Starting a new job can be scary

If you’re not already established in your field, don’t know the company all that well, or taking on a role with a higher level of responsibility, it’s totally okay if you start drinking in the parking lot. Just kidding! Start drinking at home, that gives you more time to drink and bet on horses. Lifehack!

Assuming you make it into the office and don’t spend your day betting on the pony with the best name, and HR doesn’t immediately hand you substance abuse pamphlets, you begin your glorious career as Employee #2147483647. Hooray.

But will it last? Or are there things that may have you hastily editing your resume and angrily calling your recruiter by lunch?

Office Oddity

I’ve had some strange things happen to me when I started jobs (sober, I promise) that let me know exactly how long I’d be sticking around.

  • Boss wasn’t sure a second monitor was in the budget
  • SA password on the whiteboard by the developer cubicles
  • IT contractor passed out in the hallway outside the door

First Day, Last Day

Feel free to share in the comments if you’ve had any first day deal breakers. If you’ve ever:

  • Quit by lunch
  • Looked at glassdoor.com after it was too late
  • Found out you replaced a dead person

This is the right blog post for you!

All of these things I do
All of these things I do
To get away from you

Altered Images – “I Could Be Happy”

Brent says: I was interviewing for a DBA job, and the final interview took place in their offices. I took a tour, and one of the IT rooms was loaded with a couple dozen student desks. Each desk was barely big enough for a single small flat panel, a keyboard, and a mouse. Any team member could reach out their arms sideways and touch the person on either side of them. I didn’t even care what their jobs were, or if I’d be working in that room – I was done right there. Any company that treats any of their people that way, isn’t somewhere I wanna work.

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61 Comments. Leave new

  • Not me, but I heard of this one guy who accepted a job offer where I used to work. He was new to Canada and wasn’t super-familiar with Western traditions. His first (and last) day was October 31st. He didn’t even give notice, he just didn’t come back.

    BTW, Nice touch with the employee number.

    Reply
  • My story is kind of legendary though I lasted 4 weeks not just 1 day.

    I’d just come out of a long term role where my company had been acquired and wound down, with excellent references. I started a new job with a multi million dollar company meeting the person I was replacing as they were walking out the door. Handover? Sorry the company wasted months twiddling their thumbs and got me in too late for that. Documentation? None.

    My manager on the other hand told me they weren’t very interested as they had been promoted months ago and were just waiting for someone to come replace them. I was to sit at my desk and my two coworkers would train me.

    You can see where this is going because over the next few weeks I went through the cycle of asking for anything to do, asking to tag along and be shown anything, and telling my manager nobody seemed to be interested in showing me anything.

    On roughly Day 28 I was sitting in a meeting and was told my first task, making some change on some customers system. “No problem, I just need someone to show me where the customer list is, how to get into their system, and how to make the change.”

    The room went quiet. I continued… “Because I haven’t been shown any of that yet and I can’t work it out myself. I’m sure once I get started…”

    I was cut off by one of my coworkers. “We showed you. We showed you everything.” The manager then turns to me, “You’ve been shown. Stop lying and just do it.”

    I was gob smacked. I tell you over 20 working days I had nothing, not for want of trying, and not for want of telling my manager over and over. The turnaround cut me to the bone and the second they called me a liar… in a meeting… in front of others with no evidence!

    I walked out. Typed a quick resignation. And threw it on their desk along with my keys. My phone started ringing off the hook from the recruitment agency threatening me for walking out so unprofessionally (no doubt angry they’d lose their commission). They didn’t care I had been set up by sick coworkers and then attacked by the manager who was meant to look after me.

    It actually cost me so much money (when you walk out employment law is often that you OWE the company for example two weeks to hire someone to replace you) I would have been better off not working there at all.

    A week later I went to another interview and started a happy 3 year employment at double the pay elsewhere where I was treated like a human being.

