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Ask HN: Helping a dev who drinks?
78 points by anon_23edr4 on Mar 16, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 65 comments
I work with a senior system developer who drinks.

Basically, he's an alcoholic. He's in his mid 50s. He wasn't always like this. He started drinking a lot when some of his family members died unexpectedly in an accident.

The thing is, when he is drinking, he can code things that no one else on staff can do quickly. For example, he once implemented a hash table in about an hour because we had a platform that did not have a C++11 compiler (no unordered set) and needed that data structure.

It's kind of frightening to stand behind him, watch him run vi and start editing code. Inside, I'm terrified that he's going to make a mistake. I'm thinking that he should not be touching code when he's like this. But as he starts to edit the files, it's somewhat amazing. I and the others stand and watch in awe as he types so fast we can barely follow. It's not that we don't understand what he's doing, it's that he's typing so fast. Then, he compiles it and it works as expected and he tells us about a few possible issues, etc. and leaves.

We have to get him a ride home, help him walk to the door and have an intern walk him to his apartment so that he doesn't go in the wrong place. Then, a few days later, he comes back to the office like nothing has happened.

He's a really nice person. Very polite and self deprecating always giving credit to others on the team and mentoring the young guys (he's not an ass). We want to keep him on staff and we need his knowledge and all the guys love him. Just not sure how to approach him about this issue.

Has anyone else dealt with a similar situation?

Basically, I'm an alcoholic. I'm in my mid 30s. I started drinking when I was told I couldn't smoke pot anymore, and kept at it after a number of friends committed suicide and a few others died of cancer.

The thing is, when I am drinking, I can manage the pain of things that will never be okay, even though I must endure them. I don't advocate alcohol, but waking up screaming every morning isn't always an option. And I get to say "basically an alcoholic" because that's a euphemism for "functional alcoholic" which is a euphemism for "alcoholic," but because I can still do my job around people in their 20s, nobody complains, so I don't have to begin the regime of psychoactive drugs that don't guarantee any less liver damage than the alcohol. I can only hope I make it to my 50s, and in my 50s, I will not give one thought to what anyone thinks, because making it to 50 means I survived remembering my dead loved ones for 30 years, and that's good enough.

It sounds like it's not an issue for your business if he's killing code three sheets to Moby Dick and you can't spare a salaried employee to walk him home. If you care for him, as my family cares for me, you will do what they do, and say, "Are you okay? I wondered because you're drinking a lot," and he might say, "No, I'll never be okay, but if it's a problem I can work on it." Or he might say, "Yeah, I'm fine," even though he's not. Point is it doesn't sound like it's a professional issue, since you haven't fired him for drinking on the job, so his ability to code is a moot point. The question is not "How do I approach a talented employee who seems superhumanly talented when he's drunk but then we have to use unpaid company resources to manage him after hours?" The question is "How do I approach someone managing pain in a potentially long-term and self-destructive way?"

And that's not an HN question.

> …so I don't have to begin the regime of psychoactive drugs that don't guarantee any less liver damage than the alcohol.

I can't think of any antidepressant or antipsychotic medication that is as bad for your body as the amount of alcohol it sounds like you're drinking.

Some alcohol is fine (probably even good for you), but if you think, "Maybe I drink too much." then you almost certainly drink too much. And that's really bad for you. It won't just screw up your health at age 50. It will hurt your cognitive abilities much sooner.

Honestly, it sounds like you're rationalizing. If you want a drug to distract yourself from psychological pain, there are far less damaging (and less expensive) options than alcohol. Please see a doctor about this. They can almost certainly help.

I'm over 50 now.

I can assure you that when/if you reach it, you won't at all feel that you "survived remembering my dead loved ones for 30 years, and that's good enough". You'll want to keep on living.

You may have kids, young or older - your own, your grandkids, whatever - or other family who do not want to see you gone.

I spent a night in a cardiac ward a few years ago. The other s in there were all 80+. They had great stories - one of them had a heart attack in his boat while reeling in a big fish. I got out the next day but the one thing that stayed with me was that even at 80, every one of those guys still desperately want to stay alive.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I want to live to 4398 at the very least. But us 30-somethings mark the age our parents were when we moved out as the point when we would stop having to explain ourselves to anyone because we had ostensibly done our job.

