I’m the sole developer working on my current project, which is overhauling a massive DOS era application, as well as overhauling an early 2000s era CRM/business management tool, that almost all of our work happens through.

Did I mention that the DOS application is a HIPAA billing application that must meet all HIPAA guidelines as well as write EDI X12 billing files?

I’m very junior, been coding for ~5 years, 3 professionally, but this is my first real dumpster fire. We were about to hire a second developer, but turns out he had a record. Not for just anything, which we don’t really worry about, but forembezzlementon thehealthcare billing applicationhe used to own. So, no. No can do.

So now poor 18-year-old me is knee-deep in a ton of shit I don’t understand, working on non-version-controlled code, having been expressly forbidden from using ANY VC by the CEO, and trying to get details out of my older supervisor who built the code we’re using, but he’s near retirement and has so many vacation days saved up that he spends maybe 10 days a month in the office. I honestly can’t blame him, but I either need resources to help me deal with legacy code, or a nice entry-level rails job, because I want to finish learning rails.

>having been expressly forbidden from using ANY VC by the CEO

Well that’s really fucking stupid of them. Maybe they’re worried about evidence of old HIPAA breaches existing after the system gets updated, and doesn’t want to explain that logic? On your local development station:

 mkdir repo
  cd repo
  git init --bare
  cd ..
  git clone repo project_folder
  cd project_folder
  cp -r ..//project project

Congratulations, you now have version control for local development that your CEO never has to know about! The only reason I’d suggest an extra folder (horribly named project_folder in the example above) is so that you never accidentally copy the hidden .git files when moving it from your dev station.

You do know that HIPAA violations can landyouin jail, right? Run. Don’t walk. Vacate immediately. Leave.

I’m finding myself hoping that this is a fake, because I wouldn’t wish this situation on anyone at all.

>working on non-version-controlled code, having been expressly forbidden from using ANY VC by the CEO

Version Control is a basic requirement of professional software development in this day and age.

You could try explaining to your CEO it would be like telling a carpenter they can’t use a hammer to build your new house.

Or just take the initiative and use Version Control without telling them. In my mind it isn’t something you need to ask permission for.

If you’re that young (18??), you can almost definitely afford to quit tomorrow and look for something better.

Never sacrifice your own career for your employer’s success (within some time horizon.) Being willing to quit when your boss is a clear bad actor is a core part of this.

>having been expressly forbidden from using ANY VC by the CEO

You can run a local git repo, no code would ever leave your PC. I’d do taht, and damn the torpedoes. If he is dumb enough to say no versioning, he’ll never know you run it locally.

>working on non-version-controlled code, having been expressly forbidden from using ANY VC by the CEO

I’ve been there. Run.

I’m bewildered as to why a CEO would have any opinion on version control at all. Or why you’d ask a CEO whether you could use one. It’s like a builder asking a construction company CEO if he can hold a hammer lower in his hand and that CEO forbidding it. Can someone explain?

A good friend of mine worked for a small company whose CEO also tried hard to convince him that introducing version control was wrong.

Of course, this same CEO also didn’t see any problem with the fact that the password field in the login form was never checked against the database, because who would know someone else’s login name?

Listen. If not using version control is a problem for you, you’re already more hirable than a lot of developers I’ve seen. Learning is always important but don’t use that to procrastinate.

You don’t have to go straight to the best job in the world. Just find something better (and do your homework to verify) and take it.

I’m in a small city, where not much work is available. I need to pad my resume a little more to make the work I do more attractive, but the reality is that LAMP devs aren’t in high demand near me. I apply to several jobs daily, but not much is around. I’d appreciate pointers on how to improve my prospects, but the last place I interviewed was a seedy adult entertainment company, and I wouldn’t have taken an offer if they begged, simply for personal reasons.

You said you’re 18, you’re young and hopefully don’t have kids, so apply in other cities as well.

Yeah it’s scary. But if the job is good enough, and the pay is good enough, then you’ve got to figure out why your bullshit reason for staying where you are outweighs both your mental health and your career prospects.

EDIT: And don’t forget remote options.

>I need to pad my resume a little more to make the work I do more attractive

A word of caution: One of my objectives as an interviewer is to drill into a candiate’s resume to see if they actually did what they said they did. Its OK to talk up your accomplishments. But don’t claim expertise in language X or technology Y unless you are prepared to answer some questions about it.

I know a bunch of remote-hiring places and if nothing else I’d be happy to help you figure out what to learn (and, probably, how to approach it) to GTFO. Email is in my profile.

If you’re 18 and already know why version control is a good idea, you’re very hireable in any number of cities/remote!

What are the arguments against version control here (if any)?

Honestly the project sounds quite interesting, but I can imagine the circumstances make it painful.

>What’s are the arguments against version control here (if any)?

* I don’t understand it

* You’re overcomplicating things

* We’re not using any of that free shit here

* It doesn’t say Microsoft or IBM

* The last guy we hired that tried to use it was smarter than I was so anyone else who tries is a threat to my leadership. (because everyone knows you can only manage people who have a strict subset of your own knowledge. If one of your peons dared learn something before you, that would be the end of your reign.)

the list goes on…

“We’ve never needed it before, so why do we need it now?” (actual argument against it at my current workplace)

* Azure means cloud and cloud means no

* It didn’t exist at the time, but there was an on-prem that MS offered a few years back. It was forced on another department with no version control experience. It lasted about two weeks.

>It doesn’t say Microsoft or IBM

GitHub does, now, though I really hope that isn’t necessary for a company to adopt version control.

I’m not sure what the answer is for version control, but I refuse to accept it’s Git. I don’t understand how it became so popular – did nobody say “wait, there might be a reason why Linus is known forcloningan OS and not coming up with a brilliant design for one from scratch?”

He thinks it’s all cloud based. It’s sad, yes.

I honestly enjoy the work when I know what’s going on. We have a lot of unique problems to solve, and I have gotten positive changes made, as well as some really good weeks where I pounded out some good code, but other times it’s slow, sad, and frustrating.

Big +1 for Gitea/Gogs, that thing will run on a toaster. Super low memory footprint and great for small shops.

Like others have suggested, use git locally, there’s no need for them to be involved or aware of that detail. Do you consult them on what text editor to use?

There’s a skill to learn in keeping engineering concerns to yourself. It’s unsurprising when management or executives are faced with decisions in unfamiliar topics they err on the side of Nay. Your mistake is involving them at all.

working on non-version-controlled code, having been expressly forbidden from using ANY VC by the CEO

Did the CEO give a reason? I’m a bit curious based on it being billing and HIPPA. Also, are you rolling your own EDI import/export?

I’ve work with HIIPA and VC. No issues, as long you do not store patient information within the source code, I cannot think of any reason why you would need to do that…

I don’t work with HIPAA but with other compliance/regulations NOT using version control is the problem.

Unless you have patient information hardcoded into the source code for god knows what reason…

You’re not storing patient details in VC…… Right? Maybe show him that you can run svn even on his own machine… Anything… Anything is better than not using something

I didn’t see any contact info on your profile but if you’re looking for a Rails gig, let’s chat. Ping me at my profile email.

I didn’t know this format was a thing and amsovery excited to discover it. I hope you folks enjoy reading horror stories.

I got a job as a Software Engineer in my current company 4.5 years ago; friend-of-a-friend sort of thing. The company had an apparently disastrous piece of software that was their main LOB. They had gone through pretty much every local consulting agency – at least once, on a few occasions they had gone back to one they had already used. It was about 10 years old and consisted of a mix of VB6(!), VB.NET, C#, F# and somehow now Node. At the time tackling a disaster like that sounded fun and I was miserable at a consulting gig. It was a 20k bump but no benefits (health or retirement), but as a single guy 6 months away from paying off his college debt I wasn’t worried. I figured I’d dump a few years in then move on.

Three months in, I’m absolutely baffled at what the company does. I was told they handle insurance claims, basically acting as a TPA. (Important detail: I had no idea what a TPA was at the time. It’s gonna matter later.) The softwaredoeshandle claims, but they also have 10 other projects that cover a bunch of random business use cases. Apparently the CEO is a self-described “idea man” and would task the previous developer to ‘prototype’ his ideas from time to time. The problem was his idea of a prototype was a fully-functional application that he could sell to investors and clients – until he got bored with it and shelved it. This ended up with the company having around a half-dozen actively used products in a half-dozen markets. In addition to the TPA side of the company that was about 50% of revenue, the other half was split over 1) check cashing software, 2) HR/onboarding software, 3) some sort if discount medical visit scam, 4) some sort of MLM scam that the CEO’s brother-in-law co-opted him into, 5) a random cannabis and self-help website run by some yoga guru type dude the CEO knew and finally 6) a piece of software that let helped churches organize events and donations that took about 50% ofanytransaction that was run through it as “fees” for our company. Now I could talk about any of those monstrosities at length, but this is already shaping up to be a wall so I’ll skip that.

