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Why Developers Get Fired

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the failure-to-meet-tps-report-quota dept.

IT 535

jammag writes "Other coders get canned — but never you, right? From a developer who's now a manager (and who admits to being fired himself) comes the inside story on how the Big Ax might sneak up on you. To prevent it, he recommends some strategic bragging, keeping a CYA (Cover Your ...) folder to document your efforts, and making sure that your talent isn't frittered away so much that even your most mediocre colleagues look good. "

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From My Simpleton Point of View (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483719)

After reading this article, it sure puts things into perspective about how I was raised. It seems that Eric Spiegel and I have very different perspectives and work ethic. If you do a good job, you will be rewarded. Three things that will do nothing for you are bitching, bragging and blaming. Avoid them like the plague -- that is, of course, unless they're listed in your job description.

However, some people truly have their heads buried in the sand (or their code).

Yes, imagine the shock and horror that you would see on people's faces if I spent my time doing what I'm getting paid to do: develop code. Yes, I'm young. No, I've never been fired but I've been "hired then unhired" out of college because of a poor job environment in the locale of my origin. No matter, plenty of jobs were out there for me.

Spiegel claims he's fired people. I wonder how he would have chosen people if he saw through an employee's thinly veiled attempts to make himself look better? Or if he knew that employee spent time trying to cover his or her own ass instead of -- you know -- just get work done? These points aren't addressed in the blog.

So for those of you reading this, I will offer you an alternative to what the blog suggests. I imagine most developers (even agile developers) have a system for tracking completed requirements and also for fixing reported errors/bugs. If you spend your time chewing up those outstanding items and forget about all this near-Machiavellian bullshit manipulation Spiegel is proposing then you've got nothing to worry about. If your manager wants to fire you, just pull up the numbers if he or she hasn't already and show them. You can't fire a developer that's leading in resolutions and completed requirements. It's that simple. Skip the drama and get to work.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (5, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483749)

It depends, if said developer is completing the most work, but also one of the highest paid, then the next round of down sizing it goes something like this:

PHB: Hmmm, Bob is making over $X. I see he's the most productive, but we could higher two new grads and an intern for the same amount. They'd be at least that productive right?

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483799)

Alex Trebek: "Hmmm, Bob is making over $X. I see he's the most productive, but we could higher two new grads and an intern for the same amount. They'd be at least that productive right?"
Contestant: "What is the final nail on a project's coffin, Alex?"
Alex Trebek: "Right you are!"
Contestant: "I'll stay in the same category and take 'Stupid Managers' for $800."
Alex Trebek: "The answer is: Half your team has been fired and your manager has moved software modules to be developed in this country."
Contestant: "What is India?"
Alex Trebek: "Correct again!"

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (5, Funny)

pcraven (191172) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484145)

I couldn't get past the 'higher' grads.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484285)

You must be one of the hirer paid developers. ;)

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (4, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484361)

Yeah, except it doesn't actually work that way. Here's what happens:

1. Board level manager's meeting.
2. [New person] is eager to prove themselves and suggests [bad idea] from [trade magazine].
3. Nobody else in the meeting has had enough time to read something other than [trade magazine], and so believe [bad idea] is a good idea.
4. Vote passes unanimously.
5. Middle management, who has read something other than [trade magazine] tries to politely tell [new person] that [bad idea] won't work.
6. [new person] ignores cries of pain and suffering, stiffens their resolve to ram [bad idea] down organization's throat, backed by the full power of the board.
7. Middle management stalls as long as possible, warning everyone of the impending apocalypse.
7a. Except you and anyone on the lower rungs.
7b. Those who do find out, bail from the company like rats from a sinking ship.
8. Costs suddenly rise, due to a sudden vaccum of experienced workers and a drop in efficiency. The effort can no longer be stalled.
9. A week later, you're asked to fill out some forms and update the knowledge base.
10. You're so focused on your job, you think nothing of it.
10a. Alternate: Your manager is kind and says something to you.
11. Regardless, you're still let go before you can swim to another piece of floatsam.
12. Upper management cries victory -- everything costs less now!
13. Middle management develops a drinking habit, but says nothing.
14. The new people hired in [Country X] think everyone over here is a bunch of idiots and drunks.

Ta-Da! The end.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (1)

kaoshin (110328) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483875)

Just because something is a bad decision doesn't mean someone won't make it. It all rather depends on who you work for, and it is probably a bad idea for people to overgeneralize office politics.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (1)

siloko (1133863) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484061)

Just because something is a bad decision doesn't mean someone won't make it.

If we take bad decisions to mean illogical decisions then you can't mitigate against them, simple as that. They come out of the blue and no amount of hand waving is gonna change the decision. And if you think presenting evidence of your good work will turn the tables then you don't understand the meaning off 'illogical'. So like the GP says, just do your job and you'll be fine . . .

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483985)

PHB: Hmmm, Bob is making over $X. I see he's the most productive, but we could higher two new grads and an intern for the same amount. They'd be at least that productive right?

Ahh, PHBs. Good thing they hire real people, who can spell the word 'hire'. :)

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (1, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484369)

Well, if the two college grads are hot women, and the boss likes snorting cocaine out of navels then maybe....

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29483779)

I agree that good metrics are the way to go, but be careful on what you measure, no tracking system is complete enough to follow all relevant parameters (and if it were, it will be such a pain to have it up to date that it would be useless).

Metrics are useful to prove a point, but are not the point.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484039)

Unfortunately no amount of merit is going to save you if your PHB has a chip on his shoulder, thinks you are incurably rude, or otherwise has a motivation to get rid of you. He will do everything he can to find an excuse to be rid of you if he wants to.

Being a nerd is unfortunately no excuse to duck out on social graces or office politics.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (5, Insightful)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483789)

His advice seems to be "If you are a great programmer, you still have to get out and market". Jesus freaking Christ, can't companies do employee evaluations at all? It is like these guys think marketing is the best way to do everything.

Got a crappy product, market more; Sued for incompetence? Create a press release.

Yes, this crap bothers me.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (4, Insightful)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483869)

His advice seems to be "If you are a great programmer, you still have to get out and market". Jesus freaking Christ, can't companies do employee evaluations at all?

