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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
#2 Worst thing I've seen a co-worker do?
Back before we utilized stored procedures (and had an official/credentialed DBA), we used embedded/in-line SQL to fetch data from the database.
var sql = @"Select
Id = @ID"
In attempts to fix database performance issues, a developer, T, started putting all the SQL on one line of code (some sql was formatted on 10+ lines to make it readable and easily copy+paste-able with SSMS)
var sql = "Select ... From...Where...etc";
His justification was putting all the SQL on one line make the code run faster.
T: "Fewer lines of code runs faster, everyone knows that."
Mgmt bought it.
This process took him a few months to complete.
When none of the effort proved to increase performance, T blamed the in-house developed ORM we were using (I wrote it, it was a simple wrapper around ADO.Net with extension methods for creating/setting parameters)
T: "Adding extra layers causes performance problems, everyone knows that."
Mgmt bought it again.
Removing the ORM, again took several months to complete.
By this time, we hired a real DBA and his focus was removing all the in-line SQL to use stored procedures, creating optimization plans, etc (stuff a real DBA does).
In the planning meetings (I was not apart of), T was selected to lead because of his coding optimization skills.
DBA: "I've been reviewing the execution plans, are all the SQL code on one line? What a mess. That has to be worst thing I ever saw."
T: "Yes, the previous developer, PaperTrail, is incompetent. If the code was written correctly the first time using stored procedures, or even formatted so people could read it, we wouldn't have all these performance problems."
DBA didn't know me (yet) and I didn't know about T's shenanigans (aka = lies) until nearly all the database perf issues were resolved and T received a recognition award for all his hard work (which also equaled a nice raise).7
Worst fight I've had with a co-worker?
Had my share of 'disagreements', but one that seemed like it could have gone to blows was a developer, 'T', that tried to man-splain me how ADO.Net worked with SQLServer.
<T walks into our work area>
T: "Your solution is going to cause a lot of problems in SQLServer"
Me: "No, its not, your solution is worse. For performance, its better to use ADO.Net connection pooling."
T: "NO! Every single transaction is atomic! SQLServer will prioritize the operation thread, making the whole transaction faster than what you're trying to do."
<T goes on and on about threads, made up nonsense about priority queues, on and on>
Me: "No it won't, unless you change something in the connection string, ADO.Net will utilize connection pooling and use the same SPID, even if you explicitly call Close() on the connection. You are just wasting code thinking that works."
T walks over, stands over me (he's about 6.5", 300+ pounds), maybe 6 inches away
T: "I've been doing .net development for over 10 years. I know what I'm doing!"
I turn my chair to face him, look up, cross my arms.
Me: "I know I'm kinda new to this, but let me show you something ..."
<I threw together a C# console app, simple connect, get some data, close the connection>
Me: "I'll fire up SQLProfiler and we can see the actual connection SPID and when sql server closes the SPID....see....the connection to SQLServer is still has an active SPID after I called Close. When I exit the application, SQLServer will drop the SPD....tada...see?"
T: "Wha...what is that...SQLProfiler? Is that some kind of hacking tool? DBAs should know about that!"
Me: "It's part of the SQLServer client tools, its on everyone's machine, including yours."
T: "Doesn't prove a damn thing! I'm going to do my own experiment and prove my solution works."
Me: "Look forward to seeing what you come up with ... and you haven't been doing .net for 10 years. I was part of the team that reviewed your resume when you were hired. You're going to have to try that on someone else."
About 10 seconds later I hear him from across the room slam his keyboard on his desk.
100% sure he would have kicked my ass, but that day I let him know his bully tactics worked on some, but wouldn't work on me.7
Worst thing I've seen a co-worker do?
Its all relative, I've seen a lot of "worst's". Here's one of many I'll try to post.
A (married) DBA would often come to work drunk, starting fooling around with a couple of devs (which we suspect she had sought adventures outside the IT dept based on rumors), and ultimately got fired because she was caught sleeping at her desk (and she was drunk). One of her conquests told us she came from a very poor childhood and this was her first real high paying job. Abusive husband, being attractive herself, and being surrounded by other attractive, highly intelligent, single bucks (aka horny) that had no morals, equaled bad decisions.
She wasn't the worst, it was the assholes who took advantage of the situation that makes it in my top 10 worst things I've seen.8
#4 Worst thing I've seen a co-worker do?
Not a direct co-worker, during a fire drill, a call center manger told all the agents to ignore the alarm and keep working.1
Best co-worker quitting story?
"T" I've refereed to in previous rants knew he was close to being fired, so he jumped ship. 'T' sent the usual "I'll miss you guys" email to the department, except me (and a few others that didn't fall for his BS and not scared of him). His mistake was he sent the email out a day early (buddy forwarded me the email) and left the stuff (box of pics, books, etc) he planned on taking with him. One item in particular was a new company provided laptop bag, which technically wasn't his to keep (supposed to leave/turn-in any company provided equipment), so I grabbed the bag and hid it.
