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Yep. I worked at a place where my director and manager were true mysogynists. One day the director walks behind one of my subordinates and knees her in the back of the knees to make her fall back so that he can catch her. He does this in front the whole office. I told her that I had her back if she chose to complain. We went to our CO and laid everything out, and he was forced to take action. I was pulled aside and told that I would ruin my career if I went durn this path. I told them that it was more important to me to do the right thing. The director was forced to resign, the manager was reassigned to another location, and yes, my career suffered, especially in the area of promotion. But you know what? I'd do it again, because it was the right thing to do.13
First internship (ranted about it before).
- Had to google translate their entire internal crm.
- pointed out major security flaws and got a speech saying that "I shouldn't think so high of myself and I didn't have the fucking right to criticize their products"
- every time the boss came to the office after a failed sales presentation, we (interns) got called the most nasty stuff. Yes. We didn't have anything to do with that at all.
- I had "hygiene issues": window to the south with 35-40 degrees (Celsius) feeling temperature and no airco. Deo didn't really make a difference but wasn't allowed to use it there anyways. Details: I have a transpiration issue so I sweat shitloads more than other people, that didn't help at all.
- nearly got fired because I had to to to the doctor in company time for a serious health issue.
- was (no kidding) REQUIRES to use internet explorer and we were monitored constantly.
Self esteem dropped through the fucking ground there.13
Having a boss who thinks he is an artist, designer, programmer, manager, salesman, pr manager, devops engineer and every project lead at the same time, never trusted anyone and reassigned tasks twice a day regardless of what you were working on right now. He was also unable to explain what he wanted or to set any meaningful goals. He also told customers we/he could do everything. One time, when we never made an app before, he accepted to deliver an iOS app within 1 week. ONE WEEK. THATS FIVE DAYS.6
- Every dev needs to connect to a remote server, and do the coding there because the bosses are afraid that we will "steal" their legacy spaghetti written by the CTO in 2006 (the current year was 2016-2017).
- There are no QAs, because "why do you devs need mommy to look after your codes?"
- Bosses think it's our duty to stay extra hours without overtime payment while talking bullshit about a culture that promotes work life balance. You receive no bonus for staying late, but if you leave work 15 minutes early, HR will have a serious talk with you the next day.
- Bosses require "evidence" when you submit a leave request. For example, you tell them you're taking a vacation, they'll ask you for a copy of airline tickets, hotel bookings, etc.
- Bosses spend a ton on hosting parties for the customers while we're using 6-7 year-old laptops
- The CEO loves firing people for ridiculous reasons. Once he considered firing a guy because the way he walks is funny11
This startup I started working for with their shitty code base written by interns, restrictive sys admin who had no actual use in the company since I was the one setting up their servers, know-it-all CEO, stupid HR representative who used to grill employees for being 10 minutes late in the morning, very small apartment "HQ", using fingerprints to signal our entry and our leave to and from the office, no formal process, and, to top it all, monitoring our own laptops which we use for work with a software that takes screenshots every few minutes. In short, it had the worst in corporates with the worst of startups combined in one company.
If, hypothetically, we could overlook all this, I couldn't overlook the horrible smell this place had. The apartment was overlooking a small garden which was a home for many stray cats and dogs. You can imagine how horrible this smell was. The weird thing was that no one there seemed to really care about the smell!!
I lasted there for only one week before I gave my resignation and I believe I had every right to do so.5
A few years ago I had a startup. I invited 2 friends to join and we split the ownership equally. I did most the work but didn't mind. I had fun. Anyway, the story is not about me. I was in a startup incubator.
There was this stereotypical rich kid in the incubator too.
For the first few months he refused to even share what his idea was.
Finally he was forced to do it. It was an app for storing gift cards. Literally, there were startups for some high tech phd genious types. But the guy with the idea of a gift card app didn't want to share in fear that we would steal his mediocre idea.
His idea was to digitalize physical gift cards without the consent of the companies and make a market for selling, buying and trading (and taking a fee). When asked what if the companies refuse to accept the unofficial digital gift card, he said he had talked to a lawyer that they should accept it or he would sue them. Wow.
There was a guy who had attempted at doing an app like that 2 years before too apparently.
So here comes the part about the work culture.
He convinced 3 or 4 computer science students to develop the app for him. He offered them 1%, no pay. Talking about how rich they would get and how big it would be.
Luckily, one of the developers came to his senses after a few weeks and convinced the others that they were worth much more.
The guy was furious and even threatened to sue them.
He even got like 2-3k USD from some of his parents rich friends to develop the app. He could afford to pay them.
Anyway, the app was never completed.