In a word, no. The reason they can't do it is that measuring the value of n programmers on a team would require reading and understanding all of their code. Managers have too much other work.

You need to make the job of the people around you easier. That includes your manager.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (1)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484159)

In other words, help your manager do their job instead of you doing yours.

That is why you do employee evaluations, to see the good, the bad and the ugly. All your talking about is self-promotion in the guise of productivity. It may make your managers job easier but it is has nothing to do with productivity, competence or effectiveness.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (3, Insightful)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484305)

In other words, help your manager do their job instead of you doing yours.

Not instead of your job, but in addition to it. Overall, an organization where people go the extra mile to help those they work with tends to be a lot more productive than one where people stick to doing their formal jobs and nothing else.

And yes, this also means helping your co-workers and the people you manage (if you're a manager).

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484321)

All your talking about is self-promotion in the guise of productivity.

When I have to fire people, sometimes it's such a close call that the deciding factor is whether or not they know the difference between you're and your.
Now go clean out your desk.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (4, Insightful)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483895)

--Jesus freaking Christ, can't companies do employee evaluations at all?--

I appears that they can't. I haven't seen one in a long time that even had a clue as to who did what. It's just whether you are liked or not and not what results you produce.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (2, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484119)

in the end, the people who are going to make decisions are people and most of them have no idea if a Programmer is a good or bad one. If you don't make sure people know what you are contributing you are asking for it. Especially if you have to work in a place with a low ethical standard where people will take credit for your work without even a second thought.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484353)

can't companies do employee evaluations at all?

As others have said, no.

During seventeen years working for an organization with a written, formal policy requirement for annual performance reviews, I received precisely one verbal review.

Bragging (4, Insightful)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483801)

Spiegel claims he's fired people. I wonder how he would have chosen people if he saw through an employee's thinly veiled attempts to make himself look better? Or if he knew that employee spent time trying to cover his or her own ass instead of -- you know -- just get work done? These points aren't addressed in the blog.

I think it's a matter of semantics. Bragging as a thin attempt to make yourself look better when you suck is worthless. Managers are not stupid.

However, managers are busy. In most organizations, too busy to do too much work managing their employees. Business bragging simply means to inform your boss when you do something good. Don't lie. Don't stretch the truth. Just provide information the boss might be too busy to notice.

Managers like when you make their jobs easier.

Re:Bragging (1)

Lained (1078581) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484051)

On the other hand, if you're really that good, just take some vacations and make yourself notice (or rather, your absence). Took 3 weeks in a row a couple of years ago, and my boss plead not to take so many days again.

Oh, and no, I'm not a coder, but what he wrote was quite familiar.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (1)

Nkwe (604125) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483803)

You can't fire a developer that's leading in resolutions and completed requirements. It's that simple. Skip the drama and get to work.

Sure you can.

In a really large company or a public service sector job you may have a Human Resources department with policies that offer some protection, but otherwise you manager can fire you just because he or she feels like it. Did your original job offer letter mention anything about employment being "at will"? if so you can be fired for any reason or none at all.

If you want to keep your job you need to make it politically unfeasible to be fired (in addition to doing your regular work). The TFA mentions a couple of ways to do this.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (4, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483929)

Or just not give a shit. I'm a good programmer, and I deliver. If my manager for some idiotic reason or another wishes to fire me, I'm happy to find a new job where I'll be appreciated without political bullshit.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (1)

DrGamez (1134281) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484163)

The problem is, "in this economic climate" that second job might be hard to come around.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (2, Informative)

Pandare (975485) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484003)

Actually, there's no specific contract term necessary in most states. If you work in the US, the presumption is that you are at will. Now, there are some exceptions [wikipedia.org] , but those are usually contracted (read: hidden disclaimer) around anyway. Unless you're in a union job (Unions? In my tech industry?) You can get fired for basically anything, since it's not always a lucrative or an easy case to prove. Generally the cost of the litigation is less than finding a new job, anyway.

Perhaps in the US... (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484167)

...but otherwise you (sic) manager can fire you just because he or she feels like it.

Perhaps in the US this is true but elsewhere many countries have laws that prevent this. They can choose not to renew your contract but otherwise they can only fire you for a valid reasons, like failure to do your job, company downsizing etc. If you sack them without a valid reason you can get sued for unfair dismissal.

Re:Perhaps in the US... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484345)

...but otherwise you (sic) manager can fire you just because he or she feels like it.

Perhaps in the US this is true but elsewhere many countries have laws that prevent this. They can choose not to renew your contract but otherwise they can only fire you for a valid reasons, like failure to do your job, company downsizing etc. If you sack them without a valid reason you can get sued for unfair dismissal.

The US does seem to have this strange view that treating people like serfs is somehow the natural state of affairs. Indeed it is--it's what happens when society doesn't give a damn about the people who make it work. Tech people have no job protections on average because tech people continue to cling to this "all for me and me for myself" libertarian attitude in complete ignorance of the forces arrayed against them. Some of those forces are the result of overt bottom line at all costs planning and manipulations (offshoring, for example) and some are just the result of the undereducated, underethical dumbness that is business leadership these days.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29483809)

Keep your head down, be a good team player (by that I mean try to take up more than your share of chores), stay communicative, and, while a bit of hubris and bravado doesn't hurt in this line of work, don't go be a primadonna and throw temper tandrum.

If you're still fired, well, shit happens, but you did your bit, and move on. Jobs come and go, and you are a lot more than a particular job - it's not worth selling your soul over unless it pays you in 7+ figures. :-)

You Have A Lot To Learn (4, Insightful)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483817)

You must be wet behind the ears. None of what is mentioned in TFA really states you have to take these steps to the extreme. While you never came out and wrote it, you sure make the implication that the writer of the article is telling you to do this.

Hard work only gets you so far. And guess what else? Hard work may never get you promoted. You go on to make another point on the other absolute end, that if you're a hard worker, you must be the top producer in your company. You can work hard and still fail at what you're doing. This is why people are sometimes oblivious. I've worked with a few people like this. They do work really hard. The work that they do, however isn't usually the best and no amount of training can help them out. Some of them just never got it. Some of them were the type of people who thought that their way was the best way to do things when it clearly wasn't. In either case, they worked hard but were eventually let go because of how their work turned out.