    Funny story about the other place though. They had a crazy IT admin who would lock ALL internet access except 12-1. So during that one hour where everyone could check their Facebook literally the entire company from managers to support to receptionists would break. It was a fairly big but compact building and you could literally hear phones all over ringing off the hook as everyone refused to be interrupted from the only lunch/internet time. Heaven help you if you needed to Google anything work related. When I mentioned the way this incentivised bad behaviour, and after I left, the IT admin started sending me threatening private emails in leet speak. He was about 60…

    Reply
    • I started one job where by lunch-time on the first day I told my girlfriend that I thought I’d made a terrible mistake. There’d been some serious dishonesty about the work environment, and my supposed ‘coworker’ (who actually worked at the company in a very limited, contractual basis). My network/system access was so limited that it was extremely difficult to get any work accomplished – limited by this ‘coworker’. He also wouldn’t return phone calls for days, and there was no on else on staff who could provide any assistance. It was a nightmare.

      I ended up lasting 4 days at the job before I told the ‘principle’ that the position was not a good fit for me. I tried toughing it out, but my stress level was high, and I was losing sleep to anxiety. The last 2 days involved me pretty much just going through the motions, and trying to figure out how I was going to get out of the situation and what I would do next.

      Reply
    • Where is this that you can actually end up owing your employer for not giving enough notice? In the US? Was there a contract?

      Reply
      • Australia. It can happen in England too AFAIK. The reason being they must give you notice or pay you out for it, and so it’s fair to work the other way.

        After rereading my post it sounds a little brash. “You left a job for being called a liar?” The beratement in the meeting went a bit longer with that with me defending myself. I had really tried to shadow but the coworkers kept refusing, and my manager had told them and they still didn’t, and now they were having forgetful memories of weekly meetings in her office and an official email that I hadn’t been shown anything. Yet somehow I was a liar!

        Given the staff would not cooperate with me or their boss, their boss decided to ignore my meetings face to face and email, and then sat in a meeting calling me a liar and giving me work I couldn’t even begin to do alone – there was no hope and it was time to go. Whatever they had going on there was not recoverable. I also take my work and ethics and integrity extremely seriously – my entire image is built on it and as DBAs we know how critical that is when we hold the keys to entire corporations – and I wouldn’t tolerate being accused of anything less.

        Reply
    • Erik Darling
      May 31, 2016 11:37 am

      Maybe he had you confused with his pharmacist.

      Reply
  • I actually managed a month (I really needed the money) but my first day on the job (a contract) I was handed a 2″ thick folder filled with bits of paper ranging from neatly typed out, to scrawled on a napkin (not kidding). When I asked what it was I was told it was the “Additions to the program” line on page three of the job spec.

    To be fair the job actually got a lot worse from there.

    Reply
  • Twice in my career I’ve been in the situation where the person that hired me (my would-be boss) has left or given his notice on the same day I accepted their job offer.

    I’m beginning to think it may be me….

    Reply
  • When I started my first day of work, like 2 weeks ago, I received a workstation with a keyboard greasy and full of dust.(In that moment I wanted to rise up and leave – but I didn’t). I removed a lot of hair ,not my hair .I took some wet wipes and I cleaned up my keyboard, my desk.

    But first of all , they are working directly on production, no dev , no QA environment.
    Also , no documentation about tasks , only words.

    They said, during the interview, that my main mission is to work on reorganizing the db .. but when I arrived, I received some SSRS tasks, then I took some tasks from a colleague that is leaving the company ( I wonder way is leaving)

    No communication/poor communication: they didn’t present my superior
    They used skype to chat, no lync

    Tiny office, tiny windows , little natural light …

    There are things that, during interview, you don’t know , you don’t think about them. But when you discover them , you are shocked.
    So, after a week, I left.

    Reply
    • Cody Konior
      May 31, 2016 7:28 pm

      About a decade ago I twigged on that every place I walk into will have a $1 Dell special that’s probably flammable with the build up of people grease. Once I got a Japanese keyboard. With a broken clip so it couldn’t sit properly. And no handrest.

      I switched to buying my own keyboard and mouse (at first a Mac one which I liked for the flat profile because I was used to it from my MacBook Pro, but now a wireless Microsoft ergonomic set). Best purchases I ever make – there’s nothing nicer than a new keyboard and your own at that.

      It’s funny if you gave a tradesperson a $1 hammer in their first day and said, “This is the main tool you’re going to use for the next 2 years!” they’d be hitting you with it. But if it’s a grotty keyboard and mouse it’s AOK right?