1.5 years later. I’ve wrangled the mix of VB6, VB.NET, C#, F#, PHP4, PHP5, PERL, ASP.NET WebForms and MVC, SQL Server, Postgres, MySQL still using MyISAM, god knows what other horrors I’ve forgotten. All of this without version control – just folders copy-pasted over and over on a 10 year old server in the closet that has no redundancy, two failing disks and one PSU out of order. The last guy had started some positive changes: moving everything over to Azure, porting everything related to the claims business into a more modern MVC app. I finished his work. I squashed about a dozen WordPress instances into a single, multi-tenant host. Squashed out all the other languages and databases into just C#, ASP.NET, SQL Server. Ended up reducing the Azure spend by about $2000 a month. Felt good! CEO loved me. COO (my direct manager) loved me. CFO was pleased. All throughout this, I had convinced the COO to cut out all the shady, near-illegal, morally bankrupt garbage we did. No more check cashing (awful, awful industry), no more MLM of any sort, no more stealing money from churches (we kept that going, just changed our fees to a nominal amount). All the work I had done lead to a decrease in onboarding time from 2-3 days to 10 minutes and the TPA side of things was now about 85% of our revenue. Happy ending, right? Just you wait…

Somehow, I had not encountered a single brilliant “CEO Idea” for 1.5 years. He decided to fix that on one delightful summer day in the mid-west by announcing that we would be acquiring a healthcare startup that a buddy of his ran. Now this pissed most of the folks at the company off and is probably a good point to talk a little about the structure of said company. As mentioned, we had a CEO, COO, CFO, and “Chief of Sales” (never heard of a COS myself, but who knows). We didn’t call ourselves a startup and had none of that Bay-style of startupness; we were just a small business with some investors. After the C’s we had myself as the lone engineer, two sales guys, three admin-types and six or so customer service folks. None of which had healthcare or retirement benefits, mind you. So there was a bit of rancor when Mr. CEO started talking about dropping $5 mil to acquire this fancy new healthcare company. Somehow me, Mr. Software Engineer, ended up being the guy that needed to take this head-on (well, to be fair, the COO and I had great relationship). That’s a tale in and of itself, but at the end of the day we ended up getting a 6% matching 401k and $500/$1000 single/family monthly reimbursement for health insurance, stopped 3-4 people from quitting, got me a whole lot of respect in the office and a fancy new title of “Chief Technical Officer” (not related to the benefits; CEO was just happy at how efficient I’d made everything) and 20k base salary increase. CTO at a company with 1 engineer. Neat. Happy ending, right? Just you wait…

We also got a brand new healthcare startup for about $2.5 mil in cash, $2.5 mil in stock. We got sheisted and it was our fault. While I’m no MBA, I know what due diligence is, and I intended to do it from the technical angle while our CFO handled it from the financial. Before we bought the company I made every effort to actually review what their software looked like, but was single-handled blocked by my own CEO. “We’re never going to do that, Throwaway,” he would say, “Other CEO is my friend! I’ve known him for twenty years and if he says his software is solid, it is! Just trust me.” Diligence took about three months and despite dozens of arguments, I was deniedanyaccess toanythingtechnical. All I ever got was: “Our software is in Node using MongoDB and is hosted in the cloud.” Great. I was never even allowed to meet or speak to their development team (apparently 5 engineers, all of which were phenomenal). The only human being I ever spoke to at this company was the CEO. So I tried other angles, the big one being: what the hell does your software actuallydo? Their big claim to fame was ‘modernizing concierge medicine using AI’. If you’re like me and have no idea what concierge medicine is, it basically means your doctor comes to you because you’re a rich yuppie and can’t be bothered to leave your beach house to visit him. How do you enhance that using AI? I had no idea. Still don’t. And so we bought the company with zero diligence done, though the CFO did say their books looked good, whatever that means. So the nightmare begins…

2 years in. We start onboarding people, I start onboarding the project itself. I am finally given direct developer contacts, which are a bunch of emails thatdon’t end in the same domain as the company we just bought?Pardon? They’re all @BobsRandomConsultingCompany. I reach out, explaining who I am, that we just acquired Project X and I need access to the code, environment, engineers – the whole nine. I get a very lovely, professional response from a Project Manager over at Bob’s who lets me know that they will be sending over a contract so we can get started right away, along with their rate sheet! I’m baffled! I thought Project X had 5 internal engineers, Mr. Other CEO?! At this point I promptly aged 6 months in 6 minutes and I felt the first twinge of an ulcer growing.

Contract arrives, I sit down with COO and CFO and explain that we have been duped. COO is angry; CFO is not concerned until I show him the contract that Bob’s sent over. The contract ye olde healthcare startup signed apparently agrees to pay for 5 fixed resources (at $200/hr!) for 40 hours of work each, per week, for aperiod of a year. Now I’m not unfamiliar with being outsourced as a resource, from a consulting company, for a fixed amount per week – but never have I seen a contract that binds you for a year, especially for 5 resources, with not one deliverable mentionedanywhere. Maybe my five years of consulting wasn’t enough, but that blew my mind. Additionally, they sent us the server bills (AWS) and informed us we paid directly for utilization in addition to a “HIPAA Monitoring and Compliance Fee” of $3000/mo. As I had not a year ago lowered our own cloud costs to about $800/mo, this number struck me as staggering. $3000/mo base + around $2000 for the servers currently running. Also, “what thefuckis HIPAA” I said aloud, the only answer being the two confused shaking heads of my COO and CFO. Uh-oh…

Segway. The actual Project Manager of the acquired company (not the one from Bob’s Hair Care IT Consulting Nail and Tire Salon) has moved in and I’ve finally got a victim to victimize with mymany, manyquestions. She already looks harrowed before I begin my interrogation. Are people actually using this? How much do we make per visit? Visits per month? I forget the answers to these, but the end takeaway was: we bring in about $10k/mo net right now. I’m no accountant, but I’m fairly confident you can’t pay the expenses of a company + a half dozen employees on $10k/mo. PM agrees – they’ve burnt through about $7 mil of investor cash over their 6 years of existence. No path to profitability is in sight.

Around the same time I’ve got the Project X repository (whew, at least they used source control) moved over into my world and have started reviewing the actual source. I’m no Node wizard, but I’m immediately confused as I see both Express and Hapi (two server frameworks, generally considered competition to one another) used in the same project. That’s…odd. Investigation intensifies: it’s a simple CRUD project that takes a form submission from a registered user, saves it in Mongo and slaps it into a queue for delivery to the given doctors email. That’s really it. There’s some back-end admin that allows the doctor to write some notes about their visit. Like a little baby EMR (though I had no idea what an EMR was at that time). Amusingly, it’s got an Angular front-end (1.x, because why not spread salt on my wounds) that hits an Express endpoint that thenproxies the call to a Hapi endpoint. For no reason. I can’t find a single comment or piece of documentation explaining why. Icing on the cake? Their is in fact authentication used from Angular ->Express. The Hapi endpoints, however, are wide open – but surely not from the ELB, right? Certainly it’s just an idiotic architectural decision that isn’tactuallyexposed to the public? Nope. There’s a rule in the ELB. Sweet Baby Ray’s someone help me, there is a publicly accessible, completely open API that anyone could discover that gives away patient and doctor information. Huh, I wonder if the US has any sort of regulation on that kind of stuff? I should really take some time to investigate that HIPAA thing I found earlier, maybe that’s got something to do with it…

Employment duration: unknown. My ulcer has had a baby. I think I may have had a psychotic break. I Googled HIPAA. I simultaneously shat and pissed myself, which I didn’t think was possible during a panic attack, but the human body is an amazing thing. I took Thursday and Monday off from work to read through a PDF I found of this most enlightening “HIPAA” legislation. It says “SAMPLE” or “UNOFFICIAL” or some such on it, so I’m not sure how accurate it is, but whatever – I need to educate myself somehow. I spent a thrilling four days reading, re-reading, and summarizing what I understood of the several hundred page document – printed in three-column layout because why not make it more abysmal. It doesn’t seem completely dire; it looks like there is some stuff we need to do if we are storing this mythical PHI, but it isn’t terribly complex (at least technically!). I had already been planning encrypting everything we own, and all of our sites are already behind SSL, so this should be cake. Phew! Calm down, baby-ulcer, don’t think about grand-kids quite yet. Also I found a few great summaries of the Act which I could share with my COO – but really, we need to sit down with Legal and have them explain why this was never brought up. And let’s be honest, I’m not a lawyer – the professionals can handle this!

Legal has never heard of HIPAA. That’s not good. I convince COO to ask Legal to reach out to a different Legal who specializes in healthcare. We sit down with them a few days later and our new Legal turns white after I lay out everything we do, our concerns, and the simple question: “Do we need to do any of this stuff I read about?” Turns out, having your CTO read a complex, many-hundred-pages legal document isnotthe best way to get accurate legal advice. We’re fucked. We’re a TPA filing insurance claims – we absolutely, 100% must comply with this Act. Oh and guess what? The Act has a delightful addition called an Omnibus, passed back in ’13, that makes any possible defense wemighthave had to not comply…completely null and void. We’re in what is called ‘Breach’! We have fucked up. Royally and legally. Icing? We’re allpersonallyliable, at least to the letter of the law. But don’t worry – we didn’tknowwe fucked up, so the fees are an order of magnitude less. They’ll only bankrupt the company 5 times over, instead of 10! Hurray!

That was hilarious, the 2nd half was better than the first! You’ve had an amazing lesson in running businesses, you’d now make an excellent CEO, much better than the one you work for, having done some of his job. All I can say is they didn’t pay you enough money for the amount of stress you went through!

Will echo other comments and say that I enjoyed this post.

IANAL, however, in all seriousness…

I think you should talk to a personal lawyer about your situation ASAP, especially now that you posted this publicly. HIPAA is not to be trifled with and now you’ve shared that you have knowledge of a breach. You’ve also provided enough detail in this post that (if found and traced back to you) could be used as proof that you were knowingly complicit in breaking the law.

You want to retire early? I would not be messing around in a company that skirts the law. All this work could be for naught. You are high enough up that you have a decent chance of getting caught in the inevitable downfall of this company.

Seconded, hard. You can’t spend that $165K a year when you’re staring down the barrel of willful HIPAA violations. Leave the company as soon as humanly possible. Leave and hope that the blowback from the inevitable disclosure–which won’t be from your company–is happy enough eating the executive team that remains. And get apersonallawyer who understands HIPAA and explore avenues for whistleblowing; turning over on that company might be important for personal survival.

The story exceeds my suspension of disbelief. What particular jumps out at me is the backwards details – nobody off the street knows what “TPA” means, sure, but everybody who’s ever gone to see a doctor knows what HIPAA is, even if they think it’s called “HIPPA”.

I think you are rather over-estimating the degree to which people read those standard forms: it’s akin to expecting everyone to read the full text on the “Are you sure?” dialog before clicking OK.

I don’t know ifIread the forms, but so what? Many if not most people don’t do their own taxes, but they know generally what the IRS is and what it does.

Maybe it’s bull. But it has the ring of truth to it, to me, and I’ve worked for a few healthcare startups. A lot of developers think of themselves as “just developers” and a lot of people are brutally incurious about the world until it hits them in the face.

