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Comment Re:EE Degree (Score 3, Insightful) 200

It's a piece of paper that says "You can work hard, study, make your own mind up and evaluate things critically, research and a whole host of other extremely advantageous traits while operating in a field of rigor and discipline". Coupled with the experience that also says "I can do the job you're asking me to do as described".

It's a piece of paper that says a lot...

Comment Re:Enough whipping Uber to death (Score 1) 288

I've run companies, managed people, and worked shop floor in my time. And there's one thing about management; they're hired to represent the company, and they're responsible for keeping track of the workers. This involves their health, physical and mental.
As this was extreme comorbid anxiety and depression, this would have been impossible for a manager not to notice. Which brings about the question of whether the lack of action was due to incompetence (not noticed extreme distress in employee) or negligence (noticed, but never did anything about it).
As the manager in question was acting on behalf of the company (that's what managers do, and why they carry authority), his actions are thus backed by the company..
If it's a lone manager that's failed, then they've got a heavy whack on the head to say "hire real managers, not spreadsheet pushers".
If it's endemic, then this may be uncovered by the investigation, and it could be a whole lot nastier.

While Uber may not have directly caused the death, they're culpable for it (the same way as bullying someone into suicide is an indirect way of killing). And when someone's as mentally compromised as he was, then the simple "get another job" just doesn't work. Things really aren't as simple as that.. Been there, got that tee shirt..

I don't like ambulance chasing, but Uber seem (from all available information presented) to be culpable as they have failed in their duty.

Comment Re:Suggestion for this (Score 1) 288

In all the back and forth that goes on, with people taking sides, and building up walls, it's lovely to see someone go back to basics, and actually say something simple and constructive!

Alas, mental illness being what it is, finding another job becomes impossible when you start suffering from some variants of it.. That's what led to the sad outcome.. But if there had been more of the friendly engagement, I suspect that it would never have gone as far as it did..

Comment Re:How do they know it's work related? (Score 0) 288

There's lots of "could have", but there are some cold, hard facts:

* One of the duties of the duties of man management is to ensure your staff are functioning correctly (not just meeting targets, but that they are not overloaded to the point of breaking them). If you don't believe someone is capable, you performance manage them (and either improve them or fire them).
* The man had proved that he was eminently capable, by performing very well in similar roles at other companies.
* His family had correctly identified that he was suffering from comorbid anxiety and depression and referred him to the doctor.
* He had stated that his boss didn't like him (indicating problems with management).

As he had been performing extremely well, in well managed environments, then he is shown to be capable.
As his family had identified this, it can be considered that he was dispaying symptoms serious enough that any person who dealt with people as a profession could have determined that there were serious problems.
As it could, and should have been identified by management, why wasn't it? This is either a case of incompetence, or negligence. Either one leaves the company culpable, as management are there to act on behalf of the company.
If it was identified, but company culture is to burn up and hire again, then this needs to change, or this will happen again. Legal action in this case is extremely well supported.
If company policy isn't to run employees on maximum burn all the time, and this was a management failure, why was this manager in post if they were incapable of performing a core function of their job? The company hired them for this, so they take responsibility. Again, company culpable. Management isn't just about calculating figures and generating reports. If that's all they test, then they need a wake up call. Heavy legal case would help them re-evaluate.

I've had an episode very similar to this, and was very well on the way to "taking the 'easy way out' too". Management caught me in the spiral, brought HR in, and supported me though a heavy cycle of medical treatment and an analysis of the role, to bring it in line with what is actually workable (the role wasn't possible, though that's not how it was advertised to me before I joined). That's management and company working how it's supposed to work.

I'm definitely with you that the west lives to work though, in the main.. I've travelled a fair old bit myself, and consider Western values to be very skewed. But I'm very much of the opinion, from available information, that the employers have failed in their duties.

