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The boss that had a positive impact on me was the one who was honest about the realities of our workplace. To some, his talks with me might come off as gossip. There’s some truth to that, but ultimately he was just doing me a favor. I think he also just needed someone to vent to since our roles were largely isolated from other colleagues. I appreciated not having the wool pulled over my eyes. He helped me understand the politics of our industry, like salaries and promotions.
Friend: What do you know about Wordpress?
Friend: My assistant made changes to my organization’s website and now it’s messed up. The page formatting is off.
Me: Wordpress has a version history for some things. Maybe go back to an earlier point in time?
Friend: I think she changed something that the vendor told us not to touch.
Me: Like a custom plugin that your website vendor made?
Me: Why is your assistant even touching things like that?
Friend: I really don’t want to contact the vendor because I don’t think they’re very good with website development. And I have no idea what this would cost.
Me: You might have to bite the bullet on the cost. And maybe fire that assistant for a butthole move like that. At least you have messaging to explain the wonky css is due to technical difficulties. RIP to your website.6
In 2020, I was working for a company that started selling at-home covid tests online. Marketing wanted us to add a survey for this product. They said this was required by the government…but we didn’t have to retain any of the answers…🤨.2
Stakeholder: In user profiles, I want users to be able to renew gift memberships for their giftee.
SH: For example, if I buy a gift membership for you and it expires or is about to expire, then I want to be able to renew it for you.
Me: Typically, gifts aren’t the gifter’s responsibility to manage. There’s no reason for you to be able to manage my membership from your account, even if just to renew. You’re opening up Pandora’s box here. If you let users renew for giftees, you’ll eventually have a user ask if they can cancel the giftee’s membership because they got into a fight and want to stick it to the giftee.
SH: But our users aren’t using the gift membership sales flow correctly. That results in all sorts of data issues for our reporting services and we spend so much time fixing it by hand.
Me: Your sales flow is confusing. The website asks users to verify membership for a giftee in case the giftee has or had a membership. How it the gifter supposed to know that? You’re trying to make things easier for you, but you’re expecting the user to know that and comply. That’s unrealistic.
SH: But there must be a something you can do.
Stakeholder: Our customers aren’t getting their order confirmation emails. It’s going to their spam. Is there a way to resend the emails?
Me: Wait. The email getting sent to their spam is not the same as not getting the email. Is it both or just one of those things?
SH: Here are some emails getting sent to spam.
Me: These are sent by third party vendors that you contract with. I have no control over what they do. You need to talk to your vendors.
Stakeholder: The orders aren’t importing from our order systems into our fundraising systems correctly. Gifts are showing last year’s codes. Do I restart the system?!
Me: Dude, I don’t know. My only responsibility here was to update the website’s config with the new codes you gave me. I did that. The correct codes for the orders are being sent to the orders system and that system is receiving the orders correctly. I know nothing about the configuration between the orders and fundraising systems.
Plus, y’all should have done testing before you ok’d my deploy. Don’t go looking to me to know someone else’s job. Y’all should have especially done testing since the person who’s the SME resigned months ago and there’s been no one to replace him yet.
Worst fight was at a former job. I complained about a senior-level employee who made unprofessional comments about me.
I asked followup questions about a request. I was told the request was correct. Turns out the other employee half read/didn’t read my question because she decided I was trying to cause trouble. When my boss reviewed my work and asked why it looked weird, other employee actually wrote in the JIRA comments “Oh, my apologies. I thought [name] was question the request. [name] changed the wrong thing.” She said the silent part out loud. And the wrong thing she accused me of changing…the website always looked like that and my boss told her so. (Also, not the first time she forgot what the website looked like.) But my boss didn’t make any JIRA comment about the “questioning the request” part.