      Chairs can be another deal breaker. In one job I brought my own otherwise I was sitting on a steel bar with a kitchen sponge on top. It’s okay for short term but for 1-2 years 8 hours or more per day? It must have some kind of cushion and support.

      Reply
  • My worst one was discovering on day one I had to bring my own toilet paper. I kid you not. I didn’t stay there long.

    Reply
  • I took a really bad job with a small company as a DBA. First day, one of the developers said to me setup your own PC and another PC for the conference room. I stayed for six months until I could get another job.

    Reply
  • David Shelton
    May 31, 2016 12:19 pm

    Day one of one of my earliest DBA jobs I walk into the office and the receptionist hands me an office chair in a cardboard box and a screwdriver.
    Assignment 1: assemble your office chair.

    15 minutes later I have my office chair put together and I am showed to a closet/room filled from top to bottom with various junk (old files, cabinets, computer equipment, etc). I am handed a hand-truck and shown to another already crowded office/closet full of junk.
    Assignment 2: clean out your ‘office’.

    I finally ask, “ok, but when do I get to look at the databases/servers/etc that I will be working on?”
    I am told, “Sorry, our entire development team is in the middle of a conference call discussing a failed roll-out from last night.” – this ended up being a 36 hour conference call. Red Flag!

    Reply
  • Thank you so much for bringing up this topic! I think this needs to be addressed more in the world of IT and Software. We all want to be positive and professional, but there are limits. Also, most of us need to pay the bills! Thanks again and hopefully we can all agree on some type of standard!

    Reply
  • My record is approximately four hours.

    Interviewed for a job with a Fortune 500 company. Was told that I would be programming in Java. Arrived at work the first day and discovered that my first assignment would be written in C (no, not C++ or C#). Not only that but I would need to replace functionality built over many years by a guy who I never met during the interview process. It quickly became clear that this guy had a very, uh, “prickly” personality and was completely in love with his very complex solution that nobody else liked. And he was my sole source for requirements.

    When it was time to go get some lunch on my first day, I looked down at my hands and realized that I was gripping the edge of the desk so tightly that all my fingernails were white. Went directly to my new supervisor and quit. No letter of resignation. Let’s just pretend this never happened. Drove to my previous job and waited outside the security area for my old boss to walk out at the end of the workday. After minimal groveling I got my old job back. Took the rest of the week off to try to locate my last shred of self esteem. (Maybe it’s behind the refrigerator? Maybe it’s in the bottom of the next beer bottle?)

    Reply
  • Todd Kleinhans
    May 31, 2016 12:34 pm

    A twist on the topic. How about meeting the Lead DBA in their remote office for the first time? I started at a place and after a short while had a chance to fly out to their office in CA and meet/train with their Lead DBA.

    She had Windows XP running when everyone else was on Win7. ALL of her servers were mapped by SQL login and IP address only. I asked why aren’t you using Windows auth, etc and she said this was per Microsoft best practice- her standard answer when you questioned her about nearly anything.

    She was extremely set her ways and it was killing productivity and putting the business at risk. For instance, her backup jobs would enable xp_cmdshell, map a drive letter to a network drive, disable the t-log backups (!) and then run the backup. Database by database. No error handling and when the destination disk space became full, the t-log would explode and all of the subsequent backups would fail too. If the drive was already mapped, it would error out the other backup jobs. When I showed her how to do TO DISK = ‘\\server\share$’ w/o xp_cmdshell she was amazed. I felt as if I had entered into an insane asylum or folks had fallen victim to the Peter Principle- she was the only one left after many other DBA(s) had either quit or moved on.

    I could go on but just one last example. DBCC CHECKDB had never been run. When I asked about it, she said that only needs to be run after you encounter a corruption problem. I came unglued and began to argue with her. It started to escalate and I finally said “So you know more than Paul Randal?” She said, “Who is Paul Randal?”

    Truth is stranger than fiction. I can’t make this stuff up. Today no one I worked with is currently at that company anymore, including me.

    Reply
    • Erik Darling
      May 31, 2016 3:30 pm

      A lot of people who have been doing things for a long time have a lot of bad habits.

