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The first time I realized I wasn't as good as I thought I was when I met the smartest dev I've ever known (to this day).
I was hired to manage his team but was just immediately floored by the sheer knowledge and skills this guy displayed.
I started to wonder why they hired outside of the team instead of promoting him when I found that he just didn't mesh well with others.
He was very blunt about everything he says. Especially when it comes to code reviews. Man, he did /not/ mince words. And, of course, everyone took this as him just being an asshole.
But being an expert asshole myself, I could tell he wasn't really trying to be one and he was just quirky. He was really good and I really liked hanging out with him. I learned A LOT of things.
Can you imagine coming into a lead position, with years of experience in the role backing your confidence and then be told that your code is bad and then, systematically, very precisely, and very clearly be told why? That shit is humbling.
But it was the good kind of humbling, you know? I really liked that I had someone who could actually teach me new things.
So we hung out a lot and later on I got to meet his daughter and wife who told me that he had slight autism which is why he talked the way he did. He simply doesn't know how to talk any other way.
I explained it to the rest of the team (after getting permission) and once they understood that they started to take his criticism more seriously. He also started to learn to be less harsh with his words.
We developed some really nice friendships and our team was becoming a little family.
Year and a half later I had to leave the company for personal reasons. But before I did I convinced our boss to get him to replace me. The team was behind him now and he easily handled it like a pro.
That was 5 years ago. I moved out of the city, moved back, and got a job at another company.
Four months ago, he called me up and said he had three reasons for us to meet up.
1. He was making me god father of his new baby boy
2. That they created a new position for him at the company; VP of Engineering
3. He wanted to hang out
So we did and turns out he had a 4th reason; He had a nice job offer for me.
I'm telling this story now because I wanted to remind everyone of the lesson that every mainstream anime tells us:
Never underestimate the power of friendship.21
So i've been a dev manager for a little while now. Thought i'd take some time to disambiguate some job titles to let everyone know what they might be in for when joining / moving around a big org.
Title: Senior Software Engineer
- Typically has years experience building what management are trying to build
- Building new features
- Writing code
- Code review
- Offering advice to product manag......OH NO YOU DON'T CODE MONKEY, BACK TO WORK!
Title: Dev Manager
- Former/current programmer
- knows his/her way around a codebase.
- Recruiting / interviewing new staff
- Keeping the team focused and delivering tasks
- Architecture decisions
- Lying about complexity of architecture decisions to ensure team gets the actual time they need
- Lying about feature estimations to ensure team gets to work on critical technical improvements that were cancelled / de-prioritised
- Explaining to hire-ups why we can't "Just do it quicker"
- Explaining to senior engineers why the product manager declined their meeting request
Title: Product / Product Manager
- Nothing relevant to the industry or product line what so ever
- Found the correct building on the day of the interview
- Has once opened an Excel spreadsheet and successfully saved it to a desktop
- Making every key decision about every feature available in the app
- Learning to ignore that inner voice we like to call "Common sense"
- Making sure to not accidentally take some advice from technical staff
- Raising the blood pressure of everyone below them / working with them
Title: Program Lead / Product Owner
- Capable of speech
- Aware of what a computer is (optional)
- Sitting down
- Clicking random buttons on Jira
- Making bullet point lists
Title: Director of Software Engineering
- Allegedly attended college/university to study computer science
- Similar to a technical product manager (technical optional)
- Reports directly to VP
- Fixes problems by creating a different problem somewhere else as a distraction
- Claiming to understand and green light technical decisions, while having already agreed with product that it will never happen9
Story of my most useless meeting?
Too many to mention. Here's one. Years ago a new HR associate was specifically hired to better engage the workforce. About once a week, she conducted about an hour to two hour meetings which consisted of every 'touchy-feely' idea you could think of. I swear any day I was going to walk into a meeting and do the "fall back into your partner" trust exercises.
One particular meeting, 'Betty' engaged us with the topic of what keeps us motivated, and I was a little more annoyed than usual because I was behind on a system critical project and these meetings were mandatory.
User1: "Knowing I make customer satisfaction my number one priority."
User2: "The strong sense of accomplishment I feel by doing my best"
<you could almost hear Betty's gasp>
Betty: "Oh, no, money shouldn't be the motivator. Money is like icing on the cake. Tell us what keeps you happy and engaged."
<other users nod their heads in engagement>
Me: "Again, money."
User3: "I can't...ugh..I don't believe..oh..why would you say that? I think being part of such a great team is payment enough."
<more nodding of heads>
Me: "Do you work for free? I don't. None of us do. Would any of you keep doing your jobs here if you weren't getting paid?"