>You can’t spend that $165K a year when you’re staring down the barrel of willful HIPAA violations.

It’s much harder for the government to take back your $165k after you’ve spent it all. Sure they’ll garnish your wages but they’ll do that either way so you may as well live a little in the meantime.

HIPAA isabsolutelyto be trifled with. Look up who is actually fined and face actual consequences from HIPAA violations. It is 99.99% big universities, hospitals, and insurance companies. Everyone else gets (at most) a slap on the wrist and has to promise not to do it again. Once in a while they’ll fine a small family practitioner $25k for not shredding papers properly but it’s a total joke.

HIPAA Compliance Services are something for consultants to sell so business owners can sleep at night. It’s like Lisa’s magic rock on the Simpsons that keeps tigers away. Does it work? I don’t see any tigers around here do you?

I lost it at “What thefuckis HIPPA”.

Who the fuck buys a healthcare company anddoesn’tknow what the fuck HIPPA is?

Great read.

That’s (purportedly) a quote from the person posting this on HN, not the purchaser of the company.

Ok, but I’ve never come close to working on healthcare software but I’ve run up against HIPAA numerous times because partners, customers, suppliers, customers of customers, are in that space. So the idea that your company can buy a full-on healthcare software business but you and your legal people have never heard of it is pretty hard to swallow.

Lovely evening reading, I consumed each word, thank you for the writeup! Third act redemption for you, I believe it.

That’s an amazing story. My father has his own experiences with a CEO who has a habit of screwing up, but it’s not nearly as entertaining as yours.

CTO at 29 with that salary is the midwest? That’s rather amazing. You should be proud of what you accomplished. Do you still have that ucler, or was that just a joke?

I’ve worked for Fortune 500 and even Fortune 50 companies that acquired tech companies with no due diligence (usually in a panic) and I’ve had to clean up the mess. And the acquired folks usually leave in exactly a year and one day, after vesting.

And, even in 2019, I’ve gotten calls to clean up messes from people that have hired a software developer (for a company whose business isn’t software) who doesn’t use source control. Amazing!

Thank you for sharing this. This is, by far, one of the best comments I have read in a while. I am wondering though. What made you stick around ? Money doesn’t necessarily seem to be the motivation here to me.

Why are you still there? You could easily leverage your accomplishments to get another job. With your experience you could probably be an overpriced consultant.

This was fantastic.

>With stingy living I’m set to retire at 40 and that blows my mind

Got some Mr Money mustache vibes from your post, now I know why. Congratulations.

HIPAA is lovely in that it is worded strongly enough to get your coworkers to stop writing their password on a Post-It stuck to their computer. Fabulous read!

So sad I can only give you one upvote per comment.

That was one hell of a ride.

Have you tried to defuse your dangerous CEO by giving him a harmless hobby?

Launching anvils into orbit with black powder?

Do-it-yourself bacterial genetic engineering?

I was thinking less dangerous to the company, so these hobbies would be okay for this goal.

Thanks for sharing. Between your salary, stock options, 8% matching 401k, and being in the Midwest you can probably accomplish FIRE even faster than by age 40.

>also, get out while you can!

May I humbly suggest that this is not strong enough. You’re staring down the barrel of HIPPA; get a lawyer and hand in your resignation NOW.

(Not a lawyer, not legal advice)

Well that was a fun read. I have some background working on an EHR and yes, HIPAA is taken very seriously. Hope the “divine intervention” you mentioned doesn’t come from having shared this story.

Contract arrives, I sit down with COO and CFO and explain that we have been duped. COO is angry; CFO is not concerned until I show him the contract that Bob’s sent over. The contract ye olde healthcare startup signed apparently agrees to pay for 5 fixed resources (at $200/hr!) for 40 hours of work each, per week, for aperiod of a year. Now I’m not unfamiliar with being outsourced as a resource, from a consulting company, for a fixed amount per week – but never have I seen a contract that binds you for a year, especially for 5 resources, with not one deliverable mentionedanywhere. Maybe my five years of consulting wasn’t enough, but that blew my mind. Additionally, they sent us the server bills (AWS) and informed us we paid directly for utilization in addition to a “HIPAA Monitoring and Compliance Fee” of $3000/mo. As I had not a year ago lowered our own cloud costs to about $800/mo, this number struck me as staggering. $3000/mo base + around $2000 for the servers currently running. Also, “what thefuckis HIPAA” I said aloud, the only answer being the two confused shaking heads of my COO and CFO. Uh-oh…

Segway. The actual Project Manager of the acquired company (not the one from Bob’s Hair Care IT Consulting Nail and Tire Salon) has moved in and I’ve finally got a victim to victimize with mymany, manyquestions. She already looks harrowed before I begin my interrogation. Are people actually using this? How much do we make per visit? Visits per month? I forget the answers to these, but the end takeaway was: we bring in about $10k/mo net right now. I’m no accountant, but I’m fairly confident you can’t pay the expenses of a company + a half dozen employees on $10k/mo. PM agrees – they’ve burnt through about $7 mil of investor cash over their 6 years of existence. No path to profitability is in sight.

Around the same time I’ve got the Project X repository (whew, at least they used source control) moved over into my world and have started reviewing the actual source. I’m no Node wizard, but I’m immediately confused as I see both Express and Hapi (two server frameworks, generally considered competition to one another) used in the same project. That’s…odd. Investigation intensifies: it’s a simple CRUD project that takes a form submission from a registered user, saves it in Mongo and slaps it into a queue for delivery to the given doctors email. That’s really it. There’s some back-end admin that allows the doctor to write some notes about their visit. Like a little baby EMR (though I had no idea what an EMR was at that time). Amusingly, it’s got an Angular front-end (1.x, because why not spread salt on my wounds) that hits an Express endpoint that thenproxies the call to a Hapi endpoint. For no reason. I can’t find a single comment or piece of documentation explaining why. Icing on the cake? Their is in fact authentication used from Angular ->Express. The Hapi endpoints, however, are wide open – but surely not from the ELB, right? Certainly it’s just an idiotic architectural decision that isn’tactuallyexposed to the public? Nope. There’s a rule in the ELB. Sweet Baby Ray’s someone help me, there is a publicly accessible, completely open API that anyone could discover that gives away patient and doctor information. Huh, I wonder if the US has any sort of regulation on that kind of stuff? I should really take some time to investigate that HIPAA thing I found earlier, maybe that’s got something to do with it…

Employment duration: unknown. My ulcer has had a baby. I think I may have had a psychotic break. I Googled HIPAA. I simultaneously shat and pissed myself, which I didn’t think was possible during a panic attack, but the human body is an amazing thing. I took Thursday and Monday off from work to read through a PDF I found of this most enlightening “HIPAA” legislation. It says “SAMPLE” or “UNOFFICIAL” or some such on it, so I’m not sure how accurate it is, but whatever – I need to educate myself somehow. I spent a thrilling four days reading, re-reading, and summarizing what I understood of the several hundred page document – printed in three-column layout because why not make it more abysmal. It doesn’t seem completely dire; it looks like there is some stuff we need to do if we are storing this mythical PHI, but it isn’t terribly complex (at least technically!). I had already been planning encrypting everything we own, and all of our sites are already behind SSL, so this should be cake. Phew! Calm down, baby-ulcer, don’t think about grand-kids quite yet. Also I found a few great summaries of the Act which I could share with my COO – but really, we need to sit down with Legal and have them explain why this was never brought up. And let’s be honest, I’m not a lawyer – the professionals can handle this!

Legal has never heard of HIPAA. That’s not good. I convince COO to ask Legal to reach out to a different Legal who specializes in healthcare. We sit down with them a few days later and our new Legal turns white after I lay out everything we do, our concerns, and the simple question: “Do we need to do any of this stuff I read about?” Turns out, having your CTO read a complex, many-hundred-pages legal document isnotthe best way to get accurate legal advice. We’re fucked. We’re a TPA filing insurance claims – we absolutely, 100% must comply with this Act. Oh and guess what? The Act has a delightful addition called an Omnibus, passed back in ’13, that makes any possible defense wemighthave had to not comply…completely null and void. We’re in what is called ‘Breach’! We have fucked up. Royally and legally. Icing? We’re allpersonallyliable, at least to the letter of the law. But don’t worry – we didn’tknowwe fucked up, so the fees are an order of magnitude less. They’ll only bankrupt the company 5 times over, instead of 10! Hurray!

I wrote about my experience at my current job a few weeks ago [1]. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for all your support. I recently got an offer for the field I’ve always wanted to be in, with around a $25k pay raise too. It’s such a huge weight off my shoulders to finally see a way out and I feel so much better, basic things like my appetite are back and I don’t dread waking up. I already have so much more free time now that I’m not searching for jobs 2 hours a day after work. I gave my two-weeks notice this week and I’ll have around 3 weeks off to decompress before starting – I’m planning on visiting Seattle, anyone have any recs?

[1]https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20951953

Hey man, I’m so glad to hear the good update. I was really worried about that other post and just wanted to tell you that it’s not normal to be bullied at work. I’ve been on 4 very different companies, and never went to something even close to what you did.

Congrats on the new job! Be sure to enjoy your vacation, you deserve it!

Working on 20+ years of bandaids on an MFC C++ ERP Application with no documentation and some crazy ass shit going on. The goal make it a ‘web app’… The corporate office is constantly waging political fights between management. We can’t get anything done. Stymied.

I took a role which relates to a strategic goal aligned with correctness of data held. Its public-trust information. From time to time, pragmatism around “can’t we just change this record…” makes my blood boil: Its explicitlynotwhat I took the role to do: fixing pragmatic bad choices time after time, makes me want to go do something else, when the intent was to defend a line of historical accuracy and completeness.

