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Ask Slashdot: How To (or How NOT To) Train Your Job Replacement? 292

An anonymous reader writes "I am a contract developer from a major U.S. city. My rate has never been the lowest, but it's nonetheless very competitive considering the speed and quality of the work I have always delivered, as well as the positive feedback I've received from most clients. In the past ~3 years, I have been working on a sizable project for a major client. For the most part it has been a happy arrangement for both parties. However, for various reasons (including the still ailing economy), starting this year they hired a fresh college graduate in-house, and asked me to teach him all 'secrets' of my code, even though they have the source code by contract. The implicit (although never openly stated) goal is of course for him to take over the project and hopefully reduce cost, at least in the short-term. I say 'hopefully' because I am pretty sure that, because they are unfamiliar with the software industry, they underestimated what it takes to make quality, production-ready code. I am not afraid of losing this particular client, as I have many others, but I want to ask Slashdot: how do you handle this type of situation — training someone whom you know will eventually replace you at your job?"
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Ask Slashdot: How To (or How NOT To) Train Your Job Replacement?

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  • by sideslash ( 1865434 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @05:30PM (#43217943)
    As a contractor I've been through this more than once, and actually had very good experiences training / mentoring customer employees to "take over" the programming of my projects. In one case I met weekly with a guy over many months, and took him from hand-holding up to completing major releases. I don't see it as a threat, because if you're already sharing the source code (which I always do), then you're explicitly offering that the customer can take over the job in the future. So -- assuming that mentoring is a service you want to offer -- do the best job you can, and have fun. And it is a tremendous amount of fun to teach when you are good at what you do, have some communication skills, and also have a beginner student with decent aptitude along with a serious attitude toward learning. I had all of those. /toot-own-horn

    Good luck, hope it goes well for you!

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