Betty: "That is really not the point of this meeting."
Me: "Sure it is. I'll bet if Order Taking starting providing bonuses for positive after-call surveys, employee satisfaction would go through the roof. Anyone else like that idea?"
Betty: "Your attitude isn't helping this discussion. Lets move on."
Me: "Lets not. In 20?? the Gartner group performed a study where they 'discovered' the primary motivator for employees was money. You want employees to perform better, you pay them. It is really that simple."
<I could see the looks of "Its OK to speak my mind?" and others wanting to speak up>
Betty: "Moving on. Lets go over the company core values again and discuss how they enrich our lives at work and at home."
I kept quiet for the rest of the meeting.
The poop hit the fan, and my boss pulls me into a conference room
Boss: "Betty is really pissed at you. She went directly to the VP of HR"
Me: "Good. Does this mean I don't have to attend the enrichment meetings?"
Boss: "Yea, that was her idea of punishment. Lucky bastard."10
Today my manager asked me about my research into using RabbitMQ as a backup in case Azure Service Bus ever goes down.
Me: "Good. The way we designed the framework, all we have to do is drop the DLLs into the directory, update the config, and the services will start using RabbitMQ."
Mgr: "Excellent. Probably should be looking into using RabbitMQ as a permanent replacement for Azure"
Me: "What? The whole reason we moved to Azure was to eliminate the problems with having an on prem service bus. Since we've switched, there has been zero downtime."
Mgr: "That's what VP-Joe is afraid of. If Azure ever goes down, he won't know how to explain Azure to the president as to why we're not taking orders or can't ship packages."
Me: "That makes no sense. What did VP-Joe tell the president when a database goes down or a server mis-configuration?"
Mgr: "President understands internal outages, its just the whole 'cloud' thing he doesn't understand."
Me: "Um..then VP-Joe needs to explain it to him?"
Mgr: "The decision has already been made. Are you on board? Lets look at this move as a cost savings."
Me: "You mean the $10 a month? How much hardware will we need to support RabbitMQ?"
Mgr: "Yea, nobody probably thought of that."
Me: "I'm on board with whatever decision, but I'd like a little more than VP-Joe being afraid of the president."
Mgr: "I'm sure its not being afraid."
Mgr: "OK, lets wait and see if VP-Joe forgets about this and moves on to something new."5
Root encounters HR at her new job.
So, I left my job a few weeks ago. I was pretty sad about it, so I didn't want to write anything about it. It was a great place to work, with great managers, decent coworkers, and interesting work. I also had free reign over how I built things, what to improve, etc. Within about four months, I authored over half of the total commits on their backend repo, added a testing suite with 90% coverage, significantly improved the security (more accurately: added security), etc. but I got a job offer that allowed me to work remotely, and make well over six figures (usd). I couldn't turn it down, even though I wanted to. So, I left. I'm still genuinely sad about that. I had emotions and everything. 🙁 I stayed on long enough to finish the last of the features for their new product launch, and make sure everything was stable. I'm welcome back whenever, though they don't want to have remote employees, and I want to move, so. that's probably not going to happen. sigh.
Anyway, I started my new job this week. Rented an office (read: professional closet) and everything! It's been veritable mountains of HR paperwork so far. That's all I've done besides some accounts setup. I've seriously only worked on and completed one ticket so far in two and a half days, and I still have six documents/contracts to sign! (and benefits; that'll probably take my weekend.)
But getting an I9 thing notarized? Apparently I only have three days before I'm legally unemployable by them or something, idk. HR made it sound ridiculously dire and important, and reminded me like five or more times. I figured it was just some notary service; that takes like 10 minutes, right? So I put it off until my second day so I didn't have to disappear in the middle of my first day. Anyway, I called a bunch of notary services on day 2, and apparently only like 5% of them both do notary services this time of year and aren't booked full. And of those, probably another 5% will notarize I9 documents.. No idea why it's rare, but whatever, I'm not a notary.
The HR lady assured me that I didn't need any special documents; I should just go there, present my IDs, and the notary will provide or draft documents for everything else. Totally doesn't sound right, but fine; I'm not a notary nor will I ever work in HR, so I'm not very knowledgeable about this. So, against my better judgement I decided to just go anyway. I called around and finally found a place that wasn't closed, busy, or refusing, and drove over there. Waited. Waited. Waited. Notary lady was super slow in every single action. (I should mention that it's now 10am, and I have a meeting with the Senior VP of Engineering [a stern, stubborn old goat who enjoys making people feel inadequate] at 12:30pm.) The notary lady looks like she's an npc updating in slow motion (maybe at 0.25x speed?) and can't seem to understand what I need. Eventually, she tells me exactly what I had assumed: if there's no document, she can't notarize said document, and she doesn't have an I9 for the company I'm trying to work for. (like, duh.) So I thank her for proving the flow of time is variable, which she ignores in slow motion, and drive back home. It's now about 11.
