Remember who put him there, if it was bad choice, it means upper management made a bad decision. In my experience upper management will do anything but admit to a bad decision.
Just silently leave for another job, try to make sure you will get a good/neutral reference. Remember future employers will just think your bad/unskilled if you get a bad reference rather than the fact you got into politics. Larger companies have an automatic no, to bad references and won't accept excuses. Since they assume your a bad person/almost criminal (the only point large corporates will give a bad reference normally) and probably lying. Limiting you to small companies for your next job.
Its nice to think you can be a hero and fix this, but you can only do that if your someone with significant power in the company like a founder, or an early employee who is best buds with senior management. Since HN is full of these types, they can be idealistic.
I've been through situations like this, and this is what I would do now rather then potentially making your life hell.
Situations like this is a massive problem with modern company structure.
And, just in case you are around when the shit does hit the fan, then, surely, you would want to have some evidence to show that you pushed to take action to correct the problems you saw. There's no mention even of any documentation of their concerns, which surely should be priority number one. I have seen similar (if less extreme) cases where developers knew about problems that no-one acted on. And guess what? When the impact from the problems became apparent, they took the blame, because they had no evidence to exonerate themselves. If the culture of the upper management is not as bad as you assume, then you will end up looking like the bad guy by keeping quiet.
Most large companies send a form that refer has to fill in. Rate 1 to 10 on attention to detail for example.
If the person giving the reference does not like you, there are many ways to bend the truth. Mark you down for lateness, when it was in the companies culture for implied flexitime for example.
I have been looking up information about employment law (mainly in the United States, but also around the world) as part of a promised update to my FAQ on company hiring procedures
that I will post to my personal website.
Many large companies will not give a reference at all merely confirming dates worked from and too.
I think it was because someone once sued (successfully) over a bad reference.
It's ridiculous that the strategy team isn't aware of these shenanigans and that tells me, the structure of the organization is hopelessly broken (besides the manager they don't want to get rid of).
In my experience, management isn't the sort of thing that's easy to fix or, IMO, worth fixing in the longer run. If you're not a founder/investor or in other way have a horse in this race, you literally have no incentive (besides immediate salary) to waste precious time off your life in a hierarchy that isn't going anywhere and is utterly clueless.
Resigning may give you better options later on than getting fired. It's going to be tough depending on how well you can function on reserves, but if I were you, I would be tiding up my resume immediately and sending out feelers elsewhere.
It's a big ocean out there.
The OP mentioned London and the timescales indicate he's been in the company a while. Therefore, I'd encourage him to check his contract and employment law as 'being fired' isn't a trivial undertaking for the employer (there can be negotiation and comp agreements). I definitely agree with the sentiment to refresh his CV and be prepared to leave but not if it's going to cause financial hardship.
Once he understands his position, I'd try bypassing the manager and feeling out the higher ups about what they do and do not know about this 'secret' project. If it turns out that there's tacit support from above I'd consider that a big warning sign.
If the company looks like its going to make people redundant as a result of this project going bad don't resign as you will miss out on any possible redundancy.
I beg to differ. It sounds like the whole department is at risk. If I was in the position I wouldn't want to just quit and leave everyone else - who I work with on a daily basis - to face the consequences. I would try speaking to upper management and seeing how that goes. At the very least let them know about the PMs regime to rewrite everything - "What, you didn't know this was happening?". I would actually speak to them rather than just emails. If they don't seem bothered, and nothing happens, then get out. But at least you know that you tried, and don't have to feel guilty about leaving.
Just start looking for a new job and leave as soon as you can. A company that makes these kinds of choices in terms of job filling cannot be worth your time.
Finding a new job is easier than you think it'll be. Living in such a stressful environment is not worth it. The only thin you'll regret is not doing something about it.
Maybe he is older than 35?
I mean, a lot of my older colleagues have had a hard time finding jobs, but most of them are not very passionate about what they do. They want to work right next to their own front door, they don't want to sacrifice any pay or holiday credit, and they prefer not to learn new things and stick to the familiar. (I know of a few exceptions, and I'm not claiming this is true for all >35yo employees)
I wonder: if you keep learning new things, continue to be passionate about your field etc, is it that much harder to find a new job just because you're older?
The problem can also be understood as a lack of demand for experience. Noone realistically needs any experience beyond a few side projects to get started. With abundant open source software, many people's roles are reduced to an assembly line worker who knows how to operte the tool in hand.
This is one problem imho, that stands in the way of more mature developers landing jobs and of juniors advancing.
There is a trend to use 3rd party libraries as rad tools even when they don't fully fill the needs, and a tendency to use 3rd party tools to prevent your coders from really needing to code.
