney. Even though I worked at several companies until 2022, it was my reputation that carried me from one to the next. I never had to interview, that is, until I was abruptly let go.

It has been 16 months, 16, looking for my next role. Overqualified for most and under qualified for the rest. What went wrong?

My skill set and experience, as strong as they are, lacked the latest UI frameworks, cloud dev, DevOps, etc. I gave everything I had to advance my last employer and too little to advance myself. Don't do this. Do not make the same mistake.

The best advice I can offer is that which was found in a post on LinkedIn.

The only job security you will ever have is to keep your skills and your resume current.

Thankfully, I did find a 6 month contract last week. Hopefully this will become full time. You can bet that I will continue to bring my skill set current and relevant. The emotional, mental, and financial impact has been nothing short of devastating.

These days, if you are not looking out for yourself, then no one is.

wojciechxtx profile image

Whole truth. Expertly written. Well done :)

linkbenjamin profile image
Ben Link

Something I've been thinking a lot about during my recent layoff / job search experience - I heard someone say that

An A player in one company might be a D player in another company. But if it's the same player... isn't it unfair to think that the "A" or the "D" applies to the person?

Glad to hear you're on the rebound, and hope you find a team you fit better with!

philipjohnbasile profile image
Philip John Basile

"I explained I needed to get up to speed with the tech stack used and was given about half a day to read up what I needed to."

This is where things went downhill.

darkliahos profile image
Sohail Nasir

I agree this is where I should have tempered expectations and not assumed that some reading in half a day would enable me to effectively code.

phalkmin profile image
Paulo Henrique

Been there, done that. Sometimes the place we are in makes us drown in self-doubt, and it is really important that you noticed that and got your mind clear. 😊

patrick_dneary_15fc2d46 profile image
Patrick D. Neary

I just got let go from a company and am now searching for a job. I'd never been laid off before but new owners bought the company and terminated my position. This article was a bit reassuring. The only problem I have is with all the grammatical errors. I would think this article would have been proofread before it was published. It's not a good look for DEV and kept me from accepting to receive emails from DEV.

nrthbound profile image
Info Comment hidden by post author - thread only accessible via permalink

These are user written articles. DEV has nothing to do with them. I agree however, that it was a very poorly written article. Even ignoring the poor grammar, this person doesn't seem very serious about being an engineer. Knowing how to move through a codebase is a pretty basic skill, and if you're going to put the word "Senior" in your title, I expect you to be able to move like one. Even if it's a language you've never experienced before, programming is programming (unless we're talking about Assembly), and most of them share the same concepts. Classes, Functions, Constructors, etc.

I can't count how many times we hired someone who could talk a good game, but once it came down to doing the work, they just crumbled because they had no idea what they were doing. Not saying that's exactly what happened here, but it feels similar.

eworc profile image
william crowe


anmolbaranwal profile image
Anmol Baranwal

getting fired isn't the end of your life or even your career, you can bounce back and use it as a learning experience.

This is something most junior developers (including myself) don't understand. It's about finding the right fit with the company, in my opinion. I had to leave a role because it was too stressful and I wasn't treated with respect; it felt more like tough labor. I know that I did all I could, but I'm happy that I left. After that, I received several good offers, and life goes on...

saswat3116 profile image

Damn thanks for sharing this as a learning student it works as a support article that if things go wrong u don't need to give up I hope I get a mentor like u to guide me (self learning alone with no friends or mentor just me and Google) hats off to u for ur such high patience level

momodev profile image
Santiago G. Marín

Something very similar happened to me not long ago. The feeling sucks and I even started to have doubts about my value as a professional. Now I'm part of an amazing team and I'm completely reassured of my professional worth. Getting fired from that job was the best thing that it could happen.

calier profile image
Calie Rushton

Thank you for sharing so honestly. I am in a similar situation at the moment - it sucks, it's horrible, and I have been through all the stages of grief including feeling angry, worthless and wondering whether to give up coding entirely.

But I also was never in doubt that getting out of that situation was the right thing to do, I only wish I had been brave enough to make the leap myself a long time ago...sometimes we just need life to give us a little shove in the right direction :)

rouqe profile image
Jimben Honeyfield

I was let go from an internship along with another intern once with no notice just came in one morning and was "let go" without the generic "the business is headed in a different direction". It was a toxic environment, and I had similar feelings to the author, but being let go allowed me to be open to the job where I am now. I can say in hindsight I'm so glad things happened as they did. It's like the saying goes:

  • "When a door closes a window opens"
hayatamimi profile image

I am happy you get fired because you deserved a better company
I did tear a little reading this because I also got fired but then I had 2 kids and couldn't get back to work until now
and now it kinda seems hard after 7 year gap but I will keep trying

thank you for reminding me about that
for reminding me that getting fired isn't the end of the world

best of luck to the 2 of us ✨

fsbalbuena profile image
Fede Balbuena

Hey man, you kind of described a 5 days position that I had!

In my case, I presented the situation first, said to the company "I'm cool if I need to go away, just get me out of the project, and be honest with ourselves" The company and I know the truth, that manage things in a diplomatic way with the client, and I was happy to leave knowing that my direct employer knew the real scenario. We keep in touch, so no relationship was hurt.

PD: I'm in a sabbatic year now, so I have time if you want to have a chat and discuss tech and career paths. I will send an invite on LinkedIn.

pavelee profile image
Paweł Ciosek

Great post! 👏 thanks for sharing experience! 🙏

I’m impress your great attitude! 👏

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