Taro Logo

I have manager who doesn't actually listen and wants me to pick up fast

Profile picture
Senior Software Engineer at Egnytea year ago

I have recently joined this company and I am trying to learn and I am clocking 12 hours everyday. Inspite of that I am doubting my abilities and I have manager who doesn't actually listen.. and instead of helping me navigate through this.. he is just on repeat saying I have to deliver this urgently .. and I am not picking up fast enough..



  • 54
    Profile picture
    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    a year ago

    I'm really sorry to hear this - Unfortunately a lot of managers are like this and are just there to crack the whip. 12 hours per day is colossal; that's 50% more than you should be working.

    To start, I recommend reading this Q&A from another engineer that's feeling overwhelmed. My response there links a lot of other helpful resources as well.

    Here are my ideas on dealing with this tactically:

    • Can you prioritize work away? - This is the biggest one. Software generally follows a power law; only 20% of the code you write will deliver 80% of the impact. For the mountain of tasks I assume you have, can you ask your manager which ones are the most important? You don't need to bring up that your plan is to drop the lower-priority tasks as your manager probably won't like that. From there, you can do the ones that matter the most and see if your manager's perception of you improves.
    • Can you collaborate with others to improve your velocity? - A common trap I see new engineers fall into is that they don't request for help aggressively enough. I cover this more in this Q&A about strategies to improve on a lack of productivity.
    • Can you build a stronger flow state? - As a tech lead, expectations were very high for me - I found myself writing 80% of my code on Wednesdays since that was a no meeting day across Meta and Robinhood. Can you do something similar and group up meetings on certain days to have a certain day(s) where you have a massive burst of productivity for being able to focus.

    Lastly, I want to leave you with 2 thoughts:

    1. If you are unable to reason with your manager, and they're truly toxic and affecting your well-being, please leave the job. No job is worth your mental health.
    2. We're here for you! Feel free to reach out to me in the Taro Premium Slack, so we can chat more about how we can make this better for you and feel less overwhelmed.
  • 58
    Profile picture
    Staff SWE at Google, ex-Meta, ex-Amazon
    a year ago

    Is your manager asking you to work this much, or do you feel pressure and are self-initiating that?

    Be super aware you will end up going slower and producing with lower quality when you are working more than 8 (honestly more than 7ish) hours per day, and 36ish hours per week. I know we “have to” work 40 hours, but need to be honest that a lot of that is not really working.

    From there, do you have supports other than your manager, like more senior members of the team?

    What is the ramp up plan? Like is there documented stages? A timeline? You’re being told you aren’t ramping up “fast enough”, but what is fast enough and how far behind are you? Do you have a bug or project work that actually has an external deadline? I would argue that is not an effective way to ramp someone up.

    From there do you have a mentor outside of your team that can give perspective without bias regarding your manager, and tell you if they believe you are behind? Do you have access to your manager’s manager to ask their opinion of your progress?

    From there, the shift is going to be in behavior, perspective, and attitude, not how much time you put in. Ask your manager for regular checkins and hard goals. If you can’t meet them, ask why and get perspective from others on the team.

    You were hired for a reason. You aren’t bad at this, but you need time. You may actually be ramping slower than you “should”, and you need outside perspective on why that is. Maybe you need to just blast through a bug or two with no understanding to just show progress, maybe you need to pair program for a few days to get comfortable, maybe you’re using your tools inefficiently. You need to root cause before you can fix it. Again, no amount of time doing the wrong thing will fix it.

    Good luck, god speed!