I'm a junior software engineer who's been struggling at my current company due to recent changes in the organization. My CTO was evicted, which led to my senior colleagues continuing with their tasks while I tried to navigate the new architecture and product we have developed. I have to learn a lot of new languages and considerations at the same time, which has caused my last projects to take longer than expected. Unfortunately, my boss has expressed dissatisfaction with my performance, which has led to a decrease in motivation on my end.

To make matters worse, I received a message from my boss that he wants to have a meeting with me to discuss "deadlines and seniority." I'm afraid that my lack of experience compared to my senior colleagues could make me lose my job.

I would appreciate any advice on how to approach this meeting, given my current situation. Additionally, any tips on how to stay motivated during this challenging time would be helpful.

Thank you in advance for your help.


I wanted to follow up on my previous post and give you an update on the situation with my boss.

I have taken your advice to heart and have been re-examining my performance from an objective perspective. I realize that there were things I could have done better in terms of estimating timelines and managing my workload more effectively.

I had the meeting and came prepared, and I'm happy to say that he wasn't thinking about firing me. He was just concerned about my recent performance and wanted to make sure that he was doing everything he could to support me and keep me on board. Actually we talked about how I would get Senior in this company. What path should we take.

It turns out that my boss wanted to have face-to-face meetings with all the employees to get a sense of how everyone is doing after the recent chaos caused by our CTO leaving. I appreciate that he took the time to check in with us and see how he could help.

Thank you all for your advice and support leading up to the meeting. Your insights and encouragement were invaluable in helping me prepare. I'll be sure to keep your advice in mind as I continue to work and improve.

  • 2
    It's a shame your boss didn't just say "I want to have a chat about helping you to meet deadlines and planning your promotion"!
    – Steve
    Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 16:44

4 Answers 4


Although we're not sure, let's assume that this meeting is to address inadequate performance on recent projects. What you don't want to do is enter the meeting with excuses to try to pass blame off of yourself. Even if it's true, it won't help.

Being honest with yourself about your performance is going to be key here. I think you should re-examine the last few projects from as objective a lens as you can, and ask yourself if there was truly nothing you could have done to complete them faster. Additionally, once your first project or two took longer, why did you not begin to estimate that the next ones would take longer? An unforeseen issue like learning a new language should only impact your ability to meet a deadline on one project, because you should learn from that and estimate a longer timeline for the next one.

So my advice is to come into the meeting prepared to address your performance and what you could have done better. By all means explain the context - it sounds like the company is in some chaos and your boss should understand that - but make sure to realize that there is probably some blame on you. Also prepare a few ways that you can improve in the immediate future, whether that is setting more accurate deadlines, or using some tactics to learn new languages quicker. In other words, own up to what you did wrong and lay out how you are going to avoid making those mistakes from now on. And stay positive! Hopefully the actual work that you've been doing meets expectations, and missing unreasonable deadlines is the only reason for this situation.

Edit: Wanted to also include a little encouragement. I've been in a small company where the CTO has exited and it is definitely a tough time. It sounds like you have been dealing with a chaotic workplace that may be giving you less support than planned, and in that regard I empathize with you. Not an easy situation and it sounds like you're doing the best you can, so keep your head up. The lesson to learn here is that when you are dealing with something like this, you should bring it to your boss/manager as soon as possible. If you let them know what you're dealing with and why you're struggling, they can help much sooner. It is also easier to get ahead of the situation, rather than be in the position you're in now which is explaining yourself after the fact.

  • 1
    Great overview on what I did to prepare the meeting
    – Anon999
    Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 14:51

Without knowing what your boss' intentions are - it's hard to give tailored advice.

However, here's what you can do to stack the deck in your favour

  • Have a good review of all you've done in the last N months - know the projects back to front and inside out that you've touched
  • Be frank and genuine in your assessment. If you've screwed up on something, then be honest about it. If you tried to hide your mistakes and your boss knows or cottons on - it will look way worse
  • Identify the areas that you need help on and what you are going to help yourself.
  • Talk about how the changes in the organization have affected you and the struggles you've had. If you've been moved into an area you aren't ready for, it's no shame to say so.
  • Have a 3 month plan on how to get back on track. This needs to have goals and measurables.

Sometimes at work, Crap happens - and sometimes you don't rise to the occasion - we've all been there. Whether it's family drama, financial pressure, not taking a holiday when you need to - a Good boss will understand - the key thing is to be open, honest and give your boss a path back to you being in good standing.

  • I t was very useful for me to plan the meeting.
    – Anon999
    Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 14:52

To stay motivated, don't assume the worst. Go in focused on getting specific advice on what you can do to improve, remembering that we can all improve so this could be a positive and productive meeting.

Though I must admit his explicit mention of seniority would worry me.


Unfortunately, my boss has expressed dissatisfaction with my performance

One of the main goals of the meeting is likely for the boss to discuss his dissatisfaction with your performance.

However, don't assume the worst thing would happen in the meeting.

There is a chance that the boss could use this meeting to help improve your performance.

He may use this meeting to find out what causes your performance not to meet his expectations. For example, some of his questions may be:

  1. Do you have enough technical skills for your daily tasks?
  2. Do you need more training to catch up ?
  3. Do you get enough guidance and support from the team lead and senior engineers ?

So, your preparation for this meeting should focus on how you plan to improve your performance and to address all his concerns.

Tell him that you will try to improve in many areas such as:

  • Improve your technical skills.
  • Get help from the team lead whenever appropriate so that you won't miss the deadlines.
  • Collaborate with coworkers to learn more about the code base.
  • Improve on anything else that you think you boss may want you to.

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