I message the same HR lady, and the useless wench gawks in surprise and says she's never heard of that ridiculous request before. It took prodding to get her to respond every time, but after some (very slow) back and forth, she says she wants to call the notary personally and ask what they need. I waited around for another response that never came, and eventually just drove to the notary place again to have them notarize the required ID documents. That plus my chat history with HR should be enough to show that I bloody well tried, and HR just shit the bed instead. I finally got them notarized at like 12:10, and totally broke the speed limit the entire way to the office, found the last remaining parking spot, and made it to my office just in time for the meeting. seriously, less than two minutes to spare. Meeting was interesting (mostly about security), but totally made me facepalm, shout "Seriously!? What the hell are you thinking!?" and make slapping motions at some of the people talking. I will probably rant about that next.
But anyway, I'm willing to bet that the useless wench won't get back to me before the notary closes, if at all, and will somehow try to blame it completely on me if I bring it up again. Passive aggressive bitch. She's probably thinking: "If I don't help her with these mandatory legal processes, it'll be her fault she didn't get them done in time. I mean, they're so easy! She's just doing it wrong." I fucking hate HR.13
Part of the new hire process was all salaried employees had to work all hourly position jobs for a day (over a several week period, not all in one day) to really understand what we do.
I once hazed a new network admin who was working in the call center and I sent his station a pop-up message:
“Ha! Fire me will you!! I planted this virus and if you don’t enter the password in 60 seconds I will erase the database.” The pop-up had a counter counting down from 60.
This was over the lunch hour, so all the supervisors and managers were away and ‘Mark’ in a panic ran into our office (I was hiding under my desk)
Mark: GUYS!!...GUYS!!!....OMG!….Where the frack is everybody?!!!”
He runs out.
I peek out the door window and about a second later he’s running down the hall with one of the vice presidents. Mark shows the VP the message, VP looks over at our office, sees me…laughs and walks back to his office (not saying much to Mark).
Mark not knowing what’s going on watches the counter…3...2…1….
”Just kidding. Welcome to the company!”
Ahhh…the repeated sounds of “You son of a -bleep-!!” never sounded so sweet.1
Our web department was deploying a fairly large sales campaign (equivalent to a ‘Black Friday’ for us), and the day before, at 4:00PM, one of the devs emails us and asks “Hey, just a heads up, the main sales page takes almost 30 seconds to load. Any chance you could find out why? Thanks!”
We click the URL they sent, and sure enough, 30 seconds on the dot.
Our department manager almost fell out of his chair (a few ‘F’ bombs were thrown).
DBAs sit next door, so he shouts…
Mgr: ”Hey, did you know the new sales page is taking 30 seconds to open!?”
DBA: “Yea, but it’s not the database. Are you just now hearing about this? They have had performance problems for over week now. Our traces show it’s something on their end.”
Mgr: “-bleep- no!”
Mgr tries to get a hold of anyone …no one is answering the phone..so he leaves to find someone…anyone with authority.
4:15 he comes back..
Mgr: “-beep- All the web managers were in a meeting. I had to interrupt and ask if they knew about the performance problem.”
Me: “Oh crap. I assume they didn’t know or they wouldn’t be in a meeting.”
Mgr: “-bleep- no! No one knew. Apparently the only ones who knew were the 3 developers and the DBA!”
Me: “Uh…what exactly do they want us to do?”
Mgr: “The –bleep- if I know!”
Me: “Are there any load tests we could use for the staging servers? Maybe it’s only the developer servers.”
DBA: “No, just those 3 developers testing. They could reproduce the slowness on staging, so no need for the load tests.”
Mgr: “Oh my –bleep-ing God!”
4:30 ..one of the vice presidents comes into our area…
VP: “So, do we know what the problem is? John tells me you guys are fixing the problem.”
Mgr: “No, we just heard about the problem half hour ago. DBAs said the database side is fine and the traces look like the bottleneck is on web side of things.”
VP: “Hmm, no, John said the problem is the caching. Aren’t you responsible for that?”
Mgr: “Uh…um…yea, but I don’t think anyone knows what the problem is yet.”
VP: “Well, get the caching problem fixed as soon as possible. Our sales numbers this year hinge on the deployment tomorrow.”
