I am dealing with a situation at work which is making me feel increasingly uncomfortable and need some advice and insight from other women that might have experienced something similar, or that could help me figure out how to handle this situation.
I work as software engineer in a small company, and have been there for several years. The person in question is the lead of another squad, and used to be my lead for a brief point in time at the start of my contract. I have always perceived him as intimidating and he has not been a supportive lead, having made me cry several times when I went to ask for his help with blockers. I did not know how to approach this situation at the time, as this was my first tech job. I was not feeling confident of my knowledge so I felt he was in the right for making me feel ashamed for not knowing or understanding things. I know how awful that sounds..
After some structural changes we luckily ended up in different teams. For a good few years we did not have much interaction, and I have seen the same behaviour he had with me, repeated with another junior colleague. The junior was made redundant a few months ago, and since then I started noticing more and more behaviours which I'm not sure what to think of.
Whenever he is reviewing my PRs he leaves around 10 pieces of feedback, majority of them being nitpicks like renaming variables, replacing switch statements with if/else statements, removing comments I leave for complex logic, rewording comments etc (and this only happens on my PRs, no comments on any other PRs of any of my colleagues). Other leads have occasionally in the past nitpicked at my code, and I completely understand and agree that at times these things are necessary to ensure quality code. However, while none of my other reviewers leave stuff, he went from a couple of occasional nitpick comments last year, to having 10 nitpicking comments on every PR of mine he is checking.. it just feels weird.
Earlier this week he left me a feedback about removing a comment which I felt was needed in the code. So I replied respectfully that I found that comment useful when refactoring that section, and would like to keep it in. He immediately went to our main engineering channel and posted about it adding a link to the pr and asking everyone to chip in and let majority decide on what to do. Once again, I get how two people disagreeing about something can be resolved by opening up the conversation to other people. However, this was not a conversation, and it went from the PR reply straight to main channel, at no point had he messaged me to try and discuss this or ask if I am happy for this to be opened up. I ended up doing his way just to get it over and done with as I was fed up with the whole thing and wanted to just move on. I have however messaged him and said in a nice and respectful manner that while I get his reasoning for opening up the decision to the group, he should message me in private to discuss this before hand, and we should both agree to open this up. I also said to him that this behaviour made me feel publicly shamed and like having my arm twisted into doing his way. He apologised and said he'd come message me about things in the future.
Two days later, he leaves another 7 nitpicking feedback bits to my new PR. I disagree with a couple of them, he takes half a day to reply and basically is again trying to push back on the phrasing of a comment, that I should use "else do x" instead of "if y do x". This is a comment, I just find it so ridiculous..
So at this point I'm just bewildered. I open up about it to a colleague I'm close to and she says "he does seem to bulldoze his opinion every time".
Anyway, long story short, I don't know where to go from here. It could all be very accidental, and none of the things are in themselves terrible, but at the same time when adding it all up it just rubs me off the wrong way and I can't put my finger on it.
Is this bullying? Am I just overly sensitive? And what on earth can I do about this? I like my job and would not like to leave it because of this, but at the same time this is making me so upset and paranoid that I find myself angry and ruminating for hours after work.
Worth mentioning that we do not have HR as it's a small company, and both my direct lead, and the head of are very non confrontational.
Thank you for taking the time to read, and for any replies.