Today I had a code review at a new position I started almost 3 weeks ago. I was assigned a task working with my company's own CMS and a senior dev was supposed to do the code review.

My employer joined in during the review. While we were reviewing we came upon some sloppy mistakes on my end. Nervousness has lead me to neglect some obvious things; I've been unemployed for a long time and this job is a life changer for me.

My employer was fairly upset and during the reviewing session openly mocked my education ("they must've taught you that") and my skills ("Do you not know that? Why do we have to explain this to you") also dropping the "well then I want to see your degree!". At first I was unsure if he was serious I have never encountered this before (due note I am a junior at my position).

Later that day I received a email reinforcing that he does in fact expect me to show up with my college degree. I am unsure how to handle this situation. I was fairly upset and angry at the time (did not act on it). It feels like a very rude thing to say/ask and I'm unsure if I should comply.

The team consists of my employer, 2 senior developers and myself as the recently joined junior developer. I know I'm still considered to be on trial period (first 4 weeks) and my employment contract can be annulled.

Small update: For those curious; the "sloppy mistakes" I was referring to was nothing code-breaking or bug-introducing; Simply stuff like empty variables and some styling mistakes and poor phrasing of front end strings.

Small company, no HR department.

Since the initial incident I have followed the advice from the marked answer. It didn't reinforce their trust in my knowledge and I am working on improving that while looking for another job. There have been more redflags but those are outside the scope of the question. Thanks to everyone who has participated in this question.

  • 71
    Any reason why you don't want to show your degree? welcome to TWP :)
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 20:36
  • 13
    @DarkCygnus no particular reason. I just never heard of anything like this happening.
    – Singra
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 20:38
  • 15
    How did they hire you in the first place, did you not have to give them a copy of your degree with your CV? Did you just walk in, say "I'm a college graduate and I want money" and they believed you? "Please show me your degree" is a perfectly normal question, it's just more than three weeks late.
    – nvoigt
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 6:50
  • 94
    @nvoigt "Please show me your degree" is a perfectly normal question, it's just more than three weeks late. - It's a perfectly normal question during the hiring process. When already hired, it's very much not normal, which is the entire point of this question.
    – marcelm
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 12:42
  • 56
    @HorusKol: “I’ve been unemployed for a long time”. That makes a difference.
    – gnasher729
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 14:14

20 Answers 20


Later that day I received a email reinforcing that he does in fact expect me to show up with my college degree. I am unsure how to handle this situation.

The easiest solution for this is that you just show them your degree.

If you indeed have it you have nothing to lose by showing it, and that will satisfy their requirement; everyone happy.

I then suggest you try to handle those nervousness mistakes, and be more cautious when delivering a project. It's ok, you were unemployed and now you are not. That's great! I think you can now start to take it a bit more calmly, so you can truly focus on the job you are doing.

  • 2
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    – Lilienthal
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 19:44
  • 1
    What's your stance on showing a photocopy instead of the original? (Your answer sounds to me like you mean to show the original)
    – R. Schmitz
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 9:43
  • 5
    To add to this, seeing as this is a question from the Netherlands. You're able to retrieve a digital copy from DUO ( duo.nl/particulier/uittreksel-diplomagegevens-downloaden.jsp )
    – creulcat
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 10:00
  • Its true. You're other path is to deflect to HR who should've verified your transcripts. This is no doubt being done to humiliate you, but involving HR may make things much worse. Make note of this because the humiliating behavior likely won't stop, and keep an email record of you complying with the request. I work in HR, and at my company, this manager would likely be lightly disciplined for this because it almost amounts to a second background check, which is against our policies. But crap rolls downhill, don't forget.
    – Randy D
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 14:21
  • Is the solution to Hazing giving in?
    – user53861
    Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 16:26

My employer was fairly upset and during the reviewing session openly mocked my education ("they must've taught you that") and my skills ("Do you not know that? Why do we have to explain this to you") also dropping the "well then I want to see your degree!".