I think that the details of him brilliantly coding while at the Ballmer peak is kind of irrelevant. It can be a huge liability to have people intoxicated in the work place, and I think it's important for your manager to have an initially undocumented, private chat with him about it.

In alcoholism, an important concept is 'enabling', where you are making it easier for the person with alcoholism to continue with their habit. You are enabling your co-worker to continue drinking by giving him rides home, having interns walk him to the correct apartment, and allowing him to commit code while he is clearly under the influence.

Your manager should be setting the boundaries in the workplace regarding alcohol, but the best thing you can do as a co-worker is to be there as a friend and to listen. Take a break from the screen and step outdoors and have a conversation, because it sounds like this person is really struggling with a difficult chapter in his life right now.


This is what managers and HR is for. If you're uncomfortable bringing up the issue, explain to HR and have them present it as "we want to help you" and not that "you're in trouble". Depends how good your managers and HR are. It's probably best for everyone that he can move forward with his alcoholism, even for himself.

While this is probably the "right course of action" (whatever that means), I'd imagine this will surely, eventually lead to him leaving the company one way or another and you can say goodbye to the miraculous hash table implementations.

I'm not throwing my hat on either option, but I am highlighting that this option has consequences you need to be prepared for. (Ok, they both have consequences)

I've never met a programmer that isn't replaceable.

What I have found, are lots of organizations that suffer because they allow a tyrant to exploit the imposter syndrome of those around them.

What you have here is a shitty manager who is holding his company back and putting it at serious risk by not remedying a serious problem. It's exploitative, demoralizing, and entirely unnecessary.

Get this guy some help before he dies. And fire your miscreant of a manager.

I can't really comment much since I've never had to deal with an issue anywhere close to this, but as a random thought, isn't this something his family would ideally action on?

To me it seems great that you are helping him by not allowing him to drive, etc. especially if he is a nice person, but I would think that this might be a a little off your reach.

I'm definitely not trying to discourage you but at least where I live, people take it very personal when you try to talk with them about issues/addictions they might have, so I might be biased, but as harsh as this sounds I don't think you can push him too much on this. His grief is probably (and understandably so) too much to bear.

The only thing that comes to mind is going to a psychologist/psychiatrist specialized in addictions and ask him for some advice on how to approach him.

In any case, good luck. It seems terrible to me that he has to suffer through this and it's really nice that you want to help him. Just be careful on not stepping into something you might not be prepared nor trained to deal with.

As someone who once had an experience with a coworker who was suffering with addiction / mental health issues, I agree with this comment entirely. While it's admirable to want to help as much as you can, I learned the hard way that it would have been better to simply alert family to my concerns and then step away.

If he has a family, then they'd know. He has to want to get help - this is the hard bit.

I think it's crazy that you'd facilitate his drinking by driving him home, walking him around with an intern... If I were a manager id have a chat with him

>I think it's crazy that you'd facilitate his drinking by driving him home, walking him around with an intern

As opposed to what? letting him endanger his life and potentially those of others?

I don't think that at this point that's facilitating his drinking. The guy will clearly keep drinking regardless of his coworkers. Facilitating him would be letting him get drunk just so he can code faster and meet the deadlines or something like that.

>If I were a manager id have a chat with him

And have a chat about what? I don't think that someone with that level of addiction will just hear you out and say "oh yeah, he's right, I'll change my ways". And if you fire him you will probably just make things worse, thus the OP's question on how to handle this without just throwing him off at the curb.

I'm not saying you should let him drive home drunk. I'm saying that he shouldn't be allowed to come to work drunk!

By having an intern help him around, by driving him home, then you are facilitating his drinking. You're basically saying "It's ok to come to work drunk, we'll support you if you do".

What I'm saying is that if this is a regular occurrence, you should put your foot down and say "No, don't come to work drunk, it's not OK". If he ends up in the curb because he favours his drinking over his work / life then that's his choice.

I'm not saying fire his ass, I'm saying have a chat to him. A good manager will know how to do this. It's not a "You need help" talk, but it's a "We've noticed this behaviour, what's going on?" talk.

If you don't have this talk, and continue to drive him home then you are facilitating his drinking, you're basically saying it's OK.

I guess you are right.

That's part of the reason this is such a tricky issue I think. But phrased like that, I do agree with you that there should be a limit at some point.

However being the one to enforce that... well, that just sucks.

You should stfu about him and his life. Especially if it's not a problem that is hurting someone else.

