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meddlin said 13 days ago:

I really wish companies would start asking for anonymous, unbiased reviews of this process. I've had a few companies come close, but they made it clear the answers were (or seemed to be) heavily filtered.

Their onboarding processes all sucked.

Please stop with the cute HR nonsense. I'm not a kid. I don't need your cute program. We don't need someone reading 10 pages from your legally unenforceable handbook from a projector. Keep your gift bag; the squeeze ball is stupid and you didn't pick the pen. (Have you ever given a gift?) If you're going to lean into the sterile corporate decor, then at least hand me a clipboard and let me fill out paperwork just like I'm at the doctor's office.

If it sounds salty; it's supposed to. I hope a C-level, or business owner, takes it to heart. I'm not trying to beat you down. This first-impression is important--I took 10 minutes on a Saturday at 2:50AM to let you know. I've seen your "all-hands", your quarterlies, your launches, and your totally-not-Christmas parties.

You already know how to do better.

pmiller2 said 13 days ago:

You lost me at "anonymous." I treat every single one of those stupid surveys as if everyone in the whole company was watching me fill it out. I never leave free response comments, because I don't want to be identified by my words. Maybe it's paranoid, but it's worked for me so far. And, yes, if other people think the same as me, then it's surely biased the data a bit, as well.

spery said 13 days ago:

I'm quite the opposite. I always try to give the honest feedback hoping it would be read. If company tries to use anonymity to track down people who give negative feedback and try to mistreat them, I'd rather not work there anyway. So its a win/win for me.

pmiller2 said 13 days ago:

Long periods of financial insecurity in the past have trained (beaten?) that impulse out of me. I'm glad you can still do it.

DevKoala said 12 days ago:

I am sorry. I empathize because I know that a great deal of my confidence as a software engineer came thanks to financial security; I don’t fear being fired so I will speak my mind. However, had I failed to achieve that, would I have stood for myself? Who stays silent because of this? I always feel it is my duty to listen to everybody in the room because of that reason.

ornornor said 7 days ago:

Any company I’ve worked at, anonymous feedback surveys were never anonymous.

The most egregious one was a startup that I worked for. There was a weekly all hands where anyone could ask anything either by raising their hand or by using a home made tool to ask questions. They would then get selected (we were 30 people, selection was not because we lacked time to answer questions) and the hardest questions would rarely get answered. People could also vote on which questions they wanted answered most. It was guaranteed to be anonymous but we were encouraged to sign our questions so that they could “ask clarifications.”

Questions that were not signed that were selected were always answered with “I wish I knew who asked that so I could answer them directly” from the cofounders.

But they didn’t really need that anyway. They knew exactly who asked what and who upvoted what because it was all in the database for the service.

I asked why we were not paying interns at all (it’s illegal and unfair) and signed my question. I was promptly shown the door and everyone was discouraged do good to ever use this tool to ask meaningful questions ever again.

So, yes, unfortunately the workplace is not a democracy. It’s a dictatorship in which you have no right to free speech. No one is interested in fixing anything because it puts their job or power in jeopardy. They know it sucks, but that’s why they pay you to bite your tongue and sit there 40h a week. But if you want to keep getting a salary regularly, stay quiet, do your own thing so that you meet the performance expectations, and suck it up or look for a new job while enjoying life outside work. But spoiler: your next job won’t be better, just different. Oh, and sont say anything bad on the exit form/interview: it won’t change anything about the workplace you’re never working at again, but it will bite you in the ass through references and gossip.

Really, it’s lose lose to try and provide “constructive criticism” about the process or idiotic things that are in your manager or superiors hands.

meddlin said 13 days ago:

"Anonymous" is a bit much to ask for this, yes. I'm really just asking for the company to--for once--lower its defenses so we can have a conversation. Air the frustrations without fear of immediate professional retaliation.

If a company, manager, exec, or leader can't exercise that kind of humility, then quite frankly they don't deserve the position.

xiphias2 said 13 days ago:

,,I really wish companies would start asking for anonymous, unbiased reviews of this process''

Google does this, but then changes only things that are not against its current politics.

donw said 13 days ago:

It boggles my mind how companies do not take onboarding seriously.

This is the best opportunity you have to set your people up for success, bar none. Plus, many of the things your company should do to build a great onboarding experience can also be leveraged to make it easy to do things like "move people between teams", "expand into a new office", and "hire great people".

Done properly, this is cheap as hell.

pedrocr said 13 days ago:

This sounds like an example of someone taking it seriously by actually putting in the effort to build the elaborate program but then failing miserably at making it effective. That's not at all an unusual experience for HR processes in my experience. There's far too little feedback built into those kinds of processes so they rarely know if they are doing well or not.

mrweasel said 13 days ago:

HR honestly have no business getting involved in hirering or onboarding. Most people working in HR aren’t qualified for it. HR should be limited to gathering enough info to ensure that you’re being paid and perhaps managing how much vacation you have left. It’s a service organisation.

I had one HR drone complain about developers being bad at logging time. We told her that the system sucked and made it to hard to correctly enter your hours. She the proceede to demo how easy it was by entering her hours for the week. Basically: HR stuff = 37 hours. She had no clue that the average developer had more tasks during one day, each requirering it’s code, that she had during a full month. HR, especially in large companies, are clueless about the actual work being done.

Personally I no longer participate in personality test. If one is required during the interview process I decline and leave. It always HR that require the test, never the people you’d actually work for.

For onboard: The people I’ve onboarded for different companies all get the first day to settle in, setup their computer, find the coffeemaker and just look around. Day two you get a real assignment, ideally something you can fix and have in production before four o’clock. After that it’s just progressively harder tasks until you can manage on your own.

elric said 13 days ago:

> I no longer participate in personality test. If one is required during the interview process I decline and leave.

I do this as well. I've had companies send me online personality tests with seriously invasive questions. With no explanations as to the purpose, no guarantees regarding data protection. Just a quick "fill this out to see if you're a match". I'm sure it's designed to carefully skirt around anything that's overtly illegal, but fuck that. They go on my shitlist.

elric said 13 days ago:

It's something I've been struggling with. It would be nice if there were a one-size-fits-all onboarding script.

The company I work for has grown from 3 (founders included!) to over 30 in the time I've been there. When you're tiny, and someone new joins, there's no need for formal onboarding, osmosis sort of does its thing. This worked reasonably well until we reached ~10 butts in seats. Unfortunately, this 10 people mark was also where pressure started to ramp up. More customers, tighter deadlines, bigger workloads, and a struggle to survive -- because at this point the first round of financing was spent, and we needed to prove our worth to future investors. Everyone was stressed and overworked. Basically, there was no time for onboarding. Which is stupid, because it's an activity that pays dividends in the sort-of-short term.

Once we reached the 30 people mark, we were able to breathe a little easier in regards to workload. We're still growing. Onboarding is starting to become a thing. Where things aren't automated, they're being documented. We at least try to make time for introductions. It's far from perfect. It needs to improve. But it's hard. And I should probably take a moment to apologize to hire ten through thirty for what must have been a shitty first few months for them.

HenryBemis said 13 days ago:

I will repeat from another point of view: when you were 10 we had enough workload for 15 but we didn't get the extra 5 until we got to the "need 20" (or whatever number). So you have always been overworked and overworking your staff and you preferred that they all work on 120-140% instead of 80-90% that would give space for better quality. I get it that numbers are ruthless, but workload, quality, documentation (not speaking only about onboarding documentation) etc. also got "numbers" on them if one cares to measure. It is only the £€¥$ numbers matter.

elric said 13 days ago:

Oh yes you're absolutely right. And while I'm only an engineer and have no "real" say in how the company is run, and no remuneration except for my monthly paycheck, I've definitely been part of the problem. I work crazy hours, I'm totally addicted to the problem-solution "high" feedback loop. There have definitely been times when I've thought some people weren't pulling their weight. But with the passage of time, I've mellowed a bit and I've come to realize the importance of downtime and all those hard to quantify things.

For the most part, my employer has treated people pretty well. Workload has been high, but flexibility has always been high as well. Along with $$$. Working here has definitely given me an appreciation for the hard work it takes to get a company off the ground.

cammil said 13 days ago:

I don't think the incentives are there, and it's probably reasonably difficult to do well.

gulfie said 13 days ago:

They do take it seriously. It's just like the Nigerian prince scams. The insanity acts as a filter. What you get out the other side doesn't know or doesn't care that they are being misused.

toohotatopic said 13 days ago:

Is this a conscious decision or an evolutionary thing where only those companies survive that happen to treat their employees like this?

said 13 days ago:
narraturgy said 13 days ago:

The process described here is one that would honestly have me walking out the door. I don't say that from a place of "this isn't worth my time" or a similar feeling grounded in self-worth and healthy ego--the aimless, direction-less, utter lack of structure or clear direction on how to proceed while being deluged in busywork would leave me so anxious and adrift that I know I wouldn't be able to return to that place. The concept of "working" for three days before my direct supervisor even noticed my presence is so foreign to me that I truly have no idea how I'd function, unless it was to sit in a corner and panic about not knowing how to start doing the job I was (supposedly) hired for.

As someone trying to figure out how to turn my diploma into a job despite intense impostor syndrome, this tale is absolutely harrowing.

laurentdc said 13 days ago:

> The concept of "working" for three days before my direct supervisor even noticed my presence is so foreign to me

I left my old company for the same reasons. I didn't know who my boss was or who I should report to for months.

Everyone was clueless. You asked for help or directions by pinging some guy you didn't know on Slack and the best you'd get was "yeeeeeah I worked on this project long ago, I forgot, sorry, nice to meet you though wanna go grab a coffee sometime?"

Clients left hanging because somewhere in the sales process someone forgot about them in the pipeline. When some work actually got through nobody did anything for weeks until someone would promote himself to project manager out of good will (which you could do by putting your name in the project charter bullshit and on the Trello board of course) and assigned some teams (uiux, dev, qa ecc) to it. When you needed e.g. design files for something your best guess was to look in the Gdrive folder, find who has shared access, and ask them who worked on the design if by any chance they know something about it.

The result of this was the worst time to market I've seen. Like 2-3 year delays were the norm. I have no idea how companies like this manage to survive. They weren't doing that bad economically either (they won lots of government funding mostly)

sadfklsjlkjwt said 13 days ago:

9 months. I've been somewhere where it took 9 months before I realized that my bossy colleague was not my boss and another person was! Amazingly it was a profitable small business that had happy customers and employees.

clarry said 12 days ago:

How did you find out, eventually? That sounds like it might've been a very awkward moment...

pmiller2 said 13 days ago:

Wow. Did you work with a guy named Milton who had a red stapler by any chance? That's just terrible.

Before I finally landed at a decent company, I used to have this concept of the "Dilbert coefficient." Basically, if there were too many Dilbert cartoons on display, it was a red flag, and if there were none, it was a potential red flag, because I thought it implied people might be afraid to put them up.

I'm happy to say office I'll be going back to when it's safe to do so has zero Dilbert cartoons, but several memes and semi-permanent pieces of whiteboard art.

fossuser said 13 days ago:

I think this is a bit of an overreaction.

In practice the first day or two doesn't matter that much, you're getting your laptop - meeting some people, signing into some accounts.

