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Working With Your Manager Q&A and Videos

About Working With Your Manager

Doing this properly is a hard requirement for professional success. As a software engineer in particular, this relationship needs to be carefully navigated to achieve maximum impact.

Seeking input on Forming a Healthy On-Call Rotation

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Tech Lead at Taro Community

My new manager, my old manager, and the broader team have been managing the on-call rotation for the platform of my company's flagship product, which we launched two years ago. Initially, the rotation included just 3 engineers, but after discussions with my directors and acknowledgment from the rest of the organization, we increased it to 8 engineers to form a healthier on-call rotation.

Despite having 8 engineers, I've noticed that many team members, including our principal and staff engineers, are still not familiar with the on-call procedures. I have compiled a support run-book log documenting the steps for handling each issue/alert, so the on-call team understands the severity and business impact of different issues. The issues can range from low priority to business-critical.

However, the support run-book documentation is not entirely reliable as the ultimate source of truth because our production system support behaves more like triage than a debug system.

Additionally, the nature of the on-call rotation can vary from simply acknowledging alerts and following documented steps to collaborating with business owners. Sometimes, issues are caused by other teams or third-party vendors, making them unsolvable by the on-call engineer alone. I noticed that Production Issue happened almost daily, and the on-call issues have impacts to company's revenues and customer facing experience..

I am interested in learning more about how others view a healthy on-call rotation.

What are the key factors to consider when forming a healthy on-call rotation?

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What is the expected behavior of an SDE 2 & SDE 3 when given a feature request?

Software Engineer at Taro Community profile pic
Software Engineer at Taro Community

I work in a high-growth, scaled startup where my organization builds revenue-generating platforms and forms small teams to create new verticals. However, we face challenges such as fast-tracked, inexperienced engineering managers (EMs) who disrupt work-life balance and often expect overtime or weekend work.

Feature requests are typically communicated via Slack messages or one-liners, with frequent status updates focused on completion. There is significant bias and favoritism, yet I can operate in such an environment. Although I know the best long-term solution might be to move to big tech or a more stable team, I’m seeking advice on how to behave in this current setting.

I avoid responding to negative remarks within the team because the EM’s typical reaction to any request is dismissive, suggesting that bugs shouldn't happen or that tasks should be managed independently. I was down-leveled upon joining this team from a similar toxic environment but have since been promoted to SDE 2. My senior, an SDE 3, also struggles emotionally, which makes me question whether this is common in leadership across companies of similar scale and situation.

How do you handle working in such an environment? I am currently taking a course on managing up, which seems relevant. I focus solely on my tasks and avoid reacting to negativity, which is appreciated, but I’ve stopped working weekends due to shifting priorities and deliverables. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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PIP & Disability leave

Staff Software Engineer at Taro Community profile pic
Staff Software Engineer at Taro Community


TLDR: I started a new job in September last year, and within three months, I was placed on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) with impossible tasks to be completed within four weeks, essentially setting me up for dismissal. Two months prior, I had been seeing a doctor for health issues, and they advised that the PIP would likely worsen my condition. The doctor recommended taking Short Term Disability leave to focus on my health. The tasks I was assigned for the PIP were eventually completed by two engineers (1 staff and 1 Sr) over four months. My Short Term Disability leave ends soon, and I'm unsure whether to return to my old job.

Question for this community:

  1. Is it a good idea to return to the same job after being put on a PIP and taking medical leave? (HR informed me that the old PIP would not be in effect upon my return from Short Term Disability leave. However, I'm unclear on how this process works).
  2. I want to change teams upon my return; is this something I can negotiate with HR before trying to go back?
  3. I like the company and its culture but ended up in the wrong team with the wrong manager. Is there a way I can remain employed at this company but join a different team and manager?

More Context: My manager was present during the hiring interview, where I clearly expressed my desire to move away from a particular tech stack. I was highly rated in the interview and received a generous offer, which I accepted. However, once hired, the manager assigned me to a project in the same area I wanted to avoid. Given it was a high-priority project and my first assignment, I reluctantly accepted. 1 month into the job, I faced a personal emergency requiring a few days off. I shared the reason with my manager, who seemed understanding at first. After that, the manager's behavior changed drastically. They began assigning more work, constantly switching me between multiple issues and projects, and bullying me in meetings. Despite working overtime (12-14 hours/day) to meet expectations, their attitude worsened. This was the worst manager I've encountered in my 14-year career who had unreasonable expectations as far as ramping up on the projects is concerned and it almost seems like I was hired to be fired in this situation. Note: This is not at Amazon.

Any other pointers would be appreciated. Please help.

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