Fired Twice



  • Here's a little story I call "Fired Twice From The Same Company Inside Of A Single Month".

    For the last year or so I've been working for a consulting company. The client I was working for was having legal trouble so they had to scale back operations (laid off almost everyone). The leadership of my consultancy got me an interview with another client right away.

    The new client is a fairly large company that's known for having one of the most modern technical organizations in the area. (Standards are pretty low) I did the interview and got in immediately. I was feeling pretty proud of myself for having been accepted considering other, even more experienced, consultants from my company failed to do.

    The working environment was kind of strange to me: It was clearly a converted warehouse room with no natural light and no dividers of any kind. Between 100-150 people sat in that room. Two to a desk. Desks designed for one person.

    They rigorously practice pair programming there - two devs work on a single machine with two monitors, two keyboard and two mice. This is how almost all work is done.

    I thought this setup was helpful as I was sort of new to the technology stack and of course to that code base, so I would always have someone to help bring me up to speed.

    But I found myself having to ask "what are you doing now?" to my pairing partner several times a day. (We also rotated every few days). They would just type away and ignore me. The one guy had all the keyboard shortcuts memorized for the IDE I had never used. He used them exclusively. He even had some of his own shortcuts and command line aliases set up making it rather difficult to follow what he was doing or why or even how.

    Whoever I was working with seemed to prefer to "drive" and I wasn't about to just grab the mouse while they were working because they did that to me and I found it really jarring. I kept trying to bring up the idea that maybe I should be the one driving so I would learn faster but this was basically ignored. I brought up this issue during our scrum retrospective. That thing where you write suggestions on post-its and then they're considered by the group. The scrum master just kind of read it under her breath and stuck off on the side of the board. Was it wrong to bring that up there?

    I only spoke to one of the managers once. I said I was excited to work there and was looking forward to all the stuff I was going to learn (Angular, Mongo, Docker...). I did mention that it was kind of noisy in there, but that it wasn't a big deal and I would get used to it. Later that day, I got a message from my handler (guy from my consultancy) that they were worried I "wasn't working out".

    A few more days passed and right after they finally got me a laptop, I got another message from my handler "collect your things and meet me down the street at the end of the day". Well, that could only mean one thing, couldn't it?

    "[The head manager] said you're not working out. Did he ever talk to you about any concerns he was having? Did any your team lead?"
    "Not once. Did he give a reason why I didn't work out?"
    "He just said 'he's too quiet' and 'he didn't make enough of an effort to drive'. That's it."

    I had never been fired before. I've always been the one who "fires" my boss.

    My handler tried to convince me that it wasn't my fault, though I can't help but feel this was a personal failing. Personal, as in, not a skills problem, but a personality problem. I'm too quiet? It's never been a problem before...

    The day after getting fired, my handler told me there was another spot under a different manager at a different building for the same client.

    I went there to interview and was actually glad to have been kicked out of the other division as this was a nicer environment that offered the same opportunities.

    Aced the interview. Half an hour after I left they asked my handler "when can he start?". I was all ready to go the next Monday. This time, I would... Well, I wasn't sure exactly what I needed to do differently... This time, I would never stop talking. I would talk and ask questions and never allow a moment of silence.

    Friday at 4:45pm, I get a message from my handler: "You're not going in on Monday. Meet me for lunch and we'll go over it."

    "They changed their mind and they're going to pass."
    "What happened?"
    "Someone went to type your name into the system to sign you up and saw there was already an entry for you. Then they saw that you worked for [previous head manager] just a couple of weeks ago, so they asked him what the deal is. And he told them the same things he told me 'he's kind of quiet', etc and [the new manager] decided to pass."

    What's the lesson here? I'm not sure I even know. Be more proactive or something? Was it because I said it was noisy. I could have said much worse things than that (I've left out a lot from this story because it's already so long).

    Fired.
    Then fired a second time.
    Inside of a month.
    From the same company.
    For being 'too quiet'... I guess?



  • On the other hand, you're fired for "too noisy" instead.

    If you keep quiet and don't bring your complaint up, you would have been fine.

    Managers creates reason to let go whoever he want to let go.