I don't think this is really that big of a deal in the scheme of things.

tonyedgecombe said 13 days ago:

It's a pretty strong indicator, the best companies I've worked for were really good at welcoming me. The worst were awful.

pmiller2 said 13 days ago:

I agree with this. I've had everything from "here's a laptop, have fun setting everything up," to a comprehensive intro to the company and basic systems that took about half a day, along with an assigned new hire mentor and a set of starter tickets to work on for my first couple of weeks. At the first place, it took me 3 weeks to get to the point where I could submit my first pull request. At the second, I obviously wasn't fully productive right away, but I wrote real code and merged it into production within my first week.

said 13 days ago:
meddlin said 13 days ago:

The type of corporate-heavy experience the author described is less "directionless" and more draconian. It's just flat boring and borderline useless. You sit through it because you need the paycheck.

itronitron said 13 days ago:

Part of the onboarding process typically involves going through various HR paperwork (tax forms, benefit selections, etc.) with either the Head of HR if you are lucky or the most 'shit upon' HR staff member if you are unlucky. Most people make it past this hurdle by recalling the $ amount on their offer letter.

wdb said 13 days ago:

Yes, and most of the time after the onboarding your manager will pick you up and show where you will be working if you haven't met your manager before the onboarding. That's my experience.

austhrow743 said 13 days ago:

There was clear structure, OP disregarded it. Direct supervisor would have thought OP was doing the general onboarding like every body else.

narraturgy said 13 days ago:

That's a good point. On rereading it I realize that I got caught up in the part where OP's friends showed up to assist OP in getting started and I was trying to sort how you'd do that without knowing people there already (the situation I'll be in, as I've moved to another state entirely since graduating), but I suppose the onboarding process would hopefully have eventually dropped OP off somewhere on the right track.

austhrow743 said 13 days ago:

Yeah I think the real problem here is that either the company was screwing up by putting very senior devs who don't need hand holding in with the noobs, or OP has a higher opinion of herself than warranted. Probably the former given how much of her stuff I've seen on here.

So yeah you would have been good. Probably worth keeping the lesson in mind though of if you're stuck between doing something the standard company way or listening to some grey beard saying "hey kid, do this instead", probably stick to the company way. It has built in training wheels the grey beard either just doesn't need or considers a hinderance.

said 13 days ago:
rainyMammoth said 13 days ago:

In my experience the first few days of onboarding is the only time when it's easy to meet new faces in a company. You will always remember the couple of people that onboarded together with you. Looks like going through a bunch of nonsense together successfully bounds people.

That's the only real benefit of those onboarding few days. I usually roll my eyes through most of the high level presentations that are full of Koolaid, politically correctness or even straight up made up as you typically discover after a couple weeks/months.

aww_dang said 13 days ago:

How many people opt-out of this kind of culture and become self-employed?

The theory of specialization and collaboration increasing productivity is fine, but look at all of the time lost for this nonsense. Imagine paying the salaries of these disaffected employees as they Svejk their way through the workday.

Think of the overhead for the office space, medical and paid leave for all of these people. I also wonder about the value of those who are compliant and obedient. Not sure that those qualities go hand in hand with innovation and critical thinking.

Solo-entrepreneurship limits the kinds of problems you can solve, but the ones you do select can be low maintenance, passive income situations. After building up a portfolio like this, there is no need to build resumes, learn buzzwords or tolerate the nonsense described in this article. Your surplus of free time can be invested in creating more revenue streams.

zhdc1 said 13 days ago:

She's getting a lot of flak on here, but I kind of sympathize with her. Multiday onboarding programs, unfamiliar (bad?) IT, and inflated expectations aren't particularly fun to deal with.

neoplatonian said 13 days ago:

This post is actually written in retrospect with bitterness, so I'd avoid reading too much into it: either as red flags on the author or the company. Memories and lived experiences get colored in hindsight by what happened after. For example, there must have definitely been positives that attracted the author to the company, but they are diminished in memory, crowded out by bitterness.

brailsafe said 13 days ago:

I wouldn't be so dismissive, and have found it interesting to see how negative most top-level commenters have been. I think it's valuable to look back at the first few bits of information that could have tipped you off early to a negative experience later on. That's how we learn what not to do next time.

I think there's a lot more in this post than you might get at first read. For example, a lot of people are interpreting it as bitter, and it seems to be, but it also communicates some level of unmet basic hopes for the new position. It seems to me like optimism carried her through this period, that only in retrospect were signs that it wasn't meant to be. Likewise, many people are missing the fact that this is a retrospective at all. Without knowing any further context, this story could have literally taken place at any point in her career, and I'm sure many developers on here have similar stories.

mjburgess said 13 days ago:

Or, in lieu of being able to offer any substantive criticisms is looking to rationalise her failure by locating it with the company as early as possible.

brailsafe said 13 days ago:

That's an awfully uncharitable view, especially to assume she failed in any way. I don't get the sense that the point of the blog post was to levy substantive criticism at an unnamed company.

Regardless, would you say it's irrational or, to use some words from others: arrogant, techier-than-thou, entitled, autistic, to conclude in retrospect that there were early signs of the company and you not being a good fit? Seems pretty reasonable. It's implied and stated how she tends to react to the process she was tasked with.

mjburgess said 13 days ago:

I'm in part going off comments made by employees about her attitude.

I mean, I have little idea. I'm not claiming that the negative take is the right one, only that there is some oversight in the author here leading to this article.

I'm very sceptical about an HR on-boarding process, so-described, being a redflag for anyone. As she claims, it's an irrelevant/missable process anyway. The idea its some lens into the company, on this occasion, doesnt stack up.

However you interpret the motivation for writing, I dont buy the "redflag" one.

brailsafe said 13 days ago:

In some sense I agree with you, but on the other hand I do feel like these are implied caveats. It's perhaps unwise to look too far into an onboarding process as a serious mark against a company. Even companies that invest a lot in this will mess it up. I think it's implied that she didn't do this, simply by consequence of her pushing forward anyway, and her also qualifying it at the end with "red or pink flag".

My sense is that this was something that subsequently stuck out to her, and maybe became a more significant pattern throughout her year at the company. It's what's not said that sort of brings a bit more significance to these particular things, because why else would these things stick out upon reflection?

I've had worse onboarding experiences, that upon getting fired, I looked back on and thought "Wow, maybe next time I'm handed a HP laptop and told that Macs are only for designers, I'll just walk out", because they were significant of events that would later cause me undue turmoil and stress that affected my performance.

dang said 13 days ago:

In this case it's more of a writing style, I've always assumed, than outright bitterness. That gets clearer if you read Rachel's posts a lot.

pas said 13 days ago:

The point is, that, yes, sure, show initiative, be a team player, plus be willing to stand up to corporate bullshit, but also work with the givens constructively, etc.

But that doesn't matter if there is noone from the other side (manager, other team members), that help to bring the newcomers into the fold.

How come someone was just given an MBP and let loose on her first days without literal supervison?

There was no desk. Okay, great, how long does that take to solve? Just call someone and grab a chair and sit next to someone on the team.

This whole thing is a parable about the lack of sincere human interaction.

lifeisstillgood said 13 days ago:

Instead of bugs per LOC or anything else, the single biggest metric a CEO needs to watch is employee gripes per work day. Goes up in a particular area - get in there and fix something. It's like metal on metal for a engine operator, CEOs need to listen for that grating sound.

And as such I will defend to the death an employee's right to moan and bitch about working conditions.

smitty1e said 13 days ago:

Rachel comes off as someone with vast chops who is better suited to a start-up than a large corporation.

I had a somewhat similar experience of being at a consultancy that is great for people right out of college.

Made me feel a trifle old and ready to get to a place that was more work-horse and less show-horse.

bjornlouser said 13 days ago:

"... You start feeling very old ..."

I hear you calling me.

And oh, the ringing gladness of your voice!

And on my career’s grave the mossy grass is green:

At the stand-up, do you behold me? Standing here,

Hearing your voice through all the corporate hell between.

tzs said 13 days ago:

> You're making lots of mistakes, despite having decades of typing experience at relatively high speeds.

It’s amazing how small a keyboard difference can throw you way off.

I had an Apple Magic Keyboard and could type on it high speed with high accuracy. I wanted a numeric keypad and bigger arrow keys so got an Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad.

The latter is pretty much the former with extra space on the right for the keypad. The letters and punctuation keys are the same in size, location, and feel. If you are just banging out text or code, there should be virtually no difference between the two.

In reality, I could barely type on the keypad version. It took a couple days to get decent on it. Even after a couple weeks I was having trouble with punctuation, making coding slow.

pmiller2 said 13 days ago:

I need an ergo keyboard to avoid RSI. The first one I tried was this monster $300 Kinesis Advantage keyboard, which I picked because it was the most highly rated one on Amazon, it looked cool, and I thought it would solve my problem. It did not. I could barely type letters on it, and some of the common programming characters, like [{}] were in the "wrong" spot relative to where my fingers thought they should be.

I sent that bad boy back in under a week and settled on the MS Ergo Sculpt. It has a standard layout that works great for me, and I credit it with keeping me in the industry for the past 3 years, and, hopefully, far beyond.

manuform said 13 days ago:

The Kinesis has been my workhorse for the last 4 years and now I have 2 (one at the office). I think with any reprogramming it takes a while to settle in; when I switched over to this from a standard keyboard was also when I took the plunge to relearn touch typing with the Colemak layout - productivity plunge as I struggled to do even 15WPM. Now I'm at 82-90WPM.

dkersten said 13 days ago:

I also use colemak and a kinesis and I honestly think it was the best decision of my career. I held off on buying a kinesis for a long time because they’re expensive and I greatly regret doing that. Its not at all about speed for me and I don’t know my WPM, its about comfort and avoiding RSI (I’ve had some problems in the past).

Now when I see people hammering their crappy keyboards, my fingers hurt for them and I wonder why more people who need their hands to work don’t invest in protecting them, but I get it, because I held off buying my kinesis for years due to the cost...

pmiller2 said 13 days ago:

Funny, I didn’t hesitate for a second about the cost. I would have considered it well worth it to spend $300 on a new keyboard every month to be able to keep my well paying career.

dkersten said 13 days ago:

It sounds like you had worse RSI problems than I did (and when I was first considering getting one, I didn’t have much problems and wanted one more as a precaution). Do you have any thoughts as to why you couldn’t get used to the Kinesis or found it hard?

pmiller2 said 13 days ago:

I’d been touch typing on a standard keyboard since I was in 4th grade. Inertia, I guess.

dkersten said 13 days ago:

I assume you would have gotten used to it then, but given that you found another keyboard that works for you, I guess it wouldn't have been worthwhile.

pmiller2 said 13 days ago:

Yeah, that's the thing. When I bought it, I was starting down the path to permanent disability if I didn't do something. And, I couldn't afford to be at 1/10 or 1/4 typing speed, because I still needed to produce at work.

The Kinesis would actually have been fine, if I could have figured out how to get the programming-related characters to map properly to my brain. Typing on it was such a WTF experience for me that I couldn't continue, and it turned me off even trying to reprogram it.

