I recently found it posted to this wiki, which contains a bit more information about its origins and legacy:
They also reference another semi-related story which I also found entertaining (Cubicle Jungle):
I haven't explored the rest of the wiki, but it looks fascinating.
The Bibliotheca Anonoma is a research task force archiving, documenting, and safeguarding Internet Folklife.
While it's nice to know others are in this boat, it's depressing that any company lets this happen, particularly when I see people working hard at much less well paid things: the cleaners are working much harder than I!
For a private enterprise, the budget can't possibly be this free!?
It's similar to how Florida seems more messed up than other states, but it's only because of the state's public information laws. There's probably a term for the bias where something seems more prevalent only because information on it is more accessible.
Even a "public" company only shares so much with the general public. Much less than even the smallest government.
I found it sad that he thought Tianmen Square was just a nice park after seeing nice censored pictures in the search results (he didnt know what it was before so he had to baidu it).
This made me wonder, what other fucked up shit are they hiding from naive citizens?
It can also easily coexist with stupid cost saving measures like cutting the free soda.
Open source contributions might work though. Do them under an fake name/alias (so they can't correlate with the hours you're supposed to be working), using your own machine and internet access (so it leaves no trace as far as the company is concerned).
As of now, my team of 5 + a manager is basically doing nothing (mainly because the manager is an asshat and I think higher ups have given up on him but cannot fire him for some legal reason).
A big bunch of budget was devoted to this team, but when the expected ROI doesn't pan out higher ups just give up on the team and would rather force you to resign rather than fire you - at least in my country, getting fired also means getting a nice compensation, and I think they want to force us into boredom and resigning just to not pay us even more when leaving.
I'm honestly considering a master's degree at this point, corporate life really is awful.
Combine this with the fact that most people hate firing someone - it's just an awful experience - and most managers won't fire anyone unless they're actively destructive.
The owners or CEO would want line managers to fire do-nothing employees, but they're not the ones making the decision.
As for the how... At this particular company it seems like the core issue was middle management was not evaluated based on the ROI they delivered for their given budgets.
but it's also similar to my experience.
The type of jobs where the incompetence of your superiors creates the absence of responsibility due to the sheer number of hierarchial and useless processes and departments. It's ironic that it's at these type of jobs where the bar is ridiculously low, like you really have to seriously put in an effort to get fired.
If you are thinking this is the life, please don't, the boredom from not having intellctually stimulating work and responsibilities is very real...
but at the same time you are not doing hard labor and making minimum wage so obviously it's a very good deal for most people....I just didn't feel like I can do that for long because of the boredom is too much.....
I was offered to convert to full time by the same manager. I said "Seriously? I haven't done sh-- here?" He replied yeah but I contributed more than a lot of the others. I declined as I had another job lined up already. But I was stunned, still am when I reflect on it.
At my last job I ran into the situation where I completed a project but my manager was lazy about asking for the next project. I don't like disturbing people so I only asked about the new project 3-4 times during a week and my manager always told me to have patience.
At the end of that week she actually had a 2 week vacation planned so I ended up not doing any meaningfull work for 3 weeks.
My manager had to sign my bill with detalied work. It just sucked making up "work" for 21 days and then billing for it but my manager signed off the work; 3 months later when the project rand into some delays my manager arranged a meeting where se stated that she feelt the project was running late because of my slacking off.
Anyway, I'd never do that again -- I'd just email the manager about not having any work and clearly bill my time as "waiting for work".
In your case it sounds like you - and your experience - really helped other members of the team work more efficiently.
I usually start looking for a new job after a month, since I'm not needed here and I'm bored (I also can't talk about this with the manager, or at least whenever I tried nothing fruitful came out of it; doing opensource or just reading tutorials were usually dismissed - the best managers can come up with in these situations is that you "document everything").