Architects know they're going to hand off to code monkeys, so they force designs to fit existing 3rd party libraries and any complexity gets pushed to the design side, not the implementation side. Why hire and pay extra for experience when a grad can do it?
For high talent or a unique skillset, it's not a problem and you effectively set your own salary. This is where you want to be.
In baseball or basketball, a younger age does make a difference (since performance is proportional to athleticism). Veterans are still highly regarded for leadership, and sometimes pure skill (setup man, utility infielder, 3-point shooter); Though they're called on less and usually earn less then their heyday. Would we ever see something similar in the code business?! I don't know. In the case of coding, experience goes up, but perhaps desire to not work like crazy goes down (family, done it before, etc).
Maybe we should pay even higher salaries to bright youngins with huge signing bonuses? And let them know that their expected prime is 21-34. And they should manage their money wisely and open a carwash or burgerking or two.... :P
The market (US) has 2.2% unemployment and every single software company I have ever worked for is CONSTANTLY scouting for people, nonstop, the entire time I have worked there. Keeping standards high is exceptionally challenging... "Good news, this one can do FizzBuzz!"
Age isn't even considered, we just need freaking people and are competing with 5+ other companies to get them. There is a reason we pay recruiters 20k+ per freaking hire.
But people with a decade plus experience are not even close to comparable to fresh faced wonders.
Senior hires are more difficult to make than junior hires, and what is worse: someone who is "old" cannot go back to being junior even if they wanted (e.g. career switch) since our minds seem to be biased (right or wrong) into associating age with expertise. They don't even have a chance at working at the 21 yro salary.
There is also a pyramid to worry about: many companies are much fatter at the entry level and this narrows at each level as employees are lost or weeded out. Now, if you are 40, you have to compete further up that pyramid, meaning fewer spots available, meaning...life is much more complicated. It doesn't really make sense though: where do all those extra young programmers go when they are old? Our industry is killing itself through in its thirst for young blood, since it actually discourages people from entering our field.
I don't know what nightmarish company you are reference, but it isn't the norm for the industry, most programmers get the hire/pass call (or at least veto power) by other programmers.
As for ageism, I really don't see it that much. It is mostly programmers getting annoyed by the "soft cap" around 135k-185k and switching to management to make more in the late 30s and 40s. Luckily, the cap is starting to go away, positions in the 200k+ are becoming far more common.
EDIT: This is only a reflection of experience in the US.
An anonymous tip in a brown paper envelope from a "friend" to a senior manager is one traditional way of whistle blowing.
I've seen people at small companies, where the boss wanted to save money on redundancy payments, instead start firing people for violating policies that had gone ignored for years.
I don't know about you, but I violate corporate policies on a daily basis; I see it as something everyone has to do to be able to accomplish their jobs.
for non UK people - ET/employment tribunals are the equivalent in the US of labor Courts
I'm sorry I'm so blunt, but I'm getting so tired of developers whining as if they are victims. We are not poor exploited coal miners, we are well paid, sought after professionals. Start acting like it.
Finding a new job is certainly a reasonable option, but expecting someone to mar their work history by being fired over a fight they can't win isn't productive.
I am surprised this person has so much vision over the state of the business, if there is nothing else that can explain the situation you have to leave.
I strenuously disagree; employees should have the right, if not the obligation, to keep their direct management honest . It forestalls situations that turn into HN horror stories. If you feel like doing so would put your employment in jeopardy, all you can do is take orders, right ?
 by "keep them honest" I don't mean to imply that management lies to employees; it's a figure of speech in American English that AFAIK means to make sure the other party knows that you're watching out for any foul play.
I agree with you to the extent that you can give hints and ask the manager one or two tough questions. Once the OP raised the issue with the lost money and the case was dismissed, that's all you can do.
Some managers are passive-aggressive, they will exploit the peace and just sit and wait to be confronted about everything. And any confrontation labels you abrasive or without respect for authority and that puts you into a losing situation. You must know what kind of person you are dealing with. A bad manager is a bad manager. Best option is to leave asap, if you have a bad manager you will never advance your career.
No relationship, since if I find I _have_ to call my manager on bullshit repeatedly, why would I waste my time in that position ?
> A bad manager is a bad manager. Best option is to leave asap, if you have a bad manager you will never advance your career.
ah yeah you came to the same conclusion as me :) I thought you were saying, one should just tough it out upon finding oneself reporting to a bullshitty manager.
That's the secret - pick your battles. You only have so much political and social capital, but it is rarely zero. Definitely use it if it might save the company.