One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone insist that you should have learned a certain topic in your degree program. Unless you took the same program with all of the same professors in all the same courses at the same time as that person, you can't possibly say for sure someone definitely should have this knowledge. While there are guidelines set forth by organizations such as ACM, computer science curriculum is not standardized at all. Also there are certain "core" computer science classes, but again not standardized.

Later that day I received a email reinforcing that he does in fact expect me to show up with my college degree. I am unsure how to handle this situation. I was fairly upset and angry at the time (did not act on it). It feels like a very rude thing to say/ask and I'm unsure if I should comply.

Degree verification typically happens BEFORE not after a new hire starts. An employer is free to verify your information after you start should they suspect you lied on your application. But say I did terribly at a code review so terribly you question whether I had a degree at all. I comply and produce my degree but what does it really achieve? I am still terrible at writing code.

At the end of the day, given that this is your first job after being unemployed for a while, it is in your best interest to comply with the request to verify your degree. But I question this employer's long term ability to coach you to grow in your knowledge and expand your skills.

  • 51
    "Unless you took the same program with all of the same professors in all the same courses at the same time as that person, you can't possibly say for sure someone definitely should have this knowledge." sorry... no. Any econ major should've been taught supply/demand, any computer science major should've been taught binary search, any physics major should've been taught Newton's laws, any biology major should've been taught evolution... this should not be a radical idea...
    – user541686
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 9:57
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    This is a good response, but it doesn't go far enough. While quitting on the spot is definitely a bad idea given the author's recent unemployment, they should assume that 1) there is a significant likelihood the employer will fire them, and 2) even if they're not fired, it's an abusive work environment. I don't care how bad the mistakes are, you don't mock and humiliate your employees. Accordingly, the right thing to do is immediately begin looking for other work. Keep your head down while you need to, but get out.
    – user802500
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 17:14
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    @WernerCD: What were you taught? (And what is "computer information services"? Doesn't sound like the same thing as CS...)
    – user541686
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 20:05
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    @WernerCD: This is a 2-year program of study providing an associate degree at a community college. I was talking about majors providing a bachelor's degree at 4-year universities. (And since you keep bringing it up, I don't care one bit about someone not having seen source control.)
    – user541686
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 20:18
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    @WernerCD: And I never said someone with a "bigger degree" learns "everything needed". Especially not source control. I don't know why you're obsessing with that. Read my comments more carefully.
    – user541686
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 20:20

I've been unemployed for a long time and this job is a life changer for me.


It feels like a very rude thing to say/ask and I'm unsure if I should comply.

These two sentences don't really fit together. What's your goal here: save your job or make some point on principle.

Make no mistake here: your job is in danger and if you care about this you should devote all effort to repair the damage and not complain about a simple ask (reasonable or not).

Here is why they are asking: If you don't have the degree or misrepresented it, it's the quickest way to get you fired on the spot.

What you should be doing is the following:

  1. Show them the degree and any supporting data that is relevant (thesis, grades, publications) that show you in a positive light
  2. Analyze how that bad code got written and plan what you will be doing differently to avoid any type of re-occurrence. How do you track requirements? What test methods do you use? What design patterns did you use and why did those not prevent the bad code, were they are any checklists or processes that you ignored or didn't work, etc
  3. Then go to your boss. Acknowledge your mistakes, don't sugar-coat them, don't make excuses, just acknowledge.
  4. Present your analysis, what you have learned from the experience, and what your corrective plan will be.
  5. Ask your manager for feedback on your proposal. Do they think the analysis is correct, do they have alternative suggestions of what to do and how to change?
  6. Ask open ended "what else can I do to improve and make this up"

Your best chance to keep your job is to create a credible story that this was a one-time occurrence, that you learned from it, and that some corrective actions are already in place.

Making a fuss about showing your degree is probably the worst thing you can do at the moment.