Comment Re:Choice (Score 3, Interesting) 288

If.. If only he hadn't been that depressed.. I've been there and very narrowly survived the experience. It cost me dear, in many ways.. If it'd been caught and handled internally with HR referrals, and occupational health evaluations, and company referral to counselling services, along with management supporting a valid workload. Lots of ifs, and none of it happened.. Which resulted in a guy topping himself..
This is a sad story, and I don't see any way that Uber can come out of it looking good, as management should have intercepted (that level of depression is extremely obvious, and any manager tasked with man management can see it and can at least find the right person to refer to. If they didn't, they're either incompetent, or negligent. Either way, Uber as a company put that manager in place to represent them, so they carry the can).

Comment Re:Cry me a river (Score 5, Insightful) 288

You what? Nowhere does it say he had a bad family life (actually, the fact she got him to see a doctor indicates that she was doing all she could). So blaming his wife is flat out contrary to what the article indicates.

This is purely and simply a management issue. If the manager didn't catch severe depression from overwork coming up on one of his employees, they're no manager at all. It's a _huge_ part of management, ensuring that your staff are performing correctly (and that doesn't mean just 'hitting targets', that's easy, it means "they're performing as human beings, with resilience and sufficient endurance"). And yes, I do management as well as having done the working all the way up to it. Hell, I've run companies before, and keeping people with high morale as much as possible is what gets you through the tough times.

When you become depressed and anxious (the article indicates he was suffering from comorbid anxiety and depression), then looking for an alternative is _not_ an option. The brain convinces you that you're not capable, or that nobody would want you.. Or that he'd fail his family and it would all go wrong unless he kept the money coming in.. All sorts of things, so it makes you prone to trying to keep what stability is there... Though his history shows that he was clearly able to perform in well managed environments, and excel.

There is one obvious variable that changed, and that's his workplace. After working at Uber, he tanked, after excelling at previous similar roles. This points to management and environment causing undue anxiety leading to depression. This was not identified at Uber (him saying that "his boss didn't like him" was quite possibly true, and at least shows that there was a huge disconnect in his direct management).

Not sure what the internals of the company are generally like (though it sounds like there's vast rumbling of discontent, which indicates that it's not being run properly), but it definitely points to a failure of management, and management represent the company. It's going to legally be tough for them to wriggle out of.

Much though I dislike 'Ambulance Chasing', I don't think this is chasing ambulances. It's a failure and negligence on the part of the management chain, and possibly general management focus too. If there's no penalty to doing this, it'll continue.

Comment Re:What? Government misapplication of stats? (Score 1) 238

Interestingly, there have also been studies that investigate the responses according to race. There is a large statistical bias that shows black police are also more likely to arrest a black person. And that there are significantly more convictions made in this way even when jury composition has been factored for.

There are many possibilities, depending on what you factor in, and things are rarely as cut and dried as people would have you believe, especially when confirmation bias is being involved (and it usually is on emotive subjects like this).

Comment Re:2 weeks vacation (Score 1) 262

Companies have this odd idea these days that everyone is replaceable (well, big companies.. Smaller ones still sometimes have a clue)..
They often lose the good people, and assume they can replace with anyone, and it can be years later before everything falls over in a catastrophic failure that the good skills would have avoided entirely... Think it was RBS that had a critical failure because they'd got rid of all their good techs, and the 'cookie cutter cost cutting replacements' used to save money made a mistake that the real skills knew had to be watched like a hawk and managed carefully. Big oops that took days to sort out, and cost billions, and a huge reputational hit.