      Reply
      • Agreed .. this was probably a good opportunity to steer things in a better direction [ which always looks good on the new hire and future pay/career prospects] whilst enlightening and teaching the Lead DBA … Sometimes when you are brought into a company it is because they need you to improve things and take them to a better place.

        Reply
    • prefer-not-to-say
      June 2, 2016 5:19 pm

      Slightly off-topic but interesting not that you mentioned Paul Randal – I witnessed hiring a senior DBA who didn’t know who Paul Randal, Brent Ozar and Olla Hallengren were. I kid you not.

      Reply
  • Back in the 80s I was basically project managing some new products. Hired a guy as an illustrator for manuals. Had a quiet low key morning (I’m really pretty easy going, especially to new folks) and he went to lunch. Never came back. No phone, nothing. I have no idea what happened.

    Reply
  • GetOuttaDagenham
    May 31, 2016 2:22 pm

    I lasted one day. Where do I start?

    The team leader who smelled of rotten meat and rubbed my leg and said I’d need to impress him for what ‘he’ was paying.

    The girl who glared at me all day? The manager who showed me C# scripts in notepad for three hours and then said it was too late for me to get lunch.

    The flies from the local dump which infested the office? The icing on the cake was the previous employee had left several months worth of half eaten lunches rotting in my pedestal.

    I went home and emailed my resignation. The recruitment consultant forwarded it to the company head, apparently everything was acceptable apart from the dirty pedestal. They claimed I’d even asked to leave early, when in fact I stayed a half hour late. I should have walked after an hour but hey I’m a trier!

    I got a job at a nice shop a couple of weeks later, the next person who got ‘that job’ left after four days. He was tougher than me, perhaps he didn’t get his leg rubbed?

    Reply
    • Erik Darling
      May 31, 2016 3:34 pm

      Well, uh… at least they were from the local dump? Imagine if they traveled to get there.

      Reply
  • I sure hope the HR Department is using a bigint field for their employee ID numbers…

    Reply
  • I knew I was set up by the recruiter when I showed up for the interview at a converted house in the industrial park part of town that was sandwiched between a potato peeling factory to the west and a relish bottling plant to the east. It smelled like pickles or fries depending on which way the wind was blowing. It was the economic downturn of 2008 though, and I needed the money and I was fresh out of college. Needless to say, that experience isn’t on my resume anymore after I got my first “real” job after that.

    Reply
  • Kind of, but not quite, first day deal-breaker. I guess my record is a “New York Second”, but first some background.

    I was laid off twice in three months from the same company, which changed ownership three times, and each time I got an increase and a promotion.

    Worked for an education company that produced content on the web and video (VHS!) for schools. Company was sold, we got an interim CEO, and everyone in the new media department was let go. Luckily I was the content manager for the website, so for political reasons with one of the corporate donors, they kept me on to run the website. That was the first time.

    We got a new CEO, and no one could work with him. He wanted to put all their attention on the VHS side of the business, because the website wasn’t making money. Yeah …

    So that was the second time.

    I decided to take a well-needed vacation. I knew I wouldn’t have a job when I came back, so I figured I may as well have five weeks of me-time.

    When I got back, the company had a new name, new offices, new … CEO? I went to the HR office to sign the termination paperwork, only to find myself with a job offer in senior management and some more money.

    I left four months later on my own terms, but that was a truly crazy experience.

    Reply
  • I’d been at one place a few weeks and put my headphones on for the first time to listen to some music, and my boss, who sat opposite, told me that was forbidden.

    I didn’t go back in the next day – there are certain items that are non-negotiable. I put it straight on my interview questions list for all my future jobs. You learn by your mistakes.

    What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger – and your drinking BEFORE setting off for work on your first day is one of the soundest pieces of advice I’ve ever seen on a blog, Erik. Keep making me giggle!

    Reply
  • Monte D Kottman
    May 31, 2016 11:07 pm

    This wasn’t a first day deal breaker, but it really should have been. (20/20 hindsight). I was hired because the previous DBA restored a backup on to the production database server, and wiped out 2 weeks of student test results. This server was sitting on his desk underneath a leaky air conditioning unit and was sitting outside the firewall, so it got hacked and turned into a porn server (sigh).