  • 36
    "What you should be doing is the following: 1. Show them the degree and any supporting data that is relevant (thesis, grades, publications) that show you in a positive light." Maybe don't do this. Just show them what they asked for, no more than that. Both because you don't need to go more on the defensive than you already are, and also because "I swear I was taught this! I just completely messed it up despite that" isn't even a defense... instead it establishes for good that you were the one at fault and not your curriculum. Unless you're trying to make yourself look bad.
    – user541686
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 10:01
  • 1
    I don't see how additional documentation would make the OP more at fault; but I agree, don't provide more info than you were asked for-- don't give your rude, toxic boss any information that could get him going again. Do show them your degree to prove that you did not misrepresent your education, then focus on the future as the body of this answer describes.
    – alexis
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 14:05
  • #5 seems like it has some typos but I'm not sure what it's actually supposed to say.
    – Kat
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 22:59
  • Do you mean "make up for this" instead of "make this up"? In American English, "make {something} up" often means "lie" or "invent something on the spot". Whereas "make up for {something}" means "compensate for".
    – Jasper
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 4:30

The most worrying part of your question is the high expectations and scrutiny they are (mis)placing about a new hire, especially when still getting the feet wet.

Typically, a candidate needs 6 months to 1 years to get on track with current practices. That said, you should have someone assigned to train/teach you, in a more sensible manner, and allow some leeway in a grace period.

I have seen it happen to one of my trainees, they were unreasonably expecting him to be on full track as an experienced candidate, and only were seeing him as a source of cheap labour. (e.g. you have to invest in a newly fresh candidate out of University firstly to get him full to speed)

Prepare an exit strategy, just in case, this seems more a cultural problem on their side. I would show my CV, and would search for another position ASAP.

PS I was IT director in the past. I mentored both trainees and new hires. I gave training, a lot of leeway and room for mistakes to new hires. You got what you pay, but you are supposed to guide freshly hires, not bully them.

  • 14
    not asking for the credentials at the outset and then dropping the request at the first poor code review smells like an old-school manipulation tactic and I figure it isn't the first time they've done it.
    – MattyZ
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 7:35
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    @Bitrex I do agree it seems some misguided manipulation/power play tactic. Which does not make the situation much better. Commented May 25, 2019 at 7:36
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    Even worst case though it is important for the OP to keep in mind, being that they seem to have been out of the work force for a while, that dealing with bosses or employers who may have questionable business practices is something that just about every working person has to deal with at some point or other in their lives, often multiple times. There's no foolproof way to avoid it that I know of and it doesn't mean there is anything intrinsically "wrong" with them as an employee that it may have happened to occur at this particular time.
    – MattyZ
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 7:56
  • 2
    @Bitrex Indeed. But life is too short to keep working for long with the worst ones. Commented May 25, 2019 at 9:15
  • 1
    I really like this answer because touches on the "wait I've only been here for 3 weeks and you want me to be fluid with the custom home build Content Management System!?" part of my problem.
    – Singra
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 18:42

Verifying degrees as a matter of procedure before a decision on hiring seems normal, but as what sounds like a punitive measure, as in this situation? Abnormal.

If they thought your work was so beyond-the-pale sloppy, so bad like nothing they'd ever seen before-bad I'd expect they'd just let you go. "Sorry, this isn't working out." And you have no evidence that your errors were any worse than the errors any other new hire has made (they surely have) other than what you are being told. It smells like a setup to me to set the "tone" of the employer-employee relationship early on, and the tone is one of fear. Were they aware how badly you needed this position right now due to your previous unemployment? hmm. I'd assume they knew.

If there were any way to get by without this one I'd pass on it, because it smells bad. If not I'd suck it up and smile, show the degree, and do my best. And prepare an exit strategy in the meantime, as there are no guarantees that it will either intrinsically satisfy this type of boss or that further code reviews, even of higher-quality code, will be any more pleasant.


1) As several answers have said, show them your degree. A simple proof of degree is enough, no detail needed. Perhaps "please contact Mr X at Y university alumni office to confirm this, if needed"

The other 2 things are far more important:

2) Ensure you act * completely * professionally

I cannot emphasise this enough. You are far more likely to do yourself harm, by falling into the trap of playing an unprofessional response back to them. Your unemployment history is your business at this point, not theirs (their time to ask was at interview). You are a reputable employee, doing a job, who has made a few slipups, and accepts this. You are glad for any assistance they may provide if they feel this would be useful, and you apologise for slipups made while trying to impress them, as your new employer. It's almost always the over reaction dealing with the problem (anger, aggression, sulking, shouting, lying, tears) which poisons the well, more than the initial issue. Your professionalism is mocked, so you don't tell them you are professional. You simply act professionally - even in facing this issue. Even if they don't seem to buy it,or persist, it would be worse if you didn't.