It never hurts to chat yourself up casually every now and then. You can do this a number of different ways. I'm a supervisor where I work. All of the supervisor's used to here that the president of the company thought we were doing the bare minimum for our jobs. That we were just good little foot soldiers. I realized part of the problem was that my immediate manager didn't really have an idea of what the fuck I did every day. All he knew was that I helped my team to produce a lot of work that generated a lot of profit.

So one day I took about an hour to sit down and type out a list of projects my team needs to address. These were mostly "as we encounter them" issues. Items where if we take half an hour, an hour even, we could figure out a few things out to help us out in the future. I send this list to my boss with updates about once a month now. It gives him an idea of what else I'm doing and how quickly these tasks are getting done. It also allows him to more easily give me help when I need it.

So what was the net effect of me doing that besides a little extra help from the boss? The president of the company has personally told me on several occasions that he views me as a very valuable employee. That I have a bright future there and that he would rather not ever see me go.

And honestly, if you don't spend a modicum amount of time trying to cover your ass, you may get blind-sided one day. You rail against it, but then in your last paragraph you even cite an example of how to cover your ass. Not everyone has access to raw data to pull up, so some tracking on their end might be necessary. It doesn't take a lot of time to do this.

Re:You Have A Lot To Learn (5, Interesting)

mellon (7048) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484189)

What you said is dead on, but the point you didn't explicitly make, but probably intended to, is that what you are doing there is valuable. It's not just fluff. Your management needs and wants that kind of communication, and when you provide it for them, they love it. When they have to suck it out of you, they hate it. When they never feel like they have a clear picture of what's going on, it's a source of stress for them, and when you communicate well, it lowers their stress levels.

Why don't they just trust you? Because they've had people working for them before who communicated poorly on purpose, because they *weren't getting anything done*. And they've had good people working for them who kept quiet about what they were doing because they didn't like the plan, and wanted to go in a different direction and present it as a fait accompli. And, so often, that sort of thing doesn't work out. So if you also communicate poorly, they're going to tend to assume your situation is the same. It doesn't matter how many poor communicators they've had working for them who actually got stuff done. They remember the times they've been burned, not the times they haven't.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483831)

Even the most competent developers do get fired. No matter what you do you can get fired.

Well, there is one thing you can do to avoid firing: become a manager. The number of managers never go down (due to Parkinson's law).

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483861)

If you do a good job, you will be rewarded.

Wrong. If the boss thinks you do a good job. Unfortunately, the amount of brainpower used when debugging can't really be measured, and wildly varies based on outside factors, like your API working correctly, the quality of the bug report, the type of bug (ever had one of those that only come out when you gave up looking for it?) etc.

Bragging and blaming will let the boss know about those factors, so he may appreciate your 3 fixed heisenbugs where you had to hunt down the reporter who was on vacation more than your coworkers' 10 off-by-ones taking 5 minutes each. If you ignore office politics, you'll be on the wrong end of it.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29483915)

You can't fire a developer that's leading in resolutions and completed requirements. It's that simple. Skip the drama and get to work.

They can and will do whatever they want.

The important point is that you are being paid to do more then write code. You are being paid to work in a team and communicate with your managers. Being nice to everybody and occasionally bragging is part but NOT all of that.

If all you can do is write code you will be replaced by somebody offshore for a lot cheaper.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483935)

Sorry.

It doesnt work that way.

However, I do wonder what kind of a coder you'd have to be if you didnt care about the quality of your work more than office policy. Kudos to you, but I anticipate a bumpy ride in your beginings. In the end, though, I stillbelieve the best stay ethical and get to the top (of the coder food chain: you cant be ethical and be a C*O).

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29483971)

If you do a good job, you will be rewarded.

I used to believe that too - until I did a good job and got f**ked over by a manager who hadn't done her job, and needed a scapegoat.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (1)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484043)

>> However, some people truly have their heads buried in the sand (or their code).

> Yes, imagine the shock and horror that you would see on people's faces if I spent my time doing what I'm getting paid to do: develop code.
> I imagine most developers[...] have a system for tracking completed requirements and also for fixing reported errors/bugs.

I'd put this not under developing, but programming. Developing code encompasses more than those facts, which you can extract from a commit log.
Also, the commit log can be safely filed under CYA.

> You can't fire a developer that's leading in resolutions and completed requirements.

There is only one programmer leading in resolutions, the others aren't. So shouldn't the developers, as they are writing the requirements.
If the commit log is considered as a metric for productivity, you have to exclude the developers as this would create a conflict of interest.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (5, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484113)

I had a manager once I didn't get along with, and our 1-on-1 meetings weren't very pleasant. I actually got up and walked-out on one, when she told me "this isn't an 8 to 4 job, you know". The previous night, I'd actually been up until midnight working on a particularly difficult problem.

But when I thought about it, I was being the ass-- not her. How could she have known I was up until midnight working? I was working from home. I didn't send out any emails saying I was working that late. At that time, our company didn't have timecards, and even if it had this was the next day, long before the timecard would have been submitted.

Anyway, the next day I apologized, and since then I've always managed to find some excuse to send out an email (CCing my management) whenever I'm working extra late, just so they're aware that it's happening. Since then I haven't had any problems.

The moral of the story: don't "brag" brag. Be smart about it. Managers can't judge you based on things they don't know about. This article basically says the same thing. I know we're all geeks and we hate actually talking to people, but the time you spend communicating to your co-workers is golden, slack on whatever else you want, but never hesitate to pop off an email.

I'm a manager... (3, Insightful)

erikharrison (633719) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484129)

The vast majority of my job in a management capacity is to translate from geek to suit and back again. The guy who owns my company, my direct boss, is not technically minded. The man has fantastic ideas, but couldn't write a lick of code or install a server to save his life.

The company is lucky to have someone like me. Many do not. And in the absence of an interpreter, you bet your ass that closing a lot of tickets in the bug tracker will mean dick when it comes to convincing your boss who doesn't read the bug tracker to not fire you. And frankly, pulling out the metrics to show that you're valuable is exactly the kind of strategic bragging you're arguing against.