    This whole place was like working in a throwback to the 1950’s. Between the alcoholic sales guys, the overly preachy owner who was known to grab somebody by the ear to drag him into the office, and the totally dysfunctional IT staff, it was a vast pleasure to turn in notice.

    Reply
  • I interviewed for a position and was asked if I knew a few different programming languages. I replied that I didn’t and they stated that it was ok that some of the developers used them but I didn’t need to know them for my job. I left a job of 5 years for a step up in title and a huge pay raise to go to this company. I got there and it wasn’t the title that I was hired for or the agreed upon salary. The other DBA was miserable and complained constantly. The other employees were very open on how unhappy they were. My boss wanted me to work all hours and berated me for not knowing all of the languages that I told them in the interview that I did not know. They assigned me to build their website in .net, create programs in C#, and I wasn’t doing almost any DBA work. They wanted everything done immediately and assigned between 3-20 hours for all assignment to be completed. I finally left when they berated me in a meeting and then immediately took me into a room for a “pop quiz” that was dependent on my keeping my job.

    Reply
  • Andre du Plessis
    June 1, 2016 3:56 am

    As a contractor I was employed to only work for two weeks at a site. The first day I was pulled in by the manager to attend a disciplinary meeting with the existing developer. The developer seemed pretty oblivious to the manager’s rant. I then found out that they actually needed someone to cover for the developer while he want on vacation.

    After two weeks the contract didn’t end. I then found out they planned to replace the developer with me. However after viewing his code which was a combination of Unix scripts, C, Perl and Delphi spaghetti code with no documentation, I pretty much I knew I wanted to get out of there. Last straw was pulling thousands of lines via Unix from the Oracle database and having to split it in smaller files so the financial accountant could double check the figures in Excel. I had to babysit her in the evenings. Didn’t help explaining that the data is the same as what she saw on her system. She even failed to find figures by searching on the wrong columns.

    So finally I just went up to the onsite project manager and told him in no uncertain terms that I am leaving in two weeks. At that stage I have already been there two months. My contracting company wasn’t very happy, but I told them I never agreed to this. Fortunately they could put me on another project.

    Reply
  • Carolyn Richardson
    June 1, 2016 7:38 am

    Day one working for a security company as a contractor DBA. I ask what do you expect from me they say support all our databases, OK I said have you got a list of all these databases. No they say, OK I ask well is there any documentation I can look at to get me a clue, no they say….. But they did agree for me to put a sniffer on the network to grab a list of all the databases to get me started, once I installed SQL Server I was up and running. I was replacing someone who was off with stress. Least stressful job ever…. By the time I left 2 years later I was replaced by 2 members of staff and a supervisor, though I left them with an abundance of documentation.

    Reply
  • Ken Hemmerling
    June 1, 2016 9:36 am

    The DBA I replaced – the ONLY DBA in the company of 250 people – was fired two weeks before I started. It turns out the company is really pretty good and I’ve been here several years now. Still, I was on edge for the first month wondering what I’d gotten myself into.

    Reply
  • My first day at a large trucking company I was taken around by the Lead PM and with a new PM to be introduced to the company leadership. We went into one executive’s office who’d had his customer service team sit idle for about 5 minutes that morning because a network issue.

    He decided that I was the cause of his issue (I was in HR to this point doing paperwork). He started on an obscenity laced tirade that lasted about 20 minutes…. at a volume loud slightly lower than an AC-DC concert. This was about 50 feet from the CIO’s office who immediately shut his door.

    The CIO pulled me into his office later and told me I needed to get along with everyone, especially the executives, implying I wasn’t cut out for IT if I couldn’t. He didn’t ask what I’d said, which to the point where the tirade started of ‘Hello’.

    If I hadn’t just move 100 miles to take that job it would’ve been my last day.

    Reply
  • I don’t have a First-Day horror story. But I do have a “New Boss” horror story. Management decided my boss was spread too thin, so they injected a new supervisor between me and him. The new supervisor, I’ll call him R, was one of those wonderful human beings who’s never found anything he didn’t know more about than anyone in the room. I ran weekly meetings for one of the systems I manage. Within five minutes of his first session attending one of these regular meetings, he interrupted me and started laying down how the meeting should be run. (He wasn’t trained on the system. He hadn’t talked with me about changes to the structure. He didn’t know anything about any of it.)

