I think I need to quit my web dev job – I’m in over my head. Has anyone been in a similar situation?

Seeking some outside wisdom, as I feel like I’ve found myself in a nightmare scenario. I’m a junior-level developer, on my first job since graduating bootcamp. I was hired by a really nice dude who was looking for someone to optimize their site and had received some grant money to hire a fresh grad.

One thing progressed to another, and eventually I was tasked with building his website from scratch. His site has WordPress as a CMS and needs a complex paid API plugin. I have no prior experience with WP or PHP, and it’s gotten to that point where I just… I can’t figure out how to get things to work.

I’m only paid for ~15 hours a week but all of my time goes to researching how to do this. On top of that, my paychecks are usually late so I constantly have money-stress.

Aside from the documentation and occasional internet stranger, I have no one I can turn to. I’m the only developer (no coworkers or seniors) and my boss has no tech experience.

I don’t want to waste the guy’s money. I don’t even know how to eloquently tell him I need to resign. His site is like 90% finished but he’s already committed so much to me.

I feel like an absolute failure. This was supposed to be my first dev job that gives me a foot in the industry, and I’ve fumbled it so bad. All of my confidence has been thrown out the window at this point, and I think I’ll have to go back to customer service after this.

Has anyone ever been in a similar situation? What is the correct course of action when you know you can’t meet expectations? Or am I just giving up too easily?


**EDIT:** I sent an email to him and we had a phone call about it. Turns out the grant money is locked to just one person, and I have to complete the full contract before he can get reimbursed, so…

He was really understanding about it though. Everyone was definitely right about the communication thing – which is something I absolutely suck at (thank you Impostor Syndrome). We’ve decided to try out some other avenues that don’t include a complex plugin.

So moral of the story, for anyone who finds themselves in a similar pickle: just tell your boss if you’re at the boundaries of your skillset. Worse case, you have to search for a new job and you don’t get a good reference. Best case? You keep your job and all the impostor stress goes away 👍

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