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How to handle peer pressure at Big Tech due to smart coworkers?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community9 months ago

In lot of meetings I am feeling I am less knowledgeable than others and unable to add value a lot. All my peers are very smart.

When analyzing critically I feel maybe I am spending a lot of time learning and lesser doing.

What works for me is => having focus blocks. Catch is that I am getting too comfortable sometimes not having meetings. This leads to missing lot of context sometimes.

What tips does community have to to handle this pressure?



  • 21
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    Android Engineer @ Robinhood
    9 months ago

    As a big tech worker (or least working in a company that mainly hires from big tech), I don't think I'm particularly smart. I got B's and C's in high school, went to a fairly bottom tier college, spent most of my life until junior year of college playing Maplestory, and took ~5 months to find my first job.

    Reading over your question, it seems to me that you feel like there's a gap of technical and domain knowledge between you and your coworkers. If I'm indeed interpreting the question right, then I'd just put yourself in scenarios where you're interacting with coworkers more. More iteractions means that there's more oppotunties for their knowledge (domain and technical) & frameworks of thinking to stick to your mind. I'd recommend a few things.

    • Review more artifacts such as code reviews or design reviews. In these reviews, ask questions on why things were designed in that particular way or if another specific design as alternatively consideted.
    • Ask more questions in meetings. Similar to reviewing artifacts, look to ask questions when something is unclear to you (why did we decide this, have we tried doing x, how do we imagine y to scale when z conditions happen, etc.). You obviously don't want to ask too many questions to avoid slowing down the meeting, but if you ask a small amount of short, focused questions every meeting people will generally be comfortable answering those questions.
    • Find a mentor. In big tech companies, there's generally a lot of experienced engineers who are willing to help mentor and grow others. See if your manager can pair you up with a more senior engineer who can help provide the information and support you need to be more productive.

    Hope this helps!

  • 15
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    8 months ago

    On top of the excellent answer from Jonathan (I spent many hours playing Maplestory alongside him), I just want to say: It doesn't really matter where you are now - What's actually important is how fast you improve and having a healthy mentality around growth.

    Let's take these 2 hypothetical engineers:

    • Engineer A has a skill level of 65 out of 100, because they have 10 years of experience. That's very solid. However, they are complacent now, so they aren't really learning. They improve at a rate of just 1 skill level per year.
    • Engineer B has a skill level of 10 out of 100 - They have just 2 years of experience and stumbled a lot earlier in career, so they don't know too much. However, they are hungry to learn and work well with others to extract their wisdom and feedback. They improve at an lightning-fast pace of 25 skill levels per year.

    It's much better to be Engineer B. Careers are long and rich - There's ample time for late bloomers to overtake their currently more talented peers (and this is something Taro is built to help with). It doesn't matter if you're "behind" everyone else if you're growing extremely quickly!

    By the way, I have literally seen hundreds of both Engineer A and Engineer B across my career:

    • There are so many very experienced senior engineers who just stop caring about growth (sometimes even getting worse over time as new industry paradigms emerge and they refuse to adapt).
    • I have also seen so many initially struggling junior engineers rapidly turn the ship around due to their deep sense of kindness, integrity, and ambition, reaching senior/staff levels within 4 years. Some of these junior engineers were my mentees!

    In a nutshell, I recommend turning that peer pressure into inspiration to learn as much from them as possible and putting yourself out there aggressively to maximize exposure to growth opportunity. And of course, treat everyone with kindness to expedite all this.

    Here's some other relevant discussions about this topic:

    And here's some resources that cover everything Jonathan mentioned: