Need Help with Office politics



  • Hello everyone,

    Long time lurker.Frist time poster.I'm stuck with a lot of wtf's at my work and I need some help and I think folks around here offer solid opinion on just about everything IT related.

    I work in a team of about 20-25.A few developers.A few testers and one Team lead and Two managers.Is this already a WTF? I dont know. Anyways I have a few problems,problems that are just about everywhere.I know it is not unusual but I would like to hear your opinions on how to deal with it.

    1. My Manager is a complete dumbfuck.Thinks he knows shit but does not . Constantly interrupts every developer every hour.Holds a scrum meeting in the morning for about an hour.Holds a mini scrum meeting every hour with each developer for about 7- 10 mins.Sometimes gets to personal insults on the developer's ability to do stuff.How do I tell him to fuck off?

    2.My co-workers are complete shit.I am not an expert.I am not bragging here.I write decent code.I dont break old code.The Team leader acknowledges this and gives me code to work on that is critical.I work on them and my fellow developers fuck it up.How do I tell these gentlemen and ladies to pull their shit together?

    I dont want to go the polite way.I have been polite with everybody for almost a year and nobody seems to listen.The same mistakes are made again and again and again and ...I am tired of this shit.

    How should i basically be passive aggressive in this situation that I'm in ?

    Would be glad to know what you've got to say about this.

    P.S . Love reading all of your posts.Have learnt more from TDWTF than I have at my UNI.I am drunk and pissed.Want a quick solution.Sorry for the discoursistencies.This shit is hard to use.

    EDIT : I have signed a legal contract to work for the company till next August.Leaving is out of the question right now :'(



  • Leave. It is a toxic environment and it cannot be fixed.



  • @stillwater said:

    I work in a team of about 20-25.A few developers.A few testers and one Team lead and Two managers.Is this already a WTF?

    So far no.

    @stillwater said:

    My Manager is a complete dumbfuck.Thinks he knows shit but does not . Constantly interrupts every developer every hour.Holds a scrum meeting in the morning for about an hour.Holds a mini scrum meeting every hour with each developer for about 7- 10 mins.Sometimes gets to personal insults on the developer's ability to do stuff.How do I tell him to fuck off?

    If he wasn't a dumbfuck, you could tell him the parable of "context switching" in cooperative OSes like Mac Classic. (Yes, it sounds stupid, but it really goes get the concept of, "hey the more you interrupt me, the slower I work" across.) In good companies, you can just say the term "context switching" and people know what you're referring to and leave you the hell alone.

    Since he is a dumbfuck, there's probably nothing you can do except:

    1. Find a new job

    2. Go over his head about the issue, and be prepared to find a new job afterwards

    @stillwater said:

    2.My co-workers are complete shit.I am not an expert.I am not bragging here.I write decent code.I dont break old code.The Team leader acknowledges this and gives me code to work on that is critical.I work on them and my fellow developers fuck it up.How do I tell these gentlemen and ladies to pull their shit together?

    You can't without the support of management, and your management is a complete dumbfuck.

    @stillwater said:

    How should i basically be passive aggressive in this situation that I'm in ?

    You shouldn't ever be passive aggressive. It's usually counter-productive.

    You should prepare a presentation to management (over the dumbfuck's head) about why your current environment is not ideal, and how to improve it. You should include the numbers they care about, not just the ones you care about. (For example, "our unit test coverage is only 40%!": nobody gives a shit. "The cost of rework is approximately $50,000 in wasted salary a week": now you got their attention.)

    If your manager's a dumbfuck, there's a high probability his manager is also a dumbfuck. In which case, you're back to: find a new job.



  • @stillwater said:

    Constantly interrupts every developer every hour.

    But I'm with @lucas. Leave. If you can.



  • I agree with Lucas (que no se haga una costumbre) if you're so burned, the best thing is to leave for greener pastures. Also, this could be a way of delivering your frustration to HR on your leaving interview.

    You don't have much of a choice since no company is going to change a manager because of a grunted programmer. And about your team mates, there's also nothing you can do but search for a team that meets your expectations.

    A year and half is long enough to fit or leave.



  • @stillwater said:

    How do I tell these gentlemen and ladies to pull their shit together?

    You don't. Then you'll end up the one who's always telling them they're wrong and as there's more of them, you'll fit in even less.
    This is management's responsibility, but judging by point 1 this seems like that isn't going to help. Try raising it to them and the level above with facts and figures and if that doesn't work - leave.

    Or just leave.



  • You shouldn't ever be passive aggressive. It's usually counter-productive.

    I have so much hate inside me it is starting to affect my personal life close to the point of having to drink a little to go to work sometimes.I so badly want to be aggressive.I know it is not a good thing though.I dont want to get totally burned out

    You should prepare a presentation to management (over the dumbfuck's
    head) about why your current environment is not ideal, and how to
    improve it. You should include the numbers they care about, not just the ones you
    care about. (For example, "our unit test coverage is only 40%!": nobody
    gives a shit. "The cost of rework is approximately $50,000 in wasted
    salary a week": now you got their attention.)

    If your manager's a dumbfuck, there's a high probability his manager
    is also a dumbfuck. In which case, you're back to: find a new job.

    The problem being I have been working here for just around 1.5 years and is my second official job and owing to my experience the manager thinks I m just young and reckless and dont know enough.My coworkers have been around here for 3+ years.Have consistently managed to kiss asses and get more and more money.The ones who were recruited when I was already here have 3-4+ years experience and don't do for the project as much as I do.Again manage to kiss ass and keep things smooth. I am the only odd one out and when I brought this:

    You should prepare a presentation to management (over the dumbfuck's
    head) about why your current environment is not ideal, and how to
    improve it. You should include the numbers they care about, not just the ones you
    care about. (For example, "our unit test coverage is only 40%!": nobody
    gives a shit. "The cost of rework is approximately $50,000 in wasted
    salary a week": now you got their attention.)

    All i got was "You're new and you don't have much experience.You just code and leave this stuff to the more experienced ones." Well fuck me the experienced ones are fucking around just copy pasting code and no one acknowledges their incompetence



  • @stillwater said:

    close to the point of having to drink a little to go to work sometimes.

    Leave. Leave now.



  • I actually do care for the product I am working on.It is a Hospital management system and for fuck's sake somebody is gonna actually use it and trust the software to get things done the right way.I want it to WORK. I like the product and I think I might indirectly touch somebody's life(even if it is in the tiniest way possible). Leaving the team or job would make me feel bad.I've written code that makes up atleast 30-40% of the application just by myself.I've invested so much effort into it and it just feels wrong to quit.The team can all die for all i care,but I do want to make this product work.



  • I know I have not mentioned this before.I should have.

    I've signed a legal contract to work for this company till next August.I cannot leave now.I dont have time to brush up on my skills to get through an interview.I am so fucked and confused.



  • Ok, so don't talk to management and just leave.

    I'm not sure what you're looking for from us here, you have basically two options:

    1. Try to change the situation,

    2. Get another job.

    So if you're saying 1) is impossible, then just skip to 2).

    There's a good chance you'd have to do 2) anyway. (Look at what happened on my last contract when I tried to change the course of a development project to save time and effort not re-implementing a buggy copy of a black-box process.)

    Don't make things more complicated than they are.



  • @stillwater said:

    It is a Hospital management system

    Oh goddamned, do you work for Trizetto? Leave. Leave NOW. (And do more research before taking the job in the first place next time, haha.)



  • @stillwater said:

    I've signed a legal contract to work for this company till next August.

    Where do you live where that's legal?

    @stillwater said:

    I cannot leave now.

    What's the penalty for breaking the contract?



  • I guess I'll have to start seriously looking at option no 2 or possible find a way to get myself kicked out somehow.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    You shouldn't ever be passive aggressive. It's usually counter-productive.
    Actively hostile has always been very good for my career. The more outright PISSED OFF my direct superiors are at me, the better things get.

    I'm apparently doing so well that my director is actually flying out next week to sit me in a conference room and tell me off about how I steered the VP away from buying a quarter million dollars in needless shit that would put me months behind on a fix for the actual problem, as opposed to waiting three weeks for me to finish what I'm doing (or actually clearing the deck for me and letting me get it done in days)



  • @stillwater said:

    I've signed a legal contract to work for this company till next August

    There's always a way out.

    @stillwater said:

    I cannot leave now.

    Bet you can. There might be a penalty, but I bet you can.



  • @Weng said:

    Actively hostile has always been very good for my career. The more outright PISSED OFF my direct superiors are at me, the better things get.

    It works if:

    1. Your company is more focused on results than internal politics, and

    2. You're right when you're making your case.

    For my last contract that got terminated early, I had number 2) on my side but not number 1).

    But all previous jobs, getting (constructively) angry at stupid behavior was very good for my career. Because as it turns out, if you get pissed at a co-worker's shitty cloud setup, and just angrily take it over from him and give your company a $3000/month savings, management likes that. Generally.

    Then that guy ends up fired a few weeks later and you feel kind of bad but whatever.



  • Where do you live where that's legal?

    India.

    What's the penalty for breaking the contract?

    I have to pay the company 1600-1700 USD roughly(100000 Indian Rupees)

    And yeah thanks to you I am saving money! In the Bank! Got enough to survive for about 3 months without a job but paying them is out of the question.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    1) Your company is more focused on results than internal politics

    Do these companies exist?



  • What's the penalty for breaking the contract?
    

    I have to pay so much money that I dont have right now.And the sad thing being I am not even doing anything wrong.



  • Actively hostile has always been very good for my career. The more
    outright PISSED OFF my direct superiors are at me, the better things
    get.

    Can you elaborate? I would love to hear how this actually works.


  • SockDev

    Leaving is always an option, and if you are on the verge of needing to self intoxicate before going to work as you have indicated in this thread then the situation is well pas the point of any remediation.

    You need to leave as absolutely fast as you are able to.

    this is my recommendation:

    1. Acquire a written copy of your current contract, you should have been provided with a copy when you signed it, if not your employer is legally obligated under contract law to provide you with a copy upon request.
    2. Take your contract to a Contract Lawyer licensed to practice law in your state of employment.
    3. Explain your situation to the lawyer and get their legal advise on how to exit your contract as quickly and painlessly as possible.
    4. Do not talk to anyone about this until you have talked to your lawyer, this includes anyone on this forum.
    5. I'm serious about #4.
    6. Good luck, unfortunately you are going to need it.


  • @stillwater said:

    I have to pay the company 1600-1700 USD roughly(100000 Indian Rupees)

    Right, but it's just a job, and if it's having the effect on you that you say it is, then it's not worth it.

    There's a pretty common consensus from us here - you should listen.

    @stillwater said:

    I have to pay so much money that I dont have right now.

    Right - but currently it seems like the price might be your health. And being aggressive, or drinking before going to work, or telling your manager to fuck off are all going to result in getting fired which is going to have the same penalty. How much do you value your own health?



  • @stillwater said:

    India.

    The country of Gandhi allows what is essentially indentured servitude?! Jesus.

    You gotta talk to a mentor or even possibly a lawyer of contract law. I'm guessing that penalty's not enforceable. You might take a credit rating hit if it shows as a lien or something, but you need to decide for yourself whether that's worth not drinking yourself to death.

    @loopback0 said:

    Do these companies exist?

    Every company I'd worked for before my last contract, actually. Which is why I had such huge culture-shock there, and why I was constantly pissed at how goddamned inefficient everything they did was.

    One company I worked for (a major full-service online advertising agency) "talked the talk" of politics, but didn't "walk the walk". Meaning, I got moved to another division of the company but I outright told the new boss, "ok; but here's the projects I'm on, and I'm staying on them" and he knew deep down that he couldn't actually re-target my work hours, so he just kind of grinned and took it. That situation lasted for like 2 years before I got moved back into the division I was in originally, and the only negative impact was we'd somehow have to explain to the director why I was in group X on the org chart but only worked with group Y.



  • you could tell him the parable of "context switching" in cooperative
    OSes like Mac Classic. (Yes, it sounds stupid, but it really goes get
    the concept of, "hey the more you interrupt me, the slower I work"
    across.)

    Haha true story. My manager thinks "hey the more you interrupt me, the slower I work" is an excuse for being incompetent and inexperienced.I swear.



  • The country of Gandhi allows what is essentially indentured servitude?! Jesus

    I am surprised you should say that .There is hypocrisy everywhere all the time .FFS It is India.I thought everybody knew this by now.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Every company I'd worked for before my last contract, actually.

    Fair enough. This is IT job #2 for me and I've been here 3+ years (but with the company for 5) so direct experience of other companies is limited. I've just learned when to play politics and when to stand my ground.
    Being sufficiently valued to get away with some of it helps though, I guess.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    It wouldn't work worth a damn in India. The corporate culture is just too different. The supply of allegedly competent replacements who won't act like a dick is just far too high.

    Anyway, you have to play politics and be either sufficiently good or of sufficient rank to be able to appear in front of Boss+1 (or higher) every once in awhile. Your boss says something wrong, misleading, incomplete, or not truthful? Correct it. Even if it means your own error or the error of a colleague comes to light, your boss will take it on the chin instead because not only did they mismanage you into being able to make the error, they tried to cover it up.

