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Background

I am a high energy person and do tend to snap easily when I have a perfect storm of tiredness, constant work pressure, lack of human interaction due to COVID, and simultaneously spending a lot of my free time looking for a different job/going to grad school. This has led to people seeing me as less professional and reliable at work. I concede that I can't blame them on this point because they can't read my mind.

However, I go into work and tend to stay extra to round out my 9 hour work day and even come in occasionally on the weekends. I feel like this should warrant something more than a "thanks" but all I get in my performance reviews are things like this:

"< My Name > had to ask for too much help on a simple task"

" You have been putting up code reviews too early"

" Stop volunteering"

This, in addition to my mental state that I talked about earlier drives me up a wall and leads to a vicious cycle of ruining my productivity, becoming more short with people, reducing my performance, rince and repeat. I have scheduled an appointment with a psychologist that will hopefully help, but I want to know from a conversational perspective how to proceed. Speficially, I want to accomplish the following:

Question

How do I still maintain professionalism and maturity in the face of petty criticism, while still learning from said criticism?

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    I'm not sure if this is really a matter of interpersonal skills or intrapersonal one at this point. You do mention the conversation perspective once, but the rest is really focused on intrapersonal stuff. If you want to keep the conversation going, what have you done/said so far and what are you aiming for? Is just saying 'ok, I'll work on it' an option for you? Or are you aiming for having your coworkers clarify things or 'defending' yourself against their pettiness? What have you done so far or considered, that you think wouldn't be professional and mature?
    – Tinkeringbell
    Oct 16 '20 at 14:34
  • I realize it's not what you asked, but why are you doing overtime for a job that stresses you out like this? Especially if it's not appreciated?
    – Llewellyn
    Oct 16 '20 at 18:56
  • @Llewellyn Out of the idea that "I want to leave them wanting more" when I leave. Optics still matter no matter how I feel.
    – isakbob
    Oct 16 '20 at 20:13
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    @Tinkeringbell Some unprofessional things I think I have done 1. Being snappy and yelling about very small things, like ambiguities in the guidelines (mainly because they are very strict on them...yet don't provide clarity at the same time). 2. Immediately challenging the criticisms that my Section Manager gave me until I got a very specific answer. 3. Banging my keyboard and table to vent frustration. 4. Skipping process to speed things up due to pressure.
    – isakbob
    Oct 16 '20 at 20:14
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    Those don't seem like petty criticisms. They seem pretty serious. The first two imply that you aren't competent, and the third implies that you don't know that about yourself. And your reactions? Red flags.
    – swbarnes2
    Oct 16 '20 at 22:51
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It sucks when you get criticism for all your (small) mistakes and there is no focus on the positive things you do.

I had a meeting not long ago that went like that. It was very frustrating and ended in conflict. I didn't know what the meeting was about beforehand, so I couldn't prepare. I discussed with my supervisor that in the future I want to be able to prepare and know what the meeting are about.

What I am doing different now:

  • I made an personal development plan and shared it with my supervisor. Here I state my goals for learning. I would also include how I would tackle the points they brought up before as feedback.
  • I lead the meeting. Evaluate yourself first and discuss this during the meeting. If you have points you want to improve on, already plan how you want to solve them. But also mention some things that you improved on and the extra time you put in.
  • I ask for feedback. When you get improvements, propose a way you will solve these or ask how you can solve these. Work them into your plan and sent it to your supervisor.

So basically, prep for these meetings and give it the directions you want. It's better if you plan these meeting regularly, than waiting for your supervisor to do it. This is a point I'm also still working on.

It's a difficult time to work for a lot of people. You're not alone. Try to focus on your breath when you get frustrated or find another way to calm yourself.

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