Practical Devs for Practical Change 💪🏼💪🏽💪🏾💪🏿
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Not exactly "quitting", but last year I and my co-founders shut down our successful web development agency, because we wanted our work to reflect our desire to avert the climate crisis, instead of just working to get more money, bigger clients, bigger projects.

So now, instead of working on shitty AI that only gives the top dog more money in their pocket, we are building software that (hopefully) will make the waste sector more environmental friendly - feels really good.

 

This sounds really interesting - I would love to hear more!

 

Well, we started the agency while still at college, because we sensed we had the skills, we just didn't know what to build with them. We got lucky, and quickly got the right network to get the good clients.
But it was always in the cards that it was an interim state untill we figured out what to build. So after stalling for a year (it's really hard to leave a well paying, secure gig), we decided to not take any more projects in, and focus on finding our own project instead.

We decided to look into MedTech, FoodTech and WasteTech, as those were areas we knew our skillset could have a positive impact on the world. We quickly landed on WasteTech, and spent 2 month calling anyone that wanted to talk to us about anything waste within the industry.
Finally we teamed up with an insider that had the same vision as we did.

We want to build software that makes it easier sort waste better, produce less waste, and increase recycling and reusing. But we quickly realised that the waste sector (at least in Denmark, and most of Europe) is stuck with the 90's technologies (and many still uses pen and paper for their daily tasks).
So there are no data available, no APIs, no tools to augment, everything is done blindfolded. So we are focusing on digitalizing the waste industry first, and then hopefully use that as a stepping stone to actually have an impact on the climate crisis later on. :)

That sounds like a great mission. I know in Ireland people are still massively confused about what is and what isn't recyclable and one stray addition to a recycling waste bin can contaminate that whole lot.

Regarding the FoodTech space - there's an Irish social-enterprise operating in that space. May be worth syncing up to see if there are any parallels between the two sectors:
food.cloud/how-foodcloud-works/

 
 

Ugh been there, the lack of trust is so stressful and frustrating. What did your micromanagement look like?

 

For the particular company I left, there were about 600-700 employees (I believe), and everything I did had to get approved by the CEO. I worked as a UI designer, so all of my designs had to get printed out and placed on her desk for approval. If a color printed too dark but was the right color on screen, it had to get redone. It was frustrating, to say the least!

I'm sure I have more examples, but that is the one that was the most prevalent. The general lack of trust was a huge issue there.

Reviewing digital designs on paper is something else, especially if they're going to nitpick 🤦‍♀️ Feels like a CEO of a company that large should have better things to worry about!

 

I usually quit when felt overworked, neglected and given serious lack of respect. What also seems to be a major factor that fires up my disdain for a company, is a lack of motivation and challenge. When it all boils down to doing the same things over and over again, it's time to head out to the nearest exit. That is a pattern that I developed and have started to notice it, but always in retrospect of course. Sometimes I make decisions that are too radical or bull headed, and on the other hand when I'm content, happy and doing challenging stuff that I so much desire, I tend to over do it and spiral down to full blown burnout. Balance is important. Blowing off some steam is crucial; either by doing this for example (writing) or any kind of hobbies unrelated to day-to-day work.

DF

 

Any specific times you've felt overworked, neglected, or treated without respect?

 

When I tried making my own startup succeed. It was fine at first but then the overall atmosphere gradually degraded to a state of toxicity and lack of communication with the co-founder. I wrote a bit about it in my first post here:

The other time was when I got bored doing php intranet for Croatian national TV; I was in my 20s and needed challenges to prove myself and learn as much as possible.

 

I once worked at an ad-tech company and had a bad start from the get go. I was led to believe I'd mostly be working in the browser, and that I'd have the opportunity to help lead the charge with introducing React into their stack. My day-to-day ended up being mostly writing data ingestion for a Hadoop cluster—which I had never done before and wasn't mentioned during the interview process.

Sales wanted to onboard everyone, saying "yeah we can handle this data format" and it was our job to make it so. They also promised timelines that put my entire team in constant overtime, and held us personally responsible if deadlines slipped. "This is all Carl's fault" was said once when they didn't know I was in the room. I was expected to be on call, and was one awoken at 3am because a client's site was broken. Somebody had deployed the previous day without manually busting the cache, and Cloudflare had only just begun serving the new—broken—assets.

My last straw was when, shortly after being told I was one of the most experienced developers on the team, I was pulled aside and told they wanted to put me on a performance improvement plan (a PIP). It would have meant focusing exclusively on the drudgery, with no time granted to make improvements to process or infrastructure. I was told "sign the PIP or clear out your desk," and I walked out about an hour later with all my stuff.

 

Another story: I was brought in to help lead a "v2" total rewrite from scratch of an app. Early on, I brought up that it's often dangerous to work in total isolation from the rest of the codebase, but assumed they had scoped it out and determined it would be the correct option.

