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tomhudson's Journal: "Find someone else's bug or else I'll cut your pay 20%" 36

Journal by tomhudson

I don't think I've heard anything quite so stupid as this ... though it starts innocently enough.

Boss on phone: "[name removed] has been looking for this bug for over a week (c/c++ code). I want you to look at it and see if you can find it."
I start looking at the files ...
(... a few hours later ...)
Boss on phone: "Either you find the bug by the end of the day tomorrow, or I'm cutting your pay 20%."
Me: *click*
Boss on phone: "Why did you hang up on me?"
Me: "Because we couldn't find the files by looking in the source, and I'm in the middle of uploading the test code to try to find the problem."
Boss on phone: "I'm serious. Either you find the bug by tomorrow, or I'm cutting your pay."
Me: "Put it in writing. And you really need to learn how to manage people."
Boss on phone: "We're going to talk about this tomorrow."
Me: "Just put it in writing." *click*

My prediction is that it's not going to be a long conversation. As far as I'm concerned, this was the last straw.

This is the 5th time they've threatened to cut my pay since Christmas, and always over stupidity. The first time, I told them to do whatever they wanted, and I would make my own decision. The second time, I pointed out that the problems they were talking about were of their own making, and that they had broken promises to change the development model. The third time, it was "I can't fire you because I can't replace you, but I *can* cut your pay." The fourth time, I pointed out that what they were asking was simply not possible, and that another approach was required.

Today, as far as I'm concerned, it's "put it in writing" time. Either do it, or STFU, because honestly, I think it's a lousy way to manage people, especially someone who you've told you cannot replace. Not the best negotiating stance.

Today crossed a line. The decision is no longer theirs. I feel that a certain element of trust has been broken; these threats are poisonous and amount to constructive dismissal. I'm going in tomorrow morning to pack up my gear, and say good-bye to my co-workers.

Wish me luck in my next adventure :-)

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"Find someone else's bug or else I'll cut your pay 20%"

Comments Filter:
  • Good luck in your next adventure. Just don't presume that you will find a boss more intelligent than your current one.

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Like I said, he needs to learn how to manage people. Brains doesn't seem to help wrt that. Some people have it naturally (talent), some learn it (teachable), some buy it (hire someone to do it for them), and some don't think it's necessary.

      The problem is, you get more out of people when they're proud of what they're doing, so his sort of management style is really counter-productive. It will only work on people who lack pride or confidence in their abilities; it will also discourage and frustrate them. T

      • Like I said, he needs to learn how to manage people.

        In my experience (with some scholarship in my memory as well), all Managers need to learn how to manage people. There are the outright stupid like your current boss, who believe the Hitler approach is the most productive (force of threat works in the short term quite well). There are also the more intelligent who take the salesman approach (the Ponzi-methodology, if you will); the people who smile at you and positively re-enforce your behavior as a form of manipulation, the people who reward you with praise

  • And look at me now. I'm RICH.

    Hope you can find a job quickly.

  • They do seem to be cut from the same (rather threadbare) cloth. :-)

    • Fortunately, my current landlord seems to be an okay egg - not like the last one.

      I think for the next little while it's going to be a combination of contract/freelance work and interludes of temporary full-time (3 to 6 months) employment for jobs that would take too long to complete in a one-month contract, while I look for what I really want - to find projects that are so completely bogged down (you know, the death march to nowhere that is at the point where heads are going to roll and the devs wish so

    • by FortKnox (169099) *
      LOL! Love the subject, johndiii :D

      As with everyone, I'm surprised you lasted this long. A threat to pay is a last resort, company will fall out from under you if you leave, kind of threat, or a threat to someone you want to quit so you don't have to go through any company policy severance...

      If you are looking for a job in the states, let me know. My company always appreciates a good developer, and we do placement jobs if you don't want consulting.
      • by tomhudson (43916)

        Thanks for the offer. I may just do that :-)

        It's even funnier ... they apologized Friday (I need to check my almanac to see if there was a blue moon ... as far as I know, this is the first time they've ever tried to talk anyone out of leaving :-), and today, when I went in to fill in my time sheet for the last 2 weeks, we had a talk. In a nutshell, they want me back.

        There's the trust problem, though ... this sort of thing is what you try to pull when you don't have proper management skills; it's someth

  • You do NOT need luck - cream always rises to the top, regardless of the container's shape. Your perfect situation will be where you need it when you need it, now that you've let go of the minimum in order to receive the better.
    Luck is for people like me, trying to skate by with the bare minimum of effort, and we *really* don't appreciate those more competent than us seeming to hog it all. ;-)

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Well, "the harder I work, the luckier I get" may not always be true, but I think that being nice to people pays off in the long run. After saying goodbye to my co-workers this morning, I stopped off at a few other businesses in the same building to say goodbye, and one of them has already asked me if I can do some work for them.