    Later, we were having problems with this system failing when sending emails. The SMTP errors were a problem. But rather than letting my team work the problem, he jumped in and declared that it had to be an issue with the file attachments. Then proceeded to waste several hours trying to make us prove his theory. Then he demanded that our code was the problem. We didn’t write the SMTP handler; it was a built in function. Then… we wasted so many hours with his unskilled assumptions. When we’d try to explain why his “theories” were wrong, he’d ignore us. Turns out we’d stumbled across a known bug in the system that had a rare trigger condition, so we didn’t know it. But he made us waste at least 15-20 hours that week, or more, before we found that out.

    He was like that about everything. He refused to eat restaurant food, because he could make it so much better. Including making his own hot sauces, etc. He bragged constantly about how awesome everything he did was, and how superior to anything anywhere else.

    It was infuriating. Micromanagement sucks. Then they’d fuss because I wasn’t “owning the system” like I should.

    So let me ask you, if you’re interviewing for a new job, what questions can you ask to expose the pitfalls and terrors? Beyond touring the office and counting the Dilbert cartoons, is there a reliable interview question set? One that can expose the bad things without ruining your chances at a (hopefully) good job?

    Reply
  • Don't get me
    June 1, 2016 3:46 pm

    I’ve got a winner here; a job I should have left by lunch on day one. Short story is I was hired in October (just prior to the holidays) by an online retailer to complete warehouse software upgrades. They left out during the interview process that folks had bailed on the project repeatedly for the past 4-6 years. They only let me know about the project and that I wouldn’t be sleeping through all of black Friday and the winter holidays until after I was hired. (There was no DEV/TEST and we pretty much reprogrammed the whole system to fix all the deadlocks live). The icing on the cake is that I was literally working with a schizophrenic who was hospitalized the last time they tried this…This time around he literally murdered somebody by the end of the project, and that’s when I left.

    This story is 100% true.

    Reply
  • I got a job as an Air Force contract employee. I sat there for over a month not even being able to log on to the PC because I didn’t have my security clearance yet. I asked my co-workers and they didn’t know what to do. Finally, I went to the security office and got my own damn clearance – I had been in the Navy for 4 years and knew where to go. No wonder the government wastes so much money.

    Reply
  • Many years ago before fire was discovered and I got in to IT I took a job answering phones at a business that issued credit cards. My first day I discovered that it wasn’t incoming calls. It was cold calls and it was for some junk credit card that had a ridiculous “processing” fee. After watching the lady who was training me attempt to steal from people over the phone for a few hours I went to lunch and never came back.

    Reply
  • I was interviewed for a SQL application DBA job. I was interviewed by three people. DBA manager and two senior DBAs. Interview went very well. They offered me job and I took it. All of them were very nice to me and they seemed very professional. But starting from 1st day of my job, they started being resists. They passed some very nasty comments which I cannot even describe here. It was very embarrassing. I thought that it will be fine and they will start treating me equally but it didn’t stop there. I had a very bad experience on 2nd day of my job. At that point, I went to manager and gave resignation letter. I also told him that my well wishes are with this team and hopefully they will learn how to treat people equally.

    Fortunately I didn’t have to deal with people with this kind of mindset ever after that. But that was one of the worst experience which I want to completely forget about.

    Reply
  • Brian J Parker
    June 6, 2016 3:27 pm

    I was hired to replace a dead person.

    Seriously, I mean, it was sad; apparently he was a well-liked, competent fellow who had died in a tragic accident. The job was fine.

    Reply
  • I went on an interview where I was asked to take a programming test (on paper. ya know… just like you write code). I was told that the test had a 30min time cap and that they would be back to collect it and complete the interview then. I finished the test and after 40 min got up and tried to locate my interviewers. The interview was toward the end of the day and as I made my way around the office I realized the place had closed for the day. I found my coat and then realized the doors were locked. They had not only forgotten about me… they locked me in! I had to call the main security desk and have them open the doors to let me out.