As I got to know my manager, I realized that this was absolutely not the case. It was a classic case of buzzword-driven development. Yeah, they used Docker—but local builds took 45 minutes and the resulting images were 2GB, for a bog-standard Rails app. They were using React, but with 6 separate, page-specific bundles, each weighing in at 5-6MB. They were in-process of adding Kafka and serverless, adding "microservices" and "event-based architecture" to the list of buzzwords in use. My "v2" rewrite was scaled back into "1 new feature crammed into the existing app" shortly after I joined.

They'd been limping along for months, hopping from silver bullet to silver bullet, wondering why nothing was helping. In the 4 months I worked there, I don't think we had a week without a multi-hour total outage of the app. In those 4 months, my manager began requiring that we rigidly take the top ticket from the task tracker, work it to completion, and use a Slack bot to ping him if we ceased making progress for 15 minutes.

My title was "Senior Frontend Developer," but I was being asked to do database administration and Rails. I handed in my resignation, citing my totally reworked responsibilities and lack of independence, and my Slack access was cut before I could say goodbye to my coworkers.

 

By cutting lose such work toxicity which usually leads to undue, unnecessary stress from your life, you sure have added a few days if not weeks to your life span.

Them cutting you off slack before you could say goodbye reminds me an employer who wouldn't give me a work laptop (although promised).

Decided to quit just 2 months in. Employer wanted to follow me to my house to ensure I've deleted work related stuff from my personal computer.

 
 

I'm currently in a company where I'm overworked, underpaid, micromanaged, etc.

But I have just informed them that I am leaving at the end of the year, mostly due to that I have stopped learning at my job. I have hit a wall in terms of personal development and the company I work for is not in a place where they're looking to move forward in new ways. The old way works for them and they are fine never changing.

I have found that I personally will deal with a lot of less than ideal work conditions but personal development is absolutely vital for me to keep any level of sanity at a job.

 

End of the year! That's six months away, six months notice is crazy!

 

I actually was planning on leaving much earlier than that, but they offered me more money to stay to at the very least the end of the year.... so you know how that goes :)

 
 

My last job I quit due to some sexual harassment issues and I was just miserable in general. But that was in the transportation industry.
Now I'm in a boat where I'm stuck in some huge aftermath of a company merger.

 

I once discovered the source of the money paying me was stolen from public funds.

 

Okay this may be the best reason to quit that I've ever heard

 

I thought about trying to get proof and stop people from doing this, but I would put myself in a risk that could not be worth it. Also I realised that if I just quit suddenly and not cooperate with finding a new person they would not be successful in the "operation". And with time, that was proven true.

I hope that me not getting into any specifics here (to avoid legal retaliation) did not get in the way of comunicating how it happened ;)

 

have you ever woken up to 17 missed calls from your boss? and when you call back, you get insulted for like 3 minutes straight.

how about spending week after week sleeping on the office couch, because your JD has evolved from 4-5 tasks to 20?

i could handle the insults, the lack of appreciation, the long hours, lack of sleep, and public humuilation, however the last straw was when i took some online courses to get better at my job and informed my HR, her response was "this doesn't mean you get a salary increase".

i came back in the night, packed up all my stuff and never looked back, sometimes when i mention that i once worked there, people look at me like i made a mistake leaving. if only they knew!

 

I once quit a job because the atmosphere in the company was so tremendously toxic to the point that the CEO once shouted at a Product Manager in front of a group of people, causing her to break into tears.

One colleague was fired for taking the time to try to improve a heavily tech-debt-laden codebase that was slowing down the team.

The CTO would think nothing of sitting at round-tables with developers and start singling out individual developers, shaming them in front of everyone and telling them they needed to pick up the speed and be delivering faster. Ironically, the same CTO would lament the lack of technical talent on the job market - yet never thought to look after the talent that was right under his nose and leaving in droves!

I still shiver when I think of that company.

 

I quit my first job because the technologies used were just too old. There was no aspect of evolving my career. There was no care in the software we were crafting because the projects would last for just a couple of months. So it's your typical agency. I also discovered React after reading Dan Abramov's article about redux. And shortly after that, I found reactiflux. Through that community, I have learned that I have been doing things wrong the entire time. Thankfully, I found reactiflux at the beginning of my career. Lastly, the salary was too low.

I quit my second job because I wanted to know how work is in other countries. I lived in Greece and decided to move to Germany. It was something I wanted to do since my university days but was rejected initially for an internship due to not being an EU citizen at that time. Now that I am an EU citizen, more doors are even open for me.

So in the second case, nothing tipped me over the edge to quit. I just had an ambition that I wanted to fulfill, which I did! The future holds so many surprises!

 

I took a really really high paying job at a regional bank where they promised me they were "moving forward". I get there and they are actively writing greenfield ASP classic code in 2017. I left after 6 months of trying to move everyone forward..

 

I was working as a technical support engineer for a couple of years and quitted last November due to a number of factors:

  1. Wanted to make the shift for development sector.
  2. I felt like i was stuck in a point where i wasn't able to aquire any new skills, which was so frustrating.
  3. Work environment was chaotic.

I already had this thought that i decided to follow when first graduated and was about to start my career:
To not stay at the same place or position for more than 2 years specially if i felt that am not making any further progress.

And now i feel like i need to make the period of 2 years even shorter.

