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During my university years, I had designed and developed my department website. It's been many years since I graduated, however, the office IT staff still contacts me if something goes wrong. This happens because the website was made using a web framework whose expertise is rare, and which is now getting outdated. Anyways, I respond to all their queries, as I feel a sense of belonging to the department.

However, time is more precious now and I want to stop this "free" continued support. I want to update/migrate the website so that it runs without issues for years. This will take about 2-3 weeks of dedicated time, which will require me taking off from my job. So, I would like the department to pay me some token amount so that I do not feel guilty for investing my time.

I want to communicate the same to the Chairman. However, he knows me well as a student and we hold a good student-mentor relationship. How should I ask him without making the offer appearing cheap? Or, should I drop the idea altogether and simply tell them to take someone's service professionally? Note that I personally want to refurbish the website myself as it has carried my name for years and I wish that it continue to do so.

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  • Is anyone other than you driving the desire to change frameworks? That is, is there a "pinch point" for the department where their productivity is impeded because of the lack of this conversion? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Oct 28 '19 at 16:27
  • Would you be able to write a document that can roadmap to somebody else how to make the changes over to the new platform? I don't mean a step by step (obviously that would take longer than just doing it), I mean lay out the framework that someone familiar with the new platform could simply execute on? Your vision, someone else's boots in the mud... – Harper - Reinstate Monica Oct 28 '19 at 16:29
  • @Harper Interesting solution, this Your vision, someone else's boots in the mud. However, changing framework is my own decision, as the current setup is clunky and has multiple issues. Even if I pass it to someone else with a proper documentation, I wouldn't like to give them too much hassle. – Rakt Nov 8 '19 at 8:25
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I've done IT support for a while and don't do it anymore outside of my job. Why? It never ends....

When I've had to terminate a "free" relationship, I've found that giving notice is the way to go about doing it. Establish a guideline for what will constitute "completion" and when you will hand it over.

Your mentor, if he/she is a good mentor, will respect you more if you handle this professionally. If you handle it clumsily, that can damage your relationship. Here's how I'd handle it: first of all, explain to your mentor that the time is coming up for you to turn over support to someone else. Tell them that you want to make these updates so it will run without issues for years. Explain that there are a couple of options they have: you can turn over the existing website as is, and someone else will need to support it (with them knowing the risks), or you can for a fee (explain what that is) convert it over to the new technology. What you are doing here is offering a choice: you as the customer can do this, or you can do that. Then let them make the decision. For the fee, be prepared to explain what you want and you you think that is a reasonable amount. Document what you would charge and why. Then if they ask why you'd want that amount, they can see what that gets them, as well as the criteria for completion of the task.

If you really want to stay in a mentoring relationship with this mentor, I'd even suggest approaching them with this plan and asking what they think of it. That still establishes them as a mentor and asks for their opinion, although there is definitely a conflict of interest there.

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    "I've done IT support for a while and don't do it anymore outside of my job. Why? It never ends." : that is some sage advice to keep for life :) – Rakt Oct 25 '19 at 17:41

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