Anything you do is going to fuck him over. Don't believe someone at work (boss, HR) is going to turn his life into a disney movie of helping love and happy endings.

There are going to be mistakes that will let you know it's time to act. The first time you catch him doing a blunder that affects other people, take him aside and talk to him about it directly. Tell him you want him to enroll in some sort of treatment program.

After that, if he keeps causing negative outcomes for people, then you tell HR or the boss- which will get him fired, end of story. Don't let yourself believe some insane narrative like people are writing on here where the boss or HR will "help" him. He's just going to get fired. So, understand that before you make any moves in 'official' directions.

Trying to think how I'd want this handled if you and this fellow were one of my employees...

First, I'd want you to tell me about the issue (if I wasn't aware of it already). Have you told your boss? What was his reaction?

Second, after I was told, to be quite candid, I'd be put in a tough position. If this guy is getting loaded at work, people know about it to the point where they're giving him rides, IANAL but that's a huge liability. He does something while drunk and that's coming back on the company. And the problem isn't that I'm a greedy asshole who doesn't want to get sued, it's that if I get sued then you and probably a few other people are going to lose their jobs. Depending on the size of the company a suit could destroy it.

Third, all those things considered, I have to intervene to protect this fellow, you and your colleagues and the company. That doesn't mean fire someone, that means a serious come to Jesus with this guy with the goal being to find a way to get him through this. Underwrite counseling/rehab/whatever is needed.

So...lots of words to get to this: you gotta go up the chain. This isn't your responsibility, unless you are the boss.

The bottom line is you can't help anyone who doesn't want help. I think as coworkers, you're already going above and beyond having an intern escort him home, and it's great that you're not allowing him to drive drunk, but anything you do won't do any good until he decides he has a problem and wants help from you.

Find a sober alcoholic. Find a man if you can, but don't be picky about it. It works better - men work with men, women work with women. Ask the sober alcoholic what to do; he will know.


The TV show Bullshit, written and hosted by Penn & Teller, did a show on AA. AA accidentally posted their recidivity rates on the internet and the numbers were shown. They showed that there was zero advantage of going to AA. That doesn't say alcoholics don't feel better when going.

How do you measure "advantage"? or "recidivism"? If an alcoholic goes to AA and "feels better", don't you think that might have some relationship between various other factors? The metric of either drinking or not drinking == "success" varies quite dramatically between people depending upon their aim.

I would have to go back and watch the episode, which I may do. My memory of it was just the simple relapse rate, which would have to be based on a period of time. I don't know where they got the numbers to compare to AA, but I assume many studies have statistical results on this.

Edit: It is season 2 episode 10 and I am going to watch it asap.

Person might not be religious.

That's true, on the other hand I know several people who have greatly benefited and who weren't religious. (It seems that unless someone is strongly anti-spiritual, it could be good.)

(YMMV of course.)

There are non-religious alternatives, such as LifeRing.

Religion is not a requirement for benefiting from AA. Participants must acknowledge a higher power, which can mean whatever a person wants that to mean.

I have observed no higher power than man. Where does that leave me?

Perhaps the inverse of acknowledging that, ultimately, man is entirely powerless would work just as well.

I look at the large hadron collider, the apollo program, the curiosity rover, the pyramids of giza, the hoover dam, and the international space station and scoff at the idea that we are powerless. Yes there are problems that we can't solve currently, but humanity is a young race. We'll get there.

I'm very confused by this story.

> …when he is drinking, he can code things that no one else on staff can do quickly.

> I and the others stand and watch in awe as he types so fast we can barely follow.

Impressive, but why are you all watching this guy? Don't you have work to do as well?

> We have to get him a ride home, help him walk to the door and have an intern walk him to his apartment so that he doesn't go in the wrong place.

Wow, that's crazy drunk. How does he get so drunk at work? Does he drink on the job? If so, how is he hiding it?

And after reading your description of how good he is at coding, I think you're exaggerating how drunk he gets. I find it unlikely that someone can write C++ with such proficiency, especially when they're too drunk to find their apartment.

Also, how do you know he won't be able to find his apartment? Was there an incident after the first time you dropped him off? If so, how'd you find out? Most people would be too embarrassed to tell that story to their coworkers.

> Then, a few days later, he comes back to the office like nothing has happened.