But, the Ergo Sculpt was just like "plug it in. Go." The only weirdness I've experienced with it is that some of them work fine with the Macbook Pro, and some of them don't. It seems to have to do with what model the USB transmitter is, but I don't have a big enough sample to know for sure. I was lucky the first one I bought just worked, because otherwise I probably would have sent it back and gotten a different one. I did have to do a return / swap on the second one I ordered (one for home, and one for the office). When either of them die, they will get replaced with something similar, if not the exact model.

dkersten said 13 days ago:

> some of the common programming characters

I’m not sure what problems you had “barely typing letters on it”, because I personally got used the that part extremely quickly and found it comfortable.. but I agree that some of the characters are placed in rather unfamiliar place, however, you can remap them. Better yet, I use a foot pedal (the three pedal one, I use one pedal as shift, a second as Fn and still haven’t mapped the third to anything) and just mapped the symbols to foot oedal (fn) + home row keys for super easy typing (although over the years I got used to their default positions more and stopped using the Fn+home row mappings, I should revisit them)

raverbashing said 12 days ago:


I started using the (external) Apple keyboard but it really threw me off.

Got a regular sized keyboard to plug on the Mac, works fine for me (with the added bonus of real PgUp/PgDown and Home/End keys).

dirtnugget said 13 days ago:

The first days in a company can really mark everything. I can feel her. Last time I felt like that I ran out after 3 months and ended up freelancing ever since. Maybe she should try that.

im3w1l said 13 days ago:

I dunno, most of it didn't sound that bad. I guess anything becomes stressful under time pressure.

said 12 days ago:
matsemann said 13 days ago:

I also think this shows a few red flags of the author. Definitely not a team player, runs from boring stuff (instead of challenging it or trying to fix it), and then hides in a corner a few days instead of actually talking to the manager (who thought the person was busy a few days with the onboarding, so naturally didn't show them a desk yet).

brailsafe said 13 days ago:

Upon not being offered the support that a good on-boarding process should include, she worked with other members of the team to solve the problem she was facing and get started on something useful, rather than trudge through the rather pointless series of tasks that were assigned a higher priority than a basic work surface. Sounds like a team player to me.

ozim said 13 days ago:

Uhm not what I took from the text: "Some friends who had already been at the company reached out and provided their own take on how to get started, and I went from that."

This looks like people from random other teams in the company. Not the team she was hired for. Totally doing her own thing because she had some connections.

brailsafe said 13 days ago:

I suppose that particular sentence could be interpreted a number of ways; I see it more as leveraging connections necessarily rather than surreptitiously. Either way, having friends at the company would also help cultivate a sense of optimism that carried her through this time rather than being as significant at the time as many are proposing.

janwillemb said 13 days ago:

I agree. Maybe they handed out desks in the onboarding process. At least talk to someone about it instead of punishing yourself by sitting and whining to yourself.

legulere said 13 days ago:

When you join a company you cannot change things that aren’t part of your tasks right away.

duckface said 13 days ago:

You can, however, and should, ask for what you need, such as a desk.

Not taking responsibility, but stewing, playing the fake victim, then writing a self righteous blog post to complain, when you could have just asked and got a desk.

I'm not surprised your experience is not a great one, when you don't communicate then blame others for not knowing what you're missing, and have that entitled and privileged, "Bring me a desk," attitude.

giantDinosaur said 13 days ago:

It certainly shows a willingness to not be particularly compliant, which is one of the greatest business (or group) sins.

mjburgess said 13 days ago:

Agreeableness is an asset in a well-functioning institutions. Disagreeableness is an asset in pathological ones.

Disagreeable people, however, often cannot really tell the difference.

meddlin said 13 days ago:

Is the author not a team player or tired of the BS? Would you be willing to have a conversation with a team member like this?

If I witnessed your type of response (seemingly defensive) within the first hours/days of starting, I would begin to wonder what kind of change I could impress even if I did take the "approved channels". Ideally, we would pick up on all of this during interviews and go our own ways. It doesn't always work that way though. There is /something/ we have to offer each other.

You put up your defenses, I put up mine. And in a short time you're looking for a new hire, and I'm looking for a new place.

stingraycharles said 13 days ago:

It’s just a cultural fit issue. Different people have different personalities / preferences, and what may be one person’s “red flag” may be the other person’s preference.

twblalock said 13 days ago:

Not all preferences are reasonable.

I've seen multiple posts by the author of this piece and I wouldn't want to work with that person. I've worked with people who have similar personalities, and it's just not worth it. You can find competent people who are easier to get along with.

Lammy said 13 days ago:

What does worth it mean to you? I worked relatively near the author of this post in the past, and she’s totally brilliant. Saved our company’s ass over and over again. I personally learned a ton from her and still look up to her immensely even though she left behind a mean (anonymous) complaint about me and probably thinks not very highly of me :p

pedro2 said 13 days ago:

How old are you? I’m in my thirties and if someone left a mean anonymous note about me I would be pissy about that for a few years before I’d find it mildly amusing. Congrats! (in case there is doubt: not being sarcastic)

dkersten said 13 days ago:

Yeah, mean anonymous notes are childish. Be an adult and have a conversation with the person you have a problem with.

Lammy said 13 days ago:

I understand what you're getting at here and my hypocrisy did cross my mind when I was typing my comment, but please recognize the power imbalance between somebody like me who is very junior in their career and a visibly-brilliant 20X Engineer with an established audience. It's terrifying to think of the reputational and career ramifications of being a War Story topic for somebody in that very influential camp. My late-night comment wording wasn't the best, and what I was trying (and perhaps failing) to get at was that Rachel belongs to a class of engineer so outstandingly capable that dealing with any faults they may have is still totally worth it. Definitely so on an overall-corporate-success level, but even so on the very personal level. I learned so much by just being in her orbit for a brief point in time that I'd still jump at the chance to be in that position again despite how scared I know I would be of fucking anything else up. The career growth via skill osmosis is worth it to me.

huffmsa said 13 days ago:

Or put your name on it.

John Hancock didn't sign "Concerned Former British Citizen"

Lammy said 13 days ago:

Nah, I didn't mean it like that. I'm a big boy and can handle criticism. It was just hurtful to read a rant about myself from someone I considered kind of an idol before that. It wasn't incorrect or undeserved at all but I just wished I'd been asked my side. I'd rather not identify myself to explain more, especially since Rachel comments here. (Hi Rachel, keep being awesome and ignore the haters!)

luckylion said 13 days ago:

> What does worth it mean to you?

Not the parent, not having a strong opinion on the author, but have felt similar about some people in the past. "Difficult to work with" is an issue, and I too prefer to avoid people that sort into that category. They'd have to be actually brilliant to make up for it, just being really, really good doesn't cut it.

Why? Because they add friction to things, and they poison the team's ability to get work done. Difficult people are not fun to work with, so everyone avoids them. And then they avoid using things the difficult person built because using it would mean you'd have to work with them if you run into issues, or want to improve it etc.

It's just much easier to find people that are easy to work with, and working with them is much more enjoyable. Even if they were not as good, my personal experience is that replacing one difficult person with two others is well worth it. A happy team is way more productive and makes up for it easily, so accepting someone that's difficult to work with is generally "not worth it" to me.

rachelbythebay said 13 days ago:

Uh... what?

said 13 days ago:
tinus_hn said 13 days ago:

Walks in the door and starts whining about the touchbar MacBook.

yokaze said 13 days ago:

I don't think, that was the point. It was having to do things on the clock with unfamiliar equipment.

I'm not sure that under those circumstances anyone is predisposed to like things (laptop, company...)

heyoni said 13 days ago:

But that’s not a permanent conundrum. Either get the company to buy you an external keyboard or bring your own...of course you’re gonna need a desk in that case though.

Hamuko said 13 days ago:

Yeah, I don't really get the part about the Touch Bar MacBook. How is that relevant or how is it a red flag on the company's part? Did she request a MacBook Air or something?

paranoidrobot said 13 days ago:

It's relevant as a stressor.

It's a device not used by the author previously, and does weird janky things, distracting them from otherwise being able to work.

I've gotta say I was in a similar situation with regards to new unknown hardware last year.

They hand me a new-ish Macbook Pro, wireless keyboard and mouse, and point me at a desk. It's not new hardware, and it never operated together so I spend way too long trying to figure out why the fuck there's no "Pair device" button, or anything like that on the Mac OS hardware.

After struggling and trying various online tutorials which involve holding the mouse near the screen while you turn it on - I finally ask for help and someone points out that I can just plug the USB/Thunderbolt cable in. What USB/Thunderbolt cable? Oh the one that someone else stole to charge their iphone, I guess.

Meanwhile I'm being bombarded with a ton of forms and shit I have to sign up with and people from all over messaging me to welcome me to the company and "Can you do x,y,z real quick..."

As it was, I was a nervous wreck for the rest of the day second guessing everything that didn't quite work like I expected (weird OSX-isms), and worried about looking like some new overpaid idiot that doesn't even know how to operate a computer.

jeffbee said 13 days ago:

Anyone who can’t immediately identify a butterfly keyboard as a piece of junk doesn’t belong in the industry.

Hamuko said 13 days ago:

Okay, it's shit, but then what? Looking at the blog, the author uses a Mac in general. If they want to use a Mac, then you either need to live with the butterfly keyboard or buy a used machine.

Living with the butterfly keyboard is relatively easy as a developer, since you're probably going to have the computer docked with an external monitor, keyboard and mouse most of the time anyways.

giantDinosaur said 13 days ago:

I dunno, that keyboard gave me feelings of RSI literally about after twenty minutes of use when I had to extract it from my desk for assorted trips/meetings/whatever. I ended up getting a 2015 MBP, provided by work, which was technically a downgrade but ended up being an upgrade in basically every way.

The red flag is thus: they give you an apple device manufactured after 2015.


bigiain said 13 days ago:

Is it reasonable to be expected to do timed onboarding tests with known problematic hardware with zero opportunity to familiarize you self with it?

I wonder how quickly the HR person who set that test up would do if required to do it on, for example, a UK English keyboard?

heyoni said 13 days ago:

That requires getting a desk

raverbashing said 13 days ago:

Yeah, I mean, ok the Buttefly MBP might not be great

But the amount of companies that would give a brand new MBP to a newcomer are in the single digit percentages.

Most likely you're given an (underspecced - at least for the amount of 'corpware/AV/etc' installed on it) corporate Windows notebook, brand new if you're lucky, maybe a hand me down. Oh and maybe you get the admin password or maybe not. And maybe your day starts 30min later because of all the Windows updates.

So no, I'm not complaining about company Macbooks

said 13 days ago:
Hamuko said 13 days ago:

>But the amount of companies that would give a brand new MBP to a newcomer are in the single digit percentages.

What, for developers? Usually tech companies emphasize that they'll get you the kind of tools that you want. I personally got a brand new 15-inch MacBook Pro after I joined my current workplace right out of school.

raverbashing said 13 days ago:

Outside of the "web startup" scene (in first world countries, especially) getting a MBP is rare.

ginko said 13 days ago:

I don't care all that much about what kind of laptop I get (or if I even get one, never requested one from my employer) but they better provide a proper desktop workstation with a full keyboard and large screen.

isoskeles said 13 days ago:

Doesn't say she uttered anything out loud about what a garbage laptop it is.