You can fire a developer who is leading in resolutions and completed requirements. It happens every day. The job is not just to make sure that you're working your butt off, but that your boss knows it. Help them to make informed decisions. It may suck, but you know what, that's life.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (4, Interesting)

dfetter (2035) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484141)

After reading this article, it sure puts things into perspective about how I was raised. It seems that Eric Spiegel and I have very different perspectives and work ethic. If you do a good job, you will be rewarded.

You clearly need to get out in the world a little more. What happens when, not if, your boss doesn't see things quite your way? What happens when your hard work feels threatening to your co-workers, who may not work quite so hard, and leads them to do all kinds of stuff to undermine you. You're not working in splendid isolation with some fairy-tale objective criteria, assessed by equally mythical perfectly fair assessors, for success. You're in reality land, and while working hard is one thing to do--sometimes it's not even a good thing--it's far from the only one.

One example of "working hard" that's not good to do is when you, through your diligence, pile more technical debt onto a project that's already got unsustainably much of it. Another is working hard to accomplish something that's illegal and/or unethical.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (1)

Jewbird (596227) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484157)

If you do a good job, you will be rewarded.

Dude, Bull. Shit. I am the greatest developer who ever lived but I haven't been rewarded at all. If anything, I get shit on more than average.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (1)

DocSavage (75712) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484209)

Coincidentally, I recently realized around review time my manager does not have any recollection of the things that I did well during the year. I started updating my yearly goals (we use "SuccessFactors") with things that I've done well, improved the process on or saved the company money by doing on my own as they happen. I think that that a manager should be doing that if they are interested/care but it is really my responsibility. In the last so many years I think that it's become evident that you are your best advocate (and should be).

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (2, Insightful)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484231)

As you say, you are young. Apparently also naive about the ways of the world.

The problem with your theory is that you need to manage the boss's impression of you before they go into the "who do we get rid of" decision making process.

Once they've decided to get rid of you, no amount of waving statistics at them is going to stop it.

1. It makes them look weak.
2. It makes them look stupid.
3. There's a risk of you taking revenge on them for wanting to get rid of you (especially if you have access to production systems.)

There's also a practical problem with your suggestion.

At my workplace, we put one "defect" in the database for each major feature. That "defect" may represent 30 pages of requirements document. We create the defect because we have a rule of all source control submissions having an associated defect.

If I get that "defect" assigned to me, and complete it successfully, I show one closed "defect."

If, however, I screw it all up, the testers are going to write 20 defects against the work, and they're all going to be assigned to me. I ultimately fix them all and have 21 closed defects.

Who's the better developer - the guy who closed one defect or the guy who closed twenty-one?

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484255)

It seems that Eric Spiegel and I have very different perspectives and work ethic. If you do a good job, you will be rewarded. Three things that will do nothing for you are bitching, bragging and blaming.

Spoken truly like someone who doesn't have a lot of experience. And didn't understand the article.

His first point was, "DO A GOOD JOB". You must have missed that part.

The second point was, when you DO do a good job, make sure you are being recognized for it. Ever make "employee of the month"? Well, chances are that isn't in your permanent file. Neither are kudos given word-of-mouth. And there's always going to be that guy in the next cube who is more than happy to take the credit for your work while kissing ass, even while you're still saving the company in your cubicle. If you don't have all of this documented, then it may as well not have happened at all.

His third point was that you're being paid to do a job. Don't let your abilities go to your head, even if you feel like you are undercompensated that's no good reason to slack off. If you can get your code done in half the time everyone else does, don't push it off. You're better off getting it done perfect, and ahead of time... and then do more. That is much more likely to get you a promotion, and not get fired.

These points aren't addressed in the blog.

Umm, yes, they all were addressed. Read it again a few times. If you think that you will always be rewarded fully for your efforts, fairly compensated for your work, acknowledged when you go above and beyond, never have your work be credited to others, and that you can just sail along on a rosy ship then you're fooling yourself. The point is simple- no matter what job you have, you need to be aware of your JOB itself, and all that it entails, not just the duties you have been assigned.

Re:From My Simpleton Point of View (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484351)

What you have to learn is that other people don't have a clue about how developing code works. If you sit at your desk playing with a rubic cube the last thing they think is that you are working at this moment. Especially when the company is in a difficult situation and everyone knows shit will hit the fan quit soon.

They also don't see that debugging is very different from writing new code. Writing new code will easily produce dozens of lines within an hour. Debugging can require hours of intensive work and the result can be a single changed line. You don't look very productive to non-coders this way.

I don't say this to blame them for that. If coding is not what they are hired for it is ok that they don't see that. And even if your manager is a good coder and has lots of experience it is very easy to not see the obstacles in some task.

The point is, if you think coding is the solve purpose of your assignment you are wrong. Every project will have unknown problems. If you just silently solve them without telling anyone the very same problems will occour in the next project, because they are still unknown to those that sign the contract. It is your job to solve them but it is also your job to tell your supervisor.

Bugtrackers and the like are a very bad measurement for productivity. The number of bugs doesn't show how difficult they are. Race conditions are hell of a lot more difficult to locate than a null dereference, and they seem less critical because they only appear in 1% of the tests. The number of lines is one of the worst measurements there is. Good software architecture will lead to fewer lines. And it is very dangerous to reward writing lots of code. More code is harder to maintain.

a better idea (2, Insightful)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483745)

This is kinda vicious but my strategy is if someone else's coding isn't good enough or they make massive mistakes, I don't just let it fly. You don't have to be their boss, you only have to be working on the same project as them because you're the one putting up with missing object methods and bad documentation and poorly written code. Tell em to rewrite it before you can use it and correct them and generally let them know that it has to be acceptable or they get to fix it. If anyone asks about project delays, don't hesitate to throw them under the bus and accurately report that they were the reason for the delay because their code didn't work. Soon it'll become really obvious that they're the inferior employee who should be replaced if possible. Do note that if you're the one always screwing up, I hope you expect the same thing to be done to you. Get better at programming or get a different job.