My boss was really downplaying what had happened. Like other employee just made a mistake. That wasn’t a mistake. He wasn’t going to bring it up with other employee’s boss. It was weird because the incident was a written conversation so it was really hard to deny the facts. I also had the original email notification in case she tried to go back and change her comment. I think my boss either wasn’t used to defending his direct reports or didn’t have the power to do so since most of his department (including me) was slated for layoffs in a few months.
Well, I got the last laugh. A week later, I received an offer. I put in my notice during the company’s busiest time of year. And my boss actually asked me to extend my notice by three weeks. Really?! Expecting me to forgive and forget that whole “questioning the request” incident. I stuck with my original date.
My workflow would greatly improve if my stakeholders would just communicate when they make changes to the systems that the website interacts with. It would also help if they didn’t lie when they make a f*** up. Lack of info and lies don’t help me solve the issues they created. But I realize asking for this is like believing that Santa is going to send me a puppy for Christmas.
Me: [buys couch online and chooses in store pickup]
Website: Thanks for your purchase! Due to local laws on bag fees, you are being charged for 6 bags at the price of 5 cents per bag. These are the estimated number of bags for the size of the item you purchased. You can have this fee refunded when you pick up your purchase.
Me: It’s a couch. You can’t bag that. 😵💫5
My best mentor was at my first tech job. I’m pretty sure he’s a big reason why I got the job. Not me specifically, but he advocated for hiring out of a bootcamp that represented minorities.
I was just out of bootcamp. I was very sure I was not prepared. No, this was imposter syndrome. As evidence, I was offered a lesser role than what I had interviewed for. I was pretty sure I was only hired because the company was trying to fill a diversity quota, they could get away with paying me less, and I would take training well.
He was assigned to be my mentor. He was very helpful with teaching me the team’s practices and overall tech practices. Mentoring is hard and he was great at it. He almost inspired me to mentor, but I know I’d be shit at it.
When I was job searching, he wrote my recommendation. He helped me in so many ways.
Me: I opened a support ticket with the software vendor last week. I haven’t heard from them yet and the can be slow to respond. I’m unable to debug the issue on my end. If you can’t wait, here are some solutions to explore. [sends a few suggestions]
Stakeholder: Can I give you examples of another error that I think is related? Is that worth exploring?
Me: 😑 No. I’ve reached the limit of what I can do for debugging. I need the vendor to answer my support ticket.
I like to switch up my Google Meet and Zoom backgrounds. Keep people guessing where the heck I am. I’m a remote worker. It definitely messes with some people. Both the backgrounds and the permanent WFH thing.
Stakeholder: We have users who are putting like “John and Mary” on their membership’s first name field. Can we restrict that field so they can’t do that?
Me: But what if that user does identify as “John and Mary”?
Besides, what’s to stop any user from taking out the “and” and making it “John Mary” so they can get around input validation for words like “and”?9
Me [posts in community forum for software vendor]: Where can I find docs on X? I tried looking in the Knowledge Center but I couldn’t find it.
Random person replies and writes a two paragraph response about opening a support ticket with the software vendor…that response could really have been reduced to two sentences 😑1
Apartment management: Hey folks. Elevator #4 is getting a software upgrade so it will not be in service for a few weeks. While we’re doing the upgrade, the elevator call button next to elevator #1 will only call that elevator. The other call button will call elevators 2 and 3. Please press only one button. If you press both, you’re requesting two elevators to come to you and this slows elevator arrival time for other residents. Thank you.
99% of residents: Ah ha! You told us the secret. We’re going to press both call buttons because we choose chaos 😈3
De-duping drama continues. Background: stakeholder marked a bunch of records as “do not use” and didn’t realize/didn’t care about the impact on other systems. Many of those are active user accounts.
Stakeholder: What if we ask the user to create a new website account?
Me: they can’t register a new account of the email was used already. Are you expecting me to delete all those web accounts so the users can start over with their current email? Or are you saying you’re going to email 400 people and tell them to get a new email address and create a new account? Don’t force users to do extra steps to fix your mess.
