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I started a new position at a company I absolutely adore. I like my boss, the boss' boss, heck I'm even partial to the boss' boss' boss. The environment is very good, and while the work-life balance is a little miserable, I very much want to continue working at this company, and I very much want to improve as a developer. This is my third position in less than two years, and I'm starting to be concerned that maybe i'm in the wrong industry.

I've come to the conclusion that after one friendly conversation with my boss about how things were going (like a 7/10. Okay, but not great) I need to have another conversation. He wasn't forthcoming with explicit expectations after I asked, and decided to press on. Its come to my attention though that this isn't working, and while the issues are mostly my end (time management, organizaton) that I feel could be improved with more explicit guidelines, however i'm not sure. We've had a separate conversation that wound up at while i can code like crazy, my professional slash 'adulting' skills are really lacking.

What are specific topics i can bring up in a conversation with my manager about my performance with an eye towards being sure I have the tools to improve? Or, is it just time to give up the ghost and go back to retail?

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  • @JoeStrazzere I mean, that very well could be the issue. The first job ended due to financial issues at the company. The second one I left due to a boss harassing me. When I say "Adulting" skills, i mean things like time management, communicating professionally, etc.
    – Adam Wells
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 19:57

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Tell your boss a bit of what you've said here: you really like the job, the people, and you feel like you're not doing as well as he expects. Tell him you'd like to do better, and you'd like guidance on that. What are some things where he sees you can improve, and what does success look like?

And then listen. Don't give excuses, don't get upset. Take notes if needed. Then thank him, let him know you'll do regular check-ins and want him to evaluate your progress, and go try to put some of those into practice. Ask for that re-evaluation, and keep listening, keep working on doing what he wants.

You need to know what he sees as success, where you are in relation to that, and some specific steps to move you towards that.

If you want to improve, if you're trying to improve, there is a good chance you will be able to improve. If you give up easily, make excuses, don't listen - you won't succeed at most things, even retail.

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  • Thanks. While it doesn't directly answer the question i think this is the best possible answer I could get without someone directly having a script to follow! I'll give it a try, there's no harm in having the conversation and being up front about it.
    – Adam Wells
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 19:58
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My job is going awful but I want to improve!

So, improve then.

Your boss isn't there to hold your hand, he's not your mum. He has told you what to improve on. You need to visibly improve on those points. Not talk about them. This is simple, cultivate a good work ethic, your work is fine, your work ethic isn't.

No one can do that for you. So get your act together and prove yourself don't waste more time talking about it, you have plenty to start with.

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