Plus, at least in my experience, if you know you're not going to have time to redo something, you do it right the first time :)
it was a weird experience, culturally too. like there's only ~100 ppl yet you have so many middle level managers that just seems to parse email contents from customers or phone calls and applying some generic risk reward decisions based on some cliche-immigrant-to-riches story of some giant American corporation.
Large glassroom conferences very similar to the one from The Social Network....a manager that loves to use the whiteboard any chance they can get to show off their flowchart or maybe more in the vicinity of "adding value when the ceo walks in".
One time a visitor pointed out why the person sitting across from me didn't know my name, which panickly corrected by saying oh we are a large company....100 ppl and you can never even make eye contact or even say hi...what in the fuck
this is starting to digress into a similar style from the submission article but I really like his usage of smaller sentences to really bring home the edge of your sit moments....also I see ppl are upvoting which I will automatically take as a positive feedback to continue.
so I was at this job was kickin ass an engineer then I realize the whole product and 1 hour sales cycle that we used to torture naive prospects and saavy ceo's who figured out how to get months of free consulting by dangling a carrot - 14% commission on a 400k quota. One sale would mean another quarter to prove you don't suck at sales. So not much demand but really enthusiastic c-suites keen on jumping on 1 hour calls to squeeze every value they can. This meant the entirety of the company strategy was to focus on very large accounts which ultimately resulted in disaster as you can see.
I learned that each sales process is a lot like buying OTM options. The payout is truly great but most of them turn out to be worthless. A bit like European options in that you can't exercise before or after the expiry date. I mean they are the same thing at the core, they are both contracts between parties. Except the company paying you can cancel anytime if you didn't put it in the clause. Well there goes our annual revenue target.
Portfolio risk increases when you are too biased...the tragedy in this case being the unwillingness from the executives to accept cold hard facts not incomplete information....when you get angry or use fear to motivate your subordinates, basically creating a negative feedback loop, you increase opacity of information which in turn fuels decentralization making it harder and more costlier to acquire trivial data because people like to not hide but discouraged from putting it in directly infront of someone who gets angry when results are not met. This is the definition of a petulant child. put all the bags in one basket, or one large account, everything slows down. The whole sales revenue target for the quarter depends on this account. Literally make it or break it type of situation that repeatedly gets sold by the executives as a 100% deal.
In fact I can't count how many times I heard that a deal was literally waiting to be signed only to discover how far away from what was actually announced company wide.
So basically tl;dr, focusing on large enterprise account created a lot of unutilized time, not just me but I personally saw an account executive have a nervous breakdown. You truly have to be strong inside to do enterprise sales I feel. Even tougher when your AE is sitting across you berating developers as [derogatory word] he feels is conspiring against him. In one incident he used a very degrading picture of a gay effeminate Asian male that he "randomly" found while searching for an appropriate image that fit his company wide show & tell on "analytical trends". Also more uncomfortable is that they would sit an Asian co-worker in the same room and ask who the fuck gave 0 for diversity amongst the Caucasian workers. Literally felt like standing before a Soviet military tribunal before permanently being shipped to Vladivostok gulags found in 80s Soviet Pioneer songs.
" Рыба c головы тухнет, Игорь ! "
So yeah I don't feel bad about being underutilized, it was the boredom I had to save myself from and what was a toxic environment under the veil of a highly reputable articles and "fake it till you make it" culture.
Especially when the best sales ppl are leaving and you cant hire new fast enough so they stick with whatever they have, even if their book rate is at the bottom.
Basically sales teams are for selling but they cant sell products which have no demand and so eventually you are "that" company in the expo with nobody coming to the booths since your marketing involves using shady eastern European seo backlinks and believe repeatedly spamming CEOs and partners. In fact, when your partners turn on you, it's a sign that there is problems at the top level.
Usually these type of CEOs are egomaniacs with no discernable skill other than walking around the office taking up conference room to meditate, and thinking he is at TEDtalk...
Like most software jobs these days? :/.
The tool was very successful and all I did was just receive messages in slack to hit the up arrow key and press enter in my terminal.