Brush up your CV, get the heck out or request a division transfer.
Yes, I was wondering about that as well. And the significant loss in revenue - in my experience that usually leads to lots of questions.
The office isn't overlooking the London wheel by any chance :-)
That's not how firing usually works. You cut the head off the snake, and put on a new head - not throw away the whole snake.
You have a senior in the team that has a fair idea of what needs to be done. You know the problems. You know that working on this side project, in secret, is wrong; so why not agree at every meeting, discussion, etc that you will work on it, and then simply do whatever needs to be done.
It is risky, as the manager will then likely try to fire you; but that's going to be difficult to sell:
- At every point you've followed directions given in verbal conversations
- If there's stuff in email, you simply agree to that as well - said manager is then documenting their own failure
- You are delivering what the strategic parts of the business believe are the right thing
- He'll justify trying to fire you... by revealing his secret project
- All hell will break loose, and at the end of the day if you were demonstrably protecting revenue and following the overall strategic intent of the organistion, you'll just be treated as a dilligent cog in the machine.
Directly raising it or confronting the issue is likely to make you appear argumentative or a "trouble maker". It doesn't matter if you are right, once it gets past a certain point, non-experts have no clue what's going on and rely on relationships, tone of conversation, and the amount of trust they feel.
However, if you look harmless - nay, even too stupid to have done the wrong thing(!), you can likely let it wash over you and the team.
Alternatively, just all take your sick leave at one time, due to "stress caused by long hours working on SECRET PROJECT NAME", cc HR. :P
Get your resume sorted but don't touch the linkedin as it will show you might be thinking of jumping ship. It sounds like you enjoy the project and would rather solve the issue than leave. A project being developed in secret is completely f'ed (and could be illegal depending on your company structure) and they would have to be mental for reprimanding you for bringing transparency to it.
Go see senior management, and tell them what kind of unholy clusterfuck is occurring inside their top area.
There is a communication problem too. Why isn't anybody talking about thoses site going down ? Why is it so formal/difficult to talk about problems with other managers and other departments ?
It's unfortunate, but a few (even just one or two) guys can brake an organization when they are at the top.
I wouldn't rock the boat under the reasoning that you gain nothing by doing such, except, maybe, a tiny chance at promotion. Moving jobs will likely net you a higher paycheck.
Remember: When concerned about loyalty, Your loyalty is not just to the manager, but to the organization.
Make sure you have documented what issues and risks you have expressed to the PM and Lead Developer - maybe actually in whatever tool you are using, or at least in email. Make a record that team's morale is decreasing.
You and each of your team members should directly be telling the PM and Lead Developer that you are worried with specific risks or issues.
Take the registers to somebody with more authority in your organisation. Come in with a few recommendations. Present the facts and tell them you think there's a problem, and ask if they agree or not. If they do agree, make sure to get what the next action will be.
Just my immediate thoughts. Good luck.
The company I was at was too big to suddenly change direction and fire those people who were incompetent and the problem was that the issues the company had did not come from the bottom, they came from the top.
Going to upper management in my case was not going to change anything on the ground for me immediately and if I did not see change in a month I was going to lose my mind.
In the end I chose to resign because I needed change for myself one way or another and at least my resignation guaranteed that change for me.
And like another commenter said here - getting a new programming job (especially in London!) is not that hard.
Good luck :)
My advice will be that you leave if you can. If that is not an option then work up the courage to tell some higher ups what's going on. You will burn bridges with the manager but you will save yourself and the rest of your team from the pain of coming to work every morning knowing they are partly responsible for something bad that is about to happen.
Just for the record.
1) You're paid to do a job, in a hierarchical management structure each tier must delegate and trust the tier below it. It's not your job to criticise your manager, it's the job of your managers manager, at the end of the day none of the developers are at fault for simply being told what to do.
2) You're personally and emotionally committed, you know you shouldn't do it but you want to take on the problems of the team, and by proxy, the problems of the company. If that's the case then voice your concerns because it'll stress the fuck out of you otherwise. Don't voice them to your manager, voice them to your managers manager. Don't get all emotional when voicing your concerns just lay out the facts calmly and impartially and go with whatever they say.
My opinion on this is that if you've taken the time to submit to HN, then you're Option 2 and it's going to eat at you. Even if you leave like many people have suggested you're going to feel bad for your team. Voice your concerns and then try to emotionally distance yourself from the company (unless they get the hint and fire the idiot manager). Then start looking for another job and advise the same to your colleagues.
Lot's of people here are saying to look for a job first, if you voice your concerns now, in the UK, it's unlikely they'll just fire you without any notice or any severance pay. If you're in London and half decent, you'll find employment pretty quickly.
