Episode 377: Short Tenure Promotion and too much free time at work


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Hi, I’m a senior software engineer at a big tech company, where I’ve been employed for precisely one year. So far, the feedback I’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive. My manager has even mentioned that her superiors are impressed with my performance, and my colleagues have shared their positive feedback as well.

    While I’ve been told that I’m doing exceptionally well and may be on track for a promotion in my upcoming year-end review, there’s a slight concern. Given that I’ll have been with the company for just over a year at that point, my relatively short tenure might affect my chances. During my mid-year review, my manager advised me to tackle more complex problems and take on larger tasks that have an impact on multiple teams to bolster my promotion prospects.

    I don’t really know what to do with this advice since I don’t know what else to do besides passively wait and hope that these famous ‘complex problems’ come my way. I feel like whether or not I get to prove myself in a big way to secure the promotion will come down to luck, is there anything I can do to reduce this luck factor?

  2. I recently started a new remote job as a lead engineer at a startup. Previously, I was working for an agency and was almost constantly busy. Additionally, I was held extremely accountable for the time I spent working through submission of daily timesheets.

    Now that I’m at a startup, I’m struggling to not feel guilty when I feel like I have nothing to do. My area of the product moves much slower than everyone else’s, so while everyone else is constantly busy, I feel like I’m making much less impact. My manager, the CTO, is fully aware of my lighter workload and is fine with it.

    My question isn’t necessarily about how I can make more impact. It’s about how to make peace with the idea that I’m not being productive for 8 hours every day. When you’re in an office, you feel like you’re working even when you’re not, because you’re physically there. When working remotely, I tend to feel guilty when I’m not physically sitting at my desk writing code, even when there isn’t really any code to write. Do I need to just get over myself and feel more grateful for all my free time? Or is there another way of looking at this that I’m missing?

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