      Now that the decision has been made, I feel a lot better about it :-)

  • . . . but good luck in the "best wishes" sense anyway. You're doing yourself a huge favor getting out of there.
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Thanks. I figured that out this morning while at the store (I figured I'd pick up fresh grapes to share with my co-workers one last time) - and I realized that I felt *good*. I had gone in before anyone else and cleaned out my desk, gone home, printed up my notice.

      It was time.

  • You haven't told these flaming a-holes where to stick it yet.

    • Yeah - I wouldn't have made it this long.

      • by tomhudson (43916)

        I know, and I could have left a long time ago. However, I do have a sense of loyalty. I didn't want to leave either my employer or my co-workers in an awkward situation, so my policy was, to a certain extent, "I'll get this completed, and then we'll see if we can improve things." Things, unfortunately, have deteriorated, and while I'm always willing to sit down and try and work things out, I don't think the other sides' ego is going to alow them to make any changes. You know that saying - "it is what i

  • and your algorithms not need optimising.

    When Plan B becomes Plan A is always an interesting time.

    Hope the work is ready when you are.

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Is this in the "may you live in interesting times" sense :-)

      All I know is that the sun seems brighter today, now that I've done my own personal May Day Celebration [wikipedia.org].

      I needed a break from this garbage. My blood pressure has been way up, and a lot of it is from the constant uncertainty from day to day of "is this going to be another one of THOSE days?"

  • Is there a boss above your boss? Would be kind of nice to be able to discuss this issue higher up.
    • ...and once you have the boss's threat in writing, you can go show his boss how ridiculous it is, and he can't lie and say you made it up or misinterpreted what he said.

      I'd do that on principle even if I were leaving the company. Think of it this way: you'd be doing your soon-to-be-former coworkers a favor.
      • by tomhudson (43916)

        Unfortunately, my boss is also the owner (that's why there's no room for advancement :-).

        C'est la vie, but this says it all [hhttp]! Know what I mean?

        • by tomhudson (43916)
          Screwed up the linky [youtube.com]. This time, I'll hit preview :-)
          • pick up an extra stapler when you're packing :)
            • by tomhudson (43916)

              Thanks for giving me an idea - we always wanted to sit around and watch "Office Space". I'll stuff it on the lappy and we'll toast it while we drink to celebrate. Maybe the pub will let us plug my s-video out into their big screen? Or we could watch it on the office projector.

  • After reading the 'Chronicles of Landlordia' and knowing that you're finally in a better housing position now, I hope you don't have to relocate to take a new position.
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Thanks. Certainly, if the right job came along and required relocating, I'd do it, but I *am* comfy where I am now ... but I'm not too worried.

      I'm going to take the weekend to design my business cards and my target markets.

      Monday is for settling the paperwork at my former job. The accountant comes in on Mondays to do the pays, records of employment, etc., and I'm owed for the last 2 weeks, about a week of accumulated over-hours, a week of unused vacation time from last year, and about a week and a half

  • I wouldn't take such threats either...
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      I didn't. I went in early, cleaned out my desk, packed up my 26" LCD, and boogied on back home. To the extent that we allow others to do this to us, we make it easier for them to do it to others as well. I feel that the time for making excuses and allowances has long past, and that his actions yesterday (and over the last few months) were constructive dismissal. Not quitting would be agreeing that it's okay to do this sort of thing.

      Then I wrote up a short-n-sweet note, went back to the office and gave i

  • How about this. Take a 100% pay cut and all of your knowledge with you.

    Of course that would only be a threat if he knew how much you knew. Time may teach him this lesson if things start to go bad enough.

    Do you have any way of tracking the pending carnage? EMWTK.
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Well, things are already going bad enough. This bug is costing money every day, so after [removed] couldn't find it in 9 days, telling me that I have to find it by the end of the next day or face a 20% pay cut pretty much speaks for itself.

      I could keep track of how things are going wrt their business, but I really am not all that interested any more. You know how it is - I've had my fill. If I happen to hear anything in the regular course of things, that's one thing, but I'm not going to make a point o

      • OK, I figured it out. It's YOU people who are/were working on Duke Nukem Forever. Bloody Hell. How long must we wait till that bug gets fixed?

        • by tomhudson (43916)

          I think the answer to that, in this case, is *not this year*. There are still features that haven't been implemented. Also, after 4 years, you'd think there'd be some sort of feature freeze ...

          In other words, it's a time and money pit by design (more specifically, the lack thereof - and that's 100% the fault of the owners).

  • *Standing Ovation*
    • *Standing Ovation*

      *bows as well*

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Thanks. Everyone at the office is happy for me - it's like "freedom day" or something. It's been like that for most of the people who quit - normally, they give 2 weeks notice, we pick a day and go down to the pub for an extended lunch to celebrate, and speculate on who will be next.

      Because of the nature of constructive dismissal, the "giving 2 weeks notice" isn't really an option - it undermines your claim that the work situation has become intolerable (and in this case, it really HAS become impossible)

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