The agency is a community benefit NFP, consensus led policy. The decisions we take off-policy worry me intensely. But realistically not all things can be done by consensus. I do think there are some pressures in this space which are similar to the above: if your own moral compass and how the enterprise is driving don’t align well, you really need to talk to yourself about why you are doing things.(I am not so far mis-aligned i have this problem, but I have in the past)

Friends left e.g. the IETF, precisely because of this. If you can’t adhere to the norms, you need to ask why you’re going.

My team runs a mission critical application nearly all of us were duped into supporting. Ops engineering turned into “process champion” and now I yell at people about ticket structure (bane of my existence) instead of diagnosing db performance issues (things I gleefully lose sleep over.) Now I question my passion for IT daily, fall asleep at lunch and wait for the day I do bad enough to be fired.

My boss (effectively) prohibits us from displaying negative emotions towards each other, as he pulls us aside to chide us when we do. I think the intention is to encourage more constructive conversations, but his bar for what he considers inappropriate is so low that it ends up stifling disagreements. We have a tough time making decisions because of it. It’s also difficult to tell him about other problems I have, because if I show any annoyance, he’ll criticize my tone. He, of course, gets visibly angry with people on our team on a weekly basis. It’s driving me nuts to have to walk on eggshells all day.

Yeah that’s seriously unhealthy. I’ve been in that situation. Get out, you’ll immediately be happier for it.

I do! I work at a failing startup. I find the direction and strategy of the company lacking. My advice is often ignored or they wait years and then claim it as their own. Sluggish sales. Sluggish revenue. Haven’t been profitable in the 5 years I’ve been there.

I’m looking for a job but I rather just be laid off and collect unemployment for a while. I’ve been working for 17 years with no employment gaps. I’m tired.

I can relate, I haven’t gone more than a week without a job in that same amount of time. I fantasize about just straight up taking a week or a month or a year off and doing absolutely nothing.

I’m not good a getting fired. I am personable and don’t slack off. Those positive qualities are having a negative impact on my dream. I’ve wanted to collect unemployment for years.

This fucking year…

So, for starters I’m already really depressed and low energy due to a death of a really close family member. I have particularly low tolerance and high fatigue due to this.

So, we shipped a product, successfully on time in a company that has had many years of difficulty of shipping products in our target market. Which was the goal. So the new management decides to disband the team, most of the team is already laid off.

I get moved into an adjacent org, onto a ~15 person team building a complicated piece of technology that I have great expertise in, and have built 3 versions at other companies to commercial viability, sounds great.

Well, the team has nobody else anymore who has the experience building the tech we are trying to build. Has existed for nearly one year, and (almost?) the entire team has changed through attrition already (maybe more than once). We have the sunk cost of almost 150k lines of code, that is immensely over-architected, and still doesn’t provide any customer visible features for what’s expected of this type of software. The team is stuck thinking way to big, and the few people who will focus are kept chasing around the rest of the team like cats. At this rate we will build something that can solve any conceivable problem in about 20 years.

There are already a lot of hands in “architecture”. Politics, and honestly my previously mentioned fatigue are preventing me from fighting the engineering fight I need to try to get a handle on it myself.

I honestly like the new manager enough. He listens to my complaints and recognizes my experience, but solving the problems are more difficult, and honestly I think we really should just scrap everything. This is already a rewrite and we have an old version of the code base that would be a better start, or I have enough experience to properly build a new one. But the sunk cost fallacy is ohh so stronger when you have this much of a sunk cost, and a lot of expectations from execs and external teams.

Ohh, and build times are like 40+ fucking minutes on a good day in a fast machine.

Anyways, thanks for an opportunity to rant.

>Ohh, and build times are like 40+ fucking minutes on a good day in a fast machine.

Reminds me one of my past colleagues who worked at some_proprietary_compiler with so many tests for corner cases that it took 6 hours for each build on a top enthusiast grade PC each person in a project was provided. Also the presence in office for 8 hours a day was mandatory, imagine the whole team spread around the place for the most part of the day doing nothing with an excuse “I’m compiling!”

I’ve had to work in some gnarly monorepos where pulling the dependencies down itself took an hour and a hundred gigs. Local builds were not fast. I usually ended up hacking the build system to build individual projects manually and copying things where they needed to go.sighmuch much happier now that I’m living in a smaller repo.

I don’t want to be fired. I absolutely love my job and the people I work with. But I can just smell that we are about to hit a sticking point with how I don’t do on call (it was never mentioned in the interviews or part of my contract) and I don’t respond to work after 5pm.

If it does come to that sticking point I’m trying to figure out how to be the most assertive and diplomatic. I.e. How do I convey that I badly want to keep this job but those new terms are a non start?

In professional settings, when it comes to these kinds of awkward topics, I have found a method that has served me very well:

A. Meet with the person who is applying the unwanted pressure (it works best one-on-one, so if more than one person is pressuring, you may need to figure out who is best to speak to).

B. Frame your concern as asking for advice. For example, “I’m struggling with how to handle this on-call thing. Work-life balance is EXTREMELY important to me, but I love my job, and I don’t know how to set that boundary without upsetting management. What would you do?”

In my experience, this approach makes the listener very sympathetic and pragmatic, and they advise you to do what you already want to do (and subsequently stop pressuring you to change). I think this is because people like being asked for this sort of help, and when they enter “advice mode” they take a step back and look at the situation from an impartial distance.

YMMV, IANAL, etc., but it’s served this awkward introvert quite well.

>How do I convey that I badly want to keep this job but those new terms are a non start?

You don’t convey that you badly want to keep the job. You keep that under wraps. The terms are a non start. End of story.

As the other poster said, I think an honest framing of just what you said is fine (“I really enjoy working here, but those other things are non starters”). If it truly was not outlined beforehand, then just point out that you feel strongly enough about the extra requirements that you would not have taken the job in the first place had it been mentioned.

Maybe they accept it, maybe it becomes a learning moment for them in the future. Either way, its unfortunate but non-starters are non-starters.

I think the best way to convey something you don’t know how to say is to put it this way

“I don’t know the right words to use – so I’ll say it directly. I BADLY want to keep this job but I even more so can’t be ‘on call'” .. you can explain to them that for you personally you need separation between work and personal life.”

>I’m trying to figure out how to be the most assertive and diplomatic.

Having a job offer in hand does wonders for one’s communication skills.

I perpetually have a few competitive alternatives. But I don’t want to have a conversation that way. I shouldn’t have to.

Then don’t.

First: Have a very direct conversation where you state that after-hours work, and being on-call, are not the job you took. Also state that you really like the job you have, and that you’d like to continue to work where you’re working.

Next: Make sure your value to the company is clearly established. What important things have you done that were vital to the company? (If the decision makers think they can replace you, then you’re better off switching jobs now.)

Finally: Figure out how to telegraph that you’re considering other offers without actually telling anyone that you’re considering other offers. In the late 1990s – early 2000s, showing up very late one day in a suit did it. In my case, I just started leaving at random times to meet people for coffee, or taking phone calls behind the office. Later, I didn’t pick up the phone for an “important” call with my boss, and his boss, because I was at an interview. They figured it out and the problem was solved very quickly.

You could perhaps try framing it as a negotiation, i.e. “there was nothing in my original contract that indicated this would be one of my regular responsibilities, I’m happy to open negotiations with you in order to add that stipulation.” Think of a salary at which you might actually consider being on-call (don’t be charitable; make it double or triple or quadruple your current salary if you want). Then, increase that number by 50% and call it your starting offer. If they balk and try to talk you down, offer to go lower, but don’t go below that number from the first step. Negotiations will almost certainly stall and your supervisor (who I presume is the one putting pressure on you) will then have political cover to tell their own supervisor (who I presume is putting pressure on them) “hey, I tried”, and hopefully this will continue far enough up the chain until it reaches a person that is so detached that they don’t really give a damn and drop it. If they do eventually end up firing you over this, then this indicates they would likely have fired you anyway and therefore you’ve not lost from this exchange. And on the slim chance that they accept your terms of quadrupling your salary, I guess you can retire substantially earlier. 😛

I am an acquired founder working in the bay area. The acquisition made me rich, I’m liquid, and I love my product and my team. Everyone did really well in the acquisition.

The acquirer means well, but as a public company there is little intellectual honesty and projects are going off the cliff while my fellow executives not sharing the truth of how bad things are going and asking for help from one another for the good of the company. I’m increasingly demotivated having to deal with lying and intellectual dishonesty at every turn.

I can quit, but then I lose out on almost a million bucks that’s unvested, not much compared to what I’ve made so far but I’d really like to just be fired (without cause) and get to walk away and start a non-profit.

Then coast. Just do the minimum to keep your job until your vesting date.

The way to signal that you’re unhappy is to give your notice the day of your vesting date. (Or give your notice so that you leave on your vesting date.)

I’ve seen worse. One CTO that I know of, after acquisition into a public company, got stuck with an idea guy who just monopolized his time pushing for dumb ideas that had nothing to do with what the company wanted. From reading between the lines, it sounds like there was a lot of verbal abuse going on.

If you’re fired, do you vest fully? We got acquired recently and it seems like my vesting doesn’t jump ahead if I got fired (without cause)… not totally sure though.

If you’re in a situation where your vesting schedule incentivizes your acquirers to fire you without cause your lawyers may have ripped you off.

it’s technically not vesting (my founder shares were fully vested on acquisition) – more of a hold back. we made sure to negotiate this term in.

doesn’t work that way for employees unfortunately.

wear sweat pants and no underwear and put your foot up on stuff while you talk to people in the office.

If you don’t have a penis, put a strap under the sweat pants.

No one is going to fire you with cause for not being aware of your obviously swinging dick.

Why would you want to get fired at the limits? Why not talk to your managers or you know resign.. I mean if you get fired you don’t get unemployment benefits.. I think you mean you’d rather as to be laid off. Getting fired in the best case means taking a moral position against the company that is righteous… Does being laid off mean you were lazy?

A pissing match between two unrelated branches of an enormous org chart has caused monumental waste and discord where I work as a software engineer.

My employer is also allergic to open source, even though we are a huge publicly traded software company, so we’re reinventing wheels for things that are already solved problems.

Toxic hell, I should be gone in weeks.

