This was not exactly the worst work culture because the employees, it was because the upper level of the organization chart on the IT department.

I'm not quite sure how to translate the exact positions of that chart, but lets say that there is a General Manager, a couple of Area Managers (Infrastructure, Development), some Area Supervisors (2 or 3, by each area), and the grunts (that were us). Anyway, anything on the "Manager" was the source of all the toxicity on the department.

First and foremost, there was a lack of training for almost any employee. We were expected to know everything since day-1. Yes, the new employees had a (very) brief explanation about the technologies/languages were used, but they were expected to perform as a senior employee almost since the moment they cross the door. And forget about having some KT (Knowledge Transfer) sessions, they were none existent and if they existed, were only to solve a very immediate issue (now imagine what happened when someone quit*).

The general culture that they have to always say "yes" to the client/customer to almost anything without consulting to the development teams if that what was being asked to do was doable, or even feasible. And forget about doing a proper documentation about that change/development, as "that was needed yesterday and it needs to be done to be implemented tomorrow" (you know what I mean). This contributes to the previous point, as we didn't have enough time to train someone new because we had this absurd deadlines.

And because they cannot/wanted to say "NO", there were days when they came with an amount of new requirements that needed to be done and it didn't matter that we had other things to do. And the worst was that, until a couple of years (more or less), there was almost impossible to gather the correct requirements from the client/user, as they (managers) "had already" that requirement, and as they "know better" what the user wants, it was their vision what was being described on the requirements, not the users'...

And all that caused that, in a common basis, didn't have enough time to do all this stuff (mainly because the User Support) causing that we needed to do overtime, which almost always went unpaid (because a very ambiguous clause of the contract, and that we were "non-union workers"**). And this is my favorite point of this list, because, almost any overtime went unpaid, so basically we were expected to be working for free after the end of the work day (lets say, after the 17:00). Leaving "early" was almost a sin for the managers, as they always expected that we give more time to work that the indicated on the contract, and if not, they could raise a report to HR because the ambiguous clause allowed them to do it (among other childish things that they do).

Finally, the jewel of the crown, is that they never, but never acknowledge that they made a mistake. Never. That was impossible! If something failed on the things/systems/applications that they had assigned*** it was always our fault.

- "A report for the Finance Department is giving wrong information? It's the DBA's fault**** because although he manages that report, he couldn't imagine that I have an undocumented service (that runs before the creation the report) crashed because I modified a hidden and undocumented temporal table and forgot to update that service."

But, well, at least that's on the past. And although those aren't all the things that made that workplace so toxic, for me those were the most prominent ones.


* Well, here we I live it's very common to don't say anything about leaving the company until the very last day. Yes, I know that there are people that leave their "2-days notice", but it's not common (IMHO, of course). And yes, there are some of us that give a 1 or 2-weeks notice, but still it's not a common practice.

** I don't know how to translate this... We have a concept called "trusted employee", which is mainly used to describe any administrative employee, and that commonly is expected to give the 110% of what the contract says (unpaid overtimes, extra stuff to do, etc) and sadly it's an accepted condition (for whatever reasons). I chose "non-union workers" because in comparison with an union worker, we have less protections (besides the legal ways) regarding what I've described before. Curiously, there are also "operative workers", that doesn't belong to an union, but they have (sometimes) better protections that the administrative ones.

*** Yes, they were in charge of several systems, because they didn't trust us to handle/maintain them. And I'm sure that they still don't trust in their developers.

**** One of the managers, and the DBA are the only ones that handle some stuff (specially the one that involves "money"). The thing that allows to use the DBA as scapegoat is that such manager have more privileges and permissions than the DBA, as he was the previous DBA

  • 1
    Never saying no

    almost always a sign of the following

    1. pushover sales guys

    2. client-facing rubes that don't have a good god damn about their job or their company's capabilities

    3. psycopaths and steve jobs wannabes (not mutually exclusive)

    4. high attrition companies that go through programmers like so much motor oil in order to preserve what they think is their bottom line.

    5. companies where family is hired for middle and team management.
  • 0
    @Wisecrack I would add another one (although I'm not quiiiiiiite sure about the label that I'm going to use - I accept suggestions):

    - Inferiority complex

    Why I would add this one, and why I have doubts about using it?

    Well, as far as I know although the company isn't a small one (it's a multinational, but not one of the big ones) besides some specific and particular things, it seems that there's nothing standardized. Each branch does things differently.

    Anyway, so, under that framework, until 'recently' the IT department always have being dependent not another "More Important Department", and also IT was considered something "not essential to the company", so, practically, it was an unspoken rule that IT existed only to serve the wishes of the "MID" and they couldn't say "no" at will. Never.

    So, I'm guessing that this mindset is very engraved into the (now) managers, and despite being more independent, they still do things as before.
Add Comment