Note: I am Junior to this guy, and he has the power to decide over my future in the company at least partly. This takes place in Germany.

The company I am working at encourages peer reviews which are made on online forms. These are only between the one giving feedback, and the one receiving it. They are not shared with anyone else. Also these are completely optional.

The Senior in question asked me several times via mail, chat and in person to fill out this form. I really don't want to. I don't have much nice to say, and this form is extremely long. It takes more than 15 minutes to fill out and I really don't feel like lying. If I am honest I fear it hurts my future with the company.

Question: How can I dodge this task, without him being mad at me. And without him noticing that it would have been bad feedback.

(I literally just told him I will "think about it")

(EDIT: I already did 9 forms for other colleagues, but even if I had all the time in the world I would not want to fill out this form for him)

(EDIT 2: I will write one specific example: Our boss told me to do something, like "Do this and show your personal skillset like x, y and z!" afterwards he (the senior in question) comes up to me as says "No do a, b and c, I know you can do x, y and z you don't have to prove it" If I tell him our boss said I should do x, y and z, he tells me "That is not open for discussion I know better what our boss wants from you!" ... I did not want to include this context in the beginning because it is very specific, and I wanted the question to be helpful for others as well)

(EDIT 3: Topic sabotaging: You need to trust me on this one, I could probably write an entire book about situations like this. I asked a different boss I get along with really well (he is for another team) and even he told be to be extra careful with this senior. The space in our company is limited, and if I as a junior can't keep up the the standards they have for seniors, I will be replaced by a senior sooner or later)

  • 1
    @Pudora Your question states only towards your senior in question
    – Twyxz
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 9:43
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    @ebosi I have been working 2,5 years at this company. This guy has worked 1 year at this company. He wants me to fill it because we do work together quite a lot. And he is not in any team. (Usually devs only ask their close team members for feedback)
    – Pudora
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 9:44
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    How many reviews are you expected to write? 1 or 40?
    – user44108
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 9:45
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    Can you please make this clear in your question. Your question currently implies that you're writing one review (for your senior) and then in comments, you raise 40. Please indicate how many reviews you need to write for and for whom.
    – user44108
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 9:58
  • 1
    Changing the title to include the word sabotage changes the tone of this question significantly. Why do you think they are trying to sabotage you? Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 13:08

2 Answers 2


The point of giving feedback is to let people know where they need to improve - clearly you feel that your senior has room for improvement so by not saying anything you are basically ensuring that he won't be able to do that.

If I am honest I fear it hurts my future with the company.

If your concern is regarding him knowing that you have "bad things" to say about him and that negatively effecting his judgement about your future at the company - well continually dodging doing the feedback is like waving a giant flashing banner that says "You won't like what I have to say!" and if he doesn't know what those "bad things" are then he might just assume they are worse then the truth. At least giving him the feedback gives you the control over how your concerns are communicated and you can frame them constructively.

Also constantly refusing what is seemingly a reasonable request from your senior (given this appears to be an established part of the company culture) isn't exactly doing your future prospects at the company much good!

It takes more than 15min

Oh. The horror!


Following the OP's comments that they are concerned regarding this senior potentially sabotaging them.

This being the case I would suggest that this actually strengthens the need to do the feedback. The best defense against colleagues (particularly seniors) who may be out to sabotage you is documented actions. As things stand:

asked me several times via mail, chat

So the senior has multiple documented instances of him asking for feedback, as per what the company encourages. The OP has some evasive responses to these requests. Looking at the documented evidence at this point it would be very easy for the senior to paint a picture to their bosses as being the "team player" and the OP as being uncooperative and recalcitrant. If you're concerned about someone shooting you then don't hand them a loaded gun, which is what dodging their request does here.

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    @Pudora <sigh /> You must be tired from from shifting all those goalposts. I know I'm tired of chasing them.
    – motosubatsu
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 12:27
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    @Pudora "Moving the goalposts" - essentially I can't help if you keep adding new things that change the question. "I don't want to write feedback for my boss" is different from from "I don't want to write feedback for my boss because I think he's a bad person" which in turn is completely different from "I don't want to write feedback to my boss whom I believe is sabotaging me"
    – motosubatsu
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 12:42
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    @Pudora I've updated my answer to address the "fear of sabotage" aspect.
    – motosubatsu
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 13:08
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    Sorry, I don't think that's a good answer. If would be good if we could assume OP works in a constructive environment, where problems are discussed and people aren't bullied. But many workplaces aren't like that. I've witnessed so many situations where people were bullied based on their constructive, fair input. OP didn't write much about what the "sabotage" looks like, but if he's right that he's been sabotaged than we even have reasons to think it's definitely not a constructive environment. I assume when answering here it's best to accept what OP says as a given, not to put it into quest.
    – BigMadAndy
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 13:22
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    @motosubatsu BigMad is taking your comment of If you're concerned about someone shooting you then don't hand them a loaded gun to the next step - which is if you fill out the form with anything negative, it's just ammo that's going to get shot at you later. By saying what you suggest, it could easily spell dull pointless work for the rest of the time at that company.
    – UKMonkey
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 14:25

Also these are completely optional

Regardless of whether you have to write 1 or 40 reviews. It doesn't matter. Optional feedback is exactly that. Optional. If you don't want to do it you don't have to do it. You can say no, or you can make a full on excuse it doesn't matter he can't fire you for not doing optional feedback.

If you feel pressured into it speak to your manager. Say you don't want to do it and he's pressuring you for one although it's clearly optional. Assuming the way he's emailing you he expects it as it's the 'norm' so dodging it probably not the best idea in general (doesn't look good on you)

  • This doesn't sound optional Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 11:25
  • @SaggingRufus OP mentioned "Also these are completly optional". Whether they are or not. OP seems to think they are
    – Twyxz
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 11:27
  • I know they say that, but I can't imagine they would continue to push on something optional. What more likely is once you have been there a while and they trust your judgement, then they are "optional". Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 11:34
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    @Pudora There's a difference between optional and optional. Teambuilding events are optional, but skip enough and you'll get reprimanded as you're clearly signaling that you're not a team player. Yours is a similar situation, the reviews are optional, but it still sends a message if you refuse to do them, a message you do not want to send. So yes they are "optional", but not really.
    – kevin
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 15:28
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    @kevin thank you for your input! That is an interesting way to look at it. I am actually a person who usually doesn’t go to Christmas party’s or similar events because I am scared of big amounts of people. When I went last Christmas people were pleasantly surprised and told me for days how happy they were I valued them enough to go.
    – Pudora
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 7:30

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