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I'm a new grad 6 months in to a startup job and am loving it, but I don't think they are loving me. I was hired mainly for my skills related to subject A but I have been tasked mostly with subject B. I don't mind but my performance has been much lower than my colleagues'. I think it was acceptable starting out but there is less tolerance for it now. My team is small and collaborative and there have been numerous times where it is evident I don't know something I'm expected to know. I'm employed at-will.

More examples:

  • Several technical mistakes in my work that cost small amounts of time and money. Nothing disastrous but due to haste (there is a lot of time pressure) or lack of understanding, mistakes that appeared careless or unprofessional. Other tasks of mine take longer than expected.
  • Unusual standoffishness from my teammates recently and especially my supervisor, who would have the final say on my firing. Most of them get along. For whatever reason I don't seem to have built the same relationships, and whether that should matter or not it isn't helping me.
  • We are actively hiring for people skilled in both subject A and subject B. I was not informed of the hiring or given access to the hiring documents (everyone else was). Asked for access and it was granted after a small delay, could be irrelevant? The job opening was posted less than 2 months after I joined.
  • Someone I know on another team recently got fired without any warning, and in their opinion without sufficient reason. I've heard mention of others who got fired but I don't know more details about them. So people do get let go here relatively frequently.

So, am I about to get fired? Does it seem like they are thinking about it? I have a one-on-one soon, any suggestions for what I should say there? I'm very interested in continuing to work for this company and don't want to jeopardize it.

Preemptively:

  • Its a small fast paced startup, we are doing subject B because that is what we need. We don't need A right now so I can't show my skills there.
  • I could try harder but am already working long hours so I hope I don't need to put in even more time.
  • I could be a naive anxious new grad making a mountain of a molehill. If so, suggestions for how to not do that?

TLDR: This is a very high performance job and I have been underperforming for 6 months. I am concerned for my job, can I do anything about it now and if so what?

  • Thank you for all your answers. Got more bad signs the last few days but nothing official. One-on-one tomorrow, say a prayer for me. – thewanderer39 Feb 12 at 0:34
2

You might be overthinking this, but I would suggest you build up your inventory before going in for your review. There got to be some positive contribution so far.

  • Make a list of your achievements and put a $value to them
  • Try to speak first during your review and highlight your achievements
    • Move on to the challenges you are facing, and talk about how you want to be better. Outline your plan!
  • End with your desire to improve yourself under some mentorship

I would also start looking for a new role to avoid any nasty surprises

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2

It sounds like you have a good feel of what is going on around you, when your one on one comes up try to be the first to speak and mention that you don't feel that you are doing well and that your expertise is elsewhere and you are finding it hard to contribute and pull your weight. If at that point they say you are getting terminated you have in a small part laid the foundation for a smooth transition out of this job and into another. Tell them you have been looking for something appropriate for your skill set and that you hope that even though you have experienced little in your field of expertise in your current role that at least your current role could contribute to securing your next one

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I have a one-on-one soon, any suggestions for what I should say there? I'm very interested in continuing to work for this company and don't want to jeopardize it.

You should be asking questions about your work - likely the same questions you should have been asking for the past 6 months:

  • How am I doing?
  • What should I be doing differently?
  • How can I do better?
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Stand up and speak in the meeting!

Say what you were hired for and what tasks you have been assigned now. I have few points that can help you prepare yourself to say some words in one on one.

  1. Did they train you when they assigned you task B?

  2. Is it time for performance appraisals at your startup company? (probably that's when the companies makes some weird decision)

  3. Did you check up their past records on performance evaluation/appraisal? I mean what kind of process they follow with fresher's or new joinee or with an old employee?

I think if task B is of your interest and is giving you successful challenges to overcome, you should keep doing this untill task A comes to you where you are skilled in. Discuss these points and try to keep in touch with some older employees or ex-employees to discuss your issues. They can be real help.

Good luck!

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