Re:a better idea (5, Insightful)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483827)

This is kinda vicious but my strategy is if someone else's coding isn't good enough or they make massive mistakes, I don't just let it fly. You don't have to be their boss, you only have to be working on the same project as them because you're the one putting up with missing object methods and bad documentation and poorly written code. Tell em to rewrite it before you can use it and correct them and generally let them know that it has to be acceptable or they get to fix it. If anyone asks about project delays, don't hesitate to throw them under the bus and accurately report that they were the reason for the delay because their code didn't work. Soon it'll become really obvious that they're the inferior employee who should be replaced if possible.

Or, you could just come off looking like a jerk to both your team and to your boss. You're on a team for a reason: to work together, not complain about how bad someone else's code (or any other work, for that matter) is.

If you are a team member and not in a lead role, you're not in a position to decide what's acceptable and what's not. And you'd be foolish to believe that you are in that position.

Yes, you should let the other person know that improvement is needed, but "throwing them under the bus" isn't the way to do it.

Re:a better idea (2, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484127)

I agree, give your coworker sufficient warnings. Ask him if he needs help with techniques, maybe a little mentoring. Only rat somebody out as a last resort.
   

Re:a better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484363)

Both wrong. The correct solution is to help that person redo their code and make them a better coder in the process, and you end up with a better team because of it. Then make sure you let the boss know that hey, there was a problem, and I went above the call of duty to make sure it was fixed.

Look at it like this, don't throw them under the bus. Pull them out from underneath the bus they are already getting run over by, and make sure people know you did it. Doesn't always work, but most bosses will appreciate you a lot more for being proactive.

Of course, you can't help everybody, and some people are there just to get ahead by throwing YOU under the bus... so make sure your ass is covered if one of them comes along.

Doesn't help. (3, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483777)

I wasn't fired because I didn't toot my horn. I got fired because I knew the system too well -- and when upper management was told about this, specifically about a distinct lack of guidance in their security policies and documentation, they canned me. The reason developers get fired is either for the same reason most people get fired -- namely that they piss off the wrong person and they find someone in power to make their dream come true (and someone else's nightmare to begin), -OR- they learn too much about the system and not enough about politics and get caught by surprise when they try to implement a change that is a political hotbed. My last job: In-house developer doing network/system administration, deployment, and integration tasks.

Very often, developing stuff (especially in-house) has conflicting political goals, which are distinct from the design goals. Each team wants a certain piece of the pie and wants assurances they are "indespensible". Well, the problem is that in every project people need to work together and so there is always some overlap or need for integration -- which is fought tooth and nail because once things are integrated and made redundant (as business should be) -- people stop being "indepensible". So those that are slightly more politically aware find ways to strategically delay the project or insert superfluous technical considerations. And should a really good developer see this and figure out a way to convince others (by the strength of his/her design argument) -- this person will very quickly find a surprise pink slip for some random reason.

Keeping your job as a developer is as dependent on your ability to design well as it is on your ability to know when to duck.

Re:Doesn't help. (5, Informative)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483897)

I got laid off in 2002 specifically because I was vocal and did my best to try and make for a better work environment. The problem was that management was TOO political. The parent poster is 100% accurate. After that I learned, never to be vocal. Give simple opinions and never give negative feedback, or try not to do so.

Re:Doesn't help. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484005)

Fuck that, fuck that, fuck that. I would NOT want to work in a place where sub-optimal (or even worse: mediocre) solutions are a requirement because some people would like to keep up their currently attained level of social loafing. I'll find a job in a small outfit where the politics and subterfuge will not see the light of day, and the social loafers are the one's getting canned, thank you very much.

Re:Doesn't help. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484135)

Sorry but you are late. M$ attitudes have infected most workplaces. Gone are the days where skill and result will get you anywhere, no matter how good results you product directly or via your colleagues.

Re:Doesn't help. (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484337)

Ever heard the saying too many chiefs and not enough indians...?

Yeah, that's what you'd be. An indian trying to be a chief. And chances are you are gonna get fired a lot.

Have fun :)

Re:Doesn't help. (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484263)

I got laid off in 2002 specifically because I was vocal and did my best to try and make for a better work environment.

Maybe they thought your being vocal was making a worse work environment for everyone else.

Re:Doesn't help. (1)

fractalspace (1241106) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484377)

You are paid to do what you are told to do. Making a stand against the management on your personal philosophy is not exactly "...Highlighintg distinct lack of guidance in their security policies and documentation". If you want your personal agenda implemented, then start your own company. If I find something wrong in how things are done, I make sure all the stakeholders are aware of my objections. My actions however follow what my manager would finally ask me to do. Cant argue with the dough. - myself

Re:Doesn't help. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484089)

This post basically sums up my last job... It made me want to go back to working for a large outsourcing company with all that B.S. but at least they had ITIL!

Programming is simple (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29483781)

Programming is relatively simple compared to the complexity of human interaction. While we might consider it lame that software development is heavily influenced by purely social factors, it doesn't change the fact that we live in a social world. Too many developers think of themselves as the lone console cowboy, churning out brilliant code few others can understand. Too many developers think if they simply write good code, the rest falls into place.

The hardest part of software development has little to do with computers, but everything to do with people.

Re:Programming is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29483805)

Pissing in the boss's fake plants right in front of him was probably my first mistake.

Re:Programming is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29483907)

Yes, that was a mistake. I remember doing this much more subtly years ago when I worked in retail. There was a watering cart (a big tank with a battery for a pump and a spray wand thing on wheels) that people would use to water the indoor houseplants section. It was frequently parked in the locked room where cashiers would "count out" their register til. Several of us began urinating in that tank. After awhile, the plants began to smell and of course the water did too. When told of the smelly water, the manager decided the "water had gone stale" and just needed to be changed. The moral: pee in real plants not fake ones and do it when nobody is looking.

Keep a diary (2, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483843)

Pro tip: maintain a list of everything you do: bugs you've closed, features you've added, projects you've planned, servers you've upgraded, or whatever else you've worked on. The next time your boss asks if you've been busy, you'll be glad to have a precise and detailed answer.