3) Remember that whatever you feel about your performance, they could still be (and possibly are) a bad employer

This is a variation on "is this my stuff or theirs". It's easy to see (and accept) their criticism and mockery in the context of your own self doubt. But it is perhaps more valid to see it as evidence that those you work for are likely to be abusive and problematic employers and managers. Good managers and non-abusive employers simply don't act that way.

You now have gained from them, a "leg up", back to employment. Congrats. On paper you now were never unemployed for a long time, or perhaps at all - you're in work right now. You can now legitimately stay there, while looking for a better place to work for. If and when you find a healthier workplace, and you have a job offer, you can leave these people behind. It also means you're ahead of the game if they do act badly in future.


Just show them the document.

However, they way the manager is going about noting your mistakes, sounds like a bad manager to me. One that criticizes even the tiniest of mistakes. If those mistakes are really tiny, and he continues to criticize you heavily for tiny mistakes. I would prepare a exit strategy. It's a Code Review, it's not supposed to be a criticism to the point of a crucifixion. Plus, everyone makes mistakes, including that manager. No one knows everything, if that manager can't accept that, then he needs a reality check, or he needs to find a different job. He is supposed to coach you onto becoming a better developer, not throw you out the window the moment something goes wrong.

Because it would only be a matter of time before he uses all of those "mistakes" as an excuse to fire you. I have seen a bad manager do this to other people before.

Unless, you are writing code that is so terrible that it could make someone roll over in their grave. Then that would be a little bit different.


I say this from the perspective of an Employer -

  • Show them your degree
  • Apologize for your mistake. Make sure you don't repeat your mistakes. It's OK to sometime make mistakes but not the same ones and not too frequently.
  • Forget, move on, work hard and be happy. Have a positive outlook and try to develop a positive intent mindset. It will take you a long way in your career.


  • -1: We have no reason to assume that the OP makes frequent mistakes. We only know that the OP's boss is being unreasonable (regardless of whether the OP is competent or not). Commented May 29, 2019 at 17:27
  • Actually, I never said (or meant to say) that OP makes frequent mistakes. Although now that when I re-read my second point it may seem to suggest that. My second point was only a bit of friendly advice to be more careful in the future when writing code. The crux of my suggestion was to maintain a positive intent mindset, a positive outlook and never letting unfavorable circumstances deter you from what you have set out to achieve. Cheers
    – Rohit
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 19:58

Right now your boss is unhappy at you, and (as far as I can see) power-tripping at your expense. This is unpleasant, yes, but the fact is that he does have power over you, and you did screw up, in a way that disadvantages him. Practically, if you refuse to produce your degree, he'll have reason to fire you, and he probably will. Producing the degree, and suffering through the conversation around that, is, in effect, a minor submission ritual that you can use to placate your boss, with which you can ward off at least some of the unpleasantness. Things like this are often worth doing, when in situations like the one that you are in.

If you want to keep this job, show him your degree, even if it's a bit of hassle to get the thing.

  • 3
    He didn’t screw up. He made mistakes that were found in a code review. That’s what code reviews are there for. No damage done.
    – gnasher729
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 14:18
  • 1
    This comes off as victim blaming. That the OP made a mistake is no reason to belittle him in front of others and essentially act like a bully. Commented May 27, 2019 at 4:27
  • Exactly. That what code reviews are for. To correct the mistakes before the bugs make it into the final product. Everyone is human, every human makes mistakes. Therefore, mistakes are unavoidable by nature. Commented May 28, 2019 at 15:09

Verifying degrees is a normal, but optional, step when hiring someone. Employers obviously want to be able verify their employees have the qualifications they claim to have, and it is in the best interests of colleges and universities to make this process easy.