But why not? At that point, I'd rather just bring my own hardware. I'd rather have just about anything else, a less powerful Macbook Air, a Thinkpad, a Dell XPS, almost anything. I'll take a wired keyboard ducttaped on top of the Macbook.

Touchbar MacBooks are just one more sign of a bureaucratic company that cannot functionally empower any single person who gives enough of a shit to recognize that a lot of people hate the Touchbar. Nope, just someone signs off, "Yeah whatever get them the expensive one, it must be better."

qeternity said 13 days ago:

You accidentally nailed it though: she didn’t try to fix anything. She was given some kit that most people are happy with, and didn’t try to change the situation. She went and sulked. You’re assuming the company wouldn’t have offered an alternative if she requested it, but I guarantee that they would have gotten her something else.

isoskeles said 13 days ago:

She either "whined" immediately upon getting her laptop, how dare she. Or she "sulked" and didn't try to fix anything. Damned if she does, damned if she doesn't.

qeternity said 13 days ago:

What? How are those two remotely collectively exhaustive? Let's give her the benefit of the doubt and presume this company really has some issues. Another approach would be to accept that companies can't cater generic HR processes to every single employee, complete the "bullshit" tasks as best she can (as she will likely be required to many times again throughout her life) and then raise the issue with the appropriate team at a later date. People encounter these things with comical frequency when starting a new job that it's basically a meme...however most people manage to get things sorted out.

isoskeles said 13 days ago:

Collectively exhaustive? I'm just summarizing the two direct replies I've gotten, both of which are making assumptions about what her behaviors must have been on her first day. They're diametric opposites, silently sulking or loudly whining.

I think the OP can be criticized at a basic level of being overly negative as well as being a personal rant rather than anything particularly insightful for HN. Rachelbythebay had a bad experience at some job and feels like the onboarding experience was a big red flag--that doesn't offer us much to learn. And that's fine, I can see a criticism of the post like that and half-agree. Maybe it's not for HN, and that is her own personal blog, so it fits that she might write posts on her blog that can miss the mark here.

Making assumptions about her exact behaviors beyond what was written in the article, that's just weird to me. It's an odd defensive position you're taking in which you don't like the post so you have to defend the company by making shit up.

"She must have been sulking silently!" Interesting, tell me more about this moody, sulking woman. What else did she do wrong?

qeternity said 13 days ago:


> After another hour of this, I had enough.

> I wound up camped like a refugee

I'm not assuming anything. She spells it out right there in TFA. This is the definition of sulking.

> Interesting, tell me more about this moody, sulking woman.

Not sure why you're so intent on this gender strawman. Just because she's a woman does not absolve her of bad behavior. I never said she was moody. I don't know her in the least bit. What I do know is that she handled this situation poorly, but is undoubtedly emboldened by people like you who will trip over yourself to play the gender card.

hjek said 13 days ago:

Thank you so much for pointing this out.

The whole thread is full of toxic and judgemental comments. I enjoyed reading her post but I am put off by the absence of empathy in the comments here. Imagine being the author and reading this comment section where you're called out as a "whining", "autistic", "lame", "entitled" "tech-fetishist with poor communication skills" who is "not taking responsibility".

Am I wrong if I pick up a vibe of misogyny as well?

qeternity said 13 days ago:

> Am I wrong if I pick up a vibe of misogyny as well?

Half the comments are incorrectly saying "he" so no, you're not (perhaps for assuming gender, not for the critiques though).

But nice try.

hjek said 13 days ago:

> Half the comments are incorrectly saying "he" so no

Let's exclude that half (?!) and look at the others then which may very well be.

Also, I couldn't find any of those comments referring to the author as "he" / "him". Would you mind please pointing me to one?

heyoni said 13 days ago:

I’ve never heard of any tech company that doesn’t give you a choice. That is of course, unless they don’t use Windows organization wide.

But besides, she’s getting a computer from her company, not her grandma on Christmas. They hire devs by the handful, they can easily take it back and put it to use. The point is, it’s hard to sympathize unless her supervisors turned her down.

I agree though, orientation is boring and I’ve never gone to one in my life. I didn’t know until my senior year in college that I had been assigned an advisor. But then just skip it, and try to forget it. Don’t skip it just to linger on every horrible detail, and spiral deeper into a depression because you weren’t assigned a desk. Ask for one.

Damned if you don’t. No one will hate you for making perfectly reasonable requests, though I’m sure people like that exist in the world, I just don’t see them in this story.

wdb said 13 days ago:

How's it different from companies that give you a Dell notebook or Windows notebook? The best solution would be to give the new employee the option between a Mac and Windows. Amazing solution would if you then could pick your preference from a small list. E.g. MacBook Air, MBP and a Surface or something.

said 13 days ago:
mjburgess said 13 days ago:

That's my read. At a guess, I'd say she's autistic (, I am to some degree, myself).

Her comments about company culture and politics -- in other posts -- suggest a kind of obliviousness and her sense of "things being right or else" suggest an intolerance to frustration which is peculiarly autistic. There's a comment by a lyft employee also saying as much.

Being aware of it in myself, I have a place to start for resolving these issues without seeming so arrogant/entitled/hostile. I suspect the author does not have the language/insight for that yet. ( I frequently have to stop myself making a 'last stand' on every issue which fails my impossibly strict criteria for Right ).

In this case, the HR dept has created a process for HR people: mostly extroverted who think "fun" is about chasing things around and answering pointless questions. I like to think I'd recognise it for what it is though -- something other people enjoy. I dont think this author is able to see that.

I think she believes her own stress is a perfect guide to the world being wrong, rather than her own limitations.

hjek said 13 days ago:

> I think she believes her own stress is a perfect guide to the world being wrong, rather than her own limitations.

I like how she's listening to herself and insisting on some basic human decency. You should always at a minimum insist on your right to walk out of uncomfortable situations. Personally, I'd be doing the exact same thing for similar reasons, and I'd feel bad if others tried to come up with a diagnose for me for trying to minimise emotional stress and eventual burnout.

mjburgess said 13 days ago:

She didnt say "I didnt enjoy the HR day and found it stressful". She didnt say she's trying to "minimise emotional stress", she said it was a "redflag".

Doing a pointless quiz and being given a macbook pro is a "redflag".

This is a person who does not take any responsibility for the stress they feel and attribute it all to some nefarious feature of the environment they are in.

What she needs to do here is learn what features of that environment caused her stress, and be self-aware enough to seek out other employement which is structured differently.

What will happen if you don't understand yourself well, is that you'll keep thinking its "problems with other people" that you need to "fix". And you can't fix the entire world. You have to learn a compromise for the sake of your own mental health.

hjek said 13 days ago:

If stepping out of an uncomfortable situation can evoke such a strong negative response from so many people (as can be seen here), that doesn't bode well for actually confronting the issue.

bsder said 13 days ago:

> In this case, the HR dept has created a process for HR people: mostly extroverted who think "fun" is about chasing things around and answering pointless questions.

Yeah, especially since she mentioned that there seemed to be "junior" (possibly new college hires) programmers in the mix. Sometimes when you're senior you just gotta roll your eyes and sit through the BS.

Since it's done so rarely and tends to be unique to the employee--onboarding ALWAYS results in a disaster somewhere--as a manager it's my job to make sure that I put the fire out, squash the problems, and get my new employees up and running.

naringas said 13 days ago:

the curious thing about such flags is that they are obvious in retrospect but somewhat imperceptible when you needed to notice them

elric said 13 days ago:

I think this is down to being nervous for a large part. Maybe you could have noticed some of these red flags when you were interviewing at the company. But you're in a new environment, with new people, being bombarded with questions. Sometimes you're there because your current job is a giant shitstorm you want to walk away from. It's easy to miss things in that state.

That goes both ways, of course. When I'm hiring I sometimes dimiss red flags because I think "they're just nervous, they're not really this dumb". But sometimes they are.

hackily said 13 days ago:

This sounds suspiciously like the onboarding experience I had at my company.

In particular, Duo for 2 factor and LastPass, and the curl command to start downloading a bunch of stuff.

FWIW I thought it was pretty streamlined, better than what I'd had in the past.

philjohn said 13 days ago:

I was stoked when we moved to Duo at work - no more having to type in an 8 digit code off my phone, just tap "accept" on the push notification on my phone or watch and I'm in.

It's such a great solution to make 2FA as seamless as possible.

SergeAx said 13 days ago:

> You're making lots of mistakes, despite having decades of typing experience at relatively high speeds

In Japan it was a duty of samurai to bring a sword to the service. For last 10 years I'm bringing my own keyboard and mouse to every new job.

said 13 days ago:
kbenson said 13 days ago:

I should probably stop reading her posts when they are submitted (I think I skipped the last few). Invariably I agree with portions of what she says, but it's always couched in what I view as a very poor attitude. I get it. She's a jaded bay area developer. I sure hope it's mostly just a persona for her blog, because otherwise why put yourself through such misery? She obviously doesn't respect anything about the companies she's working for, if her writing is anything to go by, and she's obviously in demand enough to get jobs at big companies. I think she would be happier if she looked for a different class of employer. If that's hard to find here, move somewhere else. Do what you have to to be happy.

> As for why I didn't recognize the CEO: I had just started, and it's not like I memorize names and faces of these people. Hello, stalker-ville or ass-kisser-ville, and I am neither.

That's just great. I'll just be over here, being a "stalker" and "ass kisser" because I want to know who I'm working for before I join a company. But that's just me, I'm sure I'm being overly cautious. It's not like a bunch of developers have joined horrible companies helmed by horrible people that have instilled a horrible corporate culture before because they didn't pay attention to that... Right?

probably_wrong said 13 days ago:

> I sure hope it's mostly just a persona for her blog, because otherwise why put yourself through such misery?

I don't follow her blog enough to fill in the details, but if I understand correctly this is from a job she hated and left recently-ish due to how bad everything was [1]. So she's not putting up with it, but rather giving retrospectives on a bad couple of years.

[1] http://rachelbythebay.com/w/2020/03/04/annoyed/

kbenson said 13 days ago:

Honestly, that link reads like I remember all the posts of hers I remember reading. In summary:

- stuff sucks here, but I fight the good fight, and do the right thing even though others don't always

- I say the truth, publish it even, but people don't want to hear it. Sometimes people people are so unappreciative they actually say mean things to me. Sometimes they even put it in writing!

- I have enough clout I can ignore some of the normal procedures and policies for the betterment of all. Some people aren't appreciative of this. Some of those people are managers, even my manager. Those are all the bad people though.

- they try to force me to change, but screw them. This is obviously their problem. I'll stand by my principles by walking out and into some other high position at another company, where they appreciate when I call the management bozos...

After a few posts like that, it starts to to feel like maybe a big chunk of the problem might be her.

At this point, I really hope someone will come out and point out how there were all these positive posts I missed over the last few years. That's entirely possible. The HN selection filter (which is how I see these) might be biased towards a certain type of article of hers, and I might have missed some/most that made it here. I would rather rather be wrong in any of numerous ways than actually have her be as miserable and miserable to be around as she sounds at this point.

mellow2020 said 13 days ago:

> After a few posts like that, it starts to to feel like maybe a big chunk of the problem might be her.