 

Prelude: In Quebec, Canada there's something called a Research & Development Credit. I don't know all the details, but every year you can fill out a report of how the work that your start-up does helps your developers grow professionally and generally drive progress, and you can get tax credits for that.

So I was working at a struggling start-up. Poor management and weekly change of direction never actually let us take off. The execs would make us clone every shiny new project in the field that they discovered. Thus long before launch we already had a huge spaghetti code base and multiple refactorings.

For a year I was trying to find a new job, but wouldn't quit this one since I couldn't find a new source of income. My last year in that company was especially bad, we had achieved nothing except rewriting the project every 2-3 months. So there was nothing at all that we could put in the R&D reports. When I told them that, they told me I should make something up.

That was the last straw. I wouldn't commit fraud at all, and especially for a company I don't even believe in.

2 years later their website went down for good, finally ⚰️

 

I started my current job as a SDET under the promise that I would be building an automated testing framework, then moving onto an official developer role (everyone would be). They decided to do away with this just before I started. I have tried for six months now to get myself on the track to a developer, but there is no way to get there and their processes for everything are so poorly run, I can't even make the best of it. I'm currently trying to move onto other opportunities to help me become the developer I am aiming to be.

 

I'm curious what automated testing framework did you work on?

 

I was attempting to build using Java Selenium. Our higher-ups also tried to get us to use a third party software called, Accel Q, but it didn't work out for us.

 

For the first job (2 years), i was unpaid for like 2-3 months. For the second (4 years) It was burnout, or depression or not sure which one first. The culture was great, it was a startup, but there're simply things I couldn't care doing at all, like impossibly trying to scale the product when it no longer can (so limited by legacy codes, project size, business requirement, the more feature it has, the harder it is to scale horizontally). During the last 3 months of my second job, I delivered a theme customization engine very similar to shopify liquid myself (with twig as templating engine), API services (with league/oauth2), and worked the mobile app with a designer which consume the APIs. But it was the last and most effort I put for a company.

Been jobless for almost 2 years now, and gonna find a new job soon, as I am running out of saving. But this time, I'll just have rules and terms I can live with. I realized that I shouldn't have any stake or put any hope in doing even something that I like. Back then I was just too passionate about many things, I would've overworked myself for a project which no one gonna remembers years later. I was just too attached to projects or works, and when there's none, there's just this nullity and void, then I realized i haven't been taking care for myself for long.

 

My boss decided that it's a good idea to make me (3 months experienced frontend developer) a team leader. I was supposed to pretend I'm a senior developer with a couple of years of experience in ReactJs to deal with a client, his business team and senior developers. It went to the point were my friend (backend developer) was responding to the client's senior backend developers because I had no idea what they were asking me about. And if anything went wrong - it was my fault :(
So I quit...but his surprised face while asking "why?" was priceless.

 

Oof that sounds tough, sorry you were put in that situation

 

After a while, when I think I want to learn something else.. I also like to make myself familiar with different paradigms.. and if that hasn’t been happening at the current job. That’s when I like to switch

 

My employer promised me a new title, and a salary raise then backtracked. I waited for 3 months and saw it was not going anywhere so I quit.

TL;DR YOU GET SIGNIFICANT PAY RAISES BY SWITCHING COMPANIES, AND SADLY, LOYALTY IS RARELY REWARDED.

 

1 month into taking the job, employer blames me and indirectly calls me a disappointment for not helping them ship a Django application they've been working on for about 8 months before I arrived.

I quit the next month.

 

IT professions are payed over the basic needs in most parts of the world. I personally saved some and at some point, several relatives died and all my savings didn't matter, it couldn't save their lives. Once you get to this point of searching more than just money or cool tech, you get fucked up philosophically and psychologically. Life purpose or meaning cannot be found in just money/work...

 

First, The CTO force us to go her house to learn IoT every weekend.
Second, Stop us involved in the community.

 

It's an old story, but still relevant. It isn't the moment when I quit, but the moment when I decide. I came to my job and the owner of the company told us that he bought a sport car. He was working hard to achieve this and as he told there was a time when he only eat a buckwheat for month to pay to programmers. That's what changed my mind.

 
 

I used to quit some jobs because I was kind of bored with the technology stack we used, often mixed with some buraucratic process.

 

What's an example of a bureaucratic process that made you want to quit?

 
  • Transversal architecture teams forcing their stacks to the projects.
  • Operations team with super slow and complex processes.
  • Pseudo-agile transformation plan used to micro-manage the teams.

I think those anti-patterns are a bit less frequent now as devops and "micro-services" approach bring more autonomy to the teams.

 

A complete lack of leadership. Direct manager doesn't exist. Person above that doesn't listen to my team. Frustrating.

 

I just wanted to start creating something by myself (and don't need to ask for approval of my ideas).

 

There are two things that have made me quit jobs over the years.

  1. Bad bosses
  2. I wanted more.

Kinda simplistic, but generally true.

 

I worked in same company for 12.5 years, slowly and steadily work became less and less interesting and more repeatative. There were no new challenges. I loved the project but still had to move on.

 

My reasons to quit:

  • improve my work environment
  • promote myself
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