I have many stories like that from other startups. A lot of students getting ripped off to work for free. I know people who have startups going for years thanks to free labor.1
The worst work culture I've experienced was at a local security company.
There was a reason why over 15 people come and go within 6 months (just 30 people work there):
The boss is a fucking psychopath and should be (mis)treated in a high-security mental health institution.
There has not been one sane day during the 90 days I had to work there.
A friend of mine still has to work there because he can't find anything else in his current situation...11
1. Aim is to complete work as soon as possible and not worrying about good coding practices.
2. Senior Engineers take credits for everything that Junior Engineers work on. And that Junior Engineers are just shadows
3. Credits? Team lead and senior engineers take. Complains/issues/delay in product delivery? Junior Engineers are blamed
4. Testing? Test cases? What are they? Why do we need them? That's what my team lead asked.
5. Take work without even knowing what it is or what is to be done and then just keep carry forwarding it.
6. Junior engineer dares to point out any mistake, he/she is very rude and is taunted forever
And many more.....5
I think the worst work culture you can experience is nepotism and corruption in hierarchy. What do I mean? Well, this happened (and I think is still happening) in my last job. It was a huge logistic/delivery company. I was an intern, working as assistant developer of the only developer of the site. There was also a guy that was the technician, his assistant, a DBA and that's it.
Well, my partner and I were working on a system that managed almost all the operations of the company in this city.
Well, I supplied the dev two weeks when he was on vacation. I knew almost all the system. what happened? the manager from other city came with another Dev, and I'm not saying that I was an expert or something like that, but that dev from the other city was an incompetent. He couldn't even make a small GUI change without messing it all...
Guess what? The company paid him weekly round tickets to come and go from his city to ours (two hours of flight).
I was too disappointed I started searching another job. A week after getting my degree, I left my job and started in the one I am now. Before leaving, I asked my boss if there was a realistic chance to grow up. He answered no. To be honest, that didn't surprised me :/
The thing that makes me angry about this is that a lot of companies give chances to people that come from other cities, even if they don't know anything >:v
Oh, I almost forgot it: The last five months I was working there, they quit our office and send us to trailer-offices :/1
Two places: At a major NYC firm, I was in charge of social media. I was also involved with an intranet community. Something went bad with the intranet community project politics and I got blamed for it even though I had emails to prove I hadn't said/done what I was accused of. But to assert their dominance, my bosses called me to their office, sat me in literally a corner of the room, and interrogated me for 2 hours. The only thing missing was the bright light in my eyes and the "good cop" part of the routine. I'm ashamed to say they "broke" me and I just gave up and did what they told me to do to "fix" it even though I hadn't done anything wrong. The bosses were old enough to be my parents, so I wonder how much of that worked its way into the psychology of it all.
The second toxic workplace was where each month the boss would come from his home by the beach to tell us plebes what new ideas he wanted us to work on. We would just get done reporting on the results of his delusions of grandeur from the month prior and he'd pull the rug out and start us on some new thing. Never got any consistent traction on anything. He was the ultimate seagull manager: fly in, make a lot of noise, poop all over everything, and leave us cleaning up the mess. Oh, and we had to change the locks because we had to fire a customer service guy who was a little bit on the ragey side of things. Because of high turnover, I had seniority within 4 months of starting there.1
Here in Italy we run a few exam simulation in order to prepare for finals in June.
One of the two categories of simulations, one of which revolves around the core subjects of our technical course which in my case is CompSci and Networking.
"Sounds good!" one would say.
And I'd agree, if only our CompSci professor graded solutions in a sensate manner.
If one does not exactly copy and paste the solutions we repated in class 100 times (which, by the way, are all EXACTLY the same solution but with different data in diagrams and other sections), the grade WILL be insufficient: no but's or why's.
This is only one of the prime examples of what school revolves around. Sometimes it just feels like we are trained to be sheeps in a world of wolves. Rinse and repeat over and over. No technical competency is (almost) ever valued or allowed to be expressed and is often looked down upon by old school professors who literally care about everything but their subject, students and school in general.
I'm glad this is almost over, and that greener pastures are ahead :)9
> Worst work culture you've experienced?
It's a tie between my first to employers.
First: A career's dead end.
Bosses hardly ever said the truth, suger-coated everything and told you just about anything to get what they wanted. E.g. a coworker of mine was sent on a business trip to another company. They had told him this is his big chance! He'd attend a project kick-off meeting, maybe become its lead permanently. When he got there, the other company was like "So you're the temporary first-level supporter? Great! Here's your headset".
