Your Nightmare Stories Of Working For Tech Giants

Your Nightmare Stories Of Working For Tech Giants

We have already plumbed the depths of horror stories from IT professionals. This time around, we delve into the lives of lowly employees who work for giant tech companies. Big corporations are notorious for their resistance to change, hostile work environments, counter-productive work rules and daily conga lines of aimless meetings. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are your worst tales of illogical decision-making and human degradation.

This article was originally published in October 2015 but has been republished given they’re all still nightmares.

bradyso: My boss placed the four of us who were under him in such a position so that when he was sitting in his enclosed office he could see our desks and computer screens. He would also play Someone Like You by Adele on repeat for weeks on end and would refuse to close his office door (because then he wouldn’t be able to spy on us). I still cannot hear Adele’s voice without getting so mad I want to vomit.   Lastly, he is German and I speak the language but he never bothered to discover that about me and would have rather graphic sexual conversations with women on his phone — not only in his office but while walking around the main floor area because he assumed nobody would be able to understand. Oh I just remembered…he was really tall and on more than one occasion would make reference to his (I’ll have to take his word for it) “big dick”. I burned any and all bridges during my exit interview…

Handy-Andy: Lotus Notes. Those two words detail a twisted, depressing nightmare. [Author’s note: Included this one because I, myself, am still scarred for life after being forced to use Lotus Notes for three years.]

phutnick: I worked at Dell doing server support. I received glowing customer service and technical evaluations until they made “failure to collect caller email address” a customer service evaluation automatic failure. So we’ve already descended into madness by making spam the cornerstone of ‘customer service’.   But that was cool. I felt ready to transfer to an engineering department. Tech support would not approve me for transfer to non-customer facing department because of my problematic customer service scores since the change. I got a better job at a small data center company. Fuck ‘em.

pengonian: I had a salaried job where I was on call 24/7 for months at a time, and my department blew through managers like cling wrap. At one point my current manager told me that I had to start sending him emails when I ‘clocked in and out’ because my previous manager didn’t believe I was getting my 40 hours a week in (though I usually arrived before him and left after him, so the hypocrisy was thick).   I was, as I said, on call 24/7 – as in expected to get online at a drop of the hat, even in the middle of the night. So after three weeks of 40 odd messages per week, coming at all hours, that just read “clocking in boss”… “clocking out boss”… my current manager sent me a little email telling me I could knock it off.”

Engi Raine: I work for a huge US company as a software engineer. My job is to enhance and give maintenance to a specific software tool for automotive applications used on our technical centers all around the world, so a lot of people interact with the tool. As a result, we often receive complains about the tool having issues that most of the time turn out to be the user’s fault. We still have to verify that the issues aren’t our fault, usually by remote sessions with the users’ computers.   One of my worst experiences so far has been working with a new engineer in China. He was having an issue we’re very familiar with, which occurs when the user has not installed the required drivers. So I tell him that he needs to download and install all the drivers from the company’s site. He tells me that he’s done that, but the tool still won’t work and that the tool has to be fixed ASAP, because the customer is doing some field work by the end of the week. I tell him again that we’re familiar with the issue and all he has to do is install the required drivers, but he’s just not listening. This guy contacts my manager and my manager’s manager, and tells them that my tool just doesn’t work and I need to fix it immediately, otherwise we’ll lose the customer. Long story short, I ended up connecting to his computer at 3 a.m., and installing the drivers myself. What a bastard.   Also, I HATE the dress code of my company: business casual. This means that the guy wearing khakis, orange polo and black shoes with white socks gets to walk freely, but if I wear a nice t-shirt and a sport coat, HR has to talk to me. Damn, now I’m angry.

yg17: I’m a software developer for a certain large telephone company. I wanted to upgrade the RAM in my laptop from 4 GB to 8 GB because 4 gigs was barely sufficient for everything I need to do and run. My manager agreed. Another 4 gig stick was about 30 bucks. But, nothing can just be purchased. No, it has to go up the chain for approvals. So my boss sends the request to his boss, who sends it to his boss, and I don’t know how far up the chain it goes. Several days later, it comes back denied because budget. All I could do was wonder how much money was spent in man-hours to pay directors and AVPs to review the request and deny it, I bet it was a lot more than 30 dollars. Not to mention the increase in my productivity from having a computer that could handle my work.   Another memorable time is when my boss found out we went to the legal department for advice behind his back and chewed us out. I’m on a development team for an internal application that was built in house and is patented. They want to replace it with a 3rd party vendor product because it’s supposedly cheaper (I don’t buy that, but whatever) but this product doesn’t do everything our application does because it’s a piece of shit. So, he wanted us to demo our application to the vendor’s sales team to see what it would take to replicate features in their tool with scripting or extensions or whatever. None of us thought that was OK. Our application is patented intellectual property, we should NOT be showing it to developers of a competing product. Legal agreed with us and made the vendor sign an NDA before we showed anything. Not sure if the NDA is actually worth anything, but legal thanked us for coming to them to cover our asses and told us we did the right thing. Our boss wasn’t too pleased.   Next week is my last week there.

morgartjr1 My company shares a building with a health care provider at a particular site. Recently the health care provider had a meeting and invited most of their other employees/sites to the shared building, but assured us that they would be arriving via bus.   Either they don’t know what a bus is, or no one got the memo…because everyone drove to our shared site. Hundreds of cars filled our parking garage, and as our employees came in to work, they had nowhere to park. Managers began calling employees telling them to park across the street at a church.   The church, seeing their lot fill up, began calling tow trucks. Managers scrambled and called employees and told them not to come in…and they got no pay for not coming in.   In the meantime, the health care provider took over the cafeteria, and began doing employee cheers over a bullhorn, effectively ruining the days of our employees who shared the open floor plans above the cafeteria. Two whole floors. On top of that, they gave notice that they would buy everyone lunch to make up for packing the cafeteria with chanting middle managers. For over 600 people, they bought 50 pizzas, and sent a note saying that employees should limit themselves to ONE slice, and buy their own drinks.