I have personally experienced organizations that required you to show up with your diploma on your first day and organizations that required verification through your educational institution's registrar before starting. This was simply a condition of employment and expected of everyone.

You should:

  1. Produce your degree
  2. Be more careful
  • But it's not about hiring, he is already hired and working on a project since 3 weeks. This does not seem to match any of what you describe. -1
    – Mayou36
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 9:53
  • @Mayou36 The questioner states: "I'm still considered to be on trial period (first 4 weeks)". Presumably the final hiring decision is yet to be made.
    – mattm
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 11:48
  • I agree. Maybe you want to make a comment about that in your answer? Since you only state "to show up (...) diploma on your first day" or "organizations that required (...) before starting". You guess now that it could also apply for the case of a trial period, right? I would suggest you to add that.
    – Mayou36
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 12:42
  • 2
    What is so unreasonable about an "assume good faith, and verify if an issue arises"? The company is essentially creating 2 paths to acceptance: do good work right out of the chute, or show a degree. I don't see how they're bad for doing that test in the wrong order... Commented May 25, 2019 at 15:20
  • 1
    A normal step during the hiring process, yes, a very unprofessional and possibly humiliating step at any later point. Commented May 25, 2019 at 16:51

The emotion here is entirely yours. Somehow this request for a degree (an entirely reasonable and routine HR request) has "nailed you right in the heart". (I can tell because the emotion you're attributing to your boss is roughly equal to that you describe feeling yourself; and; you're talking a lot about emotion.)

Perhaps a reason you're feeling emotion is that either you're a fraud, or far more likely, you feel like a fraud - this is called imposter syndrome or "Do I really belong here?"

And of course the "sense of scarcity" of unemployment is amplifying and distorting things all over the place.

Effectively this company is offering you two paths to acceptance: a) have a degree, or b) prove good work. It sounds like they operate informally, and had you do the second one first. And you duffed it, but he's probably being overly harsh. Don't take it personally.

Are they so dissatisfied with your work that they want to fire you? NO. You can tell, because they could've done that already and they didn't. The only remaining possibility is that they are doing a "fraud test" which will be the decider as to your future in the company. If you lied about your degree, you are fired and possibly sued. If not: second chance.

To take a "view from 30,000 feet", the copy of the degree is something they should have asked for as part of the HR process. It sounds like this is a smaller company working informally. That and somewhat dysfunctional management is how smaller companies are. Whether you want to stay in that is your call, but some who did were pretty happy on IPO day.

  • 1
    Are you really ignoring that they treated him as a piece of garbage and put all the blame on him? Commented May 27, 2019 at 17:33
  • @FranciscoOchoa Yes I am. Because I am concerned his emotional state is causing him to be unreliable in that area... Commented May 28, 2019 at 0:51

Show your diploma to whoever in your management chain asks to see it. By "show" I mean hold it where he/she can see it. They do not need to take possession of it.

Then start showing this degree to other employers. It may take a while, but you need to radically increase the distance between yourself and the gang of buffoons for whom you work.


How would you "show" a degree? Any good copy store could produce a fake diploma, which in any case you might not have recieved (if you're a recent grad), or have misplaced if you've been out of college for a while. (Mine are probably in a box in the attic, but I wouldn't bet a large sum of money on it :-))

You should instead tell the employer to verify the degree with your college admission & records office, which I think is something that a HR department would do as a matter of course, at least for recent grads.

  • 2
    I gave you a vote here because its basically my exact thoughts as well. The only paper copy I have of my diploma is hanging on my wall, framed with a painting of a major building at the university and a professionally taken photo of me with my family... Were I to not laugh uncontrollably at this employer and comply, that thing doesnt event fit in my car to bring it in... They can call the university / perform a standard background check or go pound sand
    – Smitty
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 19:51

At all my jobs until now (3 big corporations, 1 smaller company), the prerequisite for getting hired was to present them all (relevant) university degree proofs (I have diplomas).

