My boss just told me to go over the basics

Hi there. I’m a Frontend Developer, but these past months I’ve been struggling so much and I’d love to hear some advice. I’ll give some backstory as to where is my situation right now. Sorry if this is long :frowning:

I graduated from a web development career a while back but soon landed a job at a marketing positions as a UX analyst. The thing is I didn’t really do UX there but mostly JS coding as I was the only one in the area who could do it.

Then I started to feel like a fish out of water cause no one really understood what I was doing, and I was eager to get better but no one could help me there, so I started searching for another job after almost 2 years.

To my surprise I landed a job at an engineering position! I was so excited. One of the things they really liked to hear from me was that I love to learn (which I certainly do). I didn’t even knew what a version control system was, or scrums, haven’t really touched one of the most popular JS frameworks, so I was super nervous but excited.

I just made it to my first year in this new position. There have been really hard days and good days. I’ve learn so much and everyone has been so patient with me, but then there are times when I had to stay late or work in the weekends cause of me working slow while I learn. First days I left the office with a headache because of all the info dump but I pushed through, read documentations and asked/bothered people around so I could get my tasks done. All this time though, I didn’t have a Frontend manager yet, until 4 months ago.

Then my real struggle began. Since the beginning I received really useful feedback on my code from my fellow coworkers and I appreciated it every time. I felt like I was growing. But when my new manager gives me feedback, it’s so overwhelming and I feel smaller every time. He questions every single thing I propose, and I understand that’s what it’s all about but he never agrees with my code. Never. He always demands more than what I am tasked to do, and talks soooo so much when giving me context of why is it that what I’m doing is wrong.

It got to the point where he said to me I have to look at the basics of programming again. That really got to me. I never felt smaller, more incompetent, and then he went on saying that “it’s ok to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them. That’s the kind of people he wants to keep”. I perceived that as “you better improve or you’re getting fired”.

I have been considering switching to a less technical career, maybe just web designing since I have some design background as well that I really like (I’m kind of an artist too). Not just because of what my manager says, but lately I realized sprints are tough and I stress easily so not a good combination.

What should I do? I don’t feel like reporting this kind of feedback from my manager cause I fear he might be right. Maybe I’m not cut out for this. I don’t have enough time to go beyond on my tasks cause I keep working slow, test a million things before finding the solution and then I run out of time on the sprint, but then my manager expects me to excel every time and it’s so much pressure.

Thanks for reading, looking forward for any advice.

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Sorry to read about it. There is nothing I can say at the moment, only I have my encouraging support for you through this situation.

Real truth is world always will have someone who will don’t become constructive to our work. I wish the best for you to evaluate the options you have on mind. Just please, don’t give up to your dreams, there is always alternatives to your path.

Happy coding!

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Thank you for your support, appreciate it ~

It’s true, there’s always gonna be someone like that. And yes! There are always good alternatives, will think on them very thoroughly :grin:

Maybe he is right, but I’ve worked for people very, very similar to what you describe. Caveat, anything I say is going to be biased as I’m viewing it through the lens of my experience.

Imo you probably do not want to be working for this person as they will destroy your confidence. You’ve been learning on the job for a year, what you’ve done is laudable. I’m sure he thinks he’s helping you, but he either {doesn’t know how to provide feedback|is trying to manage you out of a job}. It’s likely he probably shouldn’t be in the position he is in (managing juniors) & is probably completely unaware that he’s incompetent. If you can, subtly ask your other colleagues about him and try to get a feel what they think about him, and of how he behaves toward you (are there any others he behaves similarly towards? Does he treat people he thinks are “smart”, possibly with CS/similar degrees, differently? If you’re a woman, are the only woman? etc as examples, they’d just be thing’s I’d look at)

Yeah, that’s a threat (if it wasn’t meant as one, he just shouldn’t in a leadership role).

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We are ultimately only hearing your side of the story, so it’s not really fair to judge the whole situation. However, I will say that there are times where the manager’s managing style just doesn’t gel with you, and sometimes it’s just an impasse.

It’s going to depend on you to evaluate what’s really happening. I’d start with your co-workers because they probably have a better idea of your competency and your manager’s personality. It might be necessary to open a line of communication and work out a compromise with your manager or the leader of your team because you sound overwhelmed in your post, and that’s no good for productivity, either.

You can also do a little bit of self-audit on your responsibility, achievements, and accomplishments with the company. Objectively evaluating what you have done in an organized way can give you some confidence and you can also update your resume at the same time in case you want to explore other career options.

Don’t be afraid to explore your career paths as well, whether it is with your current employer or out in the job market. Technical competency should not compel you to only do technical work. Some people are happier+ do better work not living in a constant cycle of crunch, which software development sometimes can be.

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Hello @Maggie1221

Sorry to hear what you are going through.

