Episode 414: Hot-headed PM and leaving without downgrading


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Cool-headed engineer asks,

    How do you deal with hot-headed project managers? I have a project manager in my team who really likes to criticize me, a project lead. Most recently, I was criticized for asking a dumb question to the users which they already answered a few months ago. They told me that I should check with them for all the questions going forward. (think: “Why did you ask that question?! Don’t you know that they already answered that?! Look at this message here: . Their intent is clear. Please check with me for all questions going forward.")

    It’s not the first time they scolded me either. They tried to pressure me to push the timeline even though I explained why it wouldn’t be possible. They made a false equivalence by comparing it to a similar sounding project that’s completed very fast but, unbeknownst to them, is very different to mine. (think: “Why was that project completed in three month but you need six?! Those engineers are working on the same code too. Please accept that you are not a strong engineer.”)

    I am demoralized after each time they scolded me. It’s my fault to an extent, but I think the criticism is too extreme compared to the mistake. I feel like they just want to let off some heat after their strong discussions and furious meetings with other people. I’m also a frail person and break easily; I want to learn how to handle hot-headed people and extreme criticism better so I can better speak for my team and not acquiesce to all their demands.

  2. Hello! I’m really fortunate in my current company. I have a great team, great workload that’s challenging but doesn’t destroy my work-life balance, and plenty of pay, benefits, and recognition. I feel this comes from having a really small group of proactive devs, and software is the primary source of revenue at this company so engineers are highly valued and appreciated. It really is the perfect place to be in.

    But I’m also really early in my career and I don’t expect or want to stay here forever. I’m coming up on my fifth year, and I’d prefer not to stay for more than 6-7 years because I want to continue diversifying my career. I know I’m leaving for the sake of leaving, but the reasons are sound in my head. All the past companies I’ve worked for have been decent but have been soured by being around 9-5 “That’s not my job” cruising devs, or upper management who say “Customer wants it tomorrow so just write the codes”. I don’t want to risk going back to that. What are some ways I can scope out a company during the interview process to figure out what their real culture is like?

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