  • @cheong said:

    Managers creates reason to let go whoever he want to let go.

    If they have some other reason for wanting to get rid of me, they'll use whatever as the excuse... but what was the real reason, then?

    That's what bothers me.

    If I did something wrong, am I going to do it again at the next job/client?



  • @Bort said:

    The working environment was kind of strange to me: It was clearly a converted warehouse room with no natural light and no dividers of any kind. Between 100-150 people sat in that room. Two to a desk. Desks designed for one person.

    Oh, the memory of attending ERP presentation in a major transportation corperation here (I'm not giving out presentation there, merely standby and offer adhoc support in case something went wrong).

    The room beside the one we're giving presentation is a conference room with a paper "war room" sticked on the door. The conference desk has been taken out and plain desk and seats are moving in there in similar fashion you described, except there's only around 25 person in that room... feels very crowded.

    It makes me shiver to imagine if I have to work in that room for over a year.



  • They can't fire you just because you make complaint, can they? So they have to make a reason.

    Since you mentioned you don't like the environment that is too noisy, the reason they created is not too far from truth, I guess?



  • Eh who cares. It sounds like they saved you some misery.



  • @cheong said:

    The room beside the one we're giving presentation is a conference room with a paper "war room" sticked on the door.

    The whole "war room" concept kind of works, if you're solving one problem that won't take longer than a couple weeks. If it takes an entire year, then (even if it's high priority) that's not a "war room" situation, that's just work.



  • Be grateful for not having to work in such a horrible shithole. Off to the next assignment you go, hopefully one where they have a bit more sensible management and staff.



  • This most definitely sounds like an issue with the company, not you.

    Enjoy the fact that you didn't have to end up suffering there for long. If they didn't interact with you and coach you on how to become a better member of the team, that's completely on them.

    Count your lucky stars and enjoy the next place.



  • @Bort said:

    What's the lesson here? I'm not sure I even know. Be more proactive or something? Was it because I said it was noisy. I could have said much worse things than that (I've left out a lot from this story because it's already so long).

    Fired.Then fired a second time.Inside of a month.From the same company.For being 'too quiet'... I guess?

    Oh, fuck that noise. You did nothing wrong. Those people are nuts. The SECOND I walked into a warehouse full of "coders" banging away at "paired" coding stations, I would pull a Cartman, flip the double bird and say, "screw you guys, I'm going home."

    Yeah, I can see sticking it out while looking for another position. But, seriously, screw that noise. Pair programming is fucking retarded. Programming in a group or team is fine. Sitting side by side with someone and programming together (unless it is a code review, or you asked for help) is beyond stupidity. Seriously, it is as stupid as the hacking they show on those stupid cop shows where they have two people banging away at a single keyboard to try to stop a hacker.

    Sane environments provide single workstations for programmers to work in. If they want more collaboration they can use dev leads, team leads, project managers, team meetings, agile meetings, etc. But having people rotate and pair up to program? No. Hard no.

    Fuck those people. You are WAY better off without them, and their insanity polluting your mind. Insist to your handlers that they NEVER put you in a place like that again. If your handlers refuse, they don't have your back. PM me and I will put you in touch with some people I have worked with a LOT who WILL have your back.

    Stay strong ;)



  • This belong in the main site @Maciejasjmj @Yamikuronue



  • That pair programming environment sounds like a nightmare. I didn't get into coding so I'd have to interact with human beings all day long. Give me a PC, tell me what stupid crap you want and leave me the fuck alone so I can get to work.


  • Fake News

    @Bort said:

    Then fired a second time. Inside of a month.

    @Bort said:

    "Someone went to type your name into the system to sign you up and saw there was already an entry for you. Then they saw that you worked for [previous head manager] just a couple of weeks ago, so they asked him what the deal is. And he told them the same things he told me 'he's kind of quiet', etc and [the new manager] decided to pass."

    Meh, potentially you embarrassed that previous head manager with your "too much noise" complaint because it could have been his idea of running that warehouse "to improve collaboration" and "have more instant feedback" thanks to "proximity".

    If he's so against you that he breaks up a contract after just a few weeks (maybe even days?) he could as well exaggerated to that new manager just to keep you out of his territory.


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