Episode 352: Exploding manager and I hate computers


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. My manager finally exploded. They screamed and insulted our whole team because one teammate had a 4 day delay on a 2 week task.

    Our manager Theo (fake name) was recently promoted and now on top of managing our team of 7 engineers, they also manage 2 other managers with 6 engineers each. I have noticed that Theo is under a lot of stress and as one of the two senior engineers in my team I tried to support him with planning and organization tasks. Sadly, it’s reached a point where if Theo doesn’t calm down, the whole team might implode.

    Last week, after one mid-level engineer in my team surfaced that the two-week project he was working on was going to be delayed by 1 week, Theo called the whole team up for an emergency meeting. There, Theo screamed at us for 15 minutes and insulted us as a team and our work in general. The gist of it was that we are not real professionals if our estimates can’t be trusted and that Theo has given us too much freedom. Theo said that if we keep on behaving like ‘[expletive] children’, then he will start to treat us as such and sit next to us while we do our homework. After their screaming monologue, Theo refused to hear any response and left the meeting.

    Chatting with my team members, no one felt very motivated by Theo’s rant. I would like to approach Theo with some constructive feedback, but I fear he might not be in a very stable state of mind. I’ve never had a boss treat me like this in my 12 years as a SWE. What should I do? Is this HR worthy? Should I document it in some way? Is talking to my skip level an option?


  2. At the age of 36 I am having what feels like a midlife crisis. After grad school, I fell into a well-paying job at a giant Fortune 100 tech company and have been doing well here. I’m a senior engineer on my team and have consistently good performance reviews, but, I have zero passion for the industry. I have never been that into computers and I just don’t care about making them run faster! My spouse and I have enough money saved that I could comfortably afford to not work for a year. I’d really love to take some time off but I’m paranoid that I’ll never be able to regain my earning power. I’m the primary wage-earner in my family and my spouse makes about a third of what I do, so if I never go back to work then it will be a severe lifestyle hit, like having to sell our house and stuff. What do you recommend? Possibly-relevant context is that we had our first child just a few months ago and so I now have much more angst about wasting hours on silly meetings when I could be with my daughter instead.

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