Wait, he writes crucial code and disappears for days afterwards?! What happens if you have any questions or issues with the code? Clearly you can't deploy any of it until he returns, otherwise you risk breaking production systems and having nobody around who's able to fix it. And is he paid during this time? Does he call in sick or something? This whole bit seems crazy to me. Why not have other people on the team spend a few days writing the code instead? As long as they can implement a hash table in under three days, you'll have better overall productivity.

Many of the details of your story raise more questions than they answer. If it was just a couple of discrepancies, I'd ignore them. But your story is permeated with them. I hate to be the one who says this, but my fabrication sense is tingling.

I have no doubt that there are alcoholic employees who need help. It's just that this story feels like it was written to maximize the degree of the dilemma (fire vs. help), not to accurately relate a story about an alcoholic coworker.

maybe the OP is asking "for a friend". Either way, it's a good subject for a real conversation.

I had to stop drinking recently, probably for good. A friend pointed out my behaviour when drunk and suggested that alcohol was not doing me any good.

I've found new clarity and sense of purpose since I quit. It may not be the solution for everyone, but it's worked for me.

I'm also in counselling to try and solve some of the issues that caused me to get in that state. Also helping.

A good employer doesn't let their economic need for awesome code get in the way of doing the right thing for their employees. Apart from the potential legal consequences, letting employee destroy themselves is not Good For The Company.

Have the hard conversation. Suggest assistance that may help. You won't be able to stop them from drinking, only they can do that, but you can stop enabling them.

Good luck.

> maybe the OP is asking "for a friend"

That's what I initially thought, but it's a throwaway account. There's no risk that the post will be traced back to a real-world person. And a first-person accounting would invite commenters to help directly. I've seen Ask HN threads where the poster had a substance abuse problem. The community is very accepting when it comes to these things.

yeah it is. I'm always surprised by that for some reason

FWIW, alcoholism may be considered a disability in your region (it is in Canada and protected under Charter of Rights and Freedoms), and that will make things a bit tricky HR-wise. If you're going to take any actions, keep that in mind.

My little pinkie tells me you are a fellow more junior coder and that you are trying to deal with a situation that is not in your full authority (management or HR). I guess you have been talking of it as a team and are trying to bypass the hierarchy because you expect them to potentially fire him. You may be alone thinking of actually doing more than talking about it between yourselves.

This is nice. You seem to care. That is a good point.

Talk to him and listen to him. Nicely, as a friend and ask him how he feels about it. The alcohol is there to alleviate a big pain. The pain will be worse if he tries to stop violently. Violent withdrawal put your body in bad state anyway. He may have tried and experienced it first hand and may be scared to try again. If he does share his experience, it means he has made a lot of work on himself already.

You can propose him attending one AA meeting (together or not). It is a nice beginning because they don't guilt people and they actually know what they talk about.

They will probably confirm HN is not the right place to ask for help, and that my advice were a tad wrong.

AA seems to work for some people. It does not fit others.

If it fails, well, maybe it will still help him begin to do the second step. There are other solutions.

I don't know your proximity. Just don't over-invest yourself and accept you might fail.

Helping him for the first step and talking to him is way more than most people do. So if you fail, don't guilt yourself.

Alcoholism is only a symptom of the problem. He clearly has lots of pain that needs to be addressed. You need to get his family or maybe a close friend informed. If nothing else, take it to HR. It's not an ordinary coworkers job to offer counseling on such a troubling matter. Also, his competency as a functioning alcoholic shouldn't have any influence in how to deal with this situation.

If your company has a comprehensive medical plan, such as Kaiser, you can get help from them. If you have a real HR department, they can handle it. Pros are required. Dealing with alcoholism is very tough, and it get worse with time. Consider putting him on unpaid leave and sending him to some rehab center.

> Consider putting him on unpaid leave and sending him to some rehab center.

This is the most reasonable response I've seen so far.

And if the person in question happens to read this, or someone is in a similar situation regarding drinking, please know that there are other ways to quit other than AA. AA seems to work great for some people, but not for others, no matter how hard they try. By all means try AA, but if it doesn't work for you, know that there are alternatives.

By way of alternatives, there is Rational Recovery, SMART Recovery, the former of which I've had success with. For spiritual/religious people, there is church. I even know a former extremely hardcore alcoholic (used to drink with her) with a secondary opiate addiction who enrolled in a methadone maintenance program and hasn't had a drink since she started the program some 10 years ago.