Continued from: https://devrant.com/rants/5403991/...3
Stakeholder: Users are connecting invalid memberships to their web accounts. They shouldn’t be able to do that.
Me: Their memberships were valid when they set up the account. Your team’s record de-duping project is the issue here. You decided to mark those memberships as invalid.
I’m real tired of this stakeholder acting like this is a website issue or user error. Plus, this chaos could have been avoided if they and other involved stakeholders had just cc’d me on this de-duping project. I would have said their approach was not a good idea. But they didn’t because they want to do what’s convenient for them. If they want to be a reliable source of truth for our data, then they need to be responsible with how they’re handling that data.2
One day, the Director of Web Ops (marketing role) submitted a ticket to update the list of product categories on the website’s navigation. Sounds like a simple ticket right? Just some html edits. Nope. Every day for three days, she changes her mind and adds new changes. What should have taken me 10 minutes stretched out to three days. She held up code review of my ticket because she kept making changes.
She had plenty of time to sort out what she wanted. That ticket had been sitting in the To Do pile for two days before I touched it.
She was being an asshole because she knew she could get away with it and I had no recourse: my direct manager was on vacation, the entire dev team was going to be laid off anyway so no one was going to defend us on “trivial” matters, and we were going to enter code freeze soon so she’d just argue it was critical business changes for our critical revenue season.
I suspect she was also just not good at her job. I never met her in person because she was hired during the 2020 pandemic and we were all working remotely. I did see her make a five minute presentation during an all staff meeting…and she didn’t come off too well. Her voice was trembling during her turn to speak…like she was not confident or not prepared.
She knew she was causing chaos but she put on this act of not knowing. She was definitely trained on our dev team’s practices for tickets and deployments. She knows about code review, beta testing, and user acceptance testing that has to happen before a ticket can be deployed.
It happened to be before Thanksgiving weekend 2020. Our deploy was going to happen on Tuesday instead of Thursday because Thursday was a holiday (no one would be working) and Wednesday was a half day.
Tuesday afternoon at 1pm, she messages me and the dev in charge of deploy about more changes! My time is already occupied because our Product Manager went on vacation and dumped a large amount of user acceptance testing on me. I scream at my computer at that point because I realize I’m in the ninth circle of hell. I tell the other dev in a separate message that Web Ops has been making changes EVERY DAY since I picked up that ticket.
Other dev tells her that we have to check with the C-suite executive for engineering because we’re not allowed to make changes to tickets so close to the deploy. This is actually the policy. He also tries to give Web Ops the benefit of the doubt because we’re not deploying on our usual day. He had to do that to so she didn’t feel bad (and so she doesn’t complain about us not working towards the company’s goals).
Other dev had to do the code changes because I was otherwise occupied with user acceptance testing. If I were him, I’d be pissed that I was distracted from concentrating on the deploy so close to the holiday.
Director of Web Ops was actually capable of even more chaos. I ranted about it before. For that dramatization and if you want to go down the rabbit hole, see: https://devrant.com/rants/4811518/...4
I just experienced a new level of wut at my job. Web Engineering has a Google group email. This morning someone at work sent us an email about canceling a work order (and he didn’t know how to cancel it)…for a plumbing issue 😑Wrong engineering department, my dude. And you can cancel your work order by going to the request system where you submitted it or the email receipt of you request, which was certainly not to this Google group email. You have the work order number, so you must have an email somewhere about your request. And how’d he get this email?? I’m seriously wondering if this is a weird phishing attempt.2
As expected, I take a single day of PTO and I get a whole bunch of emails about stakeholders needing help and requests for website improvements. I have 14 days of PTO that I have to use in the next two months, so stakeholders gonna get a rude surprise when they see my out of office response almost every other day.1
Giving the stink-eye to the stakeholder who scheduled an important meeting when I’m out on PTO 😒😑😠 And my calendar had the day blocked off for weeks. Stakeholder probably doesn’t want me there because I’ll just tell them their “solutions” aren’t actually solutions.3
Worst collab was in bootcamp. Group projects always suck because there’s always someone not pulling their weight. In my case it felt like everyone was terrible. My only regret was not putting a specific person on my “don’t want to collab” list when groups were being assigned. That probably would have saved me from so much stress.