I do, but I need some filler on my resume so I’m toughing it out as long as I can.

Just finished four months of overtime to meet an arbitrary executive-decision deadline. Now I’m on a new project, and I’m finding out just how horrible theotherteams had it: legacy systems from the dark ages of tech that are being shoved into the cloud, critical account access is shared with everyone, everything was built by hand two years ago by people who are no longer here, nothing is documented, and 4am maintenance windows are a weekly thing. There’s aloof parent companies imposing draconian pointless restrictions, finance has a strangle hold over everything (hiring, new hardware, new software, etc) and kills any funding no matter how much we need it, but somehow execs will buy a giant pointless thing that we never use, all the bosses refuse to take responsibility to push back or even fix problems we can control, and we have to go through three different teams to get changes made outside a single cloud account. Developers don’t want to have any responsibility whatsoever for how their code actually runs or is supported, scrum masters impose ridiculous process requirements that have nothing to do with productivity, we never actually see a single customer/client until we launch a product, we have almost no tests, and almost no plans for what to do if we can’t just build more cloud stuff to fix any problem. There are 10 architects whose sole job is to tell you to use arbitrary technology with absolutely no context or consultation, security is one guy who doesn’t know what metasploit is, and the people building shared services for internal use don’t want to actually support the users using them. I’m the only one trying to improve anything because I’m new. Everyone else is either job hunting or is super green and in love with the constant free food and beer.

(Throwaway, for obvious reasons.) I work for a boring start up remotely half of the week (2 days in the office) and I run my own SaaS business on the side (making a few $k MRR after 5+ years). I do sometimes day dream about being fired, selling my company and quitting tech entirely for a damn good while. I have well exceeded my threshold. Perhaps I will continue to watch Twitch instead of work, sabotaging my job, or perhaps I will get my shit together. I am not really sure.

Please sign me up!

I had at least a dozen projects in as many months started, reach a completed state, then canceled.

I’m on a very small team, I am the only expert in infrastructure, but all infrastructure code is reviewed by the lead engineer who is a complete novice at AWS/GCP. I’ve written thousands of words of documentation and had entire weeks of phone calls to explain what is going on and the rationale behind decisions. Those efforts have thus far been in vain, and large swaths of my docs have been deleted during yet another wiki reorganization.

In my other areas of responsibility I am prompt, spot-on, and thorough. I bring experience and perspective, challenge half-baked ideas gently and constructively, and have shipped tons of solutions. I keep proving myself, and I do my best to celebrate my other team member’s wins.

I’m frustrated when I make common-sense suggestions that are skimmed over, misunderstood, and get argued against seemingly by default. Plain wrong solutions get approval, and prudent, cost-effective ones are ignored or even ridiculed.

I would understand a bit of politics and orthodoxy on a large team, but for such a small team I’m stymied as to why that needs to exist. I keep losing bits of myself as my genuine efforts are met with forceful rejection, day in and day out. I’ve sought direct feedback and gotten vague responses if any, followed by closed door meetings about me as I do.

The problem is, I believe in the company, even if my team is killing me.

Well honestly I have had a lot of sleep problems in the last 2 years. It seems I have CPPS[1], where I am up all night with an overactive bladder. The result is 5 or 6 out of 7 nights I get very little sleep.

I am in a role where I’m in leadership of a startup. I got there by being ambitious and pushing my capabilities. Now that we’ve experienced some success because of that, the company needs me to maintain a high level of performance. Further, I have a lot of equity tied up in the company. I feel stuck from the perspective of wanting to support the team, because of my equity, and honestly because when I’m normal, this is what I WANT to be doing.

I would love to be “fired” and just spend time with my kids until I figure this out.

1 –https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_prostatitis/chronic_pe…

I have the same issue and it was completely resolved with Amytriptalene. Until I found the right doctor it felt like my life was over, and they kept giving me useless treatments. Contact Dr Hanno at Stanford; he’s the only competent one I have found.

I assume your doctors have considered it, but have either of you had a vasectomy or undescended testical?

I had a undescended testical when I was younger, and had a surgery when I was 5 or so. Curious to know the link, as I share the same symptoms as OP now that I‘m 30+.

I have had a vasectomy (which my urologist knows, cause his office did it). I’d be curious why you say that. Is there a link?

Thanks so much. I’m actually not in the Bay Area. But yesterday I met a second urologist. They diagnosed me as CPPS after a 1-2 years of misdiagnosis from sleep doctors, primary, and another urologist. So I’m happy to finally have this diagnosis.

My new urologist is having me try OTC drugs (Zyrtec, ibuprofen, benadryl) as he said that it can be linked to inflammation/allergies where NSAIDs and anti-histamines can help. I’m trying those out to see what happens. Did your doctor send you through that course of treatment to try out?

I always get downvoted for saying this, but many diseases with “unknown” causes are psychological in origin. I get the feeling this is one of them. Read The Mindbody Prescription – hope it gives you your life back like it did with me.

I wouldn’t hate it. They’d be doing me a favor if there were more mouths than mine to feed.

A company merger resulted in lots of engineering talent leaving with multiple unfinished projects and very little documentation. We’re at a point now where only 2% of the original team remains.

I was hired to complete these projects and clean up the technical debt left behind. That priority shifted to work on new products. That priority changed again. It changed a third time. Now I’m being tasked back with coming back to cleaning up the technical debt and security mitigation’s I was originally hired for after a weekend outage that affected the wrong client. Suddenly the critical infrastructure weaknesses I pointed to needed our full attention and system reliability became the first class citizen I long argued it should be.

Except every time I make progress on patching up and stabilizing one system, a new hole springs in the dam.

I’m the Dutch Boy of DevOps at this place.

Despite recent increase in funding, management refuses to backfill any of our open vacancies, project management refuses to budge on timetables, and as a result we’re putting out fires daily with water guns and spray bottles.

Meanwhile we’re on our third VP of product in two years, and our second Director of Infrastructure.

Two years more later and I’m well beyond the threshold. Hoping there’s an offer letter coming soon after interviewing the last few weeks.

Fuck my job. I make more money than ever but a bunch of chodes want to meet all day. I do NOT like meetings. Pairing is a NIGHTMARE. I’m a hardcore sysadmin, let’s debug some drivers. Instead we run php web apps where I can’t grep.

I won’t tell tales about my current employer, but I’ll tell the one about my previous one (without naming them).

I left because the code base for their main product was incredibly bad. Brittle, opaque, undocumented, buggy, and virtually unmaintainable.

That alone wouldn’t have been a dealbreaker as long as the company saw the problem and we were working to fix the situation. That wasn’t what was happening, though, because the Big Boss didn’t agree that there was a problem at all, even though literally every dev was telling him so. He saw any effort to improve the code quality as a waste of time and money.

So, I had to leave in part because it was a terrible working condition, and in part because I didn’t want my personal professional reputation to be damaged by being associated with that project.

Yeah, that was my intention when I saw what I had to work with. But it was also specifically prohibited.

How do you prohibit making code better?

>for each desired change, make the change easy (warning: this may be hard), then make the easy change

And all that jazz…

Was your boss a super dev reading the code and calling out if it looked better?

The company I work for is active in an industry I have zero relation to. I can’t relate to the business at all and I’m working with ancient tech. It pays well though and was brought on board by a friend and I don’t want to disappoint him by leaving after just 1 year.

Have you talked to your friend about the company since joining?

If you’re miserable it isn’t worth wasting your time. You only have so many years to live…

1 year is pretty much the modern standard for the minimum appropriate time before moving on in my experience, so I think it’s fine.

In my country we have a two main employment contracts. One with full benefits and one with partial benefits. Second is usually used for your first contract or for hiring students on half time job.

In my IT department, everybody gets two monitors, unless of course, your contract is a “partial” one. Then you get work with one monitor, regardless of doing the same job everybody else does. They buy you second one, after they sign you with the full contract…

Getting fired from a bad job is like having the best sex of your life but with the worst human being ever.

Feels amazing for a brief moment but you need a very long shower and a doctor’s appointment after.

Then confusion and anxiety sets in because you’re afraid you’ll never have that high again and some part of you wants you to go right back for that perverse rush even though your smart brain says “HELL NO”.

You see all your friends working for their dream companies and wonder not if you’ll ever have that, but if ~anyone~ will welcome you again and you long for that filthy job.

You’re spiraling into darkness and come to HN for the Who’s Hiring posts and see all the other depraved lunatics and that’s when you realize – you are not alone and you are not special and that you’re gonna be downvoted just like everyone else – and it feels like home and it’s ok that you’re a miserable aspiring founder like everyone else who isn’t happily employed.

(I say it with love from past personal experience)

Getting told by my director that the product manager thought it was rude when I answered a question by sending them a link to the answer in the relevant documentation.

I guess this is why nothing else at this company is documented, because why write things down when you can waste multiple people’s time repeating things.

Not the rudest but it is basically saying RTFM. I deal with it like, here’s the info you’re looking for, but in the future you can read here instead of having to wait on me 🙂

The idea being to present it as a benefit for them and not an unburdening for you.

That would be considered passive aggressive messaging. People easily see through the intent. Just copy paste the content from the manual and link to source.

I’m very sorry to hear that. Some people will go to any length to avoid work, even by putting it on us.

In a previous job I got very close to a ‘them or me’ ultimatum. Then I got over it. Then weallgot laid off.

I’ve been working as a developer at a shitty company with no mentorship or room to grow for 2 years. My co-workers are obnoxious, loud sales people which drives me insane. I’ve tried my best to get out but due to visa constraints/random shit I’ve not been able to find anything.

Not with the job in particular, just want to take a break from tech especially from being a programmer.

Tired of staring at a screen for 80% of my awake time and constant puzzle solving. Sick of people in this industry making you feel you’re not smart enough, that you’re not enough no matter how many times you prove yourself in past work.

> Sick of people in this industry making you feel you’re not smart enough, that you’re not enough no matter how many times you prove yourself in past work.

Dealing with this in the heavy right now.