- VP leaves -
Mgr: “I was thinking the same thing. I’ll have networking run a trace.”
4:45 Networking run their trace, and sure enough, there was some relative path of ‘something’ pointing to a local resource not on development, it was waiting/timing out after 30 seconds. Fixed the path and page loaded instantaneously. Network admin walks over..
NetworkAdmin: “We had no idea they were having problems. If they told us last week, we could have identified the issue. Did anyone else think 30 second load time was a bit suspicious?”
4:50 VP walks in (“John” is the web team manager)..
VP: “John said the caching issue is fixed. Great job everyone.”
VP: “But the caching is fixed? Right? John said it was caching. Anyway, great job everyone. We’re going to have a great day tomorrow!”
NetworkAdmin: “Ouch…you feel that?”
Me: “Feel what?”
NetworkAdmin: “That bus John just threw us under.”
Mgr: “Yea, but I think John just saved 3 jobs. Remember that.”4
I found this posted by a recruiter and I liked it:
| hired someone that didn't shake my hand firmly during the
interview - he rocked as an employee.
| hired someone with three typos on their resume. - She was
the most detailed oriented person l’ve ever worked with.
| hired someone without a college degree- He was way
smarter, innovative, and creative than mel!
| hired someone with four kids- Never met someone so
devoted and committed to her career.
| hired someone who had been incarcerated as a young adult.
- He's a VP now.
| hired someone over 60- she taught me some tricks on excel
that | use to this day!
Can we please throw out all those silly assumptions and rules that we've made up in our head about what a person needs to
be, look like, have accomplished, and do, to succeed?
In my experience, as an HR leader and as a hiring manager, it's those that typically don't get a “shot” who tend to kick butt
in the workplace!
So before you throw that resume away because they don't have every certificate and degree - or - don't call back that candidate because they didn't give you a firm handshake - think about trying something new. Someone new.11
After returning back from the company we were purchasing a new phone system (hardware+software, $100K+, kind of a big deal)
VP: “I need the new phone system software integration for our CRM by next week. I need to demo the system for the other VPs”
Me: “No problem. Were you able to get their API like I asked?”
VP: “Salesman didn’t know for sure what that was, but he said all the developer software documentation is on their site.”
Me: “Did he give you a URL? Their main site is all marketing mumbo-jumbo. I assume there is another one specific for developers.”
VP: “Yea, he might have said something, but I don’t understand why you need it. The salesman said the integration would be seamless. He showed me several demos.”
Me: “No, I mean I need to know, is the API a full client install? a simple dll? is this going to be a web service integration? How will I know what to program against?”
VP: “I think I heard him say something about COM? Does that sound like an API?”
Me: “It’s a start. Did he provide you anything, a disk, a flash drive, anything with the software?”
VP: “No, only thing he told me was our CRM integration would be seamless and our development team would have no problems.”
Me: “OK..OK…I get it…he’s a salesman. Is there an 1-800 number I can call? A technical support email address? Anyone technical I can reach out to?”
VP: “Probably, but I don’t understand what the problem is. I need the CRM integrated by next week. I gave the other VPs a promise we would get it done. I do not break promises.”
Me: “Wait…when are we installing the new system?”
VP: “Well, the purchase order will be cut at the end of the month’s billing cycle, the company has about a two month turnaround time to deliver and install the hardware, so maybe 3 months from now? Are you going to be able to have the integration ready for next week?”
Me: “If we won’t see any of the hardware for 3 months, what exactly am I integrating with?”
VP: “That API you wanted or whatever it is. COM…yea, it’s COM. I was told the integration would be seamless and our developers would have no problem. I don’t understand why you can’t simply write the code to make it work. Getting the hardware installed is going to be the hardest part.”
Me: “OK, so I have no documentation, we have no hardware, no software, and no idea what this ‘seamless integration’ means. I’m afraid there isn’t anything I can do right now. ”
VP: “Fine!...I’ll just have to tell the other VPs you were not able to execute the seamless integration with the CRM.”
Which he did. When the hardware+software was finally installed, they hired consultants (because I “failed”). I think the bill was in the $50K range to perform the ‘integration’ which consisted of Excel spreadsheets (no kidding). When approached with the primary CRM integration, the team needed our API documentation, a year’s development time and $300K. I was pissed off enough, and I had the API documentation, I was able to get the basic CRM integration within 3 days. When an agent receives a call, I look up the # in our database, auto-fill the form with the customer info, etc. Easy stuff when you have the documentation.