Re:Keep a diary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484147)

If my boss asks me if Ive been busy... my first reply is going to be 'well obviously you havent.

If he cant figure that out for himself what's he doing there?

My solution to not being fired. (4, Interesting)

wangmaster (760932) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483849)

I've been a software engineer at the company I'm at for about 7 years now. Was in technical support before that (enterprise level development support).

Here's my solution to not being fired. Make yourself damn good at solving the difficult customer problems no one else can solve. Do it so that customers and executives at your own company request you by name (executives at a customer knowing you by name can help here too). Yes, it makes life somewhat miserable when those ugly ass escalations come in, but you know what, when customers and company exeuctives ask for you by name because you did a great job solving problem xyz 3 months ago and saved a multi-million dollar deal, middle management will think twice about being the one to tell company executives, uhh, that person was fired last month.

Screw making deadlines, I miss deadlines all the time and haven't been fired yet. Why? Because instead of working toward my deadlines I'm saving multi-million dollar deals that could get lost because of other people's incompetence :). It's a great way for job security, and I love troubleshooting, even if the escalations are a pain in the ass.

Re:My solution to not being fired. (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483923)

--Here's my solution to not being fired. Make yourself damn good at solving the difficult customer problems no one else can solve. Do it so that customers and executives at your own company request you by name (executives at a customer knowing you by name can help here too).--

This may work but it pisses off upper management. They will get jealous of you being called instead of them. That's the other way it can go in smaller outfits.

Re:My solution to not being fired. (1)

wangmaster (760932) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484029)

In my experience, when a developer is involved on a customer escalation, it becomes political and not technical. When a developer is asked for by name it becomes 90% political and 10% technical.

In those cases, upper management and executives just want it to go away. Thus if you can make it go away, they don't care if you were requested by name or not :).

That's just my experience working and talking with people at large (1000-2500+ employee) software companies. I imagine that in smaller, and even large but more politically motivated organizations this could piss people off. I make it a rule to try not to work with those organizations but yes, you're right, there are cases where this may not work but it's done wonders for my career so far :).

A corollary to my original post is also that developers need to be able to talk to customers and not get a blank stare or the "whoosh" look on their faces (if in person) or pause (if on the phone). 90% of my task is setting expectations, making people understand what's happening in a way that doesn't confuse them, and 10% of it is actually getting the technical work done.

Re:My solution to not being fired. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29483997)

Screw making deadlines, I miss deadlines all the time and haven't been fired yet. Why? Because instead of working toward my deadlines I'm saving multi-million dollar deals that could get lost because of other people's incompetence :). It's a great way for job security, and I love troubleshooting, even if the escalations are a pain in the ass.

That's actually also a good way to get fired. If you expose enough people's incompetence they'll gang up on you. When faced with a small mutiny the PHB will usually fire you rather than the group of people demanding he get rid of you, no matter how incompetent the mutineers are. The true way to job security has much more to do with arse-kissing than ability and hard work.

Re:My solution to not being fired. (1)

wangmaster (760932) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484073)

That's why I put a smiley after that comment.
You do it politically correct by not pointing the finger. You just solve the problem. The reality is, you're solving a problem someone else caused :)

You do it right, the mutineers think they did a great job. Their continued ability to do a poor job keeps me working :)

Re:My solution to not being fired. (4, Interesting)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484075)

Honestly, in the end, if your company needs to fire people for any reason, sooner or later, nothing you can do will prevent it 100%.

The company I work for now had cuts during the recession. A member of our team, a "star" developer (actually, probably easily among the top developers in the world). Quite well known, could do the job of 10, amazing management capabilities, deep insights in the business, etc. Not a small company either, douzens of thousands of developers.

He had abilities no one else had, and without him things would have gone sour, because there was no one in the -world- good enough to replace him. But management saw fit to get rid of him anyway, since obviously he was rather expensive (cost effective though, but they only looked at the absolute numbers).

After he left, it took an -army- to replace him, and even then, outages occured, some data was lost, and to this day, still, he hadn't truly been "replaced" and things aren't going so well. Now obviously thats a problem with the company to depend so much on someone, and thats a big bad thing, but point is: he was irreplaceable, everyone loved him, clients knew him by name (well, technically, a big chunk of the world does), and poof he went anyway.

Re:My solution to not being fired. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484283)

I told you so. -- Steve

Re:My solution to not being fired. (1)

wangmaster (760932) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484381)

There's a difference between being fired and laid off. Even then, there's no silver bullet, but there're many many things you can do to stack the odds in your favor. I think what I do is one thing good to have the your repertoire.

Re:My solution to not being fired. (1)

mellon (7048) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484227)

Ah yes, diving catch engineering. I actually like your way of doing it, because you're doing a big save for a problem someone else caused, rather than allowing a bad situation to fester and then being a hero at the last minute (right?). But really, they shouldn't have you in the critical path if that's your work philosophy. Being a good troubleshooter who can pull peoples' asses out of the fire when things go wrong is valuable in itself.

Re:My solution to not being fired. (1)

wangmaster (760932) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484367)

I like that term. Yup, dive catching describes it well, and right, it's not about letting it fail, or letting it fester, but just getting in and getting the job done. In the end, myself, and some of the more astute observers might be able to figure out the root cause, but there's no reason to draw attention to it. Even those that I jokingly call incompetent aren't really incompetent, they just have a different skill set, and mine and theirs complement each other very well.

Definitely, pointing fingers and being an utter ass about picking up the pieces is not the right way to go about what I do.

Write safe code (0, Redundant)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483859)

Just right safe working code, don't try to be fancy. Don't try to use optimized method, just do what is safe and easy. If you always just write safe code then what can really happen to you right.

It's tragic... (5, Insightful)

sitarlo (792966) | more than 5 years ago | (#29483871)

Good coders get canned all the time. Often it's because they have and exercise integrity which equates to shitting on the kitchen floor in today's corporate environments. The advice in the article is entertaining but probably not practical. If you're on the chopping block there is little you can do to mitigate the outcome. It really depends on your *perceived* value to the organization. People are too smart and narcissistic to change their perception of you based on your bragging. Bragging used to work back when most people with power in an organization had absolutely no idea about technology. If I walk into work and start bragging about my work and skills today, my peers and superiors are just going to be annoyed and think I'm a jerk. Bragging about the team's successes, and how the current team is a cohesive unit, is better advice that may save not only your butt, but your entire team's as well.