I’ve built a lot in my 10 years as a programmer. Infinitely, and automatically scaled application server based on load. Hasn’t crashed or had a single downtime ever since release.

I’ve built mobile applications 100% myself being used by thousands still today.

I’ve learned 7 different programming languages. I’ve done web, mobile, server, and even bare metal firmware. The only ‘domain’ I haven’t touched yet is ML.

Yet…. I truly feel DUMB. I feel like I’m nothing in this industry when one phone screen call puts you into an ‘online assessment’ where I can’t solve the problem in better than O(N^2) time.

These fucking algorithms are killing me, and making me have a hard realization that maybe I’m just not cut out for this. Yea, I’ve built shit… but you know what… anyone could. I’ve plugged together a bunch of work other people did, and wallah, working server. Working app. Working whatever. But I can’t write the libraries. I can’t code a hyper scalable function that could handle petabytes of data.

The only reason my fucking amazing server hasn’t crashed is because it doesn’t handle anything close to the scale that many companies need. Hence why these algorithms are so important. But I can’t fucking get better at them.

i’m going to be honest with you – if you wrote an app that has never crashed or had a single downtime yet is infinitely/auto scalable based on load, it is either extremely simple, you are a legitimate genius, or you exaggerated. there is just so much that can go wrong there that i’m skeptical, ergo i’m skeptical of other things you wrote.

however, if what you said is generally true, then it’s obvious you have some skills gluing stuff together. news flash: this is what a large fraction of people in this industry do on the day to day, it’s just that nobody wants to admit it. 90% of my previous software engineering jobs was just figuring out how to get things to talk to each other.

key for you i think will be spinning your skills in a way that makes you attractive.

you’d seem like a good fit as a consultant. clients generally don’t care about how you’d write a string matching algorithm from scratch and what the theoretical runtime is in theta notation – they typically appreciate contributions, on deadlines, and clear communication. they pay you to figure out how to make stuff work on a schedule you mutually agree to, and you either give them that and get paid, or don’t and don’t. put up or shut up, so to speak.

so i’d start there. you have a large pool of knowledge, so just pick whatever interests you the most. then what you think you should get paid per hour, and triple it.

expect 80% to not follow up on leads and 80% to reject your schedule/hourly rate/etc. sort of like interviewing, but at least you’re not stooping down to a level of desperation. keep your head up: your skills are worth a large amount of $, so don’t take it personally, and don’t reduce it just to get scrub-tier work/wages – unless you’re legitimately broke, but hopefully after so much working you’ve got some sort of cushion.

I’d recommend trying the graded exercises inhttps://www.coursera.org/specializations/data-structures-alg…orhttps://www.edx.org/course/data-structures-an-active-learnin…— unfortunately, for the most benefit (online automatic grading), you’ll have to pay either EdX or Coursera, but EdX offers a small sample of exercises to start, if I recall correctly. And there are a few more courses after those.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll learn better if someone doesn’t ask you to do the impossible, but instead leads you through enough solutions that you can get an immediate confidence boost from the first few easy ones, then the intermediate ones require more thought, and if you really get stuck, there are discussions about how to solve some of the problems. Usually you have to think algorithmically, not just write code, and some problems might just be harder for you to understand because you haven’t done as much work in that area. I won’t say it’s a complete look at algorithms—there’s a whole other course on strings if I recall, but it’s a good start.

Also, here’s my cheat to pass those employer questions — if they let you use JS, do EVERYTHING you can with ES6 Map and Set classes. Folks rarely look at the code and don’t care if you’re using for loops or advanced classes, but it’s way easier to use a Set than to worry about how many times you have to loop over some result to reduce duplication, or sort things, or what have you. If you need a unique sorted set, there are faster algorithms, but a simple (new Set(arr.sort())) gets the job done, because Set is insertion-ordered by default and any native JS function is generally faster than you writing your own code, so it’s impossible to mark this solution as wrong unless you exclude native functions (but who does that?). A bonus tip, if you need to figure out the difference between sets, just get creative with .filter and .map. There’s not much to memorize beyond that because there’s not much advanced functionality, just building blocks flexible enough to do anything, relatively expressively.https://exploringjs.com/impatient-js/ch_sets.html#missing-se…

A follow up, if ES6 JS doesn’t come easy to you — pick a language you like best and look for its equivalents to Set, Map, .filter (or select) and .map (or collect). Bonus tip, look for .find or .first, to short circuit looping and stop at the first thing that matches. Yes, you can memorize for loops or why one thing is more efficient than another, but if you start with Set and Map where each makes sense, you’ll solve 80-90% of algorithm questions pretty easily and usually in a way that’s straightforward to read and understand later, especially if you start naming some of your functions to make them a bit easier to read. (Like naming selectors in Redux…)

If writing SQL as part of a quiz, learn the different joins because usually the question is worded in a way where picking the correct join will deliver huge performance benefits by reducing how much data you’re going through or making things more efficient than looping through multiple subqueries. Left vs Inner vs Right vs Outer vs Cross… remember that the less data the server has to go through (the fewer records in the earliest sub query), the faster everything will run, in these quiz scenarios. Yes, in real life how you store data matters, what you index, but it’s rare you’ve any control over the index or schema in these tests.

>These fucking algorithms are killing me, and making me have a hard realization that maybe I’m just not cut out for this. Yea, I’ve built shit… but you know what… anyone could.

I wouldn’t get too discouraged about this: they couldn’t – not necessarily anything of value anyway.

I’ve worked enough places now where the product the business is built on was written by somebody who wasn’t necessarily a great programmer, yet this “bad”[1] code is the foundation of the company’s success and may be the sole reason they’re able to pay me.

You can build a really successful business on really “shitty” tech.

[1] Inefficient, non-scalable, hard to follow, poorly architected, spaghetti code – call it what you will.

I have news for you:

You can study for technical interviews and get good at doing them. “Cracking the coding interview” is a good start, then there is interviewing.io and other resources.

You can learn to be good at that shit with a bit of practice. You’re probably not dumb.

Outsource things you aren’t good at. You think Tim Cook knows how to write the code required for iPhone hardware to communicate? No.

Maybe it’s time to build something for yourself then. You have the necessary skills, basically a full stack dev + devOps. That’s the route I’m taking – also have never studied algorithms or data structures and am mostly self taught.

To you and any other developers that feel this way, there are plenty of companies out there, big and small that need your skills. FWIW, developers that know how to buckle down and do work are so important to a lot of un-sexy businesses, but especially on a project basis. Ever thought of working as a consultant? Or just doing part time technology work/advisory for several small businesses? It’s riskier than a salary, but the work is much more deterministic than it is novel.

edit: clarity

Actually talked with my therapist about this exact thing; apparently we’re in a weird industry where your side projects matter more than your actual work that you’re paid to produce.

The look on their face as I’m explaining how if I ever quit my job I’ll need to put twice as much work into side projects to stay relevant was… enlightening.

>Sick of people in this industry making you feel you’re not smart enough

I just want to mention that this isn’t an industry-wide problem. It is a cultural problem that tends to be concentrated in a few geographic areas and a few specific sectors of the industry.

You might benefit from taking a step back and considering a substantial change without leaving the industry entirely — to a new geographic area, or a new sector of the industry.

Also, there is quite a lot of very interesting and well-paying dev work in businesses that aren’t IT-related. They often have difficulty finding top notch talent, and as a result will pay well and be thrilled to have you.

Same. Have been thinking about taking a 6-month sabbatical from all things tech, but then worried I might just become so obsolete and out of touch that I’d rather suck it up.

Don’t worry too much about becoming obsolete. Frontend web development is my field and it moves faster than any other single area of programming. I took 5 years off due to burnout and it only took me a month or two to get back up to speed from a technical perspective. Putting up with the bullshit interviews is another story. I freelance now.

+1 for freelancing. I never had to deal with any of the bullshit 2 days on-site interview with whiteboard challenge. I don’t get the full interview routine because I’m considered “external” and “temporary workforce” ( 6-12 months ). Funny story that I’ve seen lots of “internals” moving to other gigs in about the same amount of time.

Freelancing gives you the opportunity to do your job, get your money and don’t get involved in company policies. As a side-effect you pass interviews and have flexible working hours.

How do you start finding clients for freelancing? How do you figure out a competitive rate without going too high or low?

I have about 10-15 hours of real work to do each week at MegaCorp. The rest is idle time at my desk/couch. Thought about moonlighting and doing 2 jobs but freelance sounds better.

As someone who experienced the same thing and started their sabbatical 3 months ago, I highly recommend/encourage it. I regret not having started my sabbatical earlier.

yup I have the exact same worry, I have a little side business unrelated to tech that is profitting about 500-1k depending on the month. Considering taking a leave to work on that fulltime but also worried when I come back I’d just become completely out of touch.

I’ve shared parts of this before but it seems apropos of the topic at hand.

I was working a Fortune 500 corporation. Been there 5 or 6 years. Pay was ok. Culture was meh. Technology was open source. I was happy enough but figured it was time to start looking around for other opportunities. Coincidentally, just about this time I get promoted to senior and the senior gets promoted between me and my current boss to be my new boss. He was not really prepared to manage people, was not given any training or preparation for the new role, was still expected to mainly write code, and probably preferred it that way. Because I’m pretty good at expressing myself and he wasn’t so much, I think he also felt threatened by me.

We had had a perfectly fine working relationship before this. But I started to hear from other team members that new boss was badmouthing me behind my back. Didn’t make me feel good, but shit I’m doing my job and, you know, you can count up my story points at the end of the sprint if anyone’s worried.

Things came to head during my first annual review under new boss when boss gives me a mediocre review. Tells me I ask too many questions, and says I don’t have adequate knowledge of our applications. I’m kinda dumbfounded. I point out to him that, besides having worked on most the applications for several years, I’m the one who set up the wiki and has written most the application documentation found therein. His reply: “That’s not knowledge. Knowledge is what’s in your head.” I’m at a loss. I felt like I was being gaslighted before that word had entered the popular vernacular and provided me just the word I was looking for to explain the strange feelings I was feeling.