I guess I could've just did it manually then I'd have a steady supply of repetitive hand eye coordination exercises but I automated it in about a week of concentrated coding at the office because it just felt so good to code and produce something of value after months of redditing and growing fat from all the food and beer at the office. I relished it, it was the single most proudest feeling to announce the tool to the company.
I can see software jobs with peers who are self concious about imposter syndrome and other senior egos scrutinizing your commits day after day can add a toll. It was such a relaxing environment to be left on my own to produce such a specialized tool with tremendous productivity and revenue boost. It was only after I introduced this ability we started seeing some bookings. Not many software jobs I experienced had this much freedom and it was exactly the environment that gave rise to such high-multiple value generating tool.
I had filled out all the onboarding paperwork, but as there had been almost no vetting I assumed this was all still preliminary and my "actual" hiring would hinge on another round of interviews (possibly with the US client company). Then I checked my bank balance one day and found it to be significantly higher than expected due to automated deposits that continued for the duration: The hiring process was over, I was now a full blown employee as far as the company was concerned.
The original position was in Chicago (a city I was not in) however after a month or so of waiting this seemed to fall through and I was asked to select from a short list of other cities I would be available to relocate to. I chose New York and eventually was given a weeks-away start date that I was expected to begin work there, however no hint of a corresponding salary bump.
Being unwilling to relocate to NY for a Chicago salary, I patiently explained to the management in India that I would need to know my new salary first. After they blew through a few soft deadlines while continuing to insist that I was expected to be at work in New York on the same start date, I finally got my direct supervisor on phone at the beginning of his workday and made it clear that I needed this number before his close of business or else.
When that deadline was also blown, I followed through on my promise and quit immediately (a move that seemed to surprise him). During these three or four months I had shown up at no office or been assigned any tasks.
I kept explaining to them that I had to give notice to my previous employer and would need to know the date in advance. After several more weeks of "soon", I told them that if they didn't give me a start date by EOW, I would be resigning at the close of business day Friday. This was before ever actually starting even though I'd been hired.
They blew the deadline and I quit on the spot, and they immediately countered with telling me that I could start the following Monday. Clearly they did not understand a single thing that I was trying to tell them or did not care. No regrets walking away from that one.
I always thought these kinds of busywork are completely useless, and don't do anything to stop you from getting into trouble again, they never did for me at least.
There's always been an element of sadism in commonwealth country's schooling systems. We had to wear shorts to school until 5th form, even in winter when it hit sub zero temperatures (at least it didn't snow).
At least they got rid of the privilege of prefects being able to hand out detentions after the entire school collectively told them to fuck off.
As someone who has issues with authority, high school was a very difficult time for me.
Don't understand the shorts thing in winter though.
It is usually for “character building” so they say
Teachers also felt like that wasn't in the spirit of the punishment so it had the added fun of sticking it to "the man!"
You basically used Taylor-esque division of labor with yourself. Doing the same task a lot usually you become faster and more efficient at it. If you only have yourself it still might be faster if the task is repetitive enough and your context switching time is less than the time you save by writing one word so many times.
Still yet to tackle that one (after I learn ambidextrousness).
(Said as someone whose hand-eye coordination could do with some serious tuning)
positive reinforcement I think is better.
I feel like this level of systematic dehumanization should be banned as it inflicts unnecessary suffering with no real benefit to society.
but Japan has the lowest crime rates because the prosecution has a track record of 99% conviction rate. You might be thinking oh fuck thats fucked up but it actually deters Japanese citizens from deviating from the law. Because no matter what they are going to throw the book at you with only 1% chance of not going to jail. When it's that biased the return on criminal action at an individual level is negative.
And as a result Japan has a thriving organized criminal economy and it makes sense, when you have a lot of disposable soldiers, don't need to pay severance (they do with their fingers), unregulated labor workforce, suddenly you've created an enormously profitable criminal enterprise that reaches into every aspect of Japanese society-pornography, brothels, stock market, celebrities, media.
