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Work-life Balance

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Found 21 lessons for software engineers with this tag.

How can I push back diplomatically against an overwhelming amount of tasks?

Anonymous User at Taro Community profile pic
Anonymous User at Taro Community

As a Senior software engineer working at a mid-size tech company, I’m still learning how to properly push back when others Sr SWE & managers or Directors from Web or Mobile team tried to get me to do tasks that do not match my own priority.  As much as I like to be nice and support others, I agree that I can only do so much.  I brought this up with my direct manager and my Director (L7 Senior Manager & L8 Director), and they told me to loop them in when I face overwhelming pressures from other engineers/ cross-functional teams. My direct manager also told me they wants me to be able to focus on big project initiative, and they see that I am on track to be the Tech Lead given my current trending.

While I do appreciate that my boss gives me words of assurance and direction and offered to step in to fend off those pressures during my one-on-one call, I recognize that I would have to be the person who is good on establish priorities and be able to push back on people. I cannot really rely on my boss to do the push-back to fend off the pressure given that with the recent layoff, we are short on staff.

In light of the recent lay off, my boss confirmed that he's busier than before the layoff, and will be less available given the reorganization within the engineering leadership.  My boss is not going to available and won’t be able to step in when facing high pressure from the other managers. Since my company uses Slack as main source of communication, I usually just cc and tag my manager on slack thread so that raises visibility and awareness.

Wanted to get some thoughts and suggestions on "How can I push back diplomatically against an overwhelming amount of tasks"?

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3 Comments
4 days ago

What should I do in a situation where my manager is well-meaning but incompetent?

Senior Software Engineer [L5] at Google profile pic
Senior Software Engineer [L5] at Google

Apologies in advance for a long question. Not sure how to ask this question without providing deeper context.


I’ve been working with my current manager for the last 1.5 years. While they have recently helped me get promoted to Senior, it’s been a constant struggle. I dread our 1:1 almost every single week because it always run overtime and we are often still not on the same page. 

I see two major issues that haven’t notably improved in the times I’ve reported to them.

(1) My manager isn’t able to coach me, or any of the SWEs on the team. My manager doesn’t seem confident when we have career discussions - I recently asked them what they thought was the difference between good TL and a great one, and they struggled to coherently answer this. Instead, they said they would know better after the next performance calibration.  Additionally, none of my teammate has gotten proper coaching either.  For example, a teammate struggled to submit code due to their poor code quality and thus had low CL velocity, so my Manager simply told them to submit more CLs, which only made them more stressed without a legitimate way to improve. 

(2) My manager lacks technical understanding of our projects and constantly pushes for speed. My manager was externally hired, and to this day, they don’t really understand the complexity of the work our team does. I understand EMs don’t need to contribute code directly, but my manager almost always underestimate how complicated the projects our team takes on are. As engineers, we frequently have to defend our timelines, which is not only frustrating but also pressures some teammates to favor suboptimal design or hastily done CLs that just causes even more churn. 

The weird part is, my manager often seem unaware of their own actions, and when I talk to them about these issues, they are always receptive to feedback and seem willing to improve. However, I simply haven’t seen enough improvement in the last 1.5 years. 

I could leave, since this is having an impact on my emotional well-being. But I do have good standing w/ my own team and the overall org, and I want to use this situation to learn as much as I could. I know that I myself have a lot to learn as a tech lead (Thanks for , it’s really helpful), and I know I can probably get a bit ahead of our projects and start estimating/de-risking earlier, so my Manager doesn’t get overly aggressive with timelines. I know I can also take this chance to more closely mentor my teammates and help them succeed, since they aren’t really getting it from our manager. 

I want to stay, but is it the wrong decision because I have little career support from my manager? If I do stay, what should I focus on so I can really help my team and at the same time learn something valuable for my career?

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3 Comments
25 days ago

Need help to figure out what is next?

Senior Software Engineer [E5] at Meta profile pic
Senior Software Engineer [E5] at Meta

Some background about my experience. I have overall 10 years of experience out of which first 3 years was in Service based company in India and then 6 years at Amazon/AWS and around 9 months at Meta. I got promoted to Sr. position almost 3 years ago and have been working as Sr. Engineer since then.

Since few months before my promotion I am feeling bit burnt out. Promotion came after lot of hard work and honestly the compensation increment was totally underwhelming. So I interviewed and switched and comp increase was really good but I am not liking work culture now. This made me sort of realize few things:

  1. Promotion and level don’t actually mean much. I feel like I am part of a rat race and trying to prove my worth to someone who can whimsically just say yay or nay. This is extremely demotivating.
  2. Early days of my career were great, I was making good money and learning ton of new stuff. However, now I realized that most of the stuff I learned is not useful outside and I saved enough money to not feel the need to do job just because of money.
  3. It is not worth being loyal to one employer. Even though I changed companies for comp, my new employer (Meta) recently let go of lot of people. Some of them have been there for at least a decade. Plus the remaining of us are now in constant fear of layoff based on performance.

Now I want to get out of this job→money→stress→new job→money→stress cycle but don’t know how. I am planning to move back to India after few months and was hoping to start may be freelancing or some consulting work where I can control my time. I am more than happy to take a pay cut. So I started doing some research:

  1. Freelancing: Most of the jobs in freelancing are web development. I have lot of experience with backend and some experience with web development but I am nowhere close to the people on youtube/udemy. I can most certainly build stuff but have no experience to show for and I am not sure if I’ll be able to find any work whatsoever 😟.
  2. Consulting: Everybody suggests to build a network and then you can find work through them. My network is mostly SDEs in FAANG who I’ve already talked to. Most of them told me, dude if we know about such work we’ll jump ship as well, but they have nothing. One of my jobs was to build cloud services so I know how to build them at scale. But I have less experience in how to use them, so even if I do certifications I am not sure I’ll be able to find work on this area.

Now last option for me is to find a job which pays less and have less stress which will be okay. I can most certainly say screw it and not worry about getting promoted. But then I don’t know if that’ll be satisfactory, it’ll be more like I accepted defeat and ducked out of rat race but I still have no direction to go on.

Sorry if this all sounds like a rant, but I would love to have some guidance from people who have been in similar situation. What did you guys do and do you have any suggestions for me?

106 Views
6 Likes
1 Comment
25 days ago
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