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I am currently about 10 months into my job.

After few initial months of bootstrapping, our team was assigned to a project. I excelled and there was always pressure from the manager to keep finishing features, which led to me working more than 14 hours a day. Everytime he did appreciate a lot for the effort I put in.

Lately I am experiencing these problems -

  1. The project is complete. Though some new requests might come in. These days I am only being given work that I don't find challenging or engaging.
  2. My manager forwarded my name for quarterly awards, but that was declined citing that I am a fresher.
  3. At the time of yearly increments, my manager told me he gave me rating of 4/4, but it got changed to 2/4 since his higher boss has fixed that rating for anyone who has not completed a year. Compared to other fresher (friends) in other companies the hike in salary is slightly on the lower side.

I am totally confused what to do. Till about 2 months ago I used to love my job, and had thought that everything good would happen especially considering my manager's good feedback. I was learning exponentially, but now learning new things has almost stopped. Also now I am beginning to lose faith in my manager.

Are these indicators of a poor work environment?

closed as off-topic by gnat, user8365, scaaahu, IDrinkandIKnowThings, yochannah May 9 '15 at 12:15

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  • Given the term "fresher" I'm guessing that this is in India. Correct? – keshlam May 6 '15 at 22:00
  • @keshlam Yea assume that if its helps you better answer the question :) – 4d35hy May 6 '15 at 22:03
  • Just wait...your manager is going to get promoted and all the great work you did for them will be as though it never happened because your new manager won't know what you did and won't appreciate it even if your previous manager told them what a great job you did. Disillusion round #2. That's why you work to achieve your own personal goals and not for some reward you hope the company will give you. When the job doesn't let you obtain any more goals then you go somewhere that provides the opportunities to achieve your goals. You'll actually end up being happier and more productive that way. – Dunk May 12 '15 at 22:20
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I run a group just like yours. However I am a bit of a coder. I too have idiotic corporate standards to follow and even in my own reviews I am subject to those dumb rules.

In my company your rating is based on expectations. Being a manager you would think I would know what this means, alas I don't. I guess it has something to do with time on the job, salary, past performance, and how good you smell (kidding about the last one, I think).

During my last review I was told how my group outperformed all internal dev groups and that we would get more budget and people because we literally saved the company millions of dollars. But I was also told that I had several high reviews for years in a row and that I was expected to perform at a high level, so my review was average. I could care less if I get a 1, 2, 3, or 4 but I do have weight at my company and have been there a while.

You on the other hand are pretty new. At my company someone that performed like you would get an extremely high rating because it wouldn't be expected. But so what? Your manager thinks you are doing a great job. His manager knows this. I would assume that they gave you the 2/4 because either that really is the highmark they can give for a first year employee or they are only allocated a certain percentage of their group to get high scores (like I cannot give more than 2 out of 5 of my guys "Far Exceeded" unless God himself OK'ed it).

Since you are a first year they can probably give you pay increases more loosely or understand that you might be moving to a higher role. A tenured employee might need a really good review to get a decent raise - sorry but this is how big companies work.

What should you do?

  • Tell your manager that you are disappointed that you couldn't get a better review after all of the hard work you put in.

  • Still perform at a high level.

  • Move to the next level on your own. You say you are waiting on requests to do work on your apps. Think outside the box and make logical upgrades to your apps on your own. If you can't think of any, start talking to the groups that use them.

  • Biggest piece of advice I can give you... I can hire people that can code lines just as well as me or better. Your worth isn't that you are a great coder. If that is what you want to be you will always be disappointed. To really add huge value it is fitting the puzzle pieces together, it is about integrating different applications in no-duh ways, it is about making workflows completely efficient. When someone sends you a request and asks you to add a certain ability to your app and then you take it on yourself to say well why don't I do something slightly bigger that will not only solve this request but will be useful to everyone else - that is what managers look for.

  • Don't expect recognition. Just perform. There is a good chance that your boss knew that you would get shot down for a quarterly award. But what you probably don't know and understand by being new is that 20 people or more could have seen the nomination. And those people probably understand that a new person doesn't get it but you were still nominated. So now you are on their radar and you are brand new. You are in a great position. Don't ruin this by pouting about your review and the award. Let your manager know you are disappointed but let it go.

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I have to say, I find it quite strange that your company chooses to treat new employees so differently from ones who have been there longer. In my experience, although new employees are not eligible for certain benefits (e.g. >100% of bonus), they never would have their ratings changed just because they're new. I'm not sure what your company culture is like, but I've definitely worked at a small place where constructive feedback about the new employee experience would have been welcome.

