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I had my first progress review with one of the managers. It's only been a month and still learning. I was surprised when the first thing that he said was:

"You're asking too many questions"

I was puzzled by his answer. I like to learn as much as I can which involves lots of questions being asked. This has really made he hesitant in asking for help when I need it as I feel I would be prosecuted for it.

How should I go about this?

marked as duplicate by Dukeling, gnat, Draken, Chris E, user8365 Dec 13 '17 at 0:01

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  • how many years of working experience do you have? What is jour job? – Dupond Dec 11 '17 at 6:11
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    Well, do you know the tasks? Did you pretend like you'd know them in interviews? The right response when he said that would have been, rather ironically I suppose, to ask him what he meant by it. You should still do that now. – Lilienthal Dec 11 '17 at 7:03
  • Are you interrupting people to ask questions? Ask on your time; not theirs. – user8365 Dec 13 '17 at 0:00
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Assuming a normal working culture and your manager knows what he is talking about, your feedback really means you are asking too many questions without doing enough ground work on your own. Basically, the questions are something which you could probably have found answers to yourself.

For example, lot of questions on stack exchange sites like stack-overflow are downvoted simply because it is question without any evidence of work they did on their own to find a solution. It simply wastes everyone's time.

So they way to deal with it is every time you ask a question:

  1. Make sure you put enough effort in researching the answer either through books, internet or other internal documentation.
  2. In spite of above efforts, if you still have to ask, make sure you present to them the efforts you have taken to find this answer with your own research.
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One way is to turn it to a discussion rather than shooting questions every now and then. Why? For a couple of reasons:

  • Discussion signals you also have something to share, and hence perceived as useful by the other party
  • Discussion mitigates the pressure on you, and the attention will be distributed among both of you. Less pressure, allows you to focus on deep understanding.
  • Allows you to understand the topic/domain, instead of asking narrow questions, which inherntly make you less independent, and always want to come back again.

How:

  • I usually start by stating what I know in a form of getting approvals (e.g.: I know that so and so, right? The other person will say 'yes/correct'. Getting few approvals at the beginning helps getting the conversation to flow
  • I do not ask narrow questions to solve only problem at hand. I take the opportunity of disturbing the other person to make it worthwhile. I discuss the area/domain/topic. Often, I start by saying something along the line: I need your help, do you have some tiem for me? If s/he says yes, then I say Can you show me/explain to me the steps of so and so?
  • Write down everything you learn on spot. Do not wait. Even if it makes the other person waits a bit. Say it outright Sorry, I need to write that down so I do not disturb you again about it.
  • Never ever ask the same question again. It hurts your learning image. That's why write down what you learn
  • It all boils down to maintaining a good relationship with your mentor. Try to understand him/her. Show the mentor you can take on responsibilities that can help him/her as well. If s/he likes you, s/he will go a long way to help you learn and grow.
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It is good you are asking questions when you don't know the answer rather than trying to figure it out all on your own and doing something dumb (such as running rm -rf). However, only try to ask a question of your manager when other methods of obtaining the information has not been fruitful. In my field (InfoSec and IT GRC), I too often have lots of questions. What I have found helped me in a lot of situations:

  1. Consulting a senior coworker
  2. Searching in the IT KB (if your company has one)
  3. Referring to past work completed
  4. Intuitively obtaining an understanding first, and then restating the problem in your own words as you understand it.

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