They have a habit of forcing confessions out of suspects , sexual assault and harassment is massively unreported, and murders are often ruled as suicides if there are no clear suspects.
Typically (not always), if someone goes to prison, it is because of them using up many chances to avoid going -- or they did something particularly heinous. Japanese prisons are not flooded with minor drug violators like US prisons are.
First, the police I've met in Japan are VERY willing to look the other way rather than convict someone on a serious-but-relatively-minor offense (e.g., drinking and driving while not "drunk"). I have also known them to handle delicate situations in very diplomatic ways (e.g., appropriate but definitely illegal street justice).
The stories I have heard of people going to jail involved that person breaking the law repeatedly and with multiple warnings (usu. with accompanying letters they had to write saying that they would not continue to behave in a criminal way).
In the more provincial areas (even the small cities), the police actually have a pretty good feel of what is going on in their towns -- the speed of gossip is impressive. If anyone is acting up, it would not be surprising for the police to find out and just go have a friendly talk with that person reminding them that doing $CRIME is, well, a crime that might have very unfortunate consequences. That discussion usually puts a lid on it.
I will also add that for a very large portion of the population, the peer pressure to conform goes extremely far in discouraging people from doing things that would put them in prison. The idea of prison itself is just a foreign idea for most people.
I haven not recently updated my reading on the Japanese criminal justice system (most of my knowledge is 10+ years old), but I don't recall reading much that made me feel like there were many prisoners were in prison unreasonably. A few were, but just a few, and completely different than the US where it's obvious that quite a few people are in prison for things like minor offenses, getting framed, not being able to afford decent representation, etc.
As a result the “low crime rate” and “high conviction rate” are both somewhat artificial. A lot of crimes go unreported, or at the very least unprosecuted. Japan does have a relatively low crime rate, but the criminal element can often get away, especially if the victim is homeless, another criminal, or in some other way an outsider.
- High risk of false positives
- Only straight forward cases are being tried, so presumably police are memory holing cases that they can't clean up quickly.
Wow, that is incredible (in a very negative / brutal sense). It's like forcing burnout on a person to motivate them to leave.
I did work at a pretty reasonable pace on projects that were obviously not a practical idea and would probably never amount to much, while numerous good ideas that could have saved substantial money got ignored. But I didn't really know of anyone who really didn't do anything. Though there was one guy who had less than a dozen commits in a year, all just a couple of lines. But after trying to work with him on something for another project, I think he really was just that bad at coding.
Count your blessings, bad coders that work hard screw up the entire codebase for everyone. They also seem to get promoted for their hard work.
My tasks included:
-Translating table columns(results of this were thrown away)
-Preparing "use cases" (actually training a real intern who majored in business administration so she had no idea how to do this)
-Reading a 900 page Tibco product API reference.
I took two weeks off - arranged with my manager. I was told that after a week someone finally asked "Where's <my name here>?"
I noticed that other employees had Eclipse opened at all times so I downloaded it and started learning Java - after all my position was "JAVA intern".
No one bothered me during these three months after which I had enough money to buy a laptop and get a driving license. I was also offered a position but I declined on the grounds that I was yet to graduate back then.
I've had several trainees through my team in the last year or so, for 3-6 months each. If they come to me with a problem I'll move heaven and earth to help, they get invited to various meetings, introduced to various customers, but otherwise I'll give them freedom. If they use that freedom to proactively find a problem and try to fix it, or badger us to help until we give them a small problem that they then come up with an attempt at a solution, they get a job
If they sit there playing Galaga, it's their loss.
I'm not interested in their hard skills, I don't care if you're a whizz at python or perl or go or whatever - those can be learned. I care about your work ethic, your ability to understand what the customers need, and your ability to solve those problems. I don't have time to micromanage, nobody in my team does, if you can't make yourself useful then you're not. If I wanted someone to micromanage I'd get a contractor.