I don't really blog, but I occasionally write lyrics. All of them are bitter and critical, so over a the years I accumulated a collection of that. That's not because I'm a bitter person, it's because I only ever write lyrics to complain. When I'm happy, I sing and dance, I code or call friends, I do a million things and not ever write lyrics. Similar with forums: I vote to agree, I respond to disagree or correct or add a link.

Anyone who tried to judge me, as a person, by that and other output without even having met me, because things "start to feel" or "sound" a certain way (for everyone, in their mind), can come up with all sorts of "assessments", many of them mutually exclusive. It's a fine waste of time and that's all it is.

But I don't think the fallacious extrapolation of web output to the whole person is the sole cause here. After all, if someone's blog is full of things they installed and described their first steps with, without any follow-up posts about their in-depth, day-to-day usage of the thing, people wouldn't pile on to point out that this person "seems like" they constantly change stacks, without getting to know any of them. And if someone had a blog with just the crazy retro hacks they do, we wouldn't assume they don't have a phone or have never seen a modern game. And so on. But when someone writes a lot about negative work experiences, without mentioning the good ones, they must be a terrible person and think they're better than everyone else, naturally. Except it's not ever put that bluntly, e.g.

> it starts to to feel like maybe a big chunk of the problem might be her

1. starts to 2. feel like 3. maybe 4. a big chunk 5. might be

out of 71 chars in that quote, 40 belong to weasel words.

That and other comments lead me to suspect it might be the confidence and the chutzpah to talk back publically and not sugar coat things. If people can't be snarky on their own blog without people who never met them, and don't even know the company they describe, much less worked for it, telling everybody what kind of person the author might be... how about a union at least?

edit: this sums this thread up perfectly: https://rachelbythebay.com/w/2020/05/23/nope/

> But still, thanks for hyperbole to try to make me look bad! You have no idea what went on there, and you think you just HAVE to insert yourself into it.

Meanwhile HN wonders how a BBQ grill could ask to be the default browser, and I can tell you exactly how: a bunch of people went along to get along, and/or conditioned themselves to consider any inane crap awesome and a great growth opportunity.

kbenson said 13 days ago:

> Anyone who tried to judge me, as a person, by that and other output without even having met me, because things "start to feel" or "sound" a certain way

Are your lyrics all about real life situations? Do they include references to all your coworkers on a regular basis? Do you always publish them on a forum for a global audience?

They decide to publish these thoughts, so they will get judged on them. If you published all those lyrics, and they got linked to a forum on a regular basis, I think there's a good chance someone might call them out as overly bitter. Presumably, if you are putting them out for everyone to see, you're trying to get something out of that, so perhaps considering what your goal is is worthwhile.

If it's for personal catharsis, possibly to be shared with friends, a local text document, shared text document, or group message achieves that fine. Why would you publish them globally? Why would she publish these stories unless she hopes that will achieve something? I'm not sure if that's to achieve change at her place of employment (it sounds like they've definitely caused change a few times, for better or worse), or purely to warn/inform others, but freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom of consequence. Maybe she should consider the consequences when she writes about the "broken ones" that are the managers she's working with and for.

> After all, if someone's blog is full of things they installed and described their first steps with, without any follow-up posts about their in-depth, day-to-day usage of the thing, people wouldn't pile on to point out that this person "seems like" they constantly change stacks

If the person is constantly trying a new thing, complaining about how they can't get anywhere with it, describing how broken it is and how they would do it better, and then stopping using it, while plenty of other people fine ways to work with that stack without too much of a problem, then yes, I think there might be a bunch of notes how maybe part of the problem expressed has to do with the person in question.

> But when someone writes a lot about negative work experiences, without mentioning the good ones, they must be a terrible person and think they're better than everyone else, naturally. Except it's not ever put that bluntly, e.g.

I draw a clear distinction between explaining poor work experiences, which we've all had, and clearly blaming the people around you for those poor experiences and for not listening to you since you have all the answers to fix them. The former is looking for sympathy, which I'm happy to help with. The latter is also looking for vindication without evidence, which I'm much less willing to take part in.

> out of 71 chars in that quote, 40 belong to weasel words.

It's called opinion. I was clearly expressing how I interpret her writing. I try not to use definitive statements when expressing things which are not fact. Feel free to call them weasel words if you like. It would be hypocritical of me to be too upset about that, given I'm critiquing something publicly.

>> But still, thanks for hyperbole to try to make me look bad! You have no idea what went on there, and you think you just HAVE to insert yourself into it.

As long as she continues to publish accounts the claim to be based on real situations and real people and represents those people and institutions as negatively as she does, she can expect responses. Those responses are doing the same thing she is, in critiquing a situation they are exposed to. They assume things about the situations she explains just as she assumes things about people in them ("my manager wouldn't give a rat's ass what the results of it would be.")

If you don't want people publicly critiquing your personal experiences, don't publish them. That's how the world works.

Now, given that she's responded to some of my critiques specifically in that link, and you've kindly linked to it and referenced it, I'll respond to some of those here, as if addressing her:

> I had an opportunity to land and support them through the IPO. Then if it worked out, maybe it would be worth something some day. ... What would you do? You'd take the damn job. Of course you would.

I don't think I would, given some of your experiences. When I said maybe find a different class of company, I meant it. Whether that be a company not looking to IPO, or a company with a mission that makes the work worthwhile even if it's not as lucrative and/or interesting, maybe a work-life balance change is something that should be given more consideration. Maybe that means considering a non-profit, maybe that means considering a company whose goal isn't the normal startup to IPO trajectory with stock options (maybe it means avoiding those like the plague). For what it's worth, I've actually based most of work life around that, so I probably wouldn't have taken the offer myself, either. I have no plans to work in SH or the south bay unless forced to, I've avoided it so far.

> Point: (anything about not recognizing the CEO on my third day there) ... Now, consider that I was supposedly there to deal with technical problems.

Unless you were hired as a consultant, I think this is extremely short-sighted. You were hired to be part of an organization. It sounds like you weren't really interesting in being part of that organization, from the very beginning. Really, it's fine that you didn't recognize the CEO. I really only took offense that you portrayed anyone that would know who the CEO was as problematic, when there are many reasons you might want to know ahead of time. The ones I mentioned in the previous post (making sure you're not working for an obvious scumbag), or just making sure you know who is who so you what you're saying to which people. You might consider "being unfiltered" and "speaking truth to power" important aspects of your personality, but I consider not caring who you're talking to when you say things inconsiderate at best, and more likely, just being an asshole. We might just disagree on this.

> Point: "why post this for the world to see?" ... Catharsis, and probably more than a little cabin fever.

Well, if you're looking for benefit from posting it publicly, you have to deal with the downsides when they occur. To your credit, you do. That said, if you don't want actual critique, you can publish to a smaller audience, such as friends. It's your choice. Perhaps the public agreement you get and feelings that brings outweighs the disagreement and those feelings. In that case, by all means, continue on.

rumanator said 13 days ago:

If you endured two years at a company then the onboarding process, choice of laptop, and delay in providing a desk to someone who showed early after deciding to skip the onboarding process is not, obviously, the problem.

I get it, the author is trying to vent frustration for a personal choice that now regrets. Yet, the ranting also sounds like a thinly veilled attempt to smear the company's image to those in the know by resorting to petty criticism. That speaks more about the author than it does about the company, the CEO, the direct manager, or those who designed the onboarding process.

brailsafe said 13 days ago:

Seems like that's exactly what she did.

Jabbles said 13 days ago:

So this is Lyft?

said 13 days ago:
trashburger said 13 days ago:

If the author didn't want to do the work to learn the ins and outs of the company she's being hired by (and yes, almost every company has a few quirks in their internal systems), why did she even apply?

Did she ask for a non-terrible laptop? Was she rejected? The article doesn't mention this.

Did she _ask_ for a desk? If they're onboarding many people at once, there's always a chance something can get missed.

I think a lack of communication was the main problem here.

spery said 13 days ago:

Not defending her but 'asking' for a desk sounds ridiculous. Should she also ask for a chair? Power outlet? Access to toilet?

nwallin said 13 days ago:

She ducked out of the onboarding early. When I onboarded at my current company, desk assignment was the last thing that happened- once they sat you down at your desk, HR was done with you and you were your manager's problem now. So if she peaced out of onboarding at noon and desk assignment happens at 3, I can easily see how she slipped through that particular crack.

Regardless, if there's a problem, it's the company's fault. If you don't try to fix the problem, it's your fault. It may or may not have been her fault that she wasn't assigned a desk on day 1. But it was definitely her fault that she didn't have a desk on day 3.

IMHO navigating bureaucracies and getting institutional stuff like this fixed is a really important skill that software developers tend to be awful at. My first "job" out of high school was in the air force- so navigating institutional garbage and persuading ineffectual people to do their damn job is something I'm pretty good at. But now I look around at frustrated young devs who don't know how to navigate the bullshit, and it drives them bananas. This article is a prime example. There are basically three kinds of problems:

1. Problems you fix yourself. 2. Problems other people fix, but only once you complain (loudly enough) about them. 3. Problems that are never gonna get fixed, no matter what.

Developers tend to be really good at the first kind, absolutely terrible at the second, and fixate (to their detriment) on the third. If you can't fix it, don't stress about it. And don't stew about something you can fix with an email.

spery said 13 days ago:

I may have answered with a bias. In all jobs I had, on the first day you're given a desk, PC and everything you need and you spend half of the day onboarding, other half usually setting up accounts for various stuff.

So from that point of view not having a desk for first few days I'd feel lost and like a visitor, not employee.

I have no experience working for tech giants and large shops (100+ people per location), so I may be blind to usual practices.

luckylion said 13 days ago:

It sounds like you read 'ask' as 'beg'. You shouldn't have to beg to be allowed to use the bathroom, but you can absolutely be expected to ask somebody if the bathroom is locked or you cannot find it.

thiht said 13 days ago:

You shouldn't have to ask for a desk, it should be there when you start. But if it's not, you should definitely ask for one, not wait in the corner until one magically appears.

pas said 13 days ago:

So, how come no one greeted and guided her from her team? (Not friends from other teams.) The team lead, the manager? (Whatever those mean, of course.)

This whole company sounds like a sitcom.

rumanator said 13 days ago:

> You shouldn't have to ask for a desk, it should be there when you start.

If the author decided unilaterally to skip the onboarding process and appear unexpectedly and unannounced at somewhere she assumed would be her workspace then she wasn't there when she was supposed to start.

Would it also make any sense if the author whined about the company not providing her with a computer if she happened to also skip that part of the onboarding process?

trashburger said 13 days ago:

Of course they should be provided. The problem is that onboarding processes usually are so complicated that the organizers forget things. It's okay to remind them.

lifeisstillgood said 13 days ago:

On the other hand this is being done soooo badly across the board there must be a saas opportunity here :-)

ramraj07 said 13 days ago:

Who is this person, why is their weird holier than thou writing constantly upvoted? Did they secretly invent the internet?

fruffy said 13 days ago:

I do not know why this writing is always upvoted. I find the blog insufferable. It has this kind of style which makes grand narratives about minor nuisances and seems to warp what really happened. HN loves it for some reason.

marvin said 13 days ago:

It’s a female software engineer that doesn’t filter her thoughts, so naturally she will get punched down a few notches when she expresses herself in public. I’m a bit horrified at some of the responses in this thread, TBH.