And well, devs were worth nothing anyway. For every dev there were 2-3 "consultants" that wrote detailed specifications, including SQL statements and pseudocode. The dev's job was just to translate that to working code. Except for the two highest senior devs, who had perfect job security. They had cooked up a custom Ant-based build system, had forked several high-profile Java projects (e.g. Hibernate) and their code was purposely cryptic and convoluted.
You had no chance to make changes to their projects without involuntarily breaking half of it. And then you'd have to beg for a bit of their time. And doing something they didn't like? Forget it. After I suggested to introduce automated testing I was treated like a heretic. Well of course, that would have threatened their job security. Even managers had no power against them. If these two would quit half a dozen projects would simply be dead.
And finally, the pecking order. Juniors, like me back then, didn't get taught shit. We were just there for the work the seniors didn't want to do. When one of the senior devs had implemented a patch on the master branch, it was the junior's job to apply it to the other branches.
Second: A massive sweatshop, almost like a real-life caricature.
It was a big corporation. Managers acted like kings, always taking the best for themselves while leaving crumbs for the plebs (=devs, operators, etc). They had the spacious single offices, we had the open plan (so awesome for communication and teamwork! synergy effects!). When they got bored, they left meetings just like that. We... well don't even think about being late.
And of course most managers followed the "kiss up, kick down" principle. Boy, was I getting kicked because I dared to question a decision of my boss. He made my life so hard I got sick for a month, being close to burnout. The best part? I gave notice a month later, and _he_still_was_surprised_!
Plebs weren't allowed anything below perfection, bosses on the other hand... so, I got yelled at by some manager. Twice. For essentially nothing, things just bruised his fragile ego. My bosses response? "Oh he's just human". No, the plebs was expected to obey the powers that be. Something you didn't like? That just means your attitude needs adjustment. Like with the open plan offices: I criticized the noise and distraction. Well that's just my _opinion_, right? Anyone else is happily enjoying it! Why can't I just be like the others? And most people really had given up, working like on a production line.
The company itself, while big, was a big ball of small, isolated groups, sticking together by office politics. In your software you'd need to call a service made by a different team, sooner or later. Not documented, noone was ever willing to help. To actually get help, you needed to get your boss to talk to their boss. Then you'd have a chance at all.
Oh, and the red tape. Say you needed a simple cable. You know, like those for $2 on Amazon. You'd open a support ticket and a week later everyone involved had signed it off. Probably. Like your boss, the support's boss, the internal IT services' boss, and maybe some other poor sap who felt important. Or maybe not, because the justification for needing that cable wasn't specific enough. I mean, just imagine the potential damage if our employees owned a cable they shouldn't!
You know, after these two employers I actually needed therapy. Looking back now, hooooly shit... that's why I can't repeat often enough that we devs put up with way too much bullshit.3
Yes, the chat application.
Fuck it, fuck mattermost, HipChat, Skype, and whatever other digital text medium for team communication.
These are great applications, but used for great evil. They feed cliques and passive aggressive "side" conversations. Every team I've been on has something like this, and it allows people to cultivate hate for one another even though they're sitting in the same room.
Texting allows you to complain about a coworker to your clique. Each clique can have it's own thread. This empowers people to silently rip into other team members. It prevents rational adult conversations and builds stupid little secret societies.7
My last job before going freelance. It started as great startup, but as time passed and the company grew, it all went down the drain and turned into a pretty crappy culture.
Once one of the local "darling" startups, it's now widely known in the local community for low salaries and crazy employee churn.
Management sells this great "startup culture", but reality is wildly different. Not sure if the management believes in what the are selling, or if they know they are selling BS.
- The recurring motto of "Work smarter, not harder" is the biggest BS of them all. Recurring pressure to work unpaid overtime. Not overt, because that's illegal, but you face judgement if you don't comply, and you'll eventually see consequences like lack of raises, or being passed for promotions in favour of less competent people that are willing to comply.
- Expectation management is worse than non-existent. Worse, because they actually feed expectations they have no intention of delivering on. (I.e, career progression, salary bumps and so on)
- Management is (rightfully) proud of hiring talented people, but then treat almost everyone like they're stupid.
- Feedback is consistently ignored.
- Senior people leave. Replace them with cheap juniors. Promote the few juniors that stay for more than 12 months to middle-management positions and wonder where things went wrong.
- People who rock the boat about the bad culture or the shitty stunts that management occasionally pulls get pushed out.
- Get everyone working overtime for a week to setup a venue for a large event, abroad, while you have everyone in bunk rooms at the cheapest hostel you could find and you don't even cover all meal expenses. No staff hired to setup the venue, so this includes heavy lifting of all sorts. Fly them on the cheapest fares, ensuring nobody gets a direct flight and has a good few hours of layover. Fly them on the weekend, to make sure nobody is "wasting time" travelling during work hours. Then call this a team building.