The basics worked and the VP was congratulated by ‘saving’ the company $300K. May or may not have been bonuses involved, rumors still out on that one, but I didn't see em'. Later my manager told me the VP was really ticked that I performed the integration ‘behind his back’, but because it was a success, he couldn’t fire me.10
Worst exp. on a collab/group project?
Had a few, here is one.
Worked with a dev team (of two devs) in Norway to begin collaboration on providing a portal into our system (placing orders, retrieving customer info, inventory control, etc)
They spoke very good English, but motivation was the problem. Start the day around 10:00AM...take a two hour lunch...ended the day at, if I was lucky, 4:00PM (relative to Norway time). Response time to questions took days, sometimes weeks. We used Skype, which helped, but everything was "Yea...I'll do that tomorrow...waiting on X....I have a wedding to go to, so I'll finish my part next week."
I didn't care so much, I had other projects to do, but the stakeholders pounded me almost everyday demanding a progress report (why aren't you done yet...etc..etc.)
The badgering got so bad I told the project owner (a VP) if he wanted this project done by the end of the year, the company would have to fly me to Norway so I personally push things along.
When real money was on the line, he decided patience was warranted.
A 3 month project turned into 9, and during a phone meeting with the CEO in December
O: "Thanks guys, this project is going great. We'll talk again in February. Bye."
PM: "Whoa...what! February!"
O: "Um..yes? It's Christmas time. Don't you Americans take off for Christmas?"
PM: "Yes, but not until Christmas. Its only December 12th. Your taking the whole month of December and January for Christmas?"
O:"Yes, of course. You Americans work too hard. You should come over here and see how we celebrate. Takes about a month so we can ease back into the flow of things."
<Jack is the VP>
PM: "Jack wanted this project completed by the end of the year, that is what everyone agreed to."
O:"Yes, I suppose, but my plane is waiting on me. Not to worry, everything will be fine."
<ceo hangs up>
PM: "Oh shit..oh shit..oh shit. What are you going to do!?"
Me: "Me!?..not a darn thing. Better go talk with Jeff."
<Jeff is the VP>
J: "This is unacceptable. You promised this project would only take a few months. I told you there would be consequences for not meeting the deadline."
PM:"But..but...its not our fault."
J: "I don't care about fault. I care about responsibility. I've never had to fire anyone for not meeting a deadline, but .."
Me: "Jeff, they are in Norway and no one is working this project for the next two months. You've known for months about them dragging their asses on this project. We're ready to go. Services have been tested and deployed. Accounting has all the payment routing ready. Only piece missing is theirs."
J: "Oh. OK. Great job guys. I guess we'll delay this project until February."
<leave the office>
PM: "Holy shit I'm glad you were there. I thought I was fired."
Me: "Yea, and that prick would have done it not giving a crap that it's Christmas."
<fast forward to Feb>
O: "Our service provider fell through, so I'm hosting with another company. You guys know PHP? Perl? I don't know what they called it, but it sounded so cool I bought the company."
PM: "You bought what? Are we still working with Z and B?"
O:"Yea, sort of. How's your German? New guy only speaks German."
PM: "Um, uh... no one here speaks German"
O:"Not to worry, I speak German, French, and Italian. I'll be your translator."
PM: "What? French and Italian?"
O: "On my trip to France I connected with a importer who then got me in touch with international shipper in Italy. I flew over there and met a couple really smart guys than can help us out. My new guy only speaks German, J only speaks French, and R speaks Italian, Russian, and a little English. Not to worry, I'm full time on this project. You have my full attention."
We believe the CEO has/had some serious mental issues, including some ADD. He bailed within the first month (took another vacation to Sweden to do some fishing) and left me using Google Translate to coordinate the project. Luckily, by the end, the Norwegian company hired a contractor from England who spoke German and hobbled together the final integration.3
Programmer: We really have to refactor the codebase!
Director: That's not important. Do you think our customer would care what it looks like under the hood if we are selling cars?
One year after...
VP: We need to build a new platform for flexibility!
Director: Let's rewrite!1
I wish my boss would stop revoking my permissions. He's always saying how these slew of things need to be accomplished, yet, everytime I go to do them I'm at a wall because, despite having permissions for a very long time he decided to revoke them entirely.
It's not like I can't be trusted with them, it's been over 2 years with them, so why the sudden revoke?
I finally sent some snot mail to him informing him I'm unable to complete my tasks without the permissions granted to me (I'm a sysadmin, sec guy, boss is vp of tech), and instead of him granting them yet again he's going to run around and try to hack around the permission requirement so he can avoid giving me them.
