Recently, our team hired an arrogant trainee-junior to the team, who turned out to be mean towards the other developers and in a habit of publicly mocking their opinions and going as far as cursing at them. He steals credit and insults others. He openly admits he's an offensive person and not a team player. When someone from the team speaks, he might break into laughter and say demeaning sentences like "that's so irrelevant oh my god did you really say that? hahaha". Our team consists of polite and introverted engineers who cannot stand up to bullies. Normally this kind of behavior won't be suitable even if you work in a burger shop especially not from a trainee. Let alone trainee, the rude behavior of Linus Torvalds was not tolerated, despite him being in the top position and a recognized star talent in the IT field.

I personally no longer feel comfortable speaking up during teams meetings or in the slack team chat. I'm afraid my opinions will be ridiculed or ashamed - likely will be called "irrelevant". I respond only if I'm directly addressed. We have important features coming up, requested by the customer, but I feel discouraged to publicly ask questions - I sort of feel having to regress into contributing less for the product. I also witness that other younger developers speak less now in meetings and team chat. Feels like everyone is hiding under the bed. Our product team used to have friendly working atmosphere but now the atmosphere is a bit like we're not a team anymore but a knot.

Lesson I learnt from here is: There is a reason why some companies have personality tests and HR interviews. Our proud short boarding process was consisting of a single technical interview. Perhaps at least a team interview should be held before hiring a person to the team, or the new hire should at least be posed a question: are you a team player? Technical skills can be taught more easily than social skills. If some youngster is unable to communicate in a civilized manner for even five minutes, it should raise some red flags. Otherwise you will end up with people who got refused from other companies which knew better.

  • 3
    Yes but guess what? Managers are on his side because he flatters the managers. Our managers are technical people so they fall far brown nosing tactics.
    MBA managers honestly are better at identifying social dynamics. If we had one, we would have gotten tid of this asshat.
  • 3
    I get that brownnosing tactics work one on one - but how does he manage to hide his assholery in meetings?! Can't at the same time bully others and not look like a bully. Is that asshole the son of the CEO?
  • 1
    Our team lead has no problem about other people being bullied, as long as it's not him :)) he even says "it's fine we are friends and we all can take a joke". I know this won't pass anywhere except our absurd firm. I want to look for another job but there's an economic uncertainty.

    I decided to stay and fight like Kendall Roy 😎
  • 10
    @denialofservice you guys should all come together to the manager and tell them that ur work and well being and thus efficiency and outcome is suffering from him :/
  • 5
    @denialofservice In that case, team up and bully that asshole back. If that doesn't work, doing a team-coordinated leave for greener pastures is still an option too.
  • 13
    There was a recruiter at an old workplace, genuinely the most toxic person I've seen in an office. Very similar situation, even though he wasn't an engineer - brown-nosed one team and kind of turned them against everyone else, licked the CEO's arsehole, was very fond of implying that he knew how much everyone was on and that it wasn't much/less than him. Constantly tried to make people look stupid to shore up his position.

    One evening, when he'd fucked off, someone came desk-to-desk and just outright said: 'I'm going to formally complain about him, would you put your name to a list if you knew there would be at least three of us?' - lots of people jumped at the chance.

    Nobody wants to do it on their own, but if you can get 3+ names together, you'll shit management up. After all, if the team's performance suffers, so does their reputation.

    In the meantime, just agree to have each other's backs in meetings, whether it's calling him out or defending each other.
  • 8
    Wow those are really good advices! I have thought about signature list but I would get really upset if someone actually likes this asshat - that's why the advice about 3 of us is good!

    I will be using this advice in case complaining to HR doesn't work. I complained to HR twice now with screenshots. If it doesn't work I will call the union (it's a Nordic country with strong unions and strict anti-bully laws)
  • 3
    @denialofservice good luck with it. Our guy didn't get fired, but he resigned soon after - and he shut the fuck up from the moment he was called in to be told that a significant number of people objected to his behaviour. It works.

    One thing: he did say to me one day that he knew I was one of the people who had complained. This was a bluff, although I had always been a bit more openly contemptuous of him, so a fair enough bet. If he's a bully, and in a culture like that, it wouldn't hurt to be ready for him to ask you about it. I'd just say something like "you're a nice enough guy but you're not experienced at working in a team - don't worry, it'll come with time" - then smile and walk away.
  • 3
    @MM83 oh, our guy knows that I complained to HR about him 😄 he didn't dare saying anything about me after that. but he keeps bullying the rest of the people - then I made a new complaint that he's targeting everyone else too
  • 5
    The question “are you a team player?” Is a little silly to ask, anybody with IQ>70 will just say yes. A team interview sounds like a better solution.
  • 4
    Have EVERYBODY point their phones at him and RECORD all of it. What he's doing is illegal in the workplace.
  • 6
    If you keep on tollerating this, he will become your manager. 90% chance.

    Yes, even from entry position. In a few months
  • 4
    You really need to take yourself more seriously and defend yourself. Make sure you come first at all times. If someone tries to fuck with you, offer to beat their ass the next time they say that again. Have the most respect for yourself and treat yourself like someone who you would die for. In the profession, really make it known that you are not someone to fuck with. Get them fired no matter the cost. Spit on them - it’s them or you.
  • 4
    If your manager doesn't care about this and doesn't trust the team that's a huge red flag anyway and I'd suggest looking for a place where you're respected.

    If the whole team is in you can also enjoy watching the place burn to the ground from afar.
  • 3
    And keep a paper trail not only about that guy's behavior, but also your manager & HR not giving a fuck. Note your attempts to resolve the issue.
  • 0
    Wait, is he telling the truth, or is he just bullying everyone with no substance? If it's the latter, why can't a group of experienced devs set him up for failure an humiliation? Based on what you're saying it should be fairly easy to say "Oh I'm sorry, I never thought about it that way, could you handle that responsibility?" and then just keep documenting everything as he digs his own grave doing something that you know won't work.

    Because if he can keep bullying you and you can't find one thing to prove how ignorant and wrong he is in his claims, then maybe he's right and your whole team just suck...
  • 3
    @hitko He is nitpicking on small non-issues about typos etc. But just saying it to everyone here: feedback must be communicated in a constructive manner. If you want to convey feedback with the means of mobbing and bullying, you will be breaking the law, no matter how "right" you are.
  • 3
    @denialofservice public shaming is not allowed at least where I live
  • 2
    His ass belongs cleaning up sewars not programming
  • 0
    Just how clever is this asshat anyway? In my country, there is a saying that means something along the line: the knowledgeable someone is, the more humble he is. Because he would realize how vast the world is and how he is still nothing.
  • 0
    @daniel-wu He's not clever but incredibly hard-working. He's doing cheap self promotion tricks like sharing obvious information. Sone juniors are always a bit like this "dude I found a band called Metallica they're great" and rest of the team is cringed 😄 he wants everyone to think he's a superstar developer but he's not.

    But let's say what if he was incredibly talented. Still not ok to shame others. It didn't even pass for Linus Torvalds. Don't let anyone shame you even if you did a huge mistake!
  • 0
    @denialofservice you mentioned Linus twice now. Better not use that as an example. He was not a bully. Just really really harsh with the truth.

    This guy sounds like the typical if I control the narrative and push everyone down I will rise.
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