This is a tech recruitment company that makes a big fuss about how tech recruitment is broken and toxic...
Also a company that wants to use ML and AI to match candidates to jobs and build a sophisticated product, and wanted a stronger "Engineering culture" not so long ago. Meanwhile:
- Engineering is shoved into the back seat. Major company and product decisions made without input from anyone on the engineering side of things, including the product roadmaps.
- Product lead is an inexperienced kid with zero tech background -> Promote him to also manage the developers as part of the product team while getting rid of your tech lead.
- Dev team is essentially seen by management as an assembly line for features. Dev salaries are now well below market average, and they wonder why it's hard to recruit good devs. (Again, this is a tech recruitment company)1
There is a company providing a very speciffic service. And it has a core application for that svc, supported by a core app team.
That company also has other services, which are derivations of the core one. So every svc depends on core.
Now that we're clear on that... I was working in a team of one of the subservices. We very strongly depended on core. In fact, our svc was useless if integration w/ core broke down.
The core team had an annoying habbit. They refused to version their webservices and they LOVED to push api updates w/o any warnings. Our prod, test, other envs used to fail bcz of core api changes quite often. Mgmt, IT head was aware of the problem and customers' complaints as well.
So as a result, once core api changes we're all in a panic mode: all prior priorities are lowered and revival of prod is to be our main focus. Core api is not docummented, the changes are not clear, so we have to reverse engineer the shit out of it. We manage to patch our prod up w/ hotfixes, but now we have tech debt. While working on the debt, core api changed again, in test env. Mgmt pushes debt back and reallocates us to hotfix test. Hotfix is 80% done when another core api breaks. Now mgmt asks us to drop wtv we're working on and fix that new break. By the time we're to deploy the hotfix, another api breaks in another env. The mgmt..... You get the picture :)
2 years go by, nothing has changed so far.6
My current company. It's locker room talk 24/7
I am a man. I don't mind sex, but my colleagues, and my boss, are talking like Trump was talking to Billy Bush in that bus. I am contemplating complaining to HR, who happens to join them in mentally undressing women and other lewd conversations, or handing in my resignation22
16 yrs old. KFC. School all day, fried chicken all night. Had to debone chicken for hours cause that’s what they put in your mashed potato bowels. It made me realize very quickly that my destiny belonged at a desk vaping, eating kfc and writing code12
This was not exactly the worst work culture because the employees, it was because the upper level of the organization chart on the IT department.
I'm not quite sure how to translate the exact positions of that chart, but lets say that there is a General Manager, a couple of Area Managers (Infrastructure, Development), some Area Supervisors (2 or 3, by each area), and the grunts (that were us). Anyway, anything on the "Manager" was the source of all the toxicity on the department.
First and foremost, there was a lack of training for almost any employee. We were expected to know everything since day-1. Yes, the new employees had a (very) brief explanation about the technologies/languages were used, but they were expected to perform as a senior employee almost since the moment they cross the door. And forget about having some KT (Knowledge Transfer) sessions, they were none existent and if they existed, were only to solve a very immediate issue (now imagine what happened when someone quit*).
The general culture that they have to always say "yes" to the client/customer to almost anything without consulting to the development teams if that what was being asked to do was doable, or even feasible. And forget about doing a proper documentation about that change/development, as "that was needed yesterday and it needs to be done to be implemented tomorrow" (you know what I mean). This contributes to the previous point, as we didn't have enough time to train someone new because we had this absurd deadlines.
And because they cannot/wanted to say "NO", there were days when they came with an amount of new requirements that needed to be done and it didn't matter that we had other things to do. And the worst was that, until a couple of years (more or less), there was almost impossible to gather the correct requirements from the client/user, as they (managers) "had already" that requirement, and as they "know better" what the user wants, it was their vision what was being described on the requirements, not the users'...
And all that caused that, in a common basis, didn't have enough time to do all this stuff (mainly because the User Support) causing that we needed to do overtime, which almost always went unpaid (because a very ambiguous clause of the contract, and that we were "non-union workers"**). And this is my favorite point of this list, because, almost any overtime went unpaid, so basically we were expected to be working for free after the end of the work day (lets say, after the 17:00). Leaving "early" was almost a sin for the managers, as they always expected that we give more time to work that the indicated on the contract, and if not, they could raise a report to HR because the ambiguous clause allowed them to do it (among other childish things that they do).
