My manager decided to conduct a quarterly review of my performance today.
During the quarterly review, my team lead mentioned my strengths and weaknesses. For strength, he said that compared to others at my age, I have broader knowledge in many things. I’m also more creative with the ability to think beyond what is required. The third thing was I can actually produce more than other people when left alone.
It’s good to hear.
And personally, I will say I can check all those boxes confidently. I’m more knowledgeable because I read more and read across multiple fields. Just like how I can hold a decent conversation with a dentist, a doctor, or a fellow engineer from another industry. My creativity also stems from that cross pollination of knowledge and that I care about stuff, especially when I deeply believe that the quality of any output I produce is directly related to how far I can think and then implementing the necessary solutions. The last point well, I’m pretty sure most people can also produce more when given the same amount of alone time.
Then came weakness.
My team lead say that I fall sick easily from stress and that I need to exercise more. Of course my manager also added that exercise helps to reduce stress, etc.
Well, I know. And exercise help to improve my overall health. That’s why I go for runs on Sunday afternoon so that I can have a fresh start to the week. However, due to my multiple allergies and sensitivities, I don’t really go out into the public after working hours. I could in theory sign up for gym membership but I for one hate to work out in an enclosed area with lots of people. The thought of it just stresses me out. So the other thing I can do is to plan for another running session again in the middle of the week but have to put it at around like 10pm when most people are already home and the amount of cars on the road have dropped significantly. I will probably give that a try this Wednesday if there is nothing interrupting.
Of course I tried to share that my immune system tend to attack my body once there’s too much stress by causing inflammation all over. Then I share that I also have multiple allergies. From the expression I get from my manager and the “dismissive” gesture, it’s apparent that she don’t really care. It’s the ‘solve your own problem’ stance.
Err…it does take two hands to clap. My resources are also limited when it comes to dealing with forces or situation beyond my control. I created a routine so that my body and mind don’t suffer stress consistently. The occasional stress is necessary though.
What I have problem is the manager is not even willing to listen and understand. If she did, then maybe we could work something out. I believe that the biggest skill a manager or a team lead should have is deploying empathy. With that, he or she could then assign work or allocate resources in a manner that maximize output while ensuring everyone is happy wherever possible.
Look, I’m not expecting everything to go my way. The world doesn’t revolve around me but I do know it’s all about compromises. For me, I will definitely put in my best effort in any task I do but I also expect some kind of support or understanding when I needed it.
And in hindsight, I got to say that the arrangement I have with my team lead now is great. Just that I still won’t be happy when I have to work beyond the standard hours because there are other equally important things to me in my life that I want to do everyday. And I’m not and never will be a believer in working more than six hours every day. So you will still see me complaining about that aspect of my work consistently. 😉
Moments after the quarterly review, my team lead asked for a meeting to discuss about some of the issues raised during the minister visit. The biggest one was related to the message queue. The RabbitMQ then decided to throw exceptions related to having more than 1000 messages in the queue. So the meeting was about massaging the messages such that the system don’t send so many messages, ensuring there are no duplicate, and ensure data safety.
It was during that meeting that I think I demonstrated my broad knowledge and design thinking in the context of software design. And it will always be my strength for as long as I continue to read more stuff.
Then the rest of the day was about cleaning the code, fixing error messages and I also identified several bugs in parts of the application that I worked. So I went to fix those and then discuss some stuff with my colleagues about other feature. That was when I realize that oversimplification of certain ideas and solution can lead to confusion. To me, it meant that there wasn’t enough thought or care put into the solution. And it happened so often until I somehow stop worrying about it. As my colleague put it, “if thats what the team lead wants, then I shall implement that. Otherwise, he will say I’m not willing to do the work.”
Oh well… that’s the company culture…
And I suddenly remembered something.
I told one of my friends about the quarterly review and how dismissive the manager was. After exchanging some messages about being assertive and hoping for a better manager, she asked if I want to go and work in a startup environment.
Well, it does trigger a physical reaction in me as I wondered, “I thought working in a startup means work yourself to death.”
I mean, the business world is cold and very competitive. If you want business, then you probably will have to work day and night to deliver stuff. I’m not sure if I’m cut out for that and I’m afraid that I will allow work to overwhelm myself. But it’s definitely something I need to think about going forward. Do I still want to work for someone where the hours are control mostly by others or work for myself where I can control my own time.
With that, I shall end my log here.