The next day I heard him slamming drawers (looking for the bag) and a loud cursing. Other devs peeking over the walls asking what's wrong.
Dev1: "Dude, what's up? Whatcha' looking for?"
T: "Nothing...fuck!...damn it...nothing...assholes...fucking assholes!"
Dev2: "Who's the ass? What's wrong?"
Dev3: "Need help looking for something?"
T: "No..no...nothing...I'm fine...making sure I don't forget anything."
'T' never found out who took the bag and I've had that laptop bag underneath my desk ever since.5
Weirdest co-worker... We'll not to be judgy, but I think our industry is sort of home of the weirdos, but.. there's a few over-the-top weirdees we've had at work.
First one that comes to mind was a guy that walked liked Mr. Burns, hands behind the back & chest out. He microwaved the same thing every single day for breakfast - crackers, sausage and cheese. 😖This guy would get to his tasks very slowly, wouldn't talk to anyone on our team, and would go missing from his desk a lot, sometimes for extended periods (2+ hours). He really struggled to catch on to easy tasks. He quit after a few months, thank god.
Another weirdo we had was a girl who just couldn't dress to save her soul. She would wear these ugly ass sneakers that had neon colors reminiscent of bowling shoes (neon orange and green) and would wear turtlenecks and floor length skirts that all the colors just clashed. Her outfits were uglier than your great grandma's. Myself, her and 2 other girls dressed up as the Dr. Seuss things for Halloween, but did h1, h2, etc. tags instead and she put like rope from curtains in her hair with like 10 little pony tails. Just like wtf. She would play her gameboy at lunch and not talk to anyone much. She was really bad at our job, a lot of clients complained. She would literally read a book, braid her bangs or nap at her desk. Needless to say, she was fired.6
I've told the same story multiple times but the subject of "painfully incompetent co-worker" just comes up so often.
I have one coworker who never really grew out of the mindset of a college student who just took "Intro to Programming". If a problem couldn't be solved with a textbook solution, then he would waste several weeks struggling with it until eventually someone else would pick up the ticket and finish it in a couple days. And if he found a janky workaround for a problem, he'd consider that problem "solved" and never think about it again.
He lasted less than a year before he quit and went off to get a job somewhere else, leaving the rest of our team to comb through his messy code and fix it. Unfortunately, our team is mostly split across multiple projects and our processes were kind of a mess until recently, so his work was a black box of code that had never been reviewed.
I opened the box and found only despair and regret. He was using deprecated features from older versions of the language to work around language bugs that no longer existed. He overused constants to a ridiculous degree (hundreds of constants, all of which are used exactly once in the entire codebase, stored in a single mutable map variable named "values" because why not). He didn't really seem to understand DRY at all. His code threw warnings in the IDE and had weird errors that were difficult to reproduce because there was just a whole pile of race conditions.
I ended up having to take a figurative hacksaw to it, ripping out huge sections of unnecessary crap and modernizing it to use recent language features to get rid of the deprecation warnings and intermittent errors. And then I went through the same process again for every other project he'd touched.
Our company Nerf wars got a little rowdy one year, and a co-worker knocked over a (senior citizen) co-worker just to “win”. Like full on take down body slam. So much for no physical contact.3
Once caught my co-worker masturbaed in a zoom meeting, without realising the webcam and mic weren't off.9
Not co-worker, but class mate. Specifically, my group mate.
Boy, I could fill an entire book with the “what the fuck” moments.
Here, the prior question of his was “why is this happening?”23
Co-Worker: How can I see what's linked to x variable in the database for this website? [we can't see the actual back end]
Me: Do a var dump...
Co-Worker: but what var do I dump?
Best co-worker quitting story? A co-worker quit, another co-worker quit, and eventually I quit, too :-)
Still happy to be my own boss ever since!
I have noticed I have had great success using another co-worker as a metaphorical rubber duck (sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally). It improves my productivity vastly. However, I know that it probably distracts others when I am using them in that way.
That's why I want to buy a literal rubber duck and talk to it. I could do it very quietly and most of my close co-workers use noise-cancelling headphones 80% of time while sitting at their desks. My only concern is other people passing by my desk would think that I am weird. My desk is in an open space and several people pass by it every hour. (however on my floor besides developers we have HR, marketing and people from high up who might be unfamiliar with the rubber duck method).
Is it unprofessional to talk to a rubber duck at the office?4
does my co-worker code is actually really necessary, for the sake of arguments lets ignore server performance, and focus on this snippet.
added comment on the side of the parameters11