Companies are being run by accountants and financiers these days.. Don't give them too much credit for understanding operations, or what's critical..
One anecdote I have, as example, was attending a disaster recovery symposium for a huge national (and life critical) institution. This was intended for management levels, and being as I was one of the prime technical managers of one of the local sites (still with 5k employees at that site), I was in attendance.
I consistently scored at the top of the assessments in each of the activities in the groups I was placed in, as due to IT experience over the years, I practically lived, breathed and slept disaster recovery and business continuity. When queried how I got such high marks, I simply explained to people that this was how IT had to run, and had been running for years to keep things running with as few issues as there were, which gave a lot of people around a new found respect for the trade (which was good).
In the final phase of things, when we are all together for the last question and answer session (a good couple of hundred of us, all the groups combined), one of the chief executives of a local site piped up, and asked how this seminar was supposed to be any help, as it was all much too detailled, and she didn't need any of this this, and didn't need to consider it. The guy running the seminar (who was responsible for implementing the business continuity of the organisation as a whole) asked her what she thought was needed.. The response was that all she thought she needed was the contact details of all her managers so they could talk to each other over mobile phone in case of a disaster. He returned a pointed question, inquiring as to what about all the general staff who dealt with the clients, and ensured safe operation. She replied that they were always just there, and so didn't need consideration in a disaster recovery plan.

That is the level of myopia that is often encountered. Bosses aren't magically endowed with a real understanding of anything. They don't understand that people, especially ones with experience, are critical to keeping things running smoothly. Sure, you can bring in people with general theoretical knowledge of something, but when there's a crunch, or an abnormality, by and large, you want people who are well drilled over years, not someone who'll be re-reading all the documentation with no in depth knowledge to make the process smoother.
Yes, you can, with extremely good documentation, keep things running with little experience and knowledge available, but don't expect it to be anywhere near as painless as it would be with skills and experience.

Comment Re:Gee, ya think? (Score 1) 262

Actually, after being a boss, and being a worker, the bosses don't know more than most think. They know other stuff, if they're any good. A good boss is an exercise in logistics and being more of a generalist than anything. If you know more about the particular subject than the person you've got working for you, you've either made a bad hire, or you're being wasted in the wrong job (most likely).. Whatever made you think someone signed up for long hours? Likely they were a conscienscious worker who put in the time when it was needed because they wanted the team to succeed. No, shinks don't get any bonus for saying you have any form of abnormality. What they actually get paid for is to get people back to effective work as quickly as possible when there's been an issue raised. They're very good at spotting burn out, or near burn out conditions, because they've seen so many. Same as a good tech knows when a machine is on its last legs, and what to do about continuing service as effectively as possible. But, feeding the troll (and you always do excellent trolls, hats off to you). :)

Comment Re:Largely homogeneous workplace, heh. (Score 2) 329

What? Just because someone'e intelligent, they don't have a different thought process? I've done the whole university thing, and run my own business as well as contracted and done the full timer thing.. One thing I can say about University people is they have radically different approaches to things. There is no magical "diverse through process" that can be gained by _not_ having a degree. What the degree does is expose those natural thought processes to approaches that will make code more maintainable, more efficient, more able to be worked at in groups and teams, also which approaches may be a best fit to achieve the aim you're heading for. It isn't about cookie cutter training you to think a particular way, it's about giving you tools to do the job. I've met super intelligent people that do seem to be great at nearly everything.. Same as I've seen some that are fantastic in a limited range, but useless at loads of other things.

Comment Politics, politics, politics. (Score 2) 137

Amber Rudd is not being driven by the intelligence communities, or anyone who actually understands what this is all about. What she sees is a complete outsider's view of "Think of the " without actually thinking whether there's a problem that putting measures in place will fix. All the view of the intelligence communities and professionals is that there is no purely technical solution that can be put in place to fix this, without shooting off both feet. Still, she's adamant that "Things must be done", without a clear plan of what must be done, or, more importantly why it must be done and what impact it will have (real impact, not something that exists in her head, therefore it must be true!).. I used to dislike the old Labour government for knee jerk, uninformed action, creating situations worse than the ones they were trying to solve. And it just continues on this government. The running theme behind the two is career politicians.. If we got rid of those, then we'd be a step closer to real solutions.. Another step would be to make up the policy creation bodies from experts in the field (or at least very experienced people in the field, who are able to liaise with experts when serious policy decisions need to be made).. Idiocracy here we come.

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This is clearly another case of too many mad scientists, and not enough hunchbacks.