They’re probably upvoted because their writing resonates with a lot of people.

rumanator said 13 days ago:

Your post is the first comment I read in this thread that not only refers to the gender of the author but also tried to portray it as a central point and also, for some reason, try to pull the victim card by claiming it is the only possible and conceivable reason why this sort of rant is not unanimously and enthusiastically supported.

junke said 13 days ago:

1. "the only possible and conceivable reason": you are extrapolating

2. Sexism can happen even when everybody cautiously avoid talking about the author's gender.

rumanator said 13 days ago:

> 1. "the only possible and conceivable reason": you are extrapolating

I'm summarizing your assertion. If it sounds silly and a stretch that's because it is silly and a stretch.

> 2. Sexism can happen

Yes, I entirely agree. Yet, you're also fabricating sexism out of thin air.

Just because this blog post was not unanimously and enthusiastically well received that does not mean gender was a factor. It might surprise you but women are regular people too, and as regular people go they can also occasionally say or do silly things.

junke said 13 days ago:

"your assertion": I am not the person you were replying too.

Summarizing done well does noy change the meaning, you just interpretated things some way.

In fact it looks like you are replying to claims nobody but you are fabricating.

alain_gilbert said 13 days ago:

I would say it's probably because many (quieter) people can relate to the stories.

ramraj07 said 13 days ago:

That really is sad. Reading through this post, it's clear that this company is one of those "hip" places that tries to be cool, but of course comes off as slightly lame. Lamer still is this person who complains about it.

They want you to name a dog, just go ahead and name an effing dog! How hard is that? Unless they are asking you to wear a toga on day two just go ahead with what is clearly a process trying hard to please everyone and not complain about simple things?

yesbabyyes said 13 days ago:

> They want you to name a dog, just go ahead and name an effing dog! How hard is that?

The way I read it, HR gave a "test" where you're supposed to find employees (and their dogs) in some internal company directory, with a time limit. And stated that the "results" from this test would be shared with the participants' respective managers.

Silly games at work can be OK at times, but what is the point of this, really? I don't think it's "lame" to "complain" about; venting is good, and IMO calling out some of the bullshit with your name attached to it is gutsy, not "lame".

LeonB said 13 days ago:

I felt so stressed reading this.

said 13 days ago:
gregjor said 13 days ago:

A story of entitlement and expecting a job to work like a kindergarten classroom. No matter how far companies go to cater to their privileged tech hires they get ridiculed, taken advantage of, discarded. Ask why these ridiculous onboarding processes exist in the first place.

brailsafe said 13 days ago:

Doesn't seem like they went even as far as to get a desk. Who are you defending?

rumanator said 13 days ago:

> Doesn't seem like they went even as far as to get a desk.

In the last onboarding I endured, I was only assigned a desk after I finished after the process ended. Considering how the author claims that she unilaterally decided to skip the onboarding process and instead to present herself unannounced to what she assumed might be her workspace then it's better to take the accusations with a grain of salt.

brailsafe said 12 days ago:

Seems like your process sucked too.

rumanator said 12 days ago:

That comment makes as much sense as whining that an onboarding process sucked because you were scheduled to start on a specific day instead of when you felt like it.

brailsafe said 11 days ago:

It doesn't make sense to you because it seems you're of the belief that onboarding processes should suck. If you don't feel that way, then you're less likely to discount them as signs of negative things to come, such as in this case.

chapelierfou said 13 days ago:

You are the problem.

lubonay said 13 days ago:

Ad hominem to you too!

FiloSottile said 13 days ago:

I can't believe how casual and normal "there was a dog in this room" is made out to be in American work culture.

I have a potentially lethal dog allergy, so that's a room, a floor, an office I could not be in at all. Maybe I couldn't even take the job, so that the pets could have my spot in the company directory. I realize I have almost all the other privileges but this really doesn't make me feel welcome in a workplace, and I don't understand how pets in the office isn't considered an anti-inclusive practice.

I guess it doesn't matter now. Previously: https://twitter.com/FiloSottile/status/1116418872519929859

pmiller2 said 13 days ago:

In the US, you would technically be allowed to request a dog-free environment as a "reasonable accommodation" under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Practically speaking, I'm not sure how that would go, especially if your allergy is so severe that lingering pet dander could trigger it, even after Fido was banished.

I'm also not sure how that would interact with an employee who requires a service dog as a disability accommodation. I've asked about this as a hypothetical before, but never really gotten a good answer.

kenhwang said 13 days ago:

We make it very clear before the interview that we have service dogs and our office is a dog-friendly environment.

Last time we asked HR/legal about it, they said the service dog had more clearly defined protections, while asking for dogs to be removed isn't considered "reasonable" since the dog is legally allowed to be there while accommodations only needed to be "best effort".

pmiller2 said 13 days ago:

I would think the fact that the employees with service dogs are already there would be the deciding factor. AFAIK, dog allergy and disabilities mitigated by service dogs are on essentially equal legal footing. If you can accommodate both without "undue hardship," you'd be legally required to. But, if you couldn't, that's a more interesting question.

kenhwang said 13 days ago:

Airlines have a lot of situations where a service dog and an allergic passenger come into conflict. The dog always stays, and allergic passenger is the one to forced to deplane.

pmiller2 said 13 days ago:

Airlines and workplaces fall under a different set of laws. Federally, workplaces fall under the ADA. Airlines fall under both the ADA (for the allergic individual) and the Air Carrier Access Act (for the person with the dog). In the case of an airline, it is considered a "reasonable accommodation" to allow the allergic individual to take a different flight, which would be similar to having dog-free floors in an office.

Start throwing in state law, and you lose me, because I don't know enough to say anything reasonably intelligent.

kenhwang said 13 days ago:

Out of curiosity, I pulled up the ADA guidelines, and it says:

> Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.

So the ADA gives priority to dogs as well.

pmiller2 said 13 days ago:

That does not actually say the ADA gives priority to dogs. It says "...they should both be assigned, by accommodating them, if possible...." but is silent on what should happen if it is not possible to accommodate both. Both dog allergy and dog phobia can rise to the level of a disability under the ADA, so it's not just a case of some sniffles or just not liking dogs versus the rights of a person with a disability who uses a service dog as an aid.

This is extremely complicated, and you can go down some pretty deep rabbit holes trying to understand it all. Believe me, I've tried. I'm starting to suspect that truly understanding how all these laws interact requires a JD and 2 years practicing employment law.

kenhwang said 13 days ago:

Our lawyers thought it was a clear cut case and they were willing to defend a lawsuit in favor of the dogs. I think at the end that's what it comes down to: which side the legal team sides with. Odds are in a pro-dog company, they will side with the dogs.

pmiller2 said 13 days ago:

Yeah, I think that's the practical solution, ultimately. Succeeding at an ADA employment suit is difficult and expensive for most individuals, so I would not be surprised if there was no ADA case in any federal court involving dogs in any way. Even filing an EEOC charge takes a good bit of effort, and that's the minimum to start down the road to an ADA employment discrimination suit.

Generally, I wouldn't expect pet dogs to be appearing at a company that already has a severely allergic employee, provided that's known information. The other way around (new employee with a service dog vs already present and highly allergic employee), I would guess comes down to the "undue hardship" test. If both cannot be accommodated, it probably is not considered reasonable to fire the existing employee in favor of the new person and their dog. Unless, of course, it is, because the company believes the new person will provide more value for the company than retaining the old person would.

That essentially means that the ambiguity is decided by private companies, which I find distasteful, but I would not be surprised if that's how it actually works out.

sneak said 10 days ago:
rainyMammoth said 13 days ago:

I'm not a fan of dogs either. I have had what looked like a dog attacking me in the past in an office and I was being told that I should not worry because it is usually "friendly".

I really hope that this whole dog at the office madness stops sooner than later. Hopefully WFH is going to resolve this.

pmiller2 said 13 days ago:

Regardless of how you feel about dogs (I love them and would be thrilled if I worked in an office with one or more dogs), no reasonable office dog policy would allow an animal that attacks people. That's just wrong.

chrisseaton said 13 days ago:

I think a problem is that some people feel the dog is attacking them, when the owner thinks the dog is being playful. That's how people get upset about dogs in my experience.

pmiller2 said 13 days ago:

That's still not behavior that should be tolerated in an office environment. I would expect an office dog to behave to approximately the standard required in the Canine Good Citizen test. My dog would almost pass, but she's not good enough on the leash. I think that would be good enough for an office environment, but I certainly would not let her "play" with someone who thought she was "attacking" them.

heyoni said 13 days ago:

You can’t know in advance that someone is going to interpret a dogs playful behavior with being attacked. If however you had a bad encounter and the owner failed to exercise more restraint, I would say that’s madness.

pmiller2 said 13 days ago:

Of course not. If I ever I found out anyone thought my dog was harassing them, I would certainly make sure that she didn't get the opportunity to "harass" them again, regardless of what it was she was doing. That's just common sense, and no responsible dog owner would act otherwise.

qhwudbebd said 13 days ago:

It looks like the solution has turned out to be stopping this whole staff at the office madness sooner rather than later, as you observe!

exclusiv said 13 days ago:

> I'm not a fan of dogs either.

The dog could sense that so he got you.

brazzy said 13 days ago:

No, that's cats.

ncallaway said 13 days ago:

Every workplace that I've been at that allowed dogs has done so extremely responsibly.

Every employee was surveyed for allergies. Before bringing dogs in you had to talk with reception and register the dog. Reception would check if there were any employees with allergies before allowing dogs in. The severity of the allergy would determine the proximity dogs could be to the person with the allergy.

A mild allergy that lead to a small stuffy nose and itchy eyes would just be cause to notify the owner of the dog and tell them to keep it out of that person's space as much as possible. I hadn't heard of a potentially lethal dog allergy while I was there, but I imagine that would be grounds for not allowing dogs into that particular building.

So I disagree that it's inherently anti-inclusive. I think it all comes down to how it's administered.

yokaze said 13 days ago:

The scenarios described are concerning the introduction of a dog into the environment, where there are people with known allergies. How would it look the other way around?

Is there one scenario, where the allergic persons don't have to modify their behaviour.

ncallaway said 13 days ago:

I wasn't in the administration of the programs, so I wouldn't know for certain. Here are some thoughts though:

- If they're allergic, then find them a seating arrangement that works for them (assuming they don't already have a seating arrangement).

- If no such seating arrangement is possible (for example, if they need to sit with their team and the team is on a floor with a dog), then notify the dog owners that due to an allergy they will no longer be able to bring their dog in.

- If the dog owner really likes bringing their dog in, help relocate the dog owner to a different space.

fossuser said 13 days ago:

I think some places would rather have the dogs, even if it means excluding those with lethal allergies to dogs.

Maybe that's fine?

Not every place has to be a fit for everyone.

chongli said 13 days ago:

Maybe that's fine?

It’s not fine. Allergies are disabilities under the ADA. If you don’t provide a safe workplace for people with severe or potentially fatal allergies then you’re in violation and open to a lawsuit.

fossuser said 13 days ago:

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) does require employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for employees with a qualifying disability if doing so won’t impose an “undue hardship” on the operation of the employer’s business.

