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Getting an M (Moderate Impact) rating this year

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Entry-Level Software Engineer [L3] at Google5 months ago

My TL recently became my TLM at the start of this quarter and we've had communication/expectation issues before. My previous manager indicated through check-ins that I was on track to receive a Significant Impact (SI) rating ("Meets All Expectations") for the last 9 months and now my TLM is hinting that I only meet partial expectations.

The feedback is that I meet my delivery and impact expectations but only with a lot of guidance and help and at my level I need to show more independence.

Even when I ask them what rating they have in mind they don't have a straight answer and it's stressing me out not knowing if it could also be an NI or a PIP in the near future. I'm ashamed because this isn't how I wanted my career to progress at Google and because my friends and family (and team) definitely expected more from me but at this point in the year there isn't much time left.

I'm stressed out of my mind and it doesn't help that I also have anxiety and ADHD that make the situation worse than it actually is due to a recent family issue. The options I see forward are

(1) take the M rating and work harder next year to get promoted

(2) take short-term leave for 1-2 months due to burnout and "freeze" my performance for this year instead of making it worse.

What would you recommend I do?

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Discussion

(2 comments)
  • 2
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    5 months ago

    First, for non-Googlers, since these acronyms are new for me too: SI = Significant Impact and M = Moderate Impact. M is a below-average rating and indicates that something is wrong.

    Have a candid discussion with your TLM about how you're trending. Schedule a 45-minute 1:1 with them and tell them ahead of time you'd like to have a performance discussion. In the meeting:

    • Present your own assessment of how you're doing, by referencing the L3 Google expectations (and your prior discussions).
    • Share your reflections on where you could do better, and what you're planning to change or start doing.
    • Ask for feedback or if you missed anything.

    Then, ask a direct question about the likelihood of getting an NI rating, or being put on a PIP. For a manager, it's usually harder to predict a rating, but predicting if something won't happen is easier.

    Unless the conversation goes really badly, I'd advocate you do option (1) of taking the rating but show that you're committed to improvement going forward. The short-term leave will be stressful, and it may be harder for you to pick up a project when you come back.

  • 1
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    Founder of Expanded Skills • Former Head of Engineering
    5 months ago

    As Rahul said, the key is to unpack the gap between expectations vs. reality with your TLM. Bring tangible work examples and tie them to progress metrics based on expectations at your level to make the conversation more concrete.

    The feedback is that I meet my delivery and impact expectations but only with a lot of guidance and help and at my level I need to show more independence.

    Figure out what's bothering your TLM about the "lots of guidance" and "show more independence" part.

    • When you got guidance from others, what did it entail, and how was it perceived?
    • Did you actually need that guidance in the first place or could you have avoided it by thinking things through more upfront (or by asking the question differently)?
    • Is your TLM overwhelmed due to the new role? Could that be causing your TLM to be more impatient than usual? Can you do anything to help them offload/destress?
    • Do your questions stump your TLM because he/she actually doesn't know what to do, but feels like they should because of their "seniority"? I'm hoping it's not this scenario, but it's actually quite common. I've encountered situations in the past, where they may take it out on you if it led to public embarrassment (don't assume the worst and only consider this after checking the other things)

    I'm ashamed because this isn't how I wanted my career to progress at Google and because my friends and family (and team) definitely expected more from me but at this point in the year there isn't much time left.

    As much as we want to meet the expectations of others, especially those close to us like family and friends, your perspective of yourself is what matters at the end of the day.

    As brutal as it sounds, if other people's expectations of you are stressing you out and are at odds with your desires, you have to block them out.

    This is an extremely stressful situation, which I've encountered early in my career. Feel free to DM me if you need further clarity. Also do let us know how the conversation with your TLM nets out.