I think it is strange when companies to not ask for this as a rule.

NOTE: i do not imply that a university degree should be a prerequisite for getting a job. It is just about asking for some proofs, IF they exist.

Bottom line: just show them the documents.

  • 4
    I've worked for four different companies, and none of them have asked to see my degree certificate during the recruitment process. One did ask me to bring it in more than a year after I started there because they needed someone with a degree meeting specific requirements to be the named responsible individual on a CE mark application. Commented May 25, 2019 at 7:40
  • At a lot of companies, the HR team will perform these checks. Commented May 25, 2019 at 9:00
  • @PeterTaylor: there was a misunderstanding - the proofs were needed for getting hired, not for getting recruited / interviewed.
    – virolino
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 9:42
  • 1
    As far as I'm concerned getting hired is part of the recruitment process. To put it another way, none of my employers has ever asked me to prove that I have the degrees I list on my CV. Commented May 25, 2019 at 9:49
  • I agree that there are rules and regulations, and ultimately, it is the company which decides how they handle things.
    – virolino
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 10:02

Short-term, make sure he gets the documents when nobody else is in the room, e.g. place a copy on his desk.
The thing is: He berated you, for insufficient reason, and he may have to go back on that. That's not what a boss likes to do, so if he gets the documents with anybody else in the room, he may feel compelled to demonstrate that he was right.

Short-term II, think about the person you want to be in that job. Whether it's the "just let me do my job and don't bother me" type, or "just give me the maximum-stress customers", or anything in-between.
And adopt the attitude that you'd show if you already were in that position. You have an opportunity to showcase how you can deal with job stress.
You lost the opportunity to make a good first impression as a developer (which you can rebuilt but you need to be given the opportunity), but you can make a good first impression about how you deal with a stress situation.
It's a gamble, but if you lose, they were committed to firing you anyway and you have just lost a few weeks after which they'd have found another reason to fire you.

Mid-term, recognize that while you underperformed as a developer, your boss underperformed as a leader: Berating an underperforming employee is going to make his performance even worse - loss of confidence does that to people, and if he were a high-performing leader, he should have done better.
Not that this is something that you should tell him. Just keep it in the back of your mind that he erred worse than you, just to keep your confidence up; this technique is a less-silly variant of imagining your boss in underwear.

Long-term, see what kind of boss he is.
If he's going to pick on you just as a matter of habit, find another job. Quit the moment you find that staying in the job is eroding your confidence faster than not having a job. (Quitting by yourself has the added bonus that it's you stating that the company isn't good, not the other way round.) In any other case, just continue to work there. You're a bit in an uphill struggle after that code review, so you should still keep looking for another job.

Personally, I do not expect a good outcome. As others have said, expecting somebody to perform flawlessly on day one is already pretty ridiculous; berating him and issuing comments like "you should have learned that" is outright stupid; demanding the degree is typically just a maneuver to find an excuse to fire somebody.

So - you have nothing to lose, and if you see it's going to end badly, be the one who pulls the plug on the other side, do not be the one who has the plug pulled. It's better for your confidence.

Good luck!


You are in a bad position. You have been unemployed for a long time, which is bad. Being let go after three weeks would be worse.

On the other hand, your employer is an arse. What he did is just insulting. Remember it. You should work very, very hard to get into a position where the company needs you, then you look for a new job and leave when it hurts them.

How to get there: Bring your diploma or degree and show it. Don't complain. You have every right to complain, but it doesn't help you, so don't.

In the future: Before you submit your code for review the next time, you review it yourself. Very carefully. It takes a bit longer, but it hugely improves the quality, and your reputation. And if your reviewer doesn't do his job properly, it will save you three times the time in bug fixing.

