Episode 224: Bad review from conflicted boss and questioning my career choices


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:


  1. Hi Dave and Jamison, I’m in my mid twenties working at a large company with 1,000+ devs. My direct manager (let’s call him Bob) is probably in his late forties, is from a different country, and has a wife and two children who live in his home country. He currently manages ~20 devs in multiple scrums.

    Last month, I had my mid-year performance review with Bob. I am pretty sure that I’ve done a great job during the first half of the year. I made a few performance improvements, designed and partly implemented a few new systems, and even saved the company from a potential lawsuit. I think that I’m already delivering much more than the typical junior would already. Bob seems to disagree. He only gave me a mediocre review. When I pushed him for his reasoning, he seems to avoid the question and just told me to focus on the whole year review instead.

    Last week, I just came to know that Bob is filing a divorce. I would think that he is probably feeling quite depressed. Nonetheless, it bothers me to feel that my review score is somehow related to his personal affairs. He rushed all of his reviews on the last deadline though. I get the feeling that he is dispirited and didn’t focus on giving his team a thorough and honest review.

    I don’t want to bring this up to Bob’s manager as it would probably make him even more miserable. I also don’t think I can give him divorce advice. What would you do?

  2. Hi there. I just graduated from undergrad and will be starting my career in just a few days. A big question on my mind going in is whether software development is the right career for me. I landed here because my parents saw me tinkering with HTML as a kid and pushed me into a CS major and this job. Me personally, I had wildly varying attitudes towards programming in college. Some days I was so hungry that I threw myself into hackathons and side projects; other days I was ready to drop my CS major. All this left me unsure of where I really stand. I’m grateful to have ended up on this path, but as I think more long-term, I question whether I’m really here for the long haul. What signs could I look for to gauge my compatibility with the tech industry or help me decide whether this career is really for me?

    Either way, thanks so much for making this podcast - it’s been a great window into the world that I’m about to join.

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