Finally, the jewel of the crown, is that they never, but never acknowledge that they made a mistake. Never. That was impossible! If something failed on the things/systems/applications that they had assigned*** it was always our fault.
- "A report for the Finance Department is giving wrong information? It's the DBA's fault**** because although he manages that report, he couldn't imagine that I have an undocumented service (that runs before the creation the report) crashed because I modified a hidden and undocumented temporal table and forgot to update that service."
But, well, at least that's on the past. And although those aren't all the things that made that workplace so toxic, for me those were the most prominent ones.
* Well, here we I live it's very common to don't say anything about leaving the company until the very last day. Yes, I know that there are people that leave their "2-days notice", but it's not common (IMHO, of course). And yes, there are some of us that give a 1 or 2-weeks notice, but still it's not a common practice.
** I don't know how to translate this... We have a concept called "trusted employee", which is mainly used to describe any administrative employee, and that commonly is expected to give the 110% of what the contract says (unpaid overtimes, extra stuff to do, etc) and sadly it's an accepted condition (for whatever reasons). I chose "non-union workers" because in comparison with an union worker, we have less protections (besides the legal ways) regarding what I've described before. Curiously, there are also "operative workers", that doesn't belong to an union, but they have (sometimes) better protections that the administrative ones.
*** Yes, they were in charge of several systems, because they didn't trust us to handle/maintain them. And I'm sure that they still don't trust in their developers.
**** One of the managers, and the DBA are the only ones that handle some stuff (specially the one that involves "money"). The thing that allows to use the DBA as scapegoat is that such manager have more privileges and permissions than the DBA, as he was the previous DBA2
That one place i worked at where they made me use windows and after i played with one of the built in games, they told me to not play games at work, just browse facebook instead.2
My current one.
Though it's the best one I've ever experienced too.
It's just that I never worked anywhere else.2
I not sure what is worst, an arrogant client full of demands or anti professional collegues who don't respect you and try to subvert your work
Bruteforce programming about which I've already ranted earlyer and also let's implement everything in our ms access database and regularly open the DB using the Windows task skeduler.2
Once got into a corporate company, worst 3 weeks of my life. It was so depressing and the code was ugly and the people were like robots all doing overtime and coming on weekends. To top all that they were offering me 900 USD a month which is 1,100 USD less than what the same position i was in paid for in the competitor company.9
Oh man, stands out first in my memory. Was going ok until my original boss got transferred in to another department... The first replacement was one of our HR managers 🤔
The person she then made as similar to a team lead had issues with me when I had just a bit of a different perspective about a problem to solve - I soon found myself in technical support. Go figure...
I'll never forget what one of the directors said to me a little while after they shifted me:
"Not everyone can do what they want to do if they are not good at it..." I look back on that heart breaking moment and say with pride: FUCK, YOU.3
Amazing supermarket for customers, but the worst company to consultants:
- You have to badge in-out using wall-mounted computers running a MAINFRAME app using number and F keys to enter your times.
- They have an internal mailing system that they dubbed 'Notes' because making 'Mails' available to all superiors would be breaking privacy law.
- They won't let you work 1 day from home when there's a national public transport strike and you have no way of reaching the office.3
so there was this issue regarding our company's system which tends to be a problem for sometime now, its a recurring issue caused by the data that the users needs to encode to the system
today another issue arised, our senior supervisor, not knowing that this issue was already recurring and there is already a documented step procedure on how to address it, suggested or come up with a another solution which would task one of our co-developer to push a temporary code to production during business hours just to accommodate the issue and rollback the code after
take note that its during business hours and more than a hundreds of branches of the company are using the said system
what was he thinking !!
thankfully one of our colleagues voiced out explaining that this issue was already recurring and already has a procedural solution, but still our brainy-know-it-all-stubborn-close-minded heck of a supervisor insisted that the solution has computational impact and still insisted that they push a temporary code to the production, what an idiot!!
fast forward our colleagues ended up standing their ground, even if our supervisor is highly doubtful at them, and executed the already established solution instead of pushing a temporary code to the production which was such a bullshit idea
damn those close minded people they shouldn't have reach that position in the first place!!
My last workplace would fit to that tag quite well.
CTO who was also in charge of firing / laying off people is a code nazi that forced everyone to use some absurd code styling.
Agency life where the dev department plays 3rd string to our Creative/Experience team and our Demand Gen team. Mainly because the leadership has no idea how to sell dev work?
Oh, and when dev work comes in, its on a super rushed/compressed time table where we've over-promised, and under-charged.
No margin on this project? Yeah, no shit cause you sold it for 50% of what we told you it would cost, dumb ass.2