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#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.13
Some 'wk306' highlights from different people:
Walk around the office in his underwear, because he forgot he left his trousers in the bathroom
Run a red light outside the office due to not wearing his required glasses. When questioned by co-workers, replied "I don't follow those facist rules"
Asking if we work less will we get paid more, because the project will take longer to do (while in a startup with no funding trying to secure some)
Tell a senior dev to stop testing in his spare time, as we won't be able to release on time if he keeps finding critical security bugs
Telling me "your timezone is not my concern", when asking for help with new tooling so we don't have to be online at the same time
Blaming my team for requesting too much help, leading to his team missing deadlines, in a meeting with very senior managers. When the reason we were requesting help was the handover doc we were given was filled with lies about features being finished and "ready to ship" and lacking any unit tests
Being accused of bullying and harassment to the CEO, because someone asked "did you follow up with X about the partnership they emailed us about". The person who was responsible, forgot 4 times, and saw it as an "attack" to mention it in team meetings
Telling an entire office/building mid November they've secured funding for at least the next year, then announcing in January after the Christmas break that its cheaper to move to India, so they are closing the office in 30 days2
This happened today...
Manager: how long this is going to take?
Dev: 3 months
M: cool! 3 weeks then
D: no.. This is quite complicated and most of us are unfamiliar with the topics. It'll take us 2 weeks just to get started
M: drop the unit tests then. Just get the features done in 3 weeks. We have customers waiting
D: that's a bad idea. We'll end up with unstable co..
M: oh we also need to complete documentation, release guide, and this [shitty feature no one care about]
D: but that is even more complex. We don't have enough ti..
M: just copy it from stackoverflow. It'll only take 5 minutes guys
Worst part? This guy is technically sound and understands our pain really well. He is just acting dumb and trying to put the blame on us when the higher management asks
Second worst part? The whole team keeps silent when I try to convince him somehow and starts ranting after he leaves the call2
My best and worst dev experience this year was getting a new job.
The bad parts: I’m inheriting a code base that was maintained by an outside agency, so there’s very little documentation. There’s a lot of systems maintenance and upgrades that have to be done because it was never done. I’m working at a larger organization, so tracking down who I need for info can be tricky. I’m the only person maintaining my code base.
Now the good parts: Better pay and benefits. My co workers, dev and non-dev, are always helpful. Since the dev team is small, we are very discerning when we pick up work for the websites. I have more independence to self-learn. I’m not at a blame culture. My role is permanently remote.
So far I think the good outweighs the bad.2
Ideal dev job would be to work on pretty/girly fashion or cosmetics websites, have drama free and knowledgeable co-workers, decent salary, great organization, external training opportunities, cute modern office, dogs, cats and a cafe on site, a dope recharge room & no talking to clients ever.4