Best of luck ;)
The idea that "the current system is rubbish, but the new system will be perfect" is common, and it is dangerous nonsense. Every large system has flaws, and throwing it away and starting over is the worst way to address them. Refactor if you can. Add the ability to refactor if you can't.
I'd also be tempted to go back to your original project. If your new manager's taught you anything, it's that it is OK to work secretly on stuff without reporting to management. See if you can get the whole team to revolt.
Then document what is going on with the secret project and if possible show where your boss has lied on paper/e-mail. Then either schedule a meeting with your bosses boss and ask internal legal council to be present if it is in your company do this personally and make sure the meeting is on short notice and preferably early in the day.
If possible have a basic recovery plan available but do not give it unless asked for it. You should show concern for the business not look like you want your bosses job.
During this period of course look for new opportunities elsewere as, if your current boss stays your boss work is not going to be any fun. Even if they can't fire you now.
Decide if you should tell management about these issues (politely) on your way out. I'd be inclined to just leave quietly, though.
I worked for a company whose CEO fired his outside accounting firm and replaced them with his wife, this in a company that grossed 5-10M per year. Super fishy, especially amid rumors that sales were off 20%.
I asked him directly if he was hiding something that was material to our deal (we came in through an acquisition). I was promptly fired, or in legal speak "laid off due to business reasons".
I'll never forget the comically bad exit interview, which ended in me being tackled by one of the managers in an attempt to obtain my cell phone.
So unless you want to be a martyr, just quit. Agree also that management put that bozo there, nothing you can do about it except leave.
Seriously, the vast majority of our jobs mean nothing. There are other, less stupid places to work. The vast majority of our employers won't exist in 100 years. So be happy and leave.
... My point is that, if you step up and lose your job, you got out while it is still good. If you don't step up, eventually, the company will collapse and now you are out of options.
If you don't feel secure about it, perhaps you might want to start being open to looking for other opportunities.
The PM and the lead haven't noticed but certainly their boss. Wait and see. I don't think it's you who will be fired.
1. If you're going to do something that might get you fired, get another job lined up before you do it.
2. The leverage "threaten to resign" only works once; if you don't follow through it won't be credible again; and it marks you as having one foot out the door, making it less appealing to invest in training you or give you new responsibilities.
3. Even if you use leverage other than threatening to resign, moving jobs is guaranteed to get you away from your toxic boss, whereas trying to fix things isn't guaranteed to work. And at the same time you can probably learn some new technologies and get a salary bump. Once you've got another job lined up, you might as well take it.
4. Telling everyone what you really think in leaving e-mails / exit interviews never changes anything in the company, but might make you enemies or get you a bad reference. Why bother? Instead give them some bullshit about how it's a great company and you just felt it was time for a change.
Of course, if you can confront the situation in a way that doesn't risk getting you fired, the above logic doesn't apply.
There is only downside for threatening to leave, it scuppers your future in the company. As michaelt notes, don't bluff, have the next step lined up. At that point, there's no value in threatening to leave. Just hand in your notice, if they realise your value they tend to counter-offer anyway. But be sure leaving is the right thing for you.
Frankly, it's probably not worth the time it would take to do a brain dump to upper management, HR or any potentially interested party. I wouldn't volunteer anything unless someone who seemed genuinely interested asked.
Help your coworkers find other jobs too. They might even follow you to your new company if you play your cards right.
a) you do not care anymore about the success company and only care about job security
b) you do care about the success of your company
if a) is the case, quite now! you are part of the problem. you are blaming them but are at the same time not willing to take the consequences of doing the right thing.
b) speak up, all the time, to anyone, not just with your peers, but also to anyone else. call this "to change the dance" you are changing how you behave, to other have to react. they will be pissed, they will blame you. they might fire you (good for you, then) or they will change their dance.
there is no alternative, everything else will just go downhill.
recommended reading: http://www.amazon.com/Seeing-Systems-Unlocking-Mysteries-Org...
buy it, read it, understand what is currently happening and what your role in it is.
Reply and I'll provide details if you're interested!
If that fails, you can resign.
Going ahead means talking to higher management, laying out your concerns ("I'm worried this may be the case" not "This is the case, absolutely, and you must act now!") then asking if they think you're right.
I would also style this as a question of management theory, not the individual in question. "I believe Dan is using the STFU management technique and it's not a fit for our unique situation..."
Be as friendly as you can be, and talk about policies, not people. They may actually not know about your division's problems, and correct the situation.
Also, look for another job. It is possible that your manager has friends up there, and won't be fired. That means your team will, one way or the other.