I see a lot of that, too, and have in the past two and a half decades. It took me a while to catch on to the difference between what got worked on and what didn't: the things that are measurable are the things that get worked on. In fact, the things that are most trivially measurable are always the things that get the most love. I think that some of the really big, really successful places like Amazon and Google have managed to get past this and actually put some effort into "speculative" projects, but most organizations spend all their time on the lowest hanging fruit, no matter how rotten it actually is.
I had a similar situation in my late 20's at a very small company. Having fewer than a dozen employees, they (obviously) knew I was there, but I literally had no work to do for months. I was the only engineer and there was no engineering going on, so my days were spent basically learning new skills. Eventually I got bored enough to look for a new job, but the company went out of business before I jumped ship.
- Shutting down the computers after we closed
- Setting up a projector or two daily
$20/hr to sit and chill on the computer for six hours is the college nerd's wet dream.
- it was made very clear that we should not start on work items that weren't ready or approved
- there were no ready or approved work items
Although that only went on for two weeks.
This information wasn't communicated to us directly, though, so everyone but a few very senior people just noticed a gradual drying up of tickets and tasks. There was a lot of looking for things to do and looking busy for the first couple months, though as we started to figure out what was going on there were more and more spontaneous frisbee games and slacklining lessons, culminating in the whole of our satellite office leaving the office after lunch to go on a hike one day.
Probably nothing important due to copyright issues, company time + company resources means the company owns the work.
I do wonder if this is the origin of a lot of fun projects like "HN command line client" though.
It doesn't matter that you are not writing a thing.
If you're doing it on your private machine over which you have full control then how can anyone prove it was done during work hours?
I can sit bored (with a couple of hours worth tracking in the timesheet software) for a month or two, but then I usually start looking for something interesting.
You don't need to like or "couple your soul" to your job, it's part of your life and life shouldn't suck because there is a very good chance that there isn't another one.
Smaller one in 2010: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1320310
Helpful explanation of its origins: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6088168
 meaningless footnotes
 you're not writing a term paper
That line struck me as oddly brilliant. It wouldn't take 20 seconds if you knew it off the top of your head, so it means that you can have someone drop everything and give you that information.
I am a CS student, but I have had a lot of student jobs related to my studies. At most workplaces, they appreciated my skills and abilities, but being able to only work 1 day a week, the tasks I get assigned are not of any real value to the company, and I suspect my managers never really cared if I finished them. Since nobody cared about what I did, I quickly got demotivated, and I usually ended up browsing Hot Questions on SO, IRC, and HN. These sites look somewhat relevant, and did not cause any suspicion, like Facebook or Twitter.
Now I am soon to finish my degree, and get a full-time job. However, I am really anxious whether I am actually able to work for 8 hours in succession every day, 5 days a week. University is a lot of work, but it is scattered throughout the day. I am not sure if I have ever programmed for more than 2 hours in succession. Programming 8 hours a day seems like an incredibly burden, and mentally unbearable...
But over time I spoke to my colleagues and _nobody_ does more than that really. We end up spending the other time doing less intensive, administrational stuff where possible, or just slacking off. It's fine, if the work output we were doing wasn't enough they would have fired us forever ago.
I hope that’s somewhat reassuring. And if it doesn’t work out, hopping fairly frequently isn’t that big of a deal. But do try to limit that because outside of the Bay Area, a few year-long stints starts to not look good.
* Flight simulator (on a Pentium Pro)
* Reading Red Dwarf scripts
* Posting on Slashdot
Seems unlikely you'd get fired for asking what to do... And if you don't want to ask just find something and expand responsibilities..
Then Legal said I had too much access for a level N employee, and essentially revoked my ability to work on anything new.
My manager was great, and did his best to promote me to level N+2, which should have given me rights to access that data. This took 6 months, during which I taught myself Lisp and Machine Learning. Then I automated all the new stuff I had access to within 2 weeks (including solving a project that had been estimated to take 11 people over two years.) Then I was told it would take another 6 months to get access to anything else.
