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I'm an intern in a small engineering firm. Every engineer in the company is a mechanical engineer (including my boss), whereas my tasks purely entail software development. I'm only working here until my school term is over in about 3 months. My boss owns the company and his wife handles the finances.
I've been working on a project for about 4 months, since I joined this company. This project was assigned to me when I started by my boss and was also a major talking point during the hiring interview. I'm the only one who works on it.
Few days ago I held a project update meeting and provided updates on my progress. My boss and three senior engineers were present in the meeting. The two senior engineers applauded my work multiple times and one of them also said that it's impressive the time-frame I did this within. I explained how we need to purchase one more unit of equipment A. Everyone agreed with my suggestion that we need more of equipment A to proceed with the project.
The project I'm working on has two parts, the second part of the project when accomplished will make the product even more attractive (my boss believes this too and it was part of his plan from the beginning). In a previous project meeting I mentioned to them that this second part is quite challenging and it may take some time. Towards the end of this meeting, I told them that I have figured out some possible ways I can go about the second part of the project. Then I explained how the second part of the project will require equipment B and C. Requiring C was quite obvious to everyone and B involves upgrading my development setup to be compatible with C.
My boss then asked me how long it will take to do the second part, I said it will take about a month. The boss didn't seem happy to hear that, he said
"One month!? We can do a lot in one month. Really, one month!? I don't know about that, how much is equipment A going to be?"
I tell him the cost. Then he says,
"Well, equipment A is going to cost $X and you also need equipment B and C, which will be $Y, so the total is around $Z. I don't know, we'll have to talk to finance (his wife) about this. Email me a wish-list of all the parts you need. Until then maybe you can help other senior engineers with their projects."
Then my boss explains how they want to demo this project (involving finishing the second part of the project).
"We want this to be done before you're gone, do you follow me?"
I was quite taken aback and confused by this point (confused because I didn't understand why we're not ordering A, B, and C while my boss is stating that they want this done quick), so I couldn't state that I too really want to finish it as soon as possible and all I could conjure up was "Yes." With a few more comments like "Good job", the meeting was wrapped up.
From this conversation, this is what I can understand:
- He may believe that I'm not putting my best efforts and the project could be done faster.
- I'm afraid he'll kill the project (at least until I'm gone) because of his possible misbelief that I don't want to (or I can't) do it on time.
I'm a young engineer and I want to be better at tackling such situations in the future. I need to somehow address the above two points. I need to figure out if the problem for my boss is purely monetary or if he believes that I'm delaying things (either because of incompetence or unwillingness). I also want to convey that I can and want to do it on time (before I'm gone).
So, I'm planning to email him and set up a quick one-on-one meeting where I'll ask him about my performance and if there's anything he wants to suggest to improve my performance. From this meeting, I'll also try to convey to him that I do care about finishing this on time.
Is this a good plan? What other things can I do?
NOTE: This is my second time asking for equipment. The first time (about 2 months ago), my requests were met without any problem.