On the one hand, it sounds like you might start getting treated better once you've been at your company for at least a year. On the other hand, a place that seems to have policies that result in unequal treatment between new and more senior employees does not sound like an ideal place to work, and may have other undesirable policies. Additionally, the great part about looking around for other jobs while you are employed is that you're under very little pressure to take any offers you may receive.

  • Although the unequal barrier is not visible in the org (it is pretty decently sized globally), it came in when it mattered the most to me. What about the tech side. Should I assume that better work may present in future? Even if I switch I may end up in same situation.. – 4d35hy May 6 '15 at 22:09
  • That's a bit harder to answer. I think it depends a lot on on a few factors such as your skill level, the market you're in and potential for being assigned new projects at your current company. If I had to make a judgment call though, I can imagine your ability to contribute to projects being better appreciated elsewhere in terms of a higher salary/bonus, reviews/future recommendations, and more interesting assignments. – SubgamePerfect May 6 '15 at 22:34
  • 4
    I too, have seen things like employees only being eligible for a fraction of the bonus during the first year (ie: time accrued during the 3-month probation period doesn't count, etc), but the actual review value being scaled down to 2/4 on those grounds is just idiotic bureaucracy at it's worst. Maybe the HR policy directly links that score to the bonus paid out, and they're too lazy to have two separate numbers (one for rating, one for bonus modifier). Only 10 months in and they've killed your passion for the work - that's not a healthy sign. – DevNull May 6 '15 at 22:44
  • When I started my first job, in a medium sized (locally) but international company, there also was the policy that first year workers will get a default performance rating of 3/5, no matter what. That in turn limits annual bonuses to max 100 % of the baseline. – Juha Untinen May 7 '15 at 6:32
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I'm answering your question step-by-step, going sequentially through your problems.

Problem-1:

The app is complete. Though some new requests might come in. These days I am only being given work that I consider is pretty bad (like formatting HTML views).

You are considering this as bad, while it may be looked at from a different perspective. Since you've mentioned you responsibility was the front-end part, it is quite logical they may assign you to do some HTML formatting. Plus, it's a part of the developer's job to correct formatting because the app's look and feel matters a lot, I don't know whether you agree with this or not.

However, another explanation to this matter, which I think is the perspective from which you are looking at, is that since you're a fresher, they're making you do such work, which are much more 'less-challenging' for a coder of your caliber. BTW, letting you do such work doesn't mean they won't give you more important task to do. Just ask your manager for more challenging tasks. From what you described, your manager appreciates you and puts a lot of trust on your skills, so I don't think he's going to ignore your request.

Problem-2:

My manager forwarded my name for quarterly awards, but that was declined citing that I am a fresher.

In plain view, it is definitely bad to decline to recognize and reward your efforts, but it may also be the case that it's company policy not to give too much to freshers. Although, honestly, I think it's very rude and it's not good for the growth of a fresh employee as it is quite discouraging.

Problem-3:

At the time of yearly increments, my manager told me he gave me rating of 4/4, but it got changed to 2/4 since his higher boss has fixed that rating for anyone who has not completed a year. Compared to other fresher (friends) in other companies the hike in salary is slightly on the lower side.

Like you said, this situation always varies from company to company. It depends on a lot of things, size of the company, age of the company, experience and efficiency of the management team, financial condition of the company etc. Again, company policy is also a huge reason behind it. IMO, your manager did a very bad job overrating you if company policy is to give below ratings to employees with job life less than one year. He had unnecessarily raised your expectations - he was supposed to know better about company policies than you.

To summarize, the situation that you described may be related to company policies, which in my view is pretty much demoralizing and negative to fresh employees. Your manager treated you the ideal way, with a view to groom you into an asset for the company, which is highly appreciable. But in the process, he forgot about his superiors and failed to anticipate their decisions, which led you to confusion and is highly undesirable in a professional environment. If you feel so much demoralized that you fear it can affect your productivity and growth in the current company, then you can do either one of these things - start looking for opportunities and switch immediately, or start looking for opportunities but stay for another 3-4 months, forget about recognition and increments, gather a bit more experience, and then switch.

  • Glad to help. I believe you've got a pretty bright career ahead of you, given your performance. Best wishes. :) – Choudhury Saadmaan Mahmid May 8 '15 at 3:19

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