(I would advise anyone who has decided they have a drinking problem to avoid any type of "moderation management" program. Just my personal opinion, but the only way I've seen people I would consider to be actual alcoholics succeed is through complete abstinence.)

It's hard, but it can be done. Just keep trying different options.

You should approach a mental health professional and ask for guidance. A social worker might be able to help you help him in some way. Death is hard. More so when it is as reagic as you stated. It changes us and sometimes not for the better. Grieving is complex and affects everyone differently. The only option is to get informed and approach him while respecting his dignity. You may not be the right person to talk to him, but you might be able to find the person who would be. Above all, be kind. Not for his skills as a programmer. Be kind because everyone might just write him off as a loser who drinks away his problems. Best of luck.

Your co-worker's coding ability while in this state is completely irrelevant. What he's doing is clearly unhealthy, and he needs help. As others have pointed out, it may be more appropriate to alert family and ask them to help deal with it, but in the absence of family, it's probably best to find a way to bring it up and suggest he seeks some sort of outside help.

I listened to this podcast today, might be good to find a doctor or a treatment clinic that will prescribe one of these drugs: http://www.radiolab.org/story/addiction/

Sounds like a tricky situation. I don't have any special insight into this, but if I was the person drinking heavily I'd probably find it easier to talk about it outside the work environment, and I probably wouldn't want to talk about it if I didn't know the other person that well.

I guess what I'm saying is that it'll take a friend to help him get through it. If one of your colleagues spends time with him outside work, perhaps they can help you understand what the senior developer is going through.

The other option is to cut down on alcohol in the office, but whilst that's the simplest solution it might cause other issues.

> He started drinking a lot when some of his family members died unexpectedly in an accident.

I worked with a dev like this. (It was his parents who died.) But he didn't make it to his mid 50s. He was out drinking, and someone else drove home - someone more sober than my co-worker, but not actually sober. There was a car wreck, and my co-worker died from complications from the injuries.

I get that there's an immense amount of pain. But sedating the pain with alcohol isn't the answer. You need to find a way to deal with it, just avoid it.

He is a liability. Drunk on the job is a big problem, and acknowledging it makes it worse. The fact that he needs to be escorted/guided home brigns it to a whole other level. It probably voids whatever e&o insirance you have in the event of a problem. And when the intern dumps him on his couch and he ends up drowning in vomit, the family will sue everyone.

The guy will implode. The smart move is to figure out how to get rid of him.

Has anyone sat down with him and discussed his issues with him and what professional help he needs?

Has anyone even mentioned to him that it's not ok to come to work like that. You are right that he shouldn't be coding in that state but you are letting him come in, sit at his desk and carry on.

Have those conversations before he hurts himself, those around him and the business.

How do you help him? You either stage an intervention, or do nothing. In reality, the decision to quit is really something people need to come to on their own, usually after hitting whatever their own form of "bottom" is.

Some people get there and begin recovery, some don't. You can't force someone to do it.

Is he causing a problem? You haven't described a problem, only someone effective at what they are doing.

endangering his health probably

Lots of good advice on this thread; one thing I'll add: stay well, well away from any 12-step based programme. I'd suggest something like Rational Recovery (http://rational.org/) instead.

Personally, I'd say he's a huge liability waiting to happen. What if he gets drunk at work, leaves, and hops in a car and ends up killing someone? What if he accidently mucks something up (deleting code, pushing something into prod that shouldn't, etc).

Perhaps his manager needs to sit him down and say that while they appreciate that he could be more productive while drunk, they can't have him drinking at work nor working while drunk, and the company is fully in support of him seeking treatment and therapy to help him.

Your company is enabling him and indirectly taking advantage of his problem because it's temporarily increasing productivity. In all likelihood he will get fired over this. If he has a sympathetic manager and team that can intervene and he's willing to get help, it could eventually work out.

That's my $0.02.

My family, and quite a few friends, have a serious history with alcoholism so this scenario is very familiar. I think it's worth thinking about this in two ways simultaneously: As a humanitarian and as a business decision.

From the first angle, I believe (and others might disagree) that you have an obligation to offer as much support to this person within your capabilities. Understand however that there is nothing you can do to change them - they have to determine that it is a problem that they need to fix. This person KNOWS that they have a problem. Hallmark of an alcoholic is denial - but rest assured they know that it's a problem.

