I recently started as a junior developer. As well as being one of the least experienced people on the team, I'm also a woman, which comes with all sorts of its own challenges working in a male-dominated environment. I've been having problems lately because I feel like I am getting too much unwarranted pedantic criticism on my work. Let me give you an example of what happened recently.
Team lead was too busy to push in some branches I made, so he didn't get to them until the weekend. I checked my mail, not really meaning to do any work, and found that my two branches had been rejected on the basis of variable names, making error messages more descriptive, and moving some values to the config file.
I don't feel that rejecting my branch on this basis is useful. Lots of people were working over the weekend, and I had never said that I would be working. Effectively, some people were probably blocked because I didn't have time to make the changes and resubmit. We are working on a project that is very time-sensitive, and it seems to me that it's not helpful to outright reject code based on things that are transparent to the client. I may be wrong, but it seems like these kinds of things should be handled in patch type commits when I have time.
Now, I can see that in some environments, this would be the norm. However, the criticism doesn't seem equally distributed, which is what leads to my next problem. The basis of most of these problems was due to the fact that I was in a codebase that someone else had written and was trying to be minimally invasive. I was mimicking the variable names used elsewhere in the file. When I stated this, I was bluntly told, "Don't mimic others, just do what's right." This is perhaps the least useful thing I could have been told. If the code that is already checked in is unacceptable, how am I supposed to tell what is right and what is wrong? If the basis of the confusion was coming from the underlying code, I don't think it's my responsibility to spend hours refactoring a whole file that someone else wrote (and works perfectly well), potentially introducing new bugs etc.
I'm feeling really singled out and frustrated in this situation. I've gotten a lot better about following the standards that are expected, and I feel frustrated that, for example, when I refactor a piece of code to ADD error checking that was previously missing, I'm only told that I didn't make the errors verbose enough (and the branch was rejected on this basis). What if I had never added it to begin with? How did it get into the code to begin with if it was so wrong? This is why I feel so singled out: I constantly run into this existing problematic code, that I either mimic or refactor. When I mimic it, it's "wrong", and if I refactor it, I'm chided for not doing enough (and if I go all the way, introducing bugs, etc). Again, if this is such a problem, I don't understand how any code gets into the codebase, and why it becomes my responsibility when it was written by someone else, who apparently didn't have their code reviewed.
Anyway, how do I deal with this? Please remember that I said at the top that I'm a woman, and I'm sure these guys don't usually have to worry about decorum when they're reviewing other guys' code, but honestly that doesn't work for me, and it's causing me to be less productive. I'm worried that if I talk to my manager about it, he'll think I can't handled the environment, etc.