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Jeff V
Jeff V

Posted on

Nightmare bosses

I have had a pretty decent career (so far). I've been a developer for 20+ years. I have a resume that has 10+ companies on it. I've had mostly really great experiences, but they haven't all been... I've had some bad days with managers (& teams)...

Scenario 1:
Manager was forced to hire me - You know that old saying, "it's not what you know, it's who you know"? Yeah... That happened to me very early in my career & it didn't work out so well for me.

I got a job at US West in the Y2K division in 1999. I worked with Marc's wife at my 1st job out of college, Marc was a director at US West. I went over to their house to help them with something (probably something technical, but I can't remember the specifics). While I was there, I struck up a conversation with Marc and found he was friendly. We spoke about what I was doing & what I wanted to be doing. After that 1 Saturday, he asked me if I wanted to join his team at US West doing some web development. This was exactly what I was hoping to do in my career so I wound up doing the interviews & all went VERY well. I was offered the job & that was the end of the pleasantries at my time at US West.

I quickly found out, that they were "forced" to hire me. I was reminded of that fact many times during my time there. Needless to say, this didn't enhance my position in the group. The main PM for my project was Bev, she was a total bitch to me. She would openly tease me in front of the team & remind me that I was here because of Marc & I was not worthy to be on her team.

The team was young & basically I was the weakest member of the team. So they all followed Bevs lead. I hated every minute of working there. However, I stayed there for a very LONG year, because I was still new at coding and for some reason I felt obligated to Marc, which was obviously a mistake.

Thankfully after I left, things got better, A LOT better. After my experiences at US West I learned that my mental well being is WAY more important than any job. I vowed to NEVER be treated like that again. I have asked to be removed off of teams due to negative behavior. It is never comfortable to have to do this, but I have stayed true to my vow & in the long run it has served me well.

Scenario 2:
Good old boys club - I was in a crappy job, my manager at the time didn't know what the heck he was doing, but he didn't treat me badly. It just wasn't a good job, so I jumped at the chance to interview with an oil company in Denver. The interviews went very well for me. This was a contract to hire position. So when they offered it to me, I felt like the decision was an obvious and I took it.

For the 1st month, everything was going OK. However, I started to notice that they had this negative energy about the team. They quoted the "Art of War" a lot & the conversations were very locker roomish. One dude would never look me in the eyes when I spoke to him. The other dude, constantly spoke about his nightly conquests in the bedroom. The manager had a decent personality, but he encouraged this behavior & wound up being just as unprofessional as the other goons on the team.

I was testing some code I had written, and when I integrated it into the full code base there was some test code that I wasn't aware of that sent emails to some people in the company (including the CIO). After I was made aware of this, I immediately cleared out that list. However my manager decided to take the team out to the bar and publicly berate me in front of my other team mates with foul language. Needless to say, that I deemed that place as hostile, and high tailed it out of there! It was the ONLY job where I didn't give a 2 week notice.

"People don't leave companies, they leave managers"
I found in my travels at different companies that adage to be very true. However, I try to remember that managers are just people too. They are flawed just like you & I are. Sometimes you are at a job where your manager is still trying to figure out their job. Sometimes you are there & they just aren't good at their job. And sometimes... they are just plain assholes. Even in that case, you have to remember that you can't get along with everyone.

The one thing I remind myself of is, life is too short to have people treat you poorly. Don't let them do that too you.

So those are my nightmare scenarios. I know I'm not alone in having terribly bosses. What are your nightmare bosses? If you ever want to chat about these scenarios to commiserate, hit me up on twitter!

Top comments (2)

delixx profile image

Hey Jeff,
thank you for sharing your stories.
You wrote that you were employed in over 10 companies within 20 years.
That's about 2 years per company, even though you had "mostly really great experiences".
Why did you jump ship so often?

webdad3 profile image
Jeff V • Edited

Yeah, some of those positions that I'm counting are contract positions. I went through the dotcom boom and bust, so many of the companies that I have worked for don't even exist anymore!

I "try" to hit 2 years as my goal for any new job I start. Right now Im at 3.5 years at my current company and I did 2 four year stints at a company in the early 2000s.

Its just kind of how it worked out.