Sounds like there’s a lot of room there for reasonable policy.

FiloSottile said 13 days ago:

How are pets (not service animals) relevant at all to the operation of a tech company's business?

kyleee said 13 days ago:

It's a perk to many, and can be a part of company culture

tzs said 13 days ago:

What happens if you have both blind employees that use guide dogs and employees that are allergic to dogs?

ncallaway said 13 days ago:

I would think you would do whatever you could to allow both of those employees to function while ensuring they don't cross each other's path.

TuringTest said 13 days ago:

You place them in separate areas.

kungtotte said 13 days ago:

What happens when an existing employee has an ADA-approved service dog?

Do they fire that person so the allergic new hire can come to work? Do they alternate weeks and deep-clean the office during the weekends?

joshuamorton said 13 days ago:

The building I work in has at least one person with a serious enough dog allergy that dogs aren't allowed on that floor, and at least 2 people who use service dogs. It's a large building, though not enormous (5-10 floors), people seem to manage.

kungtotte said 13 days ago:

Let's say it's a small office then. If they have just one floor and someone with a service dog what's a reasonable accommodation for a potential hire with allergies?

gnopgnip said 13 days ago:

How do you provide a safe environment specifically? If someone has a life threatening allergy, even if there has never been a dog in the workplace the pet hair and dander on dog owners clothing is enough to be a serious issue.

kreandasimmon said 13 days ago:

You can find at least one person who is deathly allergic to anything. If I’m deathly allergic to carpets, that means no office in the world is allowed to have carpets?

vegannet said 13 days ago:

This level of extremist view isn’t very helpful. Typically the expectation is about making _reasonable_ changes which is, ultimately, flexible. There’s an office in my building that has a sign on the door stating that it is a nut free zone due to an employee’s severe allergy. I have dietary requirements that my employer accommodates. Employers don’t get to have the value of an employee without incurring costs: adapting process is part of that cost.

You can find extreme examples — such as an allergy to sunlight — and sometimes the accommodation for those examples may be different to “banning carpet from the office”.

kreandasimmon said 13 days ago:

The original post is what you are referring to. Apparently all companies must accommodate people allergic to dogs. Thankfully, just apparently.

p2t2p said 13 days ago:

Yes, no office that employs you. If we have to get crammed into one space to work together, we have to come down to least common denominator.

EDIT: And I'm not trying to advocate for whatever group there is. It's just reality. You make software that is used by people, you need to make it accessible. You make books, you need to make them readable and so on and so on.

And you know what I noticed? I noticed that when people make stuff accessible with least common denominator in mind, that stuff becomes easier and more comfortable to use for me as well even though I don't have any issues.

kreandasimmon said 13 days ago:

Ok time to organize a class action against all buildings that have carpets

Hamuko said 13 days ago:

Fuck carpets in offices in general though. I've almost slipped on one at our office on several times.

kyleee said 13 days ago:

Not to mention carpet is filthy (especially in high traffic areas) and is frequently coated with those crazy waterproofing chemicals

kreandasimmon said 13 days ago:

I know that’s why I’m totally serious

radiator said 13 days ago:

Maybe it's fine to exclude people allergic to dogs?

Maybe it's fine to exclude people with other health conditions as well?

warranty said 13 days ago:

Yes. Weaklings of all kinds should be culled.

peterclary said 13 days ago:

Back in the early 90s I worked for a small company that had a Boxer dog. She liked to sit right behind my chair, which had two problems. First I had to remember that she was back there. Second, whenever anybody came to the front door of the building (postman, courier, etc.) she’d explode into furious barking, which would make me jump and set my heart hammering, especially if - against the odds - I had achieved deep focus. I used to say that she was taking years off my life.

grawprog said 13 days ago:

Hmmm, I worked at a place with a mean old German Shepherd. It took a few months, but I got him to love me eventually. I seen him attack one of my coworkers once and tried to keep him out of the building. Turns out that coworker was a raging meth head who regularly got absolutely fucked out of his mind at work. That's actually one of two times i've seen a dog oust a meth head. The other time was at a party.

dang said 13 days ago:

In the wonderful book "The Supermen" about Seymour Cray and the early days of CDC, there's an anecdote about engineers building one of the early computers bringing their dogs to the office as early as the late 1940s, at one of the predecessors to CDC. That stuck in my mind as an example of how early the freewheeling culture which later became associated with SV actually got started, and how it was somehow closely related to the work or the kind of people who were inclined to get into it.

In my imagination, if one of them had had an allergy the others would have been fine with not bringing their dogs in. That's how teams work.

FiloSottile said 13 days ago:

Maybe that works for small teams, but I can just as well imagine someone who would have been a good fit not joining the team not to be that person that costed everyone their dog.

It's approximately how all exclusive practices self-perpetuate and lead to limited diversity (although I realize allergy diversity is not something with broad value).

dang said 13 days ago:

The idea of a large team is probably an oxymoron.

Kiro said 13 days ago:

I have a dog allergy as well but I would never require my employer to ban pets in the office. Yes, I need to eat medicine or wear protective gear but it's all worth it. It's a small sacrifice to make.

hnick said 13 days ago:

Just wondering, if I was touching my dog and carried some fur into the office on my clothes would you have a reaction? Or does it take more than that?

Dog friendly is a selling point here in Australia for some people but it's still very rare. I personally didn't like dogs much until we got our own a few years ago, and he's great, but I'm still largely indifferent to other people's dogs. Most of them have very poor manners.

FiloSottile said 13 days ago:

It can, I spent half a school year once with sniffles because my deskmate had a dog (and I didn't know it could cause this yet).

It's not going to kill me though, and it doesn't contaminate the environment for days, so it's manageable. My colleague that work most closely with me know and take care to wash their hands after touching a dog, my friends with dogs change into clean clothes before coming to my apartment, etc.

kyleee said 13 days ago:

"It's not going to kill me though"

Why did you initially (in the top level comment) characterize your allergy as a "potentially lethal dog allergy"?

FiloSottile said 13 days ago:

Because it can, but the amount of allergen you can bring from home on your clothes is not enough to trigger a full respiratory reaction.

Was this some attempt at a gotcha like I would lie about my allergies on HN for some reason? :/

kyleee said 13 days ago:

No i just misunderstood, I realize now it's about the volume of allergens

said 13 days ago:
bzb3 said 13 days ago:

Dogs in an office. Dogs. In an office. What the fuck?

clarry said 12 days ago:

I'd take dogs over people any day.

kyleee said 13 days ago:

What do you have against human's best friends?

wdb said 13 days ago:

I am always getting dizzy and feel sick when too many people are drinking coffee in the office :(

Try asking people not to drink coffee near you...

kyleee said 13 days ago:

Because of the scent or something else?

wdb said 13 days ago:

Yes, I have coffee intolerance for both intake and the smell.

said 13 days ago:
warranty said 13 days ago:

Wow !! what a weak man. How do you live every day knowing how weak you are.

WWLink said 13 days ago:

lol, I can relate. I worked at a company that moved to a nice big new office. They replaced the carpets and the ceiling tiles, and I still had nasty allergies for the first few weeks. Place used to be owned by a dog friendly business. OMG dude you should've seen when we went on the tour of the place lmao. The carpets were stained with pee and poop and it was sooooooooo disgusting.

hayksaakian said 13 days ago:
FearNotDaniel said 13 days ago:

Nobody needs to spend inordinate amounts of time rewriting 18-year-old C++ code just to put appointments in their diary. FFS use GCal or Outlook like any normal human being. Or if decades-old technology turns you on, use a Filofax or a PalmPilot.

The reason I mention this is that nearly every post I read by this author, who seems unaccountably popular on HN, stinks of some tech-fetishist with poor communication skills who insists on doing everything by the most difficult and convoluted means possible. This is not the sort of attitude we should be idolizing in an entrepreneurial culture. I would love to be a fly on the wall in the HR meetings and hear the other side of the story, because I would certainly not want someone like this on my team, however gifted or experienced they are.

dang said 13 days ago:

> stinks of some tech-fetishist with poor communication skills who insists on doing everything by the most difficult and convoluted means possible

That crosses into personal attack and that is not ok on HN. Please don't do this sort of name-calling here.

(Edit: looks like you did it here too: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23280952. Please make your substantive points without stooping to this.)


busrf said 13 days ago:

I am not sure if you got the point of the linked story.

The C++ appointment software is a trivial fun side project. The point is that she had to quit her terrible job to even get into the right headspace to do anything useful on this trivial fun side project.

Besides, have you never written anything for a side project that scratches a personal itch that hadn’t already been done dozens of times in better ways?

I find her stories illuminating and well written. Sometimes we spend lots of time on things that we realize could have been done in much simpler ways. Sometimes we make mistakes that we later realize are super dumb. It happens to everyone who writes software for a living. I’m happy that Rachel writes about the messy stuff. We need more “from the trenches” stories like hers.

mjburgess said 13 days ago:

> tech-fetishist with poor communication skills who insists on doing everything by the most difficult and convoluted means possible

> unaccountably popular

...Hacker news?

stickfigure said 13 days ago:

Not sure if you realize this about your writing style, but... you kinda have the same shtick.

Not a criticism, I find it all pretty entertaining.

dgellow said 13 days ago:

> Nobody needs to spend inordinate amounts of time rewriting 18-year-old C++ code just to put appointments in their diary.

They seem to be quite happy doing that project, so why do you care if that’s their thing?

XelNika said 13 days ago:

> Trouble is, I had an ancient machine in the flock. It didn't seem like it at the time, but my main serving system was magpie, a RHEL 6 box from 2015.

I can't tell if this part is hyperbole. RHEL 7 isn't a resource hog and a server from 2015 is probably a blazing fast multicore Xeon. The machine itself is almost certainly capable.

> To get away from it, I'd have to migrate to another box. That meant picking out new hardware at the hosting company.

If a hosting company won't allow a customer to install a new OS on their dedicated server, it's a shitty hosting company, particularly when that OS first released the year before they started renting. From the list of things that had to happen, maybe this was about not having downtime, but firstly a single host is not enough for HA and secondly it would be easy to just get a VPS for a month to use as a temporary host while upgrading.

I think you are right that this is a person who insists on doing it the hard way. I wonder if maybe these blog posts are a way for the author to process events and vent frustrations, and not intended for HN readers to dissect, but I would expect her to use her custom diary software for that sort of thing instead.

vikasg said 13 days ago:


In a startup you want to actively screen for candidates like this. Someone who idolizes technological "purity" above all else and looks down on business will never be happy at a startup that needs to get shit done quickly. It's a lose-lose situation. They'll eventually grow resentful and quit, or you'll have to manage them out. Better to avoid the whole thing in the first place, no matter how great a programmer they are otherwise.

JamesBarney said 13 days ago:

I am totally the type of person who values software expediency, and has a lets just get shit done attitude.

But people like the author who have the opposite attitude are also invaluable. There are parts of your code base at an organization that need to work, where doing the expedient thing is doing the wrong thing. People who went told to don't worry about that just ship the damn thing, fight back so your entire organizations infrastructure doesn't fall down on itself.