I made the mistake of challenging the review with HR. It immediately became a shitshow and I quickly learned what people mean when they say HR is not your friend. Put on a PIP. Everyone I knew told me to put my head down and get the hell out of there as soon as possible. So that’s what I planned to do. Problem was every other company I interviewed with seemed like it was the subject of another post in this thread. Besides, my commute was only 10 minutes with no freeways involved at current employer and I was being kinda picky on that point.

Six months drag on. About everything that could go wrong while I was looking for a job seemed to go wrong. At one point I had a couple decent offers in hand I was ready to accept and then fumbled them both by trying to play one against the other. Meanwhile, I am keeping my head down and doing my job. I mean, my take on things is probably a little biased, but I’m pretty sure I was the most productive and reliable member of the team and the objective data, if management could have been bothered to try to collect any, would have backed me up. After all, in the not so distant past, they had promoted me to senior.

So the period assigned to the original PIP expires. I’m ashamed to still be there. But at least I figure they’ll let that go. Nope. Boss comes back with new PIP. Totally fabricated stuff. Like “On project X, Klenwell did work to which he was not assigned.” I point out that I was updating everyone on the project every morning on what I was doing in the daily daily standup. Including my boss. “You were standing right there!?” I’m furious, demoralized, ready to quit. On advice of a family member, I talk to an employment lawyer.

Best $300 I may have ever spent. “Yeah,” he tells me. “You’re fucked. They’re papering your file. But don’t quit. You’ll sacrifice any benefits, including unemployment.” I learned something that day. And the screw turned. That point forward, I’m not taking shit from anyone or anything. My boss. My boss’s boss. Fire me? Cool! I’ll take my unemployment checks and have my new best friend lawyer be in contact with you!

It was a very satisfying two weeks. I was like a kid peddling around on over-inflated bicycle wheels. But all good things must come to an end and the final straw came in a sit-down with my boss when boss said boss’s boss (my old boss) was questioning why I was writing tests for a critical piece of ancient real-money-processing infrastructure that we needed to upgrade. My response: hey, is Boss’s Boss writing code again for us? Great. Let him take over this story and I’ll move on to something else.

I was fired the next morning. Walked out of the building with my belongings in a garbage bag. And a shadow was lifted off my little world.

Lawyer never returned my call. Took me exactly 6 months to find a new job. Things have been much better since then.

After 8 hours total interviewing at one company, I kinda feel like I was hired and fired in a single day

Recently went through something similar with a fairly well known tech company. I was told after nearly a whole day of workshops and interviews that I didn’t make the cut. Was called back 3 months later and asked if I’d be interested in another role, organised an interview and the company cancelled it the night before.

WOW! That would very exhausting.. is this norm these days to have full day interview sessions?

Facebook wasted loads of my time before I even got onsite, with several shared-screen coding phone interviews spread over a month. Each time I would solve all the problems and get to working code but a week later they would ask me to do another interview.

I got reasons like “the interviewer quit without submitting his feedback” or “interviewer said he had hard time understanding your voice on the phone” (I’m a native english speaker and interviewer was not), or “interviewer lost his notes”, etc.
Maybe my code just sucks and they were lying but I don’t think so.
It took so long to get through that stage to the onsite that I felt like I’d already worked there.

My gf interviewed at google from 8am to 2:30pm (after 2 half-hour to hour-long phone screens).

Northrop Grumman had a (wasteful) 8 hour “college day” that was an hour of technical interviews, 4 hours of propaganda, and 2 hours of arbitrary fluff like team building games among the applicants.

The ~5 or so on-sites I’ve had apart from NG were 2-4 hours.

As someone who spent 5 months interviewing, studying, applying, tech screening, full-day-onsiting, healing from rejection, washing and repeating

Definitely yes, majority will do full day interviews and reject you because you can’t write on a white board.

A couple years ago I had TWO full-day interview sessions with a single company. That I had to take time off of my then-current job to attend. After a one-hour phone screen. Who ended up not hiring me anyway.

Unless the position was for serious fuck you money and I really needed it, there’s no way in hell I would tolerate 2 full day interviews.

I’m also guilty for spending lots of after work days studying for jobs I really wanted and getting rejected but at least I didn’t burn any of my precious vacation days.

I fell prey to the “sunk cost” fallacy – after the first full day when they asked me to come back, I thought: a) it would be a shame to “waste” that first full day of interviewing by saying no now and b) surely nobody would be a big enough asshole to ask me to take two full days off of work to interview with them only to reject me after the second day, so surely this second day is just a formality.

Apparently I was wrong.

And no, it was just a regular programming job, nothing special.

I have found that lightly pushing back on such requests makes them value you a little more. Doesn’t matter too much since they should’ve valued you in the first place. I’ve had a couple processes expedited in this way, sometimes skipping a call here or there or changing a second onsite to a call.

I’ve done about 3 of these kinds of “interviews” in my career.. basically a small work for hire each. Didn’t get the jobs.. but took great joy in checking in on each of these companies after 6 months to find they no longer existed.

I’m interviewing for the first time in years, totally forgot how degrading it is. For one company had 1 interview/week (each relatively short) for 4 weeks, passed the technical (my third interview) and then the 4th/final interview I was asked 95% the same questions that were asked in the 2nd interview. I gave the same answers. And then I was turned down.

At least you got an answer. I was searching (being picky) for almost a year. I got through numerous phone screens and in-persons where I confirmed the timeline before leaving (ie. you’re going to make a decision on ‘X’ day and notify candidates) and the dickheads just straight tried to ghost me. I persisted until I got an answer, even if it was one I didn’t like because you owe your applicants a goddamn answer either way.

My favorite is when you apply for a job and you get there and magically the job title/responsibilities have changed. It’s like, y’all don’t even know what you’re looking for… get bent.

raises hand
I’m a freelancer in the position of an interim department head. I’ve never had such ungrateful and hard to work with team members. Somehow the people above me and around me want to keep them. On top of that, getting anything done with other departments is like pulling teeth. Of course I’m judged on how much I get done, which means that I end up doing a lot of the work myself.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s all my fault but that doesn’t help me either. I just want out but the money is too good.

I have work at a bank long enough to hear stories about people having mental breakdowns. Everything from just walking out of there office naked to people using the stairway as bathrooms to help deal with the stress and anxiety that some jobs at the bank can cause. At the first bank I worked at I never witness it myself, but when I got a new job at another one it started to become a normal.

So a friend of mine got hired by a bank that needed to hire 100 technical people in 30 days time. He told me how awesome of a job it was, because they had nothing to do so he spent his day doing whatever he wanted and getting paid mad money. Something happen and 2 people got fired so they needed them replace asap. He ask me if I wanted to throw my hat in the ring. I got such a gleaming referral from my friend they skip the interview process and hired me on the spot. In the week time of those 2 people getting fired though everything had changed.

We came to find out those 2 people got fired because the project was suppose to be 80% done by then, but instead it was more like 10%. They fired them 2 to show they meant business and they had the lowest performance score out of the entire 100 people so they were made a example. New policy was created no more headphones, meetings everyday, only work allowed on your computer screen, no smartphones out, and a old grumpy man was put at the back end of each isle to watch us. To make it worse all the cubicals were only shoulder height. So you had all the disadvantage of a open office with all the disadvantages of a cubical farm in a neat little package. The cubes were also smaller then normal with only enough space for your chair to slide back against the wall so you could slide out.

This is when stuff gets really strange you would think with all this distress and work needing to be done everyone would have there head down pounding out whatever they were suppose to be doing? That is the thing there was no work to be done. In my 6 month contract there I probably spent 3 hours actually doing work. In reality a 10 person team could have easily done what we had to do in a month time, but because of how the bank and management had structure everything it was impossible to do anything. There was also another strange thing people were expected to work 50 hours a week no matter what. When I started I put down 40 hours and got told by my manager, my recruiter, and a higher up I need to work more to help them catch up. The following week I work only 40 hours and the talks turn into threats so I started to work 47 hours a week and the threats went away. If you work 51+ hours a week it would give you the awesome option to work weekends as well.

So with all this stress, anxiety, and boredom a good number of people started to act really strange. A handful of people had stop taking showers leaving a noticeable smell in certain areas. Some people would squirrel food away leading to infestation of bugs and a underground market for trading and selling junk food. Some of the higher ups notice people were wearing the same cloths every day so after a talk those people started to wear jackets and such so the higher ups couldn’t say anything to them. It became a normal thing for some to just sleep at there desk the entire day. Office supplies were constantly going missing even with the higher ups guarding them. Fights would break out randomly some just shouting a couple physical ones. Every other week a women would normally have a break down and cry in her cube because managers had started to use them as there own punching bags over emails/IMs. Lunches became more group therapy then a enjoyable outing. At some tipping point the main recruiting agency came in and had us all sign something basically pledging we would act professionally from that point forward and they were not held legally for our own actions and such.

To make the matter worse the recruiting agency was adding more anxiety and stress on the people. Most of the people there had work VISA and needed a job to stay in the country. The agency bully them into working 6 days a week. Someone accidentally sent out a email letting some of the people know they were no longer need on the project would be let go in 2 weeks. All the recruiters instantly contacted all 25 contractors that email went to saying that was a mistake and not true. They said they would be on the project for at least 6 more months and to ignore that email. 2 weeks later they were all let go.

I was told my contract was only going to be 3 months, I ended up 6 months there. When I hit the 3 month period I started to do whatever I wanted thinking I would get fired, but it never happen. I repeatedly reached out to my recruiter telling her to put in my 2 week notice, and it never happen. It finally hit a point where I told my manager my recruiter told me this was my last week. After my last day my recruiter contacted me 6 days later asking me why I wasn’t at work. My friend that got me the job stayed on for another week, but ended up getting fired. A manager that leaned on him heavy for answering technical questions got scared he might replace her and told the higher ups he attacked her during a meeting. Security came and lead him out of the building.

Not sure why you got voted down, the US has very poor protections for employees when a company is taken over.

You might have wanted to use “redundant” and not “fired” or “laid off” as these have quite different meanings in labour law.