Re:It's tragic... (2, Informative)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484037)

Too true. I work at an IT consulting firm and my boss pretty much told me flat out that I'm going to be in some serious shit if I don't start dragging my feet to bill clients more hours. Apparently I'm too productive and don't over bill. I called my boss to ask him a question about a task I was going for a client one day - 10 minute phone call (maybe 6 minutes of it being the task at hand) and he bills the client for an hour for "assisting me". Now I'm just waiting for the economy to pick up so I can get a new job.

Re:It's tragic... (1)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484271)

I work at an IT consulting firm and my boss pretty much told me flat out that I'm going to be in some serious shit if I don't start dragging my feet to bill clients more hours. Apparently I'm too productive and don't over bill.

This is the main reason IT consultants have such a bad rep. We get paid big bucks and even then we're expected to screw clients. I've seen consultants where lawyers are saints in comparison.

I say start your own consulting firm. If you're really productive and *gasp* honest your clients are going to love you. It's tough getting started (especially if you have clauses in your current contract) but once you're underway it's smooth sailing with a clear conscious.

Then again, it's a rough time. YMMV.

Manager's perspective (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29483877)

I'm a former programmer, now a manager. Recently, we had to cut some dead wood. I went through all my employees and asked myself, "Would I hire this person?" (I didn't hire any of them in the first place). In many cases, the answer was no. Either they shouldn't have been hired in the first place (previous manager was borderline incompetent), they didn't work out as well as expected, or they had attitude/personal problems that outweighed their contributions.

What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29483917)

... not caring if you get canned?

Have you guys forgot that developers are almost always in demand? If it's not working at one place, just find some other place. There are plenty of opportunities.

I recently made the switch from developing in Web-2.0-world to consulting in the Advertising-world. You forget how much you know and how valuable that knowledge is to outsiders until you leave the bubble.

Don't think for a moment there aren't still a zillion places in every industry that could benefit from better (or any) software. Go find them!

Re:What about... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484071)

... not caring if you get canned?
Have you guys forgot that developers are almost always in demand? If it's not working at one place, just find some other place. There are plenty of opportunities.

What if they want phone references from your last job? I know some people who fake this part, but that's not my style. Also it may work when the market is humming, but tech and/or specialties are cyclical. You don't want to get canned in a down market.

the three dots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29483947)

it means ass

Nothing can save you! Maybe? (3, Insightful)

theGhostPony (1631407) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484013)

Speaking from previous experience, nothing can save you if your management team believes that the cure for all their department's woes can be found overseas. If slashing the bottom line is their primary concern, I don't think there's anything you can do. Short of moving to Cebu or Bangalore.

Been there. Seen that.

This article doesn't help me (-1, Troll)

IronChef (164482) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484017)

I want to GET a developer fired. Any tips?

Re:This article doesn't help me (1)

erikharrison (633719) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484175)

1) To the person who makes the hiring decision, make it clear that the person sucks up more money than they make the company. Make it a pure business decision.

2) Make it easy - very few people enjoy firing people. It is not only confrontational, but it often means admitting you were wrong in hiring in the first place. Give your boss as much of an emotional out as possible.

3) Have the meeting where you solidly and without malice make your case. If your boss isn't going to fire the guy right then and there, but until X, Y, or Z are completed then your boss is going to pussy out. Institutional inertia will set in. Say "I appreciate that you're in a tight spot with this project. What can we do to make this work." When it doesn't work, have a follow up meeting that puts the decision not to fire back in your bosses line of sight, and show that, indeed, it's continuing to not work out. Do NOT say "I told you so." You'll just make your boss resistant.

4) Once the problematic developer is gone, have a follow up discussion that shows it was the right call. Again, don't say I told you so. Say "Thanks for taking care of that. I know it was tough, but it's really working out"

Your job is to make your boss look good by kicking this person to the curb. You're approaching your boss and assisting them in making an informed decision.

Of course, if you're just trying to get someone fired out of spite, that's trickier.

more stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484023)

If you have yearly reviews, bring in a hardcopy of source code commit and bug tracker stats like how many commits you've made or how many bugs you've squashed compared to other co-workers. If you have fixed critical bugs in a timely manner, point those out. Put everything you do into dollar terms if you can, such as, fixing this bug saved an account, or implementing this feature put us ahead of our competition. Also, pull up the diffs for a couple of your better commits/resolutions and explain why your code is better.

Bragging and the like, you're doing it wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484067)

If you're in a company where you have to brag and put up a front to keep your job, you're working for the wrong company, if you cannot just simply do a good job and have to worry about that crap, you're working for a group of egotistical idiots who do not know how to run a business, but would rather do it on "feel good vibes"

It's good to let your bosses know what you're up to so you dont seem like someone who isnt doing their job, but if you can't just perform your duties, instead have to worry about being a bureaucrat and a politician just to keep your job, that isnt productive at all, and if your bosses expect that? Time to look for a better job where your talents will not go to waste. That's what I just did. My old job was transforming into the typical corporate monster, run by people who would rather do things based on feel good decisions and ego driven motives. "This will cost less because I said so!" rather than doing cost assessment, decisions that result in the termination of 20% of the company. ("Let's switch from water dispensers to water bottles! even though it will cost 4 times as much! It's less because we say so." "Oh we dont have enough money to keep these people working for us now! *force them to quit*")

When they started looking at "cost saving measures for IT" I started looking for job saving measures for myself. When they fired my supervisor, I just happened to get a job offer that offered me around the same amount of money, but with commission. Needless to say, they got their cost saving measure, they decided to put a 75/hr consultant who knows much less than I do in charge, and for the last 2 weeks of my employment, I had to fend him off from making decisions that would make managing the infrastructure a nightmare. He also wanted to spend as much money as humanly possible on equipment WE DIDNT NEED. Only because he didnt know our equipment and didnt think it was great, so he put in a bunch of orders for high-end cisco equipment that would not help the infrastructure at all. When I left, I started laughing my ass off, knowing how fucked the company was. They wanted cost saving measures despite us making every cost saving measure we could as an IT department, within legal bounds (we didnt skimp on licensing in case the BSA wanted to raise hell) Now they're spending at least 10 times as much as they were under me and my supervisor (we found ebay deals, the new guy's idea of fixing a laptop issue is throwing a "bad" laptop out and buying a BRAND NEW ONE that costs $1400! I fixed the "bad" laptop he got from an employee and wanted to dispose of the asset. It just needed some small things fixed in vista)

Sadly, people who pull crap like that will keep jobs until it's too late for their employers to realize their mistake and have squandered money away.