Seriously? This is stupid. I was the one who wrote the security design and implementation document, and put all that work in. Now I'm being locked out of the system I designed, built and implemented?
Well, time to look for a new job. If you're a manager, please don't revoke your employees permissions without notice, at random, and try to hack around well-documented security policies. It won't end well!3
Tittle: About Larry.
Fun Game: Tell me if / when in this story you know the plot twist.
Setting: Years ago, non coding job.
I work with Larry a lot, Larry works remote. In technical terms Larry is senior to me and I escalate some technical issues that get assigned to Larry. I've never met Larry in person.
Larry can be hard to work with, but he's plenty good at his job and I don't mind his prickly side. Sometimes it takes telling Larry something a few times before it sinks it, but that's not a big deal. Sometimes it seems like Larry doesn't remember his cases entirely, but he has a lot of cases. Also Larry has good reason for how he works considering the land of scubs who usually escalate to him without any thought / effort.
Larry's escalation team is short staffed and they're trying to hire folks, but that's been like that forever.
So one day I get an email that Larry is going to be out of the office for a few weeks. Nothing unusual there.
My current case that I share with Larry sort of floats in limbo for a while. The customer is kinda slow to respond anyhow and there's nothing that I need Larry for.
Finally I get automated notice that my case has had a new escalation engineer. Laura. Laura is much more positive and happy compared to Larry. Understandably Laura isn't up to date on the case so we go back and forth with some emails and notes in the case.
The case is moving along just fine, we're making progress, but it's slow because of the customer's testing procedures. Then we hit a point where this customer's management pushes on sales for a solution (this customer's management is known for doing this rando like for no reason).
Down the management chain it goes and everyone wants a big conference call to get everyone up to date / discuss next steps (no big deal).
Now I really don't want to do this with Laura and throw her into the deep end with this customer, she doesn't have the background and I'd rather do this call with Larry & Me & Laura. Also according to the original email Larry is due back soon.
I start writing an email to Laura about "Let's try to schedule this for when Larry gets back."
Then I stop ... I don't really know why I stop but when it is a "political case" I want some buy in on next steps from management so I go talk to my manager.
-Plot Twist Incoming-
Long story short, my manager says:
"Laura IS Larry..."
I had no idea. Nobody told me, nobody told ANYBODY, (except a couple managers).
Back up a few months Larry apparently went to his managers and told them he was going to transition, surgery and all, in a few months.
Managers wondering how to address this went to HR and some new hire very young to be a manager HR manager drone logiced out in her bonkers head that "Well it shouldn't matter so don't tell anyone."
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!!??
Thank god I didn't send that email...
I did send an email to Laura explaining that I had no idea and hoped I didn't say anything stupid. She was very nice about it and said it was all good.
After that incident made the management rounds (management was already fuming about being told not to tell anyone) things came to another critical point.
Laura was going to visit the company HQ. Laura had been there before, as Larry, everyone knew her as Larry... nobody (outside some managers) knew Laura was Larry either. With nobody knowing shit Laura was going to walk in and meet everyone ...
One manager at HQ finally rebelled and held a meeting to tell his people. He didn't want Laura walking in and someone confused, thinking it was a joke or something horrible happening.
HR found out and went ballistic. They were on a rampage about this other manager, they wanted to interview me about how I found out. I told HR to schedule their meeting through my manager (I knew they didn't want my manager to know they were sniffing around).
Finally the VP in our department called up the HR head and asked WTF was going on / kind of idiots they had over there (word has it legal and the CEO were on the call too).
HR had a change in leadership and then a couple weeks later there were department wide meetings on how to handle such situations and etc.32
Impossible deadline experience?
A few, but this one is more recent (and not mine, yet)
Company has plans to build a x hundred thousand square feet facility (x = 300, 500, 800 depending on the day and the VP telling the story)
1. Land is purchased, but no infrastructure exists (its in a somewhat rural area, no water or sewage capable of supporting such a large facility)
2. No direct architectural plans (just a few random ideas about layout, floor plans, parking etc)
3. Already having software dev meetings in attempt to 'fix' all the current logistical software issues we have in the current warehouse and not knowing any of the details of the new facility.
One morning in our stand-up, the mgr says
Mgr: "Plans for the new warehouse are moving along. We hope to be in the new building by September."
Me: "September of 2022?"
<very puzzled look>
Mgr: "Um, no. Next year, 2021"
Me: "That's not going to happen."
Mgr: "I was just in a meeting with VP-Jack yesterday. He said everything is on schedule."
Me: "On schedule for what?"
