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Background

This is my first serious job and I know too little of the language in this country. I have spent about 6 months with this company, weirdly enough I communicate with most people using a translator.

I always get tasks from the boss in a small team of developers but he rarely asks about the status of my work, but rather asks others about what I did and didn't (what I have discovered lately).

The incident

we had a normal meeting, they said something I didn't understand but suddenly the boss turned to me and asked me whether I have started doing what he asked a day ago or not, I said yes and demonstrated quickly what I did, he turned to the other guy and this time I could understand that he said "he did it why did you tell me he didn't" which shocked me but I pretended I didn't get that either. Then the coworker asked me privately later why I didn't push what I did, I explained that it was unfinished and ....

Question

is it normal in a company for a boss to supervise employees through a co-worker?

  • Does he have as much trouble communicating with you that you have with him? – bruglesco Jan 26 at 2:15
  • @bruglesco No he's the only person that I can communicate with properly without using a translator. – user95694 Jan 27 at 3:06
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You're probably just having communication issues. Most likely, the boss wasn't trying to monitor you through someone else, but your coworker genuinely thought you hadn't done your task and was trying to excuse his delay. Him asking you in private shows that he didn't have a bad intention.

Try to proactively communicate more with everyone. Using baby words and making a bunch of mistakes are better than no communication at all. Give more frequent status reports of your progress and try to back them up, for instance by pushing to WIP branches, updating bug reports, etc. It's not a good sign that people didn't seem to know whether you had started working on that task.

  • I don't suspect that anybody has a bad intention either, given the way I am being treated, I didn't know about WIP branches, I will do more research on that and have a discussion with them about that the next time. – user95694 Jan 27 at 3:15
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    WIP means "work in progress". So a branch that has work in that's clearly not finished. It is fairly common to push your work while not done. You consider it finished when you make a PR ( pull request ). This shows others you are doing work, and makes it easier to help them especially when you or they are remote, by being able to look at your work when needed. – bytepusher Jan 27 at 14:41
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is it normal in a company for a boss to supervise employees through a co-worker?

It's not normal, but it's common enough when there are communication issues for a colleague to be officially or unofficially used as a go between and even monitor another.

  • Maybe I wasn't clear enough, but my boss's the only person that I can communicate with without actually using a translator – user95694 Jan 27 at 3:08
  • @moulou you don't always have to talk to someone to monitor progress. – Kilisi Jan 27 at 3:11
  • I just knew about WIP branches in the other answer, can you please elaborate more what other ways can be used to monitor progress? (given that it's just Git around here and no other sophisticated platform) – user95694 Jan 27 at 4:37

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