Four weeks later, I left for my first ML job and never looked back.
So the maximum he had ever worked in a single day was just over an hour and half. On most days it was half an hour of work out of the 9 he had to be available.
It continued for 3 years. No one bothered him since he was a billable employee.
In a fit of frustration he resigned one day. Although his job was very unskilled, there was no one else who wanted to do it, and to retain him he was given a pay hike. He accepted the hike and continued for a couple of more years before resigning for good.
He now teaches at a school and is very happy.
The details (meetings, etc) might be fantasy, but the core fact that people get paid for doing nothing isn't.
I don't really agree with this, but it is an interesting symptom of modern business.
Also, it's quite typical that an auto OEM would contractually require a supplier to have safety inspectors at each site, so he may not have been as forgotten as he thought.
Just a theory.
- Google Ultron story from 4chan
- "Escalation" I think it was called, a story about nerf gun
wars. Can't find it now.
- Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect
>This is in Texas.
>About a year ago I was "fired" for something I did not do. Basically they thought I was stealing from the company and had me fired in the system before they informed me in person.
>When they caught the real thief, literally 5 minutes before I got the axe, I got called into HR where they apologized to me profusely and told me they would be working to reinstate me without losing my tenure or my vacation time. They asked me if there was anything they could do in the mean time. I asked for the vacation right then and there which made HR real happy because me being gone for 2 weeks made it easy for them to unfuck the situation.
>While on vacation I broke my leg and was wheelchair bound for a month. When I informed HR of this they offered me the satellite office for temporary use since it was literally one block away and I could get there safely using my wheelchair.
>The company had a satellite office close to my house that was basically just 2 rooms. One had a desk power socket and internet access and the other was the bathroom. The office was purchased for an exec who was wheelchair bound because of cancer. The office stayed empty for a few months when her cancer went terminal and eventually she passed on. When I was offered it they moved my PC and everything out there getting me set up.
>That was the last time I have had any face to face with anyone in the company. Even after my leg healed I did not return to the normal building. I stayed in the office until HR wanted to move someone else in.
>Well that never came. Five months ago my department was shuttered. My boss, several employees, and a few other management people were quietly let go. Some kind of thing happened at the top that caused a lot of people to be let go. By this time I was pretty much using the office as a second home and had not had any real contact with anyone outside of emails and the occasional phone call.
>Once this happened I was just coming in to work everyday completing my tasks until they stopped coming. Then I just came in every day waiting until the hammer fell. It never did.
>I have been coming in every single day, walking since its only a 5 minute walk unless its raining, hooking up my gaming laptop and hopping on discord with my friends to play. Sometimes I will bring my ps4 or xbone into the office and play that too.
>I have been using this office and collecting a paycheck for the last 5ish months with no contact other than the company wide emails and former coworkers of mine calling me asking how things are going. To put it into context of how much I have stopped caring, when I told my girlfriend about my job situation she came to visit me at work. I will keep it G rated here for you guys and will let you use your imaginations as to the nature of her visit. I do not state this to brag but merely to pain the picture of how things are at my current "job"
>All of this brings us to today. I have been using my free time to also study for several PC certs and have finally acquired them. I am getting job offers for a few places that will be a pretty big step up from my current position.
>What are the pros and cons of taking the new jobs without "quitting" my first job? I know that technically I am currently in the clear legally. But I want to know if that changes if I start working at another job and collecting two paychecks? I am guessing very much yes but wanted to know more. Does the situation change if one of the companies allows me to work from home and I use my office to work at both jobs?
>Yes I know I am being incredibly greedy but I am legitimately wondering here cause its like a very lucky situation I find myself in and it would be a complete waste to throw it away without a good reason. As in I could get in legal trouble is a very good reason to throw it all away and work at the new job.