<I lay out some of the known roadblocks from above, and new ones like the political mess we will very likely get into when the local zoning big shots get involved>
Mgr: "Oh, yea, those could be problems."
Mgr: "What's that?"
Me: "That's the sound of a September 2021 date flying by."
Mgr: "Funny. Guess what? We've been tasked with designing the security system. Overhead RFID readers, tracking, badge scans, etc. Normally Dan's team takes care of facility security, but they are going to be busy for a few weeks for an audit. Better start reaching out to RFID vendors for quotes. Have a proposal ready in a couple of weeks."
Me: "Sure, why not."1
At a previous job I bumped heads with the IT person a lot because he would spread misinformation about technology so the owners would never replace him. This was conversation with the VP:
VP: Hey I just got a new security setup at my house and I can monitor everything with my phone.
Me: That's cool.
VP: I'm rethinking it because [IT guy] said it was very dangerous to have, what do you think?
Me: ....? What did he say was dangerous about it?
VP: He said hackers could then gain access to cameras and plan the perfect time to rob me since it's in the cloud.
Me: I seriously doubt anyone is planning an Ocean's 11 heist to steal your TV.
VP: Yea I thought it sounded weird when he told me.3
So last time, when HR asked for a meeting I thought they knew who'll be leaving with me. But there is only rumors saying "CTO is poaching inside his team".
And I also learned from the a paralegal, who talk too much, that they just want to fuck with me.
So new course of action: how can I fuck with them? All week end thinking about it. And today, a big competitor, offered me the VP Engineering!!!
So I'll try to make them use their Non-Competition clause.
In France you can set a couple of main competitors and the employee can't work for them for a couple of years. And you have to pay the employee the full salary he could earn during that time (two years of salary). As the employee, you have to disclose this information (you want to sign with the competitor) with your current company and they have a couple of week to decide if they want to use the clause.
So I'm starting to see how I can scare them enough to make them use this clause.
I know it's not cool, but I enjoy so much fucking with them!!!10
Most unprofessional experience at work?
Check out my previous rants. With so many, it would be difficult to pick just one.
Not sure if I've told this one before. 'Caleb' was part of a team responsible for migrating financial data from a legacy (DOS-based) system to our new system.
Because of our elevated security (and the data being plain text) Caleb had access to the entire company's payroll (including VP salary, bonuses, etc).
Solidifying my belief that that salaries should be private between the employee and the employer, Caleb discovered he was making considerably less than his peers (even a few devs that he had seniority over), and the green monster 'Jealosly' took over his professionalism. Caleb decided to tell everyone making the same and less than him, the salaries of the other (higher paid) devs, managers and VPs.
Nobody understood at the time, but these folks started to behave erratically , like showing up late, making comments like "Why should I document that? Make 'money bags' over there do it", etc and so on.
Soon at review time, Caleb decided to use his newly discovered ammunition to 'barter' for a higher salary by telling the manager if he didn't make $$$, he would send an email to the entire company containing everyone's salary.
The manager fired Caleb on the spot and escorted him out the building (Caleb never had chance to follow thru with that threat)
When word got out about Caleb's firing (and everybody knew why), those other employees started showing up on time and stopped complaining about doing their job.6
HOD keeps coaching me in regards to my new role as a manager for my institution. I really like it, the man has a lot of knowledge and would show me stuff that not only deals with my job, but his as well. Thus far everything has been working rather smoothly, mind you, i have been acting manager for more than 6 months thus far, but they just made it official after our vp conaidered that most of the applicants for the manager role were not as qualified as I was, kinda had the advantage since I wrote the job requirements.
All in all it has been fun, stressing, but fun.
I was working a very hard project the VP of engineering asks me what he can do to help. I said find 5 more guys like me who can do the work. He laughs.
He then hires a guy. Who can't do any of the work.
I fire him in 3 months time cause he sucks.
The boss man then complains and says I can't fire all the guys. So I just ban the dum ones from charging my program.
So I get three interns next cause you can't fire coops I figured it would be easier to teach them then to watch a guy peck at a keyboard.
Now those interns just replace all the dum ones and I am happy. Rather work with them. Now everyone else wants my internship to work for them. They all get taken away to work with other teams.
Now I'm sad.
Stop stealing my interns
Hey new batch of interns.
Let's see what they know
Story of my first successful project
Being part of a great team, I've shared in a lot of successes, one I am particularly proud of is my first attempt to use agile methodologies in a deeply waterfall-managment culture.
Time was June/July-ish and we applied for a national quality award where one key element in the application stated how well we handled customer complaint resolution.
