Context: I'm the only designer on a team of 11 in a small crypto startup. I was the only woman up until a few months ago. Leadership is quite green. Data scientist, and two engineers who were late to the game via dev bootcamps. I have the most formal product experience out of all of them.
There have been a few instances making me feel that I'm being gaslit. Can someone double check this behavior?
(1) I've asked to work on a mobile app we've been thinking about building for a long time. CEO gives me feedback in these exact words: "can i give you some feedback? if you want something, you should say it in a way that makes it obvious that myself, (CTO), and (CPO), should give the project to you"
(2) I've been planning a 3 week vacation for a long time, right after my 1 year anniversary, because I hadn't taken many days off in my first year of working at the company. It's unlimited PTO. I blocked off the OOO calendar three months ago in January so they're aware, made sure to tell everyone on leadership in 1-1s continuously throughout January and February, and nailed down official dates which weren't too far off from the original block 1.5 weeks before I go on vacation. I get a very, very long slack message from CTO that he didn't like how I "suddenly" gave the official dates even though there wasn't any documentation on how and when I should provide the official dates, and even though I had continuously been in communication about my vacation. He said exactly on slack: "we would hope to go through a cycle of dialogue"
- preferred: “i would like to take X weeks off during Y dates, is that okay?”
- not preferred: “fyi, i am taking X weeks off”
(3) I was finally able to work on the mobile app - the first project where I get full creative autonomy over because it's completely feature parity with the webapp and so I can be creative with navigation and page transition. When working in Figma, I asked for feedback on high level work, but I get feedback from the CEO on detail work that I haven't gotten to yet. I do not reply to the comments but still take it into consideration in my next iteration. I get feedback from the CPO that I didn't "thumbs up" the CEO's comments in my Figma file. Honestly I felt that he didn't respect my job, and wanted to provide input so he feels that he's making a dent in a project that I feel like I can finaly have a lot of creative autonomy over. It was also weird how the CPO gave me this feedback, not the CEO himself.
(4) Months ago, we were going to hire another product designer. I wrote up a WHOLE Notion document on the specific skillsets we were looking for in this new designer. I knew that I wanted to work on the mobile app, and confirmed with CTO that I'd be working on the mobile app and he agreed, so we should find someone who has strong product design work on the web so that designer #2 can focus more on that. CEO completely dismisses this document and starts chatting up designers from top companies, particularly one designer from Meta who had a ton of mobile experience.
I feel like I need to be "subordinate", that I have to "ask" for permission and frame my question in a certain way to do certain things that I believe are part of my job.
Would love a second perspective here.