I work as a developer for a small company (10-15 people). I was the third employee. I was hired over a 30 minute lunch with my boss and the second employee, the software architect, who's a good friend of mine.

I've been at this job for 1.5 years now. I've excelled at what I do. I've made major contributions to the product and we launched on time. Nobody denies my significant contributions to the product. I enjoy quite a bit of authority when it comes to technical issues. I am the only person in the team besides the software architect who can touch the production environments and in similar fashion, it shows that the company puts quite a bit of trust in me.

My boss is a long-time manager and is much older than me (I am 22, he is in his 40's) and has managed teams at large corporations, with success.

Lately, I've been getting into little tangles with my boss. He keeps looking over my shoulder, questioning my actions, up to the point of debating a single line code change I made. He comes across as very aggressive in conversations and is pretty good at arguing. This makes it hard for me to do my job. I don't mind someone criticising my work, but being looked over and questioned for a lot of small things is annoying. Sometimes, randomly he jumps in on pull requests and leaves a passive aggressive comment. We have a team of engineers who are perfectly capable of managing a large code base and making sure the job gets done.

Often comments and conversations are littered with passive aggressive tones and it makes debating with him very tiring.

Just to give an example:

Him: "Shouldn't X be like Y?"

Me: "I don't think so, [explanation of why not]."

Him: "So you decide that it is ok to use bad techniques if they work? I saw you blocking PR’s for far less than this."

I've also heard these kind of complaints from my team members and even from the software architect who is well-respected by my boss and the rest of the team.

Should we all ignore this behavior and simply try to do our jobs to the best of our abilities? Should we talk to him about this? Any other advice for dealing with this?

I know the easy answer is to simply quit. I could do that, I can easily find another job. I like the team and the product however, so I am not sure about that.

  • Have you stepped on his toes somehow?
    – user29390
    Jan 13, 2018 at 16:10
  • 1
    It sounds like he heard (from above, or through the grapevine) that someone said he's not that skilled or something along those lines, and it's soured his feelings towards the entire team due to not knowing who said it or who agrees. Essentially new-found insecurity.
    – Dom
    Jan 13, 2018 at 23:16

1 Answer 1


At this point your best bet is to have a one on one conversation with your boss and see if you can identify what going on. As one of the comments points out, it appears to me you may have accidentally stepped on his toes, and the only way your going to know is if you talk to your manager about this.

I once had a similar situation with a manager. I met with him privately and asked for his feedback as to what I was doing wrong or if there were areas I could improve. Surprisingly he had a couple valid points, and so did I. I pointed out instance where he was micro managing me and asked why he felt he needed to do that. After we cleared the air, our working relationship was excellent.

If could also be that your boss is a jerk. Or has become a jerk, and you won't be able to fix the behavior. If that ends up being true, you have some decisions to make. But it all starts with an open and honest conversation with your manager.

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