How to ask for support

nkhimji's profile thumbnail
Hey @priyamacpherson! I'd recommend you check out my startup LevelUp, we're a platform connecting women mentees & mentors for professional advice & guidance. We could definitely connect you with someone in a CTO-type role as a mentor if that would be helpful. You can sign up here: https://www.levelupapp.co/. Thanks and feel free to reply here or email info@levelupapp.co with any questions :)
priyamacpherson's profile thumbnail
Thank you!I will definitely check it out!
nkhimji's profile thumbnail
Great, thanks so much and feel free to let me know if you have any questions!
annamiller's profile thumbnail
Hi @nkhimji, I'd love to connect with learn more about your vision. I coach women in tech to uplevel their career. Are you bringing on more people on coach/mentor side right now?
nkhimji's profile thumbnail
Hi @annamiller, thanks for reaching out! Yes I am -- feel free to shoot me a DM on here or email info@levelupapp.co. Thanks!
annamiller's profile thumbnail
Sounds good, I emailed you.
esolodow's profile thumbnail
Hi Priya,What have the responses been from the CTO and/or wider company in prior interactions? I would say if they seem engaged with you then you have nothing to lose by setting up support meetings. If they seem to be ignoring you, then it may be the company just isn't a good fit and you should take your skills elsewhere. It's admirable you recognize a need to grow, and perhaps you can set goals for yourself to achieve that are within the scope of what you know how to do so you still feel productive. If they're not interested in your ability to work well and fulfill goals, then I doubt they would care about you taking some initiative and seeking additional tools. You could try taking further online courses (DataCamp, Coursera) to learn additional skills on your own and see if that helps. It's not clear to me why they would hire you and then ignore you if you're not performing the function they hired you for. If it's their own oversight, then it suggests a deeper problem at the core of the company, but I'd like to hear more about your interactions with them thus far.
priyamacpherson's profile thumbnail
Hi! It seems like they are just trying to grow so fast that they don't exactly know what they want from me. I think they are kind of viewing this as on my onboarding time, and are letting me get acclimated, but there is not a lot for me to be doing right now. I know in a start-up world there is a lot of "taking initiative" so I kind of feel like it's on me to decide right now what would help me get onboarded. I feel like this is not normal, but not sure if this is normal for a brand new start up.I know they are in the process of hiring more engineers, so I am hoping that more support will be coming as they hire more people. I asked for more support last week, and my manager responded positively and has worked with me to explain things the last couple of days. I think it is just going to require me to speak up more, especially given the remote environment.
annamiller's profile thumbnail
Hi @priyamacpherson - Thanks for sharing your experience on here. You are not alone and a lot of junior developers go through this, though some companies have better mentoring and support processes than others.I would suggest the following:Speak to your CTO in a call and f/u by email about this, something like:"Hey Tom, Wanted to followup around on-boarding and additional support for my role.As the first developer on the team, I need your support to do my job to the best of my abilities. I'd like to establish a channel of communications for asking for support as I am working on my tasks and responsibilities. I suggest a weekly 1:1 call to ensure I am on track to learn the codebase and other technical tasks. Also, I require your support occasionally to figure out specific coding tasks - are you open to supporting me if I run into blocks during the week?"1. Establish a channel of communication with your CTO for additional support. This can be a weekly call, a slack channel or an email with questions that is answered on a zoom call. It sounds like the startup does not recognize the need for the process of on boarding and providing support for new hires.2. ASK, ASK , ASK. Whatever you need to do you job well, keep asking for it. I understand that you are feeling that the CTO has a lot on their plate, but YOU are also part of their team and therefore important. So ASK for help. (For example, if you can't figure something out within a few hours or a day, ASK for help within the communication channel.3. They hired you so they want your expertise. You are an important part of the team for them. Communicate from that standpoint so that you can speak up and communicate openly with management.Everyone doesn't know where to start at first. You will get there, keep going!I'm a career coach for women in tech career-switchers who are 1-3 years in their careers. I'd love to support you further if you're open to a conversation, feel book a time here: https://calendly.com/createnewpaths/intro
priyamacpherson's profile thumbnail
Thank you Anna! Your piece about asking was so key for me. I realized that I wasn't asking for help out of fear. I didn't want them to think I was clueless or a bad hire. But everyone keeps telling me that starting a new job is challenging, especially considering it is a brand new career for me. So I asked for help last week and I am seeing changes that make me feel more supported. Thanks for the motivation!
annamiller's profile thumbnail
That so great to hear Priya! Happy for you!
priyamacpherson's profile thumbnail
Thanks! I also just booked a time to chat with you on Friday! Looking forward to it
robotgrrl's profile thumbnail
An "f/u email"? 🤔 Wow, that escalated quickly! 😬
LiaODonnell's profile thumbnail
Follow up email, not F-U :)
robotgrrl's profile thumbnail
😆 Okay
streats's profile thumbnail
This is classic early stage startup behaviour - a lot of founders have a cool idea but don’t know how to manage people. Part of being in an early stage startup is helping to shape it, so you will have to decide if you want to be part of that (it will involve lots of that managing up, or proposing systems or initiatives) or if you’d prefer to be in an environment where you can just focus on the work. It’s fun and a great learning experience to have to take initiative, but sometimes it can mean you’re being taken advatange of, either knowingly or not. Here are some tips on how to keep that under control and use it to your advantage. - Keep a note of everything. For example what date did you ask them for your computer, what/when did they reply, when did they send it to you? This exercise can be helpful to 1) spot patterns 2) frame a conversation if you decide that you do want to stay but need them to support you more seriously. You can then provide examples of where you have had to manage up/step up, and provide feedback on what you need/expect instead. Remember that while employees are ultimately all replaceable, they also need you, so you do have some leverage. - Also keep a note/evidence of everything you do, as this will be useful when it comes time to ask for a promotion or a pay rise (“I’ve been doing XYZ for several months/I led this initiative/rolled out this project, and I feel this demonstrates I am performing at a higher level. As such I feel my title and pay should reflect this”). - I’d also recommend finding a mentor, coach or just networking with some more senior (but not CTO level) developers. They can help you frame conversations, check your thinking, and benchmark expectations. - If you feel at ALL that you are being expected to do more than your level requires, it’s important to raise this. Look at job listings for similar roles at similar sized companies, as well as more senior (mid level or even senior dev) roles and see if they are asking or expecting things of you that typically come with a higher title and salary. Benchmarking like this will help you clarify your role and worth and remind them that you know you have options. It’s not about calling their bluff (that could piss them off) but you can frame it as helping them align the company with industry expectations to make it a competitive and attractive place to work. If they dismiss this, it could be a sign of immaturity and ego and suggest that they’re not realistic about what it means to grow a team (or taking their responsible for people’s careers seriously)