  • 1
    Petty revenge is never an answer, for the simple reason that it is toxic for your own soul. Commented May 27, 2019 at 4:29
  • @Martin Tournoij Petty? I think it's perfectly fair advice. Take what you can and leave. Why would the op invest themselves in a company that insults them? Commented May 27, 2019 at 6:41
  • work very, very hard to get into a position where the company needs you, then you look for a new job and leave when it hurts them sounds like more than just "take what you can and leave". Commented May 27, 2019 at 6:56
  • The employer might be an arse indeed but this advice is rubbish. Nothing is gained by willingly damaging a company. Toxic indeed. Commented May 27, 2019 at 20:02
  • @JulienLopez This is bad advice, IMO. I can understand trying to advance past the issue, but leaving the company simply out of spite? What does that accomplish? You're not going to teach anyone a lesson by doing that, and you likely just screwed your own career. Of course, leaving the company's always an option, but you should have a much better reason for leaving than for revenge.
    – user45266
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 4:36

As many other answers already stated the solution is simple, just show the degree and be done with that.

But I don't think this question is really about the degree. It's about a superior mocking and belittling you in front of others over what seem like essentially fairly simple mistake.

I can't tell you if this was a one-off (everyone – including the owner – can have a bad day), or if this is just the kind of owner who is consistently like this (I've met a few). If you find yourself feeling "fairly upset and angry" more often after these kind of "discussions" in the future then realize this is not normal, and probably a good reason to update your CV and start looking for another job.

  • I would not expect the presented degree to be a solution, the boss will still be unhappy. It also sounds like the review result is not the only reason why they are involving themself. Having said that not presenting a proof of degree won’t make the situation better.
    – eckes
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 11:06

In my country, all these types of documents are collected by HR on first day of employment.

I would write to them, so they can show the manager the documents.

If You feel this is unreasonable behavior for a manager towards a junior employee, then You should start looking for a new job.

You will do much better in an enviroment, which understands that every person has different knowledge and qualities.


You should show them your degree and use this opportunity to have a serious talk with your manager.

Inform them that you do not appreciate being constantly put down by what they expect for you to know and what they expect for you not to know. Inform them that you are a junior, and that this is the best you can currently do.

Propose the following options:

  • If your current skillset is sufficient, then there is no need for inappropriate and demeaning comments regarding your education. If the comments are meant to be humorous, inform your manager that you perceive it as demeaning and fail to see the humor in it.
  • If your skillset is not sufficient, and they wish for you to stay, then offer the possibility of supplementing your education with company sponsored courses or other continuing education. You should be open to following such courses if they are offered.
  • If your skillset is not sufficient, and they do not wish for you to stay, then at least that has the merit of clarity. Thank them for the opportunity of working there for a month and get out of there for your own good.

Most likely your employer will be reasonable and follow through with one of the first two options. If they learn to harass you like this in the first week, trust me it is not going to stop.

Most importantly, do not get angry and don't say anything offensive to your manager, but do make a firm and logical point.


This is either some kind of a sick stress-test and your employer is a legitimate a-hole or even worse - the company is sheltering a-holes or maybe even a fake company with the single purpose of stress testing people who have been unemployed for a while.

I would recommend for you:

  • Simply say that no, you won't show them your degree.

  • Get ready to leave. Maybe even resign on the spot.

Your future mental health is more important than your salary at this place.

( Or if you have some kind of inhuman fortitude / insensitivity you stay and you joke with them at their pathetic little stress tests. But I sure would not recommend this to everyone )

  • 2
    "maybe even a fake company with the single purpose of stress testing people who have been unemployed for a while." I find it difficult to believe that there are any such companies whose sole purpose is to "stress-test" people like this. Who would pay for this service? What's accomplished by employing people who are suspected of being inadequate at a "fake company," just to prove they're inadequate? Do you have any sources you can provide on shenanigans like this actually being done in the real world?
    – Steve-O
    Commented May 26, 2019 at 19:59
  • Oh you could probably be surprised at all the kinds of tricks they try. I also did not want to believe it a while back. But this is really just the tip of the iceberg. Commented May 27, 2019 at 17:30
  • I'm not asking for reassurances, I'm asking for sources. Please edit them into your answer for the benefit of all readers.
    – Steve-O
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 17:44
  • I am not interested in giving sources, because anyone who could have anything interesting to say are point marked from birth. Commented May 27, 2019 at 17:56

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