Episode 117: Defense Industry Stigma and Responding to Negative Feedback


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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Will working as a defense contractor hurt my future employability in private industry?

    I work as a full stack engineer for a small defense contractor with a security clearance. My company is awesome; All of my coworkers are super talented/motivated. On top of that we get to work with modern tech stacks (React, Elm, Go, Rust, Kafka, you name it, we can use it). I have heard rumors that it’s hard to move back to private industry after working in this world due to working with old/legacy tech and the view that defense contractors generally have less than stellar engineers. Is this true? I feel I’m in a bit of a unique situation due to how good I have it at my company and feel I could demonstrate that my technical chops are up to par with industry standards.

  2. We we just did a 360 performance evaluation where we provided “strong points” and “improvement suggestions” for two colleagues assigned by management. The completed reviews were sent to management and management forwarded it to the people under review.

    One of the reviews I received was very positive but the other one, from a senior teammate I work closely with, had a very harsh and exaggerated “improvement suggestions” section and very short and unconvincing “strong points” section.

    I’m not sure if he really considers me incompetent or he just wrote the suggestions, which do have some truth in them, without bothering to put things in perspective and without considering the impact it can have on my career and motivation. I feel a bit resentful towards the reviewer and am worried about the potential negative consequences of this review (I am relatively new to the company, joined 7 months ago).

    For now, I am trying to act as if nothing happened.

    I am hesitating whether I should talk to this person. On one hand, he can write what he wants in the way he wants. On the other hand, I feel the review is unfair and too negative.

    I would appreciate your input on this.

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