#3 Worst thing I've seen a co-worker do?

A 20-something dev, 'A', back in the early days of twitter+facebook would post all his extracurricular activities (drinking, partying, normal young-buck stuff). The dev mgr, 'J', at the time took offense because he felt 'A' was making the company look bad, so 'A' had a target on his back. Nothing 'A' did was good enough and, for example, 'J' had the source control czars review 'A's code to 'review' (aka = find anything wrong). Not sorting the 'using' statements, and extra line after the closing }, petty things like that. For those curious, orders followed+carried out by+led by 'T' in my previous rant.

As time went on and 'T' finding more and more 'wrong' with A's code, 'J' put A on disciplinary probation. 'A' had 90 days to turn himself around, or else.

A bright spot was 'A' was working on a Delphi -> C# conversion, so a lot of the code would be green-field development and by simply following the "standards", 'A' would be fine...so he thought.

About 2 weeks into the probation, 'A' was called into the J's office and berated because the conversion project was behind schedule, and if he didn't get the project back on track, 'A' wouldn't make it 30 days. I sat behind 'A' and he unloaded on me.
<'A' slams his phone on his desk>
Me: "Whoa...whats up?"
A: "Dude, I fucking hate this place, did you hear what they did?"
<I said no, then I think we spent an hour talking about it>
Me: "That all sucks. Don't worry about the code. Nobody cares what T thinks. Its not even your fault the project is behind, the DBAs are tasked with upgrades and it's not like anyone is waiting on you. It'll get done when it's done. Sounds like a witch hunt, what did you do? Be honest."
A: "Well, um...I kinda called out J, T, and those other assholes on facebook. I was drunk, pissed, and ...well...here we are."
Me: "Geez, what a bunch of whiney snowflakes. Keep your head down and you'll get thru it, or don't. Its not like you couldn't find another job tomorrow."
A: "This is my first job out of college and I don't want to disappoint my dad by quitting. I don't even know what I'm supposed to be doing. All J told me was to get better. What the fuk does that even mean?"
Me: "He didn't give you any goals? Crap, for someone who is a stickler for the rules, that's low, even for J."

Fast forward 2 weeks, I was attending MS TechEd and I was with another dev mgr, R.

R: "Did you hear? We had to let 'A' go today."
Me: "What the hell? Why?"
R: "He couldn't cut it, so we had to let him go."
Me: "Cut what? What did he do, specifically?"
R: "I don't know, 'A' was on probation, I guess he didn't meet the goals."
Me: "You guess? We fire a developer working on a major upgrade and you guess? What were these so-called goals?"
R: "Whoa...you're getting a little fire up. I don't know, maybe not adhering to coding standards, not meeting deadlines?"
Me: "OMG...we fire people for not forming code? Are you serious!?"
R: "Oh...yea...that does sound odd when you put it that way. I wish I'd talk to you before we left on this trip"
Me: "What?! You knew they were firing him *before* we left? How long did you know this was happening?"
R: "Honestly, for a while. 'A' really wasn't a team player."
Me: "That's dirty, the whole thing is dirty. We've done some shitty things to people, but this is low, even for J. The probation process is meant to improve, not be used as a witch hunt. I don't like that you stood around and let it happen. You know better."
R: "Yea, you're right, but doesn't change anything. J wanted to do it while most of us were at the conference in case 'A' caused a scene."
Me: "THAT MAKES IT WORSE! 'A' was blindsided and you knew it. He had no one there that could defend him or anything."
R: "Crap, crap, crap...oh crap...jeez...J had this planned all along...crap....there is nothing I can do no...its too late."
Me: "Yes there is. If 'A' comes to you for a letter of recommendation, you write one. If someone calls for reference, you give him a good one."
R: "Yea..yea...crap...I feel like shit...I need to go back to the room and lie down."

As the sun sets, it rises again. Within a couple of weeks, 'A' had another job at a local university. Within a year, he was the department manager, and now he is a vice president (last time I checked) of a college in Kansas City, MO.

  • 27
    Typical idiots. A got ahead, and J is still a dumbass.
  • 14
    And this is why you hide social media from your coworkers, especially ones above in hierarchy.
  • 16
    @zlice > "imagine if J found devrant"

    J has since been fired and I hope devrant is around a while. I plan on collecting these stories for a book to hand out on my last day. Hard to remember all the crazy crap that's happened.

    Working titles, 'How do we test that?', 'Didn't see that coming', 'The Little Blue Knife', 'One lump, or two?'
  • 3
    What did you do to J afterwards?
  • 10
    "There's nothing I can do now" yes there is, tell everything to J's supervisor, fire him with immediate effect for abuse of disciplinary procedures and re-offer T his position. It's up to him whether to take it or not, but this kind of tumor destroys organizations.
  • 4
    The cancerous tumor here isn't how J wanted to police T's social media presence but rather the fact that he was fired for a contrived reason that's almost impossible to argue against. In an organization that supports this even after it's revealed no one is safe and no feat can save a worker if their superior doesn't like them for whatever personal reasons.
  • 8
    @lbfalvy > "tell everything to J's supervisor"

    The next level up is the VP, and 'J' had him and the rest of the senior leaders wrapped around his fat finger (man was 6 foot, 350~400lbs). I suspect he had some kind of manic, bi-polar disorder. One minute, he was jolly, good natured, the next, a freaking lunatic. A bonus of being an introvert, we have the superpowers to see these behavior patterns from a-far. Nobody, I mean nobody, saw his behavior as toxic until he got fired and then everybody around was like "Oh yea...J was a bully ...Should have been fired years ago." etc etc.

    Once his 'old guard' eventually quit+got fired, we're in a good place, leadership wise.
  • 1
    Correct me if I get this wrong but sounds like he wasn't really fired because of code. It was because he wrote drunk Facebook messages about work stuff.

    Kinda shifty to attempt to nail him on code instead of being honest FB was the real reason.

    But I kinda get it.. No one at my place calls out a colleagues on FB. That has never happened and would be really weird if it did.
  • 3
    @jiraTicket > "Correct me if I get this wrong but sounds like he wasn't really fired because of code. It was because he wrote drunk Facebook messages about work stuff. "

    You are correct. If you did something 'J' didn't like, he used bureaucracy as a weapon.
  • 1
    I love rants with silver lining :)
Add Comment