Has anyone noticed... (4, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484117)

...the horrible degree of corruption implied by just about every post under this article?

The essential implication seems to be that your longevity in employment has absolutely nothing to do with your actual work. Rather, it has everything to do with someone else's perception of you, and said perception doesn't necessarily need to have any honest or factual relationship with your work output whatsoever.

If this is the case, I seriously wonder how much longer contemporary human society can last. Is it really so completely, unsparingly rotten out there these days?

Re:Has anyone noticed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484221)

Is it really so completely, unsparingly rotten out there these days?

Yes.

Re:Has anyone noticed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484245)

you must be new here

Re:Has anyone noticed... (4, Interesting)

theGhostPony (1631407) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484259)

Part of my job involved finding coding mistakes made by our overseas contractors. To put it simply, they were sloppy and didn't seem to care. When I left, the quality issue hadn't been resolved...
and they were the ones who wound up getting my job!

The essential implication seems to be that your longevity in employment has absolutely nothing to do with your actual work.

Re:Has anyone noticed... (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484325)

answer: a long time. It's always been, and always will be, this way.

Re:Has anyone noticed... (1)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484335)

Corporations are no different than Politics, it's not what you know but who you know.

Re:Has anyone noticed... (2, Interesting)

oGMo (379) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484359)

Nah it just sounds like the advice of someone who sucks at what they do: and by sucks, I mean not constantly working to improve. I've seen this: people don't realize they suck and don't realize that others don't, [wikipedia.org] and therefore assume the only way to get ahead is by politics and dirty tricks... even when it's not. Of course, I'm sure sometimes it is, but if so, it's time to find someplace else to work. Managers firing their resources (especially valuable ones) is more detrimental to them than to their former employees, so they need to learn how to do their job, too. There was a decent article [computerworld.com] the other day on managing geeks that may be a close miss in some cases, but ties into all of this and "why we do what we do."

In any case, no, it's not that bad. It may be that bad some places---I haven't seen it---but there are definitely other places. It sounds more like bad stereotyping for a slow weekend story to generate some hits and sound profound. Maybe the author is serious, or maybe he just couldn't come up with better material.

my swingline stapler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484133)

my swingline stapler :D

People love me (0)

Joebert (946227) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484155)

I've never been fired and never will be. I've walked out on places in the middle of a rush, I've gotten on a Grayhound bus and moved from one side of the state to the other overnight, I've destroyed things, I've screamed at people, I've done just about every thing you can do to get fired immediately in most cases and I've always had a job waiting for me the next morning.

I get shit done.

For US employees only? (4, Informative)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484195)

Good article generally and good advice. But for a US audience.

"For those who donâ(TM)t see it coming".....here in New Zealand would earn the employer a death sentence in Employment court (well, a large settlement anyway).

NZ law states broadly 2 key points: That there is a relationship of good faith between employer and employee, and that both parties act in a fair way.

examples from both sides:

For the employer:
- Theft by an employee is grounds is grounds for instant dismissal
- A drop in income that requires a restructuring process when some employees might be shed.

For the employee:
- A drop of productivity can be due to various reasons. The employer must determine what those reason are. And instigate a prodedure policy known by both parties. The No.1 rule is "no surprises" to the employee.
- Numerous instances of Case Law indicate the employer must act to prove in a fair way they are right(they are the ones with the resources). For example , allowing one employee to arrive late but then enforce it on another first time late person would show lack of process and earn punitive penalties in employment court.

Why some developers get fired (1)

caywen (942955) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484229)

Some developers get fired because:

- Heads: They are too pedantic about development practices in an organization focused on shorter term results.
- Tails: They are too focused on shorter term results in an organization focused on pedantic engineering.
- Uneven performance - productivity that tends to spike around review time but lag in the between months. Many managers aren't naive about this.
- Embattling the lead developer. Some developers take a personal disliking to the lead for whatever reason, and take a position of disagreeing with every decision very loudly.

Getting fired is so common these days (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484253)

sometimes you do nothing at all that gets you fired. Many times I was laid off because the company wasn't earning enough money and the companies I worked for would fire IT staff first. Usually with a 90% turn around in 4 years.

Last two programming jobs I had I got fired because I ran up health insurance rates and got sick too much. Turns out the stress of working too hard gave me high blood pressure and other illnesses and I even developed schizoaffective disorder. When management learned about my illnesses they tried to get me to quit, and failing that had fired me for being too sick and having too many sick days, etc. Even if I had doctor's notes and was in a hospital waiting for my blood pressure to go back to normal before they could release me, my sick days got counted against me. So I got fired for being too sick, and eventually ended up on disability being too sick to work. Had I continued working, I'd be dead or in a nursing home for being so sick.

results (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#29484307)

If your boss likes you, he will set easy goals. If he doesn't like you, he will set unrealistic goals. You can be the hardest worker in the place, but getting "results" is an arbitrary and meaningless phrase, entirely dictated by the whims of your manager.

Duh (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484315)

I am simply amazed at the level of vitriol and naivete displayed in these posts. The article basically boils down to "you are your own best advocate." Of course management's perception of your performance is what keeps you employed when the economy is tough. Duh. The article says to back up your arrogance with facts and not to let your own perception of your value lull you into a false sense of security. Doesn't seem very evil or unethical to me!

the key (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29484379)

the key to not being fired is to have the biggest penis in the company. it solves almost all problems. just whip it out during the next meeting and people will leave you alone. i see it happen all the time. the problem is, i work in the porn industry.

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