    This only applies while you still work with the 'make things go/ship product/sell stuff/make widgets/close sales' tactical part of the company. Once you've been elevated far enough that your area of responsibility is budgets/hiring/managing/overseeing etc. strategic part of the company, you'll just be looked at as a climber and potential competitor.



  • On the other hand, there's two things here:

    1. What the law says, and

    2. What your employer says the law says.

    Believe me, there are a lot of people in the who who believe wrong things because their employer told them so, and they just took it on faith.

    There's also a difference between penalties that are enforceable, and penalties that are merely theoretical.

    For example, a lot of US companies have penalties in the case where you leave a job at Company A and start working at their competitor, Company B. In most places in the US, these penalties are illegal, unenforceable, and only exist in the contract because (legally) a contract can say literally fucking anything at all. I think it's safe to say that every time these cases have gone to court, the court has said, "well the contact was bum in the first place; tough shit Company A.



  • I think it's regional, too. Seattle techies always make fun of East Coast tech companies which have things like "dress codes" and other bullshit that's just comical on the west coast. (Even companies that don't officially have dress codes, look at their east coast branches. The employees still dress alike. Voluntarily! It's weird as shit.)

    Stuff that flies on the East Coast won't fly here. A slacker who's good at politics could probably become King Of Everything at a bloated government contractor, he wouldn't be able to clean the toilets at Amazon.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    I think it's regional, too. Seattle techies always make fun of East Coast tech companies which have things like "dress codes" and other bullshit that's just comical on the west coast. (Even companies that don't officially have dress codes, look at their east coast branches. The employees still dress alike. Voluntarily! It's weird as shit.)
    I like it when our Seattle-based PM comes to visit. For some reason, heels and a dress that's a bit spicy for the east coast club scene is her idea of 'stuff to wear to work in the scuzzy offices bolted to the side of a factory'.



  • That manager I was talking about above who had me moved into a different division of the company but couldn't actually change what work I did day-to-day, he dressed like John Ritter. EDIT: sorry not the actor, the character Jack Tripper. From Three's Company.

    Seriously. He worked in the San Fran. office, and every time he came up to Seattle, he had another glorious new 1970s outfit. It was kind of amazing. Despite his trying to "politic" me into his group so he could have more headcount, he was a great guy. We went out to drinks and shit all the time when he was up here. I'm guessing that kind of thing doesn't happen at really political companies.

    I can't even imagine what would have happened to him in an East Coast company. Do they do public hangings?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    A slacker who's good at politics could probably become King Of Everything

    This covers a large chunk of things here. Not just the IT part of the company either.


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    @blakeyrat said:

    The country of Gandhi allows what is essentially indentured servitude?!

    India is apparently a terrible country for worker's rights. See also: http://workplace.stackexchange.com/q/20945/373



  • For example, a lot of US companies have penalties in the case where you
    leave a job at Company A and start working at their competitor, Company
    B. In most places in the US, these penalties are illegal, unenforceable,
    and only exist in the contract because (legally) a contract can say literally fucking anything at all.
    I think it's safe to say that every time these cases have gone to
    court, the court has said, "well the contact was bum in the first place;
    tough shit Company A.

    I never looked at it that way.I feel like a complete moron now.I am definitely getting a lawyer.



  • Definitely get a lawyer, but also keep in mind that the contract could be 100% legit.



  • I should have researched more,sorry and thanks for the link



  • Do being good at work and at politics go together?Can this be done?

    It always seems to be that people who are good at what they do resent office politics and people who are good at it hardly do any work.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    We went out to drinks and shit all the time when he was up here. I'm guessing that kind of thing doesn't happen at really political companies.
    We're Fortune 500, which basically means we're as political as it can get. Drinks and shit flow freely whenever anyone travels. A bigger expense account limit means the person is more politically important, and that's very important to show off (and very important to use it). My limit is $2k, which makes me higher status than the $1k'ers (entry sales) but lower than managers ($4k)

    Ran a $4000 bar tab on my previous director.

    @blakeyrat said:

    I can't even imagine what would have happened to him in an East Coast company. Do they do public hangings?
    Either executed or worshipped as a god. One or the other.



  • It's hard to judge, since everybody claims to hate politics, especially those people most responsible for the politics. It's one of those things like how everybody claims to be an excellent driver.