So then how do you help? Well it all depends on the situation. Your team hovering over in amazement while they code certainly doesn't help as it just feeds the idea that "I'm at my best when I'm drunk." Which is clearly temporally bounded.

Unfortunately there is no single solution, and simply pointing you toward AL-ANON or AA is kind of the nuclear option in most cases. Also don't assume that this person cares about self preservation as much as you do. If they just lost all of their important connections, they are likely severely depressed, but my guess is that they are mostly LONELY.

You aren't going to solve that overnight, but it might be possible to find ways to reduce their loneliness. Ask them to dinner, go bowling, whatever it is that would be good. Depending on their personality this might work better as a group or as individuals YMMV.

Alternatively you could force the issue hard by letting them know that this is unacceptable behavior. This one is risky though because this usually further isolates the person and the outcome sometimes is very bad. In some cases it works, but you really have to know the person well.

On to the business side...

Your business partners need to determine what kind of liability this person is to accomplishment of the job broadly. Despite your Rainman like description, the fact that company resources (Even if voluntarily) are being placed on ferrying this person home for risk of life, is a major issue.

This can and will likely lead to resentment towards that person, which usually starts as a joke ("Who's taking barney home tonight" guffaw..) but in my experience turns into vitriol quickly ("I can't believe I have to help this asshole again"). In turn that will lead to trouble with team-dynamics and you can take it from there. No amount of rainman like coding can overcome everyone hating to work with you or the unpredictability of it.

If you or your partners need to issue an ultimatum to this person, that might help, but without other social support could also be isolating. This one has more eggshells on it because it's higher stakes.

If it were me I would offer this person a paid leave of absence, so they could go and be with other friends or family - or in lieu of that, find someone to augment their work and reduce their workload until they can get back on their feet, while keeping them in the office and socializing. Can your team afford that? No idea what your situation is, but if you value this person, then you'll figure out a way to do it.

Bottom line: Support, don't carry. Nudge, don't drag.

Guys, this is self pity. and deep down he knows that you're using him despite his pain. it adds to his self pity. how do you feel about that?

This is sad and serious. However, there is a point to the "Ballmer Peak" XKCD comic: https://xkcd.com/323/

To me that sounds like a cry for help...

I mean it's his life. Until he realizes he has a problem, nothing you do or say will reach him. He has to experience that rock bottom event which will trigger a change in his behavior. Unless he's being super disruptive (and it sort of seems like he's burdening the rest of the team), then it's an HR thing IMO.

FWIW, someone I know has written the best code I've ever seen while wasted and high on an edible.

Maybe he can switch to weed? I helped a family member give up dangerous levels of drinking by helping him get a prescription. Then he gave up smoking weed entirely and now only drinks rarely. One successful example...

Ever tried coding on weed? #doesnotwork

I've never tried, but I've always read the opposite. I've seen many claims of coding better when high.

Then again, I've seen many claims of playing pool better when drunk, and that's definitely not true.

No, it really doesn't work.

Yes, it really doesn't help focusing. But on the other hand I heard many stories where people fought addiction with weed. Smoking some in the evening as a reward instead of drinking might be helpful.

Can't code while drunk either of course.

Why is this an issue? Sounds awesome. Judge him by his output, not by other factors, as per the hacker manifesto. One idea is try drinking with him to give some camaraderie, then tapering down the volume. Also, obligatory XKCD @ https://www.xkcd.com/323/

I agree with you, i wouldn't say awesome though.

Look yes, he needs help (i know this, as i am also going through a drinking problem - probably should switch account before saying this but meh - im speaking to friends for help though), but at the same time, its HIS problem.

If the op is trying to help a friend - which i think he is (and a lot of replies seem to miss), then try and speak to him outside of work - maybe on a friday(if not working sat) join him for a few, and see if he opens up.

You will be amazed how much that helps sometimes(although judging from what i can on how serious this is, its probably not going to be enough). Its a start though.

As for telling HR - gods no. As far as i have seen, HR is there to protect the company, and i would worry for him personally if laid off.

He is going to need help, but its his choice, from a co-worker point of view, the best i could advise is trying to speak to him outside of work, and try and find a way to talk to him about it - see what he thinks.

My emails in my profile if you want to ask anything about someone going through this, or with follow up questions etc.

That is the wrong attitude

Err, many of us might argue that feeling the world is full of right and wrong divides is the wrong attitude. Hell, look at Uber and the law for an example. Systems are systems.

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