It’s not hell on earth but I think about “oh my god dude get another job!” at least once a week. My job is this “hybrid” of 50% software developer, which I want to do, and 50% of, let’s just say, flippin’ burgers. It’s not flipping burgers literally but the metaphor applies pretty well because being a short-order burger chef does take some skill, but it’s repetitive, and subject to requests/orders that come in intermittently, each of which is urgent. So, it’s like the interruptions everybody complains about from noisy co-workers and Nina from Corporate Accounts Payable, except the thing interrupting you, is the other half of your own job, and it continues all day long. So really with all the interruptions I’m doing close to zero programming.

Why this arrangement? Because they figured hey, what better way for him to find all the pain points and automate them, than to have him use this crappy cobbled-together system himself! Well sure, I’m all about seeing it from the user’s point of view. So yep, did that, figured out long ago everything that’s wrong with it, but now what? I’m stuck. Forget burger flipping, let’s say this time, that I’m an axe maker. A craftsman of fine chopping implements. And the job they gave me is to chop wood all day with somebody else’s dull axe. Um that is a different thing, that is not what axe makers do! And it’s not like, okay make us a new axe, here’s everything you need; theyneedsomeone to chop the wood! Pretty much the stupidest situation to be in.

Then there’s the team – it’s totally silo’d, a bunch of little fiefdoms, run by naysayers, and my every minor request for an enabling technology or whatever-it-might-be, is met with an unanswered phone call or email. I’m still kind of new, so I have no clout whatsoever, that is a truth, but I can also see that it’s not just me. You’ve read much about the conflicts between Dev and Ops that led to “DevOps.” Well on this team the Database people and the Programming people (hello, those two are the same thing, or perhaps you are an asshole) don’t even see eye to eye.

Also – and this shouldn’t matter – but the developers are somewhere else. Instead of being surrounded by developers bouncing interesting ideas all around (not that these particular ones would), I’m here physically sitting with the other burger-flippers. Yes we’re back to that metaphor. These are people who either can’t, or never wanted to, be anything other than burger-flippers, and everything they talk about is in terms of burger flipping, and life is just a big burger to be flipped. Starting to sound elitist, but keep in mind I’m intentionally not telling you what they, what we, actually do. They are skilled workers. Just not the same skills. I probably should’ve held out for something else.

You may be describing a support developer role. Reactive to support tickets (internal or otherwise) rather than planned uninterrupted work. Some people enjoy being a support developer, it’s not for me and it sounds like it’s not for you.

>These are people who either can’t, or never wanted to, be anything other than burger-flippers, and everything they talk about is in terms of burger flipping, and life is just a big burger to be flipped.

Lol, hilarious! I love your writing style.

I’m in a similar situation. Thankfully rare but random unpredictable urgent but formulaic jobs to do, fixing things for well-educated burger flippers.

My job is ostensibly to improve things but that’s impossible because everything is managed by inept naysayers, with the added entertainment of crippling bureaucracy mixed in.

So I’m on hn instead.

“they figured hey, what better way for him to find all the pain points and automate them”

So, I’m not clear on why you haven’t been able to do that?

I got to where I hated the developer culture, and got a job that was outside of it, where I had access to nothing except MS Office, and had the epiphany that it’s Turing complete, I can do anything!

Once when I was a recruiter I got a call from one of my clients because they said that my consultant was being irritable. I called the consultant and he told me that it had been a week and a day and he still hadn’t been issued a company computer to work on.

My first job was as an SQL database manager. It took them over a month to get me access to the database I was supposed to be managing.

Someone I know is a manager at a really large government contractor. They once had a poor engineer sit in another building for 6 months waiting to get his clearance. Poor guy finally quit after sitting at an empty desk reading books.

I contracted somewhere once where a new full time employee had to wait a month before he was issued a machine. I don’t know how he stuck it.

(throwaway) every day I debate whether to quit or stay on unhappy and trying to do things the way I feel is right until I’m fired.

I once worked one desk over from a bloke who did CrossFit in the middle of the day, and for some reason had to hang up his damp, sweaty, reeking gym things on the substructure of his desk to dry when he got back. I had to lay down a protective Lysol force field to protect myself. Oh, and this was at $LARGE_SEARCH_ENGINE_COMPANY, who treat contractors as subhuman scum, not even entitled to a laptop so they can work in the lounge or something.

Mercifully, about the worst my current coworkers do is say “leverage” when they mean “use”.

Brutally shit yourself and scream “game over, I win, motherfuckers” and moonwalk out.

You should buy them all butt plugs for xmas. That would send a message and be equally as awkward. Make sure you get ones with soft tips incase they become pneumatic projectiles.

As an experiment, you should let one rip at an opportune moment. Should be enlightening whether they carry on as if this is indeed normal or try to gaslight you about your strange behavior…

I have one that has had a runny nose for about two years now and is constantly sniffing. No matter how many times it’s mentioned, and even though there is a Kleenex box on their desk, nothing ever changes.

It’s enough to make me think about quitting some days.

Probably chronic allergies with post nasal drip. They’ve probably had it their whole life and don’t even realize how often they’re doing it. That doesn’t make it an easier to tolerate though.

Yeah, this happenned to me. No allergies all my life, then about 35 yrs old, it seemed like my nose was running all the time. Blowing my nose about 20 times a day. Enough drainage down my throat that it was causing gag reflex amd coughing issues. Finally lead to bad sinus headaches. Got diagnosed with allergies this past winter. Now, daily take Xyzal and Cingular plus Dymistra nasal sprays, and I get weekly allergy shots. The headaches have mostly subsided and I can breathe more easily, but I still get some drainage.

Odd thing for me, despite my allergies being to cats, dogs, tree and weed pollen, I always feel worst when I’m in the office away from my allergens. When I’m at home with my dog and 3 cats, with the windows open and pollen flowing through the living room, I’m fine. :shrug:

One of my early jobs was working at a small PC repair/sales shop owned by a married pair of Indian immigrants.

They would fart as freely as blinking. This was in a very conservative white midwestern town, and they wouldn’t even reel it in while pitching sales to potential buyers.

I was a teen at the time and couldn’t believe it, ripping ass right in front of a potential customer while running over prices of various components, without missing a beat.

But clearly this is a cultural thing, and some cultures don’t seem to frown upon it.

The best part was they also ate vegetarian, and the most convenient vegetarian fast-food option was taco bell so they ate bean burritos practically ever day. The flatulence was nearly constant.

Are your office mates immigrants?

What can HR do? Their job is to protect the company against internal liabilities.

Unless farting is illegal nasal harassment, you have no case.

At a previous job, several us did go to HR with complaints about another coworker over body odor complaints. It was seriously bad enough that you could smell this individual from over 50 feet away. It was nauseating and was hurting the productivity of everyone around them.

This individual was a foreign national working in the US for the first time. My understanding was that HR took the individual aside in a private meeting and explained there were issues about their hygiene and arranged for them to attend some sort of cultural acclamation course that addressed things about cultural and workplace expectations.

We weren’t looking for the individual to be disciplined or anything, but we certainly needed to be able to sit in our cubes without our sinuses being assaulted and our eyes watering.

Question: what’s the farting protocol in the office? Current strategies I’ve tried have been:
Letting it out as it comes – This is bad for everyone and causes a noticeable odor and occasionally sound
Letting it out in small bursts – the smell is never too bad if it’s noticeable at all, however there’s a chance you’ll misjudge the pressure and let out too much at once
Hold it in – This is extremely painful but I have done it when I fear the frequency of releasing gas as often as I’d like to would be extremely disruptive
Go to the toilet – I find this strategy borderline useless because by the time you’ve reached the toilet the situation has somehow resolved itself

It’s not. They should do what I do — silently “crop dust” the other cubicles as I drift past on my way to an unimportant meeting.

But seriously, I have a cubicle-mate that goes through a box of tissues every two days. He is constantly grunting and blowing his nose. He also spends 15 minutes brushing and flossing in the bathroom twice per day. I say 15 minutes, because he has his phone propped up with a timer.

Every time my noise cancelling headset runs out of power and needs to be recharged, I re-evaluate my life choices and my tortured existence.

He clearly reads McSweeney’s –https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/i-brush-my-teeth-at-work…

>You retreat to the furthest stall for your afternoon constitutional. Perhaps you hope to wait me out, but you underestimate my resolve. Dentists recommend brushing for 2 to 3 minutes, but I will be here for a minimum of 10 minutes — possibly 15 — to ensure that I’ll be seen by as many coworkers as possible. Yes, I will still be here when you emerge, to the rhythmic sounds of Reach Extra-Firm bristles on flawless enamel. Each stroke brushing away any illusion of equality between us.

This is not about teeth. The teeth are merely 32 gleaming ivory towers from which to look down on you. This is about what the teeth represent. It’s about what else we both might surmise from this moment: That I am likely far better positioned for retirement. That my houseplants enjoy regular watering and seasonal fertilizer. That I have enviable cholesterol and triglyceride levels. All of that with which you struggle in life, that which eludes you? These things are effortless for me.

I had a similar experience with a mechanical keyboard so loud I could hear itthroughmy Bose noise-cancelling headphones. Fortunately a spot opened up in a different room and I jumped on it.

OMG, you must be a colleague from my old team. 🙂

My ex boss bought a mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Blue switches(the loud clicky ones) that would penetrate my noise cancelling headphones and gave everyone in our shared office ‘Nam PTSD flashbacks.

Nobody dared to complain to him about that. Still wondering if he did that on purpose to troll us or he was just really indifferent about the others in the office.

There’s something about the sound of clacking keyboards that’s more intolerable to me than nails on a chalkboard. It’s pretty inconsiderate to use a mechanical one in a shared office

Well if they gave me a proper cubicle like God intended instead of shoving me into an open-office floor plan, they wouldn’t have to put up with the clickity clack of my MX Greens 🙂

Instead, it’s payback for all the chitter chatter that’s happening around me at this very moment. I also like to eat loud crunchy snacks and open energy drink cans to be extra evil.

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