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How to look for red flags in the team?

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Senior Software Engineer at Egnyte2 years ago

I joined this new company, and since the beginning things were little off for me. i.e.

  • the manager when interviewed me I got a gut feeling that he is not a nice guy, I checked with my friend and got convinced that it's okay
  • While onboarding, I talked to couple of my team-mates and they were either disinterested or complete rude to me, I ignored it thinking I might be the most stupid and inefficient one..
  • While getting some sessions from senior engineer, the guy always made me feel bad about myself, about how I lacked necessary knowledge and how I should just get things.. I ignored that too thinking it's just me who is not smart enough

Since last couple of days, I talked some of other engineers and found that all my team-mates are pretty toxic and, when he shared some of the past experiences, I got now convinced that it's pretty toxic environment especially for my team. Now my question is that all this time I thought I am the problem.. but it turned out that it was not me.. I am still pretty new here and I am seriously searching for another job now, but what did I miss here..? What could I have done here such that I would have known this earlier? (I know, I could have talked to the other guys earlier but I was not so sure because I had no idea how they would react to that.. I shared my concerns only when it became unavoidable)

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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 years ago

    Sorry to hear about your current situation - This seems like a pretty toxic team.

    but what did I miss here..?

    Here's the thing: I don't think you missed anything. In your 3 bullet points, you correctly identified several red flags. What you did is something I've seen a lot of other software engineers do: Not listen to their gut enough. It's a very understandable mistake to make as nice people often times navigate situations like these by figuring out how to improve themselves as opposed to just accepting that the other parties are bad. This is something I've struggled with a lot as my default mentality is to "Lead with kindness."

    One of the hard parts about working and just life in general is to figure out how to be kind without being too naive and vulnerable. I firmly believe that being kind is the best way to build relationships, but there are people that will take advantage of that. It's always a challenge figuring out how to be kind while keeping some shields up.

    In terms of how to vet a team properly in the future, I highly recommend this Q&A about questions to ask. In particular, the question I have there around collaboration, I'm fairly certain your manager would not have responded "Yes" enthusiastically to it.

Egnyte is a software company headquartered in Mountain View, California. It sells cloud-based content security, compliance, and collaboration tools for businesses. Egnyte was founded in 2007 with a focus on modernized file servers, but it has since shifted to selling tools that help users securely collaborate with coworkers and third parties.
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