I’d like to share you something a graphic designer has taught us students at uni.

Even if you are the most likeable person in the world, there is always going to be that one person that you just can’t gel with. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one side is the bad one here (although I do see a red flag in your manager’s comment on what kind of people he like to keep). He also explained if you are working in an environment and you are not getting along with either the team or your manager, move on.

Now, I am not saying you should do this right away. The great advice written above is something I would do first before going to make a big decision like this.

What I would like to say is if you really love programming, don’t give up. Don’t forget in coding and programming, and we will be learning non-stop as technology evolved. So, when we are learning and testing new things, sometimes it does take us some time for us to find that notch to get it right.

What I am about to say, please do not take it the wrong way. But, when your manager told you to go over the basic. I would say just do it (at least he can’t argue that you have taken his advice). Go through this curriculum and do the projects, but more importantly post your projects here for feedback. If you have received supportive and constructive advice and overall positive feedback, then surely you would know that you’re not bad at programming.

If the issue with your manager continues, then I would suggest to move on. It’s no good to be in an environment where you will feel unproductive and unmotivated. More so, that you carry on staying there, you may feel regret that you could have left earlier (trust me on this one, I know from personal experience).

I wish you all the best and hope you will get this solved.

Good luck!

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Hi, I am so sorry that you are feeling so small. It is one of the worst feelings in the world. While we are not in very similar situations, I can empathize with you because I have been there before in a previous non-technical role. Needless to say, that manager was widely disliked and should not have been a manager. She had an extremely questionable managing style (so much so that HR asked me to divulge “as much as I could about her” before I left her team, to which I said NO! I couldn’t risk a good reference from her because it was a lateral transition to a new project.) Less-than-stellar managers do exist!

One thing that she always told me she liked about me however was that I constantly asked for feedback and I took it constructively. Perhaps you should schedule one-on-one meetings or calls with your supervisor to let him know you are taking his advice and building upon your existing skills. Let him know you work hard and that you take his feedback seriously.

Don’t let anyone make you feel small but also realize that you may truly need to brush up on “basic” skills and that this is OK! Try to not take it personally or as a negative, and give it your best while letting your supervisor know that this job means a lot to you.

As many others have said on here, if you really want to be do coding full-time then do not give up hope. Give it your best shot and remember that this job is not easy. Depending on your level (Are you a junior engineer?) then you are probably expected to write cleaner code. Perhaps there’s been a misunderstanding of what is expected from you.

That said, I think you should also absolutely explore your options in web design while keeping this job until you have secured a new one. Why not! There are so many jobs in this sphere with which you can blend your artistic interests with coding and I hope you do explore them on the side. I think that yes, programming is not meant to be easy but also if you really dread coming to work every day, then there’s a problem. It may not be programming but instead your manager, so I say work on your portfolio and resume on the side so that you can explore other options (whether it is the same position somewhere else or something new entirely). Let your boss know you take his feedback seriously and are working to improve so that you can get a good recommendation from him.

I am in a similar situation of not feeling cut out for coding in my new job and exploring other career tracks that require less coding than my full-time programming role. I also feel slow in my learning curve as well! You are definitely not alone.

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Technical competency should not compel you to only do technical work. Some people are happier+ do better work not living in a constant cycle of crunch, which software development sometimes can be.

Very well said @psychometry.

Sorry I keep thinking about this post and wanted to share that I suffer from a lot of perfectionist tendencies, which have made me resort to very negative thinking if I’m given even the smallest of constructive criticism (tough love). It is a muscle I’v had to work on to not take things personally. If I don’t feel great at something, then I feel absolutely horrible and I’ll be too ashamed to move forward. This is not realistic, efficient, or healthy!! Be OK with being out of your comfort zone and not being the best (or even close). Be OK with not being perfect! :slight_smile: Not sure if this is helpful but it’s been my experience that some people are more willing to jump in the deep end than others (and grow from constructive criticism) because they do not care about perfection. With experience and hard work, you will become better and better.

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It seems you can see your progress, and you know your worth. Further, it seems you’re still pushing and bettering yourself for yourself, becoming a better devalong the way.

This sounds like someone trying to steal your muchness, the very attributes that make you uniquely you. I can’t say for sure, i don’t know, but that’s what i hear in what you say.

I’ve known some who feel they best show their strengths by gnawing art others weaknesses, looking big by making others look small. Again, not saying this is what’s happening, but it looks that way from outside. If you are capable and confident, it seems he’s thinking he can establish his authority over you by diminishing your confidence.

For some, that works. They respond well to strong leadership, and accept the authority.

I couldn’t. My pattern is to establish any authority through mutual respect and growth. I succeed when those around me also succeed, in their own and their professional goals.

I’m not saying i should be your boss, but just that you might respond to a different leadership style.