While somewhat true (our customer service is the top-shelf good stuff), we did not have a systematic process in resolving customer complaints. Long story short,
the VP lied on her section of the application. Then came the 'emergency', borderline panic meeting (several VPs, managers, etc) to develop a process to better manage
complaints before the in-house inspection in December.
As most top priority projects go, the dev manager allocated 3 developers, 2 DBAs, and any/all network admins we would need (plus all the bureaucratic management that wanted their thumb in the pie).
Fast forward to August, after many, many planning meetings, lost interest, new shiny bouncing balls, I was the only one left on the project. The VP runs into the dev manager in the hallway and asks "Is my program done yet? If its not ready before December with report-able data, we will not win the award."
The <bleep> hit the fan...dev manager comes by...
Frank: "How the application coming along? Almost done?"
Me:"No, haven't really started coding. You moved Jake and Tom over to James's team, Tina quit, and you've had me sidetracked helping other teams because the DBAs are too busy."
Frank: "So, it's excuses. You really think the national quality award auditors care about your excuses? The specification design document has been done for months. This is unacceptable."
Me: "The VP finished up her section yesterday and according to the process, we can't start coding until the document is signed off."
Frank: "Holy f<bleep>ing sh<bleep>t! No one told you *you* couldn't start. You know how to create tables and write code."
Me: "There is no specification to write to. The design document is all about how they plan on reporting the data, not how call agents will be using the application to serve customers."
Frank: "The f<bleep> it isn't. F<bleep>ing monkeys could code against that specification, I helped write it! NO MORE F<bleep>ING EXCUSES! This is your top priority from now on!"
I was 'cleared' to work directly with the call center manager and the VP to develop a fully integrated customer complaint management system before December (by-passing any of the waterfall processes that would get in the way).
I had heard about this 'agile' stuff, attended a few conference tracks on the subject, read the manifesto, and thought "I could do this.".
Over the next month, I had my own 'sprints' and 'scrums' with the manager (at the time, 'agile' was a dirty word so I had to be careful of my words and what info I shared) and by the 2nd iteration had a working prototype.
Feature here, feature there (documenting the 'whys' and 'whats' along the way), and by October, had a full deployed application.
Not thinking I would get a parade or anything, the dev manager came back from a meeting where the VP was showing off the new app to the other VPs (and how she didn't really 'lie' on the application)
Frank: "Everyone is pleased how well the project turned out, except one thing. Erin said you bothered him too much with too many questions."
Me: "Bothered? Did he really say that?"
Frank: "No, not directly, but he said you would stop by his office every day to show him your progress and if he needed you to change anything. You shouldn't have done that."
Me: "Erin really seemed to like the continuous feedback. What we have now is very different than what we started with."
Frank: "Yes, probably because you kept bothering him and not following the specification document. That is why we spend so much time up front in design is so we don't waste management's time, which is exactly what you did."
Me: "We beat the deadline by two months, so I don't think I wasted anyone's time. In fact, this is kind of a big win for us, right?"
Frank: "Not really. There was breakdown in the process. We need better focus on the process, not in these one-hit-wonders."
End the end, the company won the award (mgmt team got to meet the vice president, yes the #2 guy). I know I played a very small, somewhat insignificant role in that victory, I was extremely proud to be part of the team.
So we have this new vp guy, and a team in US and another in india
The vp asked me to finish one task by tonight 11pm, and if I need help with the India team's code, call a guy there to help debug
After some debugging with that dev, he replies with:
The code won't work because we haven't implemented it yet
Yo, what the hell is wrong with people
How am I supposed to finish a task that isn't even implemented, and why pushing so much to have it done, wtf I'm so confused with this
Every week a new headache like this, but this was laughable, in two weeks I start a new job 😂6
My manager is still being an asshole to all our customers. I cannot stand him, or his bullshit corrective action/write-up he sent to HR. The entire team is frustrated with him and his personal vendetta against me has caused me to go full force, looking for new works and well as transferring teams within the company. Things are getting politically heated right now and I'm not sure how things will pan out. I wish our old VP of software didn't pass away last month. The new CTO is a total tool and fuckwit. He sees developers as subordinates who must always away managers. He hasn't talked to anyone on the networking team since being hired, or anyone on my team.1
VP: We need to build a new platform for flexibility!
Architect: Let's do micro services!
One year later...
Now we have "micro services" in Elixir, Go, Node.js and PHP.
Not to mention our prehistorical products in Erlang and PHP...1
Our new coming tech VP does not know how to SSH with a pem file. He cannot fix the permission issue even after shell clearly tells him so. What is wrong with my company ><2