    I would say:

    1. All companies have politics, it would be foolish to think otherwise.

    2. In good companies, actual performance outweighs politics every time.

    If Bob who hates you is preventing you from getting a resource, and you prove to someone above them that the resource will save the company money (and/or earn more money)... in the bad company, you still won't get the resource and might even get chewed out for "butting-heads" over it instead of resolving it with Bob directly. In a good company, you'll get the resource and Bob will get chewed-out for not considering your argument when denying it.

    Edit: this is also probably very similar to the "A employees hire A employees, B employees hire C employees" rule, where if a company has an strong, established culture of being either political or apolitical, that culture tends to be stronger than those who try to introduce politics into it. Or, it could be like my earlier example, where the people who try to introduce politics into it ("I want you in my group so I have more direct reports") have no "teeth" to actually make the reassignments, and they know it.



  • Don't worry, employers try to fuck up juniors with weird shit.
    For example, I signed an extra page in my last contract which said I had to communicate the company 15 days before leaving even when I'm on a testing period.
    The fuck I did, once I got the other job I left and no problems were raised because they knew they couldn't enforce that and I doubt they can enforce that penalty on you, even in India. I can ask some Indian coworkers on Monday and tell you about it.

    PS: in Spain you get a 6 month testing period in which any part can end the relation without any advance.



  • @stillwater said:

    Do being good at work and at politics go together?Can this be done?

    Yes. Probably depends on the company and the value of the person trying it though.
    You just need to leave.



  • @Yamikuronue said:

    India is apparently a terrible country for worker's rights. See also: http://workplace.stackexchange.com/q/20945/373

    Thanks for that link, that really clears it up.

    It look like what's really happening here is stillwater's company can hold his letter of resignation "hostage" until he coughs up the fee.

    I can't help but question what the original intent of the "one employer at a time" law, but goddamned talk about unintended consequences of legislation.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    It look like what's really happening here is stillwater's company can hold his letter of resignation "hostage" until he coughs up the fee.

    I'm afraid this is exactly what is in line for me.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @blakeyrat said:

    I can't help but question what the original intent of the "one employer at a time" law, but goddamned talk about unintended consequences of legislation.

    Yeah, reading through that SE post really shows how much of a WTF India is in regards to employment law. Such as:

    some CMM level 5 companies require all of your relieving, experience, payslips for verification. Companies like Infosys, TCS, CTS verify all the documents and also verify your educational qualification which includes your schooling and degree.

    Here in the USA, most companies do not even verify education listed on a resume unless you are applying for a C-Level job, and even then it is not that common. I cannot even imagine prospective employees having to turn over prior pay stubs in an application process...



  • I don't know what "CMM level 5" is, but military contractors here in the US do that amount of verification (and a crapload more if they want "Secret" clearance), so it's not necessarily a WTF.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    Ahhhhh, never worked a government job so I did not think of that.



  • @Intercourse said:

    Here in the USA, most companies do not even verify education listed on a resume unless you are applying for a C-Level job, and even then it is not that common. I cannot even imagine prospective employees having to turn over prior pay stubs in an application process...

    Unfortunately,this is more common in India than it should be.

    @Intercourse said:

    some CMM level 5 companies require all of your relieving, experience, payslips for verification. Companies like Infosys, TCS, CTS verify all the documents and also verify your educational qualification which includes your schooling and degree

    And these companies mostly hire for .NET/Java Jobs.This means If I wanted to go work on open source in India(which involves its own set of WTF-s) I would have lesser problems.If I wanted to work on C# then I am fucked cos these companies need to see those Documents and you previous salary and what not.The interview is not that relevant ,mostly includes stuff like abstract class vs interface,overriding vs overloading blah blah crap that anybody could learn by rote a week before the interview which almost everybody does.Actual technical experience counts very less.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I don't know what "CMM level 5" is, but military contractors here in the US do that amount of verification (and a crapload more if they want "Secret" clearance), so it's not necessarily a WTF

    I ve known and worked for companies that are CMM level 5 that involve mostly Infrastructure management,Healthcare,Order tracking... Nothing Top secret that would require military level clearance but they do verify these details



  • @blakeyrat said:

    You should prepare a presentation to management (over the dumbfuck's head) about why your current environment is not ideal, and how to improve it.

    Don't bother, just wait out the contract and leave. At a former job of mine, I got fed up with almost everyone being an idiot and work never getting done. When I tried to get some traction to improve quality, I was labeled the "creator of a toxic environment". Seriously, telling people their code isn't good was considered a problem. I asked - they didn't have a problem with my tone or delivery, my manager's manager actually told me that if I treated everyone as if they did great work, then they would produce great work. He used to send out emails congratulating people for getting one tenth of their job right.


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