One person in my group didn’t know how to start up the project…two weeks into us working on it. She even had the privilege of having an outside mentor. Mentor didn’t know how to work the project either—but let’s be real, that’s not the mentor’s responsibility. She forgot she needed to run npm install. We were six months into this bootcamp and she forgot one of the simplest commands.
Another person was just a follower and couldn’t think for himself. He was so faithful to another teammate’s choices and direction that I wondered if they were screwing each other. Other teammate could be absolutely (and destructively) wrong and he would defend her as “well she’s taking initiative and showing leadership.” It wasn’t leadership, it was bullying. They weren’t dating/screwing, but I did suspect he liked to be controlled/dominated by “strong”women.
The “strong” woman teammate is someone I suspect of being the spawn of Satan. You were only useful to her if you agreed with her or could help her. If you gave her any sort of pushback, she’d turn on you. I think she wanted me to be both her parent and her scapegoat for the sketchy things she wanted to do. She pulled a lot of bullshit and tried to blame everything on me. Seriously, she would invest a lot of time in stupid things like getting me to agree to use bitmoji for team pics; I just wanted to check with the bootcamp first because they might have an unwritten rule about using your real face for presentations so guests know who you are. I had to get the bootcamp staff to support me because she was out of control. She tried to say that I was sabotaging the group from day one. The staff explained to her how her story of me “sabotaging” the group doesn’t add up. She backed down a little but she’d still try to screw me over through the remainder of the project.
There was one dude who was alright. He was the keep your head down type. Spawn of Satan would be on his ass about being late to class and he’d just stare at her stoically. He was a husband and a dad so he was choosing how to expend his energy. I don’t like people being late either, but show some compassion and don’t snap at people.
If I saw these people again, I would not even pretend to be friends with most of them. Spawn of Satan especially: I’d take out my crucifix and send her back to hell.8
Me: You decided some records in system A should be obsolete, but the records are tied to active user accounts on the website. Now, I have users emailing and asking why their profile’s last name field says “shell record - do not use.”
Stakeholder: Oh…can’t you stop those profiles from loading? Or redirect the users to the right record in system A? In system A, we set up a relationship between the shell record and the active one.
Me: 😵 Um, no and no. If I stop a user’s profile from on the website, that’s just going to cause more confusion. And the only way to identify those shell record is to look at the last name field, a text field, for that shell record wording. Also, the website uses an API to query data from system A by user id. Whatever record relationship you established isn’t reflected in the vendor’s API. The website can’t get the right record from system A if it doesn’t have the right user id.7
I maintain two websites for my employer. The head of my department and my manager decided it’s best for me to focus my time on website A and website B should be replatformed to an out of the box solution. For website B, we’d work with our IT team to find something suitable.
I did some research and came up with a list of possible solutions. IT looked into solutions that would work with the org’s best practices for tech. A few sales pitches and demos were arranged with the top choices.
Stakeholder for website B is really digging in her heels. SH keeps badgering our Product Manager and IT about why can’t we just build in-house. The out of box solutions don’t do everything she wants.
PM tells SH that no solution will be perfect. PM also reminds SH that comparable institutions just use Google sheets/forms and do everything by hand. So choose an out of the box platform or use Google forms.
Plus, the list of improvements the SH wanted for website B would take at least a year if I did them on my own and there’s no budget to out source the labor. That’s not counting bring the code up to best practices or improving database efficiency.
I’m glad I don’t have to work with Stakeholder anymore. SH and her department were just a pain. They want a lot of custom tech solutions but they freak out at the smallest talk about tech issues.
