A bad day at work

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 8:34 PM | comments: 1

I had one of those days today. I mean, the day was stressful for a number of reasons, but work made it worse.

There are two major frustrations I have. The first is that I'm walking into a startup that is in transition from dotcom party mode to public corporation. The mistakes of adolescence in terms of software development... lack of documentation, poor requirements and use cases, etc... make it a bitch to come in and try to figure out what's going on. I mean, I expect some degree of reverse engineering, and that's cool, but this shit gives me a headache. It seems needlessly complex and the object model is not obvious. And what seems perfectly obvious to the guys that wrote it isn't obvious to me at all.

And that really is the challenge of working with people smarter than you. They might be smarter, but it doesn't mean they're good teachers. Hell, that was the problem domain for me writing my book. And the worst part of that, for me, is that I end up feeling stupid.

The other problem is that they now have this expectation that we should put in more hours two nights a week. I don't think so. I have a lot of problems with that. First of all, people roll in at 9 am, take long lunches, work from home, etc., constantly. And to make it worse, they hired a guy knowing in the crunch that he was going to India for three weeks. What's that about? Then, countless meetings are held that degenerate into philisophical design discussions that aren't important. Or worse, you end up being at a meeting that you have nothing to contribute to, and won't take anything away from. The point is, make my time valuable first before you ask me to put in more.

Not only that, but I've seen this pattern before. It's a classic in software development, and Electronic Arts has even been sued for it. You're assured that this is just a temporary rush to get things done, but then it never ends. There's always some rush. People get burned out, quit, etc.

It's not that I don't like to work. It's not that I don't like the people or the company. But I do need to have my time respected. I'm not jaded, but through all of the layoffs and nonsense, I know that loyalty and extra work have very little return on investment.

Maybe I'm overreacting. Still, I just hate having days like this.


Neuski, April 27, 2006, 4:17 AM #

You don't sound like you're overreacting. In my short life I have seen countless people make situations more difficult than they need to be and you're already working in a difficult one!

Sometimes "smarter" people just don't get it.

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