It's more about finding the right person for the job.

mellow2020 said 13 days ago:

> a startup that needs to get shit done quickly

Stuff like "name a dog in our org"?

jeffbee said 13 days ago:

No more pink mustache? Is the work environment being described here Lyft?

said 13 days ago:
FearNotDaniel said 13 days ago:

"CEO". "These people". Fortunately I have questions in my developer interviews that filter out the snarky techier-than-thou types in favour of those who actually take an interest in the business whose success their tech skills are supposed to be supporting.

brailsafe said 13 days ago:

That's pretty reasonable, but in this case there's no evidence that she wasn't initially excited to be working on whatever it was that the team did. It's often quite difficult to make that assessment going in, and based on the tone of the article, it reveals a sense of disappointment. I always read up on a company and the product I'd be working on before doing an interview, because I'm critical of the companies I choose to work for—if it's a choice. However, in my last place, my naive optimism was kind of dampened in the first little while despite the product being interesting. You never really know, but if you're optimistic, you might just try and make the best of it for a while.

number6 said 13 days ago:

That sounds interesting, how do you do it? Which questions do you ask? What shows you that someone is interested in your business?

FearNotDaniel said 13 days ago:

The classic start-and-end-of-the-interview questions can tell you a lot if you listen carefully to how they respond and ask follow-up questions:

- What do you know about the company already? - What is it that excites you about this role?

When discussing previous projects, after covering the technical side, I will ask specific questions about how their work impacted the bottom line or what difference it made to the business as a whole; not necessarily looking for something financially quantifiable but for something that indicates they understand how dev fits into the bigger picture.

For graduates, I will actually take an interest in their extracurriculars and side projects, these can reveal a lot about whether they have any commercial nous as well as technical chops.

I will generally come up with some hypothetical on-the-job situation where there may be some perceived conflict between business needs and the ideal developer scenario, asking them to walk through how they might go about resolving the situation, how they would communicate, what questions they would ask and of whom, all the while looking for answers that suggest a leaning towards teamwork, collaborative problem-solving that encompasses more than just lines of code, and hopefully some kind of rudimentary understanding of what drives a business.

Also, I will generally look for the Spolsky dyad of "smart" and "gets things done" [0]

[0] https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2006/10/25/the-guerrilla-guid...

pron said 13 days ago:

Back when I did hiring interviews I used to ask people to familiarize themselves a little bit with the organization (could be the whole company or just a team, depending on size) before the interview, and then ask them why they want to work here. This is so important that I would even ask applicants to answer this specific question in their cover-letter.

slyall said 13 days ago:

I'm not sure that works in the majority of jobs. If you are the world's 27th largest CRM vendor then how would you expect a programmer to answer that question?

There is a good chance that after a couple of years they will be as passionate about the CRM market is you are but 99% of the companies out there are not Google or somewhere people lust to work at.

pron said 13 days ago:

I don't mean why do you want to work at this particular company more than all other companies, but why do you want to work here at all? What is it that you find appealing here?

This is also a good meta-question. Even after I write to a candidate to say that they will be asked this, you'd be surprised how many are unprepared. I remember one guy who told me, when I asked him, that he's interviewing at so many places that it's unreasonable to expect him to know any specifics about this company. I wondered if he thought it reasonable, given how many people I was interviewing, that I try to know anything specific about him. Unsurprisingly, that answer is the only thing I remember about him.

tomjen3 said 13 days ago:

Then you filtered out an honest person.

Lets face it though, it is not that hard to jot down some notes for each company that you can review in a couple minutes in the car before the interview.

pron said 13 days ago:

Honesty is a necessary condition, but certainly not a sufficient one. If someone came to the interview and said that they don't really know how to program, I might appreciate their honesty, but still not hire them, and I might think badly of them for wasting my time.

And while it's easy to jot down notes and review them (which is what I, as an interviewer had to do), the fact that some people didn't even do that despite being told in advance that they should, told me something about them. I didn't ask them for a take-home exercise or anything too time-consuming, just to know what it is that we're doing.

TheOtherHobbes said 12 days ago:

And if the prospective employee asked you what you think makes you special as an employer, what would you say?

Would have an answer about what makes you unusual and distinctive compared to tens of other possible employers?

pron said 12 days ago:

I don't think you understand. My question isn't why would you like to work here more than anywhere else, but why would you like to work here? For example, if we were McDonald's, the answer could be, because I like hamburgers, or because I like giving service, or because I'm interested in the supply chain -- not because Burger King sucks. And if the candidate asked me why I'm interviewing them, of course I'd have an answer, because I prepare for interviews.

The goal is to know if the candidate knows what we're doing and is interested in the subject. And remember, we're talking about a high skill, high pay job.

tomjen3 said 13 days ago:

As a programmer, I could be interested because I want to work with the language they use, because I want to work more with databases in a practical setting, because I want to work in a small company (I doubt the 27th largest CRM vendor has more than say 200 customers) or simply because I want to try something different.

tomjen3 said 13 days ago:

That means that the developer has spent about 10 minutes looking at your website, at most. Maybe that is enough, I don't know, but I guarantee you that I can find something in almost any company that I can say is interesting to work with and explain why to the interviewer.

heyoni said 13 days ago:

In this case, just ask if they know who the CEO is, then watch their souls unravel.

hnarn said 13 days ago:

I wonder what kind of negative feedback employees would have in a company where this person was the CEO. Judging by the tone and entitlement of the author I assume they think there wouldn’t be any.

alexashka said 13 days ago:

Hah :) Pretty funny - what is the motivation for posting it for the whole world to see? Is Rachel just so good at her job that she can get away with it or what?

I understand why people vent, I don't quite understand how it doesn't catch up to them and teach them a lesson in discretion.

I remember commenting on another one of Rachel's rants a couple of years ago it must've been - I can see that the rants have gotten more brazen, it's as if she feels she can do no wrong in the tech scene :D

I'm almost tempted to subscribe to her blog to see where this zero-f's-given trainwreck leads.

maltelandwehr said 13 days ago:

The biggest red flag is the author.

maxden said 13 days ago:

Agreed. Any how can they write something like this:

"they had claimed (and lied) that "your manager will be able to see the results of this". First of all, I doubt that was true."

fullito said 13 days ago:

What an attitude :(

If you don't like a company, you have 3 options: 1. Try to change it, if that doesn't work -> quit without complaining. It is not your company 2. If you don't wanna change it 2.1 quit 2.2 accept how it is

You should not complain and complain and complain. You only make it worse for people who either like their jobs (for whatever reasons you can't see or understand) or they have, in comparision to you, no other choice.

I'm not perfect in this, i'm more the 'i complain and start changing things'.

Really shitty old git hosting solution, 6 weeks later it was replaced by me with gitlab.

Onboarding procedures might be shit, but you should be smart enough to handle situations like this. Do i care if i have a desk at the first week? No, i will just work less efficient and if the sitatuion doesn't change i either ask around and take care of it or i quit. And with quitting i don't mean rage quit i mean 'hey so yeah super sry about this but i have the feeling that we are not a good match.' quit.

sergiotapia said 13 days ago:

I don't care how many years you have on the job, not knowing the CEO's face/name of a company you're just joining is weird.

alpaca128 said 13 days ago:

Some people are just not good with remembering names or faces or some other details. I need weeks to memorise faces and names of a group of people. But if you tell me to setup wifi on some devices with a long alphanumeric password I'll have it in my head by the third time.

Different people have different brains.

sergiotapia said 13 days ago:

We're talking about two different things. I was talking about the OP, who seems like goes out of her way to not learn "names and faces of these people".

>As for why I didn't recognize the CEO: I had just started, and it's not like I memorize names and faces of these people. Hello, stalker-ville or ass-kisser-ville, and I am neither.

Aloha said 13 days ago:

I work for a 200 person company, I didn't figure out who the CEO was for about two weeks from when I was hired

dkersten said 13 days ago:

As a counterpoint, I work for a 1500 company and was told/shown who the management and such were in my first week. I guess it depends on the company, you and your boss.

Aloha said 13 days ago:

I think it depends on how layered the company is, I have never interacted with someone above the VP/Director level, my job just doesnt call for it.

dkersten said 12 days ago:

I haven't interacted with the executive team either, but I still know who they key people are.

sergiotapia said 13 days ago:

How do you accept a job at a company where you don't know who the CEO is?

Aloha said 13 days ago:

Why is the CEO important - if I took a job at Motorola Solutions or Harris, why would their CEO be important for my daily role?

I currently work for a moderately sized company, and its unusual because the CEO actually knows who I am, and knows my name - but before this role that was not a thing I would expect.

Lammy said 13 days ago:

My employer's CEO's reputation loosely affects my owns, since they are the most public face of any company. I can think of several CEOs whose public persona would at best make me think long and hard before taking a job with their company. And of course there are plenty of CEOs who have no "public persona" to speak of :)

sergiotapia said 13 days ago:

It's not about how they affect your day to day, it's about just knowing it lol. It's weird to not know it. You don't know who you're working for? Weird.

artsyca said 13 days ago:

My biggest peeve is that everyone dresses the same and I know I'm an outlier but it would be super helpful to be able to identify people's rank based on their outfits but I guess this isn't the army, huh?

Edit: by dress I mean the older sense of the word: The older sense survives in military dress ranks "align columns of troops."

We've gone so anti-corporate that we don't even know who the leadership is any more it's a rotten proposition that serves the worst of both worlds

toyg said 13 days ago:

Why? In many cases, you’ll never interact with him (it’s a him, obviously), and even if you do it will likely not be as peers. For most people, C-level executives might well be living on a Mars colony - they are typically never in the office, they often don’t go to company events open to the hoi polloi, they dress differently, they don’t live in the same areas, they talk about Grand Ideas like they are actionable for them (because they can call on BillG or Zuck; but it’s just hot air for everyone else), in short: they have nothing in common with the average grunt. Even the pain points of internal tools are shielded from them by PAs. And they have no real positive power in a grunt’s everyday situation: going over your manager is usually a recipe for internal ostracism and career destruction.

So, after all this, what is the point of knowing the C* guy?

mister_hn said 13 days ago:

Although it might feel weird as onboarding, as developer you should get used to use commands like curl or be able to set your development environment by typing in the console.

Those who rely only on simple installers are the one classified as red-flags

toyg said 13 days ago:

I think the point of that paragraph is that it’s busywork: just type this magic incantation to do things that some sysadmin could do (and probably should have done) for you in advance, without any real explanation of why or what you’re doing it. She knows what curl is.

heyoni said 13 days ago:

I bet it was homebrew.

jmcgough said 13 days ago:

She was commenting on the security concerns around using curl to download and run programs.

8192kjshad09- said 13 days ago:

I don't think so, there are no security concerns. Using curl is no more dangerous than downloading and executing an installer


cygx said 13 days ago:

Depends on whether the mechanism you're comparing it to has a cryptographic verfification step, or not. On the flip side, a script may be short enough to manually audit.

Dayshine said 13 days ago:

Are you sure curl installation scripts are better than vanilla installers + shared config files?

mister_hn said 12 days ago:

Yes because curl get straight to the point. Installers might break depending on OS updates (see macOS/Windows)