I found my some documents about my dad on Ancestry and showed them to him because they’re things he’d like to see. His high school yearbook photo. His college yearbook photo. The flight manifest from when his family came over from Puerto Rico.
He was happy to see these. He doesn’t have his yearbooks because they’re not things he would have been able to afford at the time. The flight manifest helped put some memories together because he was a little boy when his family moved.
He did get a little freaked out when I explained why Ancestry had these things. But I think that outweighs the joy of discovery.1
I really hate sales people. My stakeholder wants to buy an address verification service but is hesitant to purchase now because the dev time needed would be substantial. Now the sales rep has planted seeds of doubt in my SH and SH thinks I grossly overestimated the labor I quoted.
Sales rep is all “major corporations have installed this in a weekend.” 🤬🤬🤬 Major corporations also have more than one developer and probably aren’t dealing with a website that has a dozen address forms that all work differently. Oh, and I DON’T WORK WEEKENDS MOFO.
My SH originally requested a labor estimate for installing the AVS on all address forms and that’s what I delivered. My audit revealed a dozen different forms. I’m working with a legacy code base that’s been bandaged together and maintained by an outside dev agency. The only thing the forms have in common is reusable address fields. They all work differently when it comes to validating and submitting data to the server and they all submit to different api endpoints. At least a quarter of those forms are broken and would need to be fixed (these are mostly admin-facing). I also had to provide an estimate on frontend implementation when I have no idea what they want the FE to look like.
My estimate was 5-8 weeks for implementation AND testing. I wrote up my findings and clearly explained the labor required, why it was needed, and the time needed. All was fine until the sales rep tried to get into SH’s head.
My SH is now asking for a new estimate and hoping for 1-2 weeks of labor, which is what will SH to buy the AVS. Then go to the outside dev agency you used to work with and ask for a second opinion. I’m sure they’d also tell you at least month if not more for testing, implementation, and deployment because you have a DOZEN FORMS you want to add this to. 1-2 weeks is only possible for a single form.
My manager doesn’t work in the same coding language I do, but he read my documentation and supports my original estimate.
I honestly want to ask my SH if this sales rep is giving a very good price for the AVS. If not, are there other companies in the mix? Because right now you have a sales rep that’s taking you for a ride and trying to pressure you all so he can get another notch in his belt for getting another “major corporation” as his account. I don’t think it’s a good idea to be locked in with a grimy sales rep.3
At a former job, the company decided to replatform to Salesforce. The entire dev team was laid off. But it would take an outside agency a year to build the Salesforce site. The company wanted the devs to stay for an additional year.
The only severance was something they called a stay bonus. It was 30% of our gross income but it was still contingent on performance. And if they decide to let you go earlier, it gets prorated if you still qualify for the bonus. Not a good deal.
Each month a dev left. By the time I secured a new job and left, all that remained of the dev team was a junior frontend dev and two team leads (one FE and one BE) with no team to lead. Well, there were contractors, but they were only brought on after the Salesforce replatform announcement. I’m pretty sure the company had to hire even more contractors. No idea how much that cost them.
For me, I think it was serendipitous that I gave notice during their busiest time of year. They actually tried asking me to extend my notice. Karma was coming back to bite them. Not just for the Salesforce thing. But also for their lack of support when I was blindly accused of being both insubordinate and incompetent.4
Stakeholder: There’s a bug on the site.
Me: That’s not a bug. The site is supposed to do that. Your team asked for that feature and we implemented it last summer.
SH: They did?
Me: Yes, they did.
SH: You sure it’s been like this since last summer?
On a lighter note:
Mom: How do I delete messages on my phone? I want to delete some pictures of coupons that I sent you.
Me: Why? Mom, that’s not really necessary. The messages aren’t taking up that much space on your phone. And those coupons have expired anyway.
Mom: But they’re old and I want to delete them.
Me: Ok. Get your phone.4