    Reply
  • John Tokarchuk
    June 6, 2016 6:58 pm

    After two months of unemployment I got a job as a contractor for four days with a well known mobile phone company that was merging with another well known phone company. The task was to be dividing the customer base into two identical databases for each “side” of the merger – nobody knew how it was to be done nor who else was on the team. I was assigned to a desk with a PC but no network login. The only accomplishment for four days was filling out paperwork for a security badge, so I could enter the building without the assistance of a co-worker. On the fourth day the badge came, the merger was called off, and I was back on unemployment.

    Reply
  • Jim Giercyk
    June 8, 2016 10:03 am

    I worked briefly at a place where headphones of any kind were illegal because the non-IT top management thought it looked unprofessional. This was not something that came up in the interview process, and I missed it when I took the tour. There are many times when I need my “cone of silence”. That didn’t last.

    Reply
    • Brian J Parker
      June 8, 2016 11:09 am

      The headphones thing kind of makes me wonder about a related topic: has anybody ever just bucked rules and basically played HR chicken?

      I worked at a place that had a lot of climate control problems, so people brought in space heaters in the winter. (I was literally working in a coat, scarf, hat, and fingerless gloves for a while.) We were told space heaters weren’t allowed (per some central corporate department). I basically said, well, if somebody wants fire me for this, they can come stand in this freezing cold room full of people shivering in their cubicles, look me in the eye, and tell me they are firing me for a space heater.

      We are very lucky to have skills that allow us the luxury of taking these kinds of stands. I wouldn’t do it willy-nilly.

      Reply
      • Yes I have bucked rules and played HR chicken once when it mattered.

        Management sent out an email about a “Survivor” team building day which was mandatory with no excuses or exceptions. It didn’t have much information except that it was outdoors, required sneakers, and googling “Survivor” doesn’t leave much to the imagination. They had scheduled it with sessions over multiple weeks so that anyone attempting to take leave or otherwise avoid it would still be forced to attend.

        As for me, I don’t enjoy sport, being picked last for sport, being called a loser for failing at sport, or generally being touched by strangers. I was basically being told to give all of that up and endure humiliation, assault, and battery, because a manager says so and that’s what you have to do if you want to keep your database job.

        I lost a few weeks of sleep over this and felt there was simply no way out and I was ready to lose my job rather than submit to it. Late one night, with no sleep again, I directly replied back to the organisers asking exactly what the punishments were for not attending. They asked why. I told them why. They said it’s not mandatory and nobody will be fired for not going, and so I didn’t go.

        Allegedly management didn’t view this very kindly and it put a black mark against my name for “not being a team player”. So sorry I want to retain my human right to body integrity? Oh well.

        Reply
      • Jim Giercyk
        June 8, 2016 3:29 pm

        The same company that wouldn’t let us have headphones herded everyone in to a meeting room and gave a presentation on the United Way. We were “urged” to give. We were told that there were going to be 2 lists of people, and you don’t want to be on one of them. *wink* *nudge* A suggested donation was 1% of my income. I was okay with being on the “wrong” list…..I’m a generous guy, but I want it to be my decision who gets my donation. That was just more motivation to get out.

        Reply
      • Angie Rudduck
        June 8, 2016 3:59 pm

        The cold is a major issue for me! I get that not everyone agrees on the perfect temperature, but less people agree that 60 degrees is comfortable without a parka when you sit for an extended period of time! If I got up to move around and warm up as much as I would need to, I’d never accomplish anything. Now I just keep the heat going and enjoy my sweatpants and throw blankets without those odd looks from coworkers, hehe.

        Reply
  • You know it’s going to be a good day when you come across a 90s Doom reference while reading an article.

    Reply
  • Enrique Argüelles Añorve
    June 22, 2016 10:31 pm

    Not as bad as all the ones above

    Here in my country I got sick by H1N1 4 days after accepting a job offer, this means I couldn’t leave the hospital for a while, I didn’t want to just enter a job and miss over a month and leave the company.

    Reply
  • Right out of high school I left a job after 5 minutes. I walked in met with the secretary that I was to help. We walked over to a giant table piled high to the ceiling with papers that were supposed to be alphabetized. I left. I knew a dead-end job when I saw one.

    Right out of college I was hired on the spot after the interview and left after 5 minutes. The handed me a giant stack of C++ code on paper and expected me to debug it. I asked if they had an electronic copy of the source code and a workstation, they said no. I left.

    Reply

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