Sprzout: We had a meeting where our manager had to say, “Ok, look…I can’t single out a specific person, because the union won’t let us, but someone filed a grievance with the union that, if you…how can I say this appropriately so that nobody takes offense? Well, if you feel that you must ‘make a noise like a whoopee cushion’, please do not do it in the elevator, or in the elevator entryway, or by someone’s desk. Please step outside to do so.”   Someone actually asked what would happen if they did, and they said, “If we find out who it is, we may have to take action.” “So, what are we supposed to do? Go into the bathroom and do it there, or step outside EVERY TIME?” “Well, yes.” “Can we put our customers on hold or code our phones so that we can step outside or into the restroom?” “No, you’re expected to do your job and meet standards.”   I kid you not, this was actually an issue in my office…Thank god I’m no longer there.”

EstebanSpielbergo: I could write a book about my experiences working for the largest company in the world.   Members of my team were yelled at several times for trying to do illegal things. One time in particular it was because we tried to buy a fridge for our lab.   The lab accreditation system for our facility was a bloated machine designed to create plenty of jobs where people just stare at their screens. I once had tried to make a purchase that included microchips that had ‘flash’ memory. Because it had the word ‘flash’ in the description, it got lumped into the same category as flash drives. I had to get ‘IT’ approval for the purchase. I used a previously approved purchase form as a template and changed the appropriate fields. It got rejected for some BS reason. I changed some things. Rejected. Changed some things AGAIN. Rejected a third time, but now it had feedback on how to fix it. The feedback actually reflected what I had put in the original form, so I resubmitted the original form that had been rejected. Boom! Approved.   We had to get approval for a number of different classes of products from numerous different parties. One purchase I made from Digikey that was under the $3k credit card buy limit required Spectrum approval, Wireless approval, Hazardous material approval, Laser approval, and IT approval. I’m confident the amount billed for approvals alone far exceeded the purchase price.   Back to the illegal activities, during the many weeks of training that I received, no one ever mentioned that all federal employees have an implicit NDA with anybody they do business for. Violating the implicit NDA is a criminal offense and can be prosecuted. An engineer I worked with happened to mention an NDA to the right person and we found out that any NDA we signed meant that not only could we be charged with a felony, but that we would be held personally liable for any damage from violating the NDA. You would think that would have come up during orientation…   I had designed a small hobby project with no federal government application, and had contacted a company that agreed to give me a share of the profits for the design. I decided to just play it safe and consult with the legal department before continuing down the road. I filled out the forms and submitted them. I still hadn’t received a response after 2 years by the time I left, and yes I checked in periodically.   Within the last decade, the mailboxes were limited to around 250Mbs, which filled up quickly. I had to deal with archiving and deleting emails multiple times each week. Oh. And we were stuck at IE6 until 2010.   I was once investigate by the FBI for doing my job. They found out I was a federal employee and handed the investigation off to the organization’s federal agents, who then interrogated my bosses and then still pulled me in and interrogated me. At the end the agent told me he already knew I wasn’t a terrorist but still had to go through the process.   What else? We had to have separate computers for Internet and Work. These weren’t even classified systems. It wasn’t that bad while we could use thumbdrives. However, somebody somewhere plugged in a USB drive that sent data to China, so all flash devices were banned. That meant we burned a lot of CDs. According to the rules, the CDs had to be finalized. I’m convinced the government keeps the CD industry alive.   I worked as a recruiter for a while and they changed the already broken hiring process to an even worse one. Once a candidate was selected they had to apply to a government jobs website. Once the online application was completed they would go into a sort of priority queue. At the same time the hiring manager would initiate a job opening. However, only the top applicants in the queue would make it to the hiring manager. Anybody with veteran status regardless of qualifications would be bumped to the top and would push out the original interviewed applicant. The hiring manager would have to go through and individually invalidate candidates to get the intended ones through. Unfortunately, there was a time limit on the length of time that the original posting would be active. Almost all the postings would expire before the intended applicants to make it into view by the hiring manager. This meant that they had to repost the opening and begin the process again, including having the applicant apply again.

Talgrath: I used to work in a call center as internal tech support as an employee of a now defunct tech contractors. They had a centralized management system that was, in fact, fairly slick. Your clock-in was your log in to the phone, and you were expected to log in promptly on time, the system would track when you were in “ready” for a call, “not ready”, on the phone or on break; this made it easy to see who was “out of alignment” (if I remember the phrase correctly) meaning, in theory, taking too many/too long of a break, etc. The way the system was set up, you could select your preferred work schedules, people with the best scores, which included “alignment”, got their pick of their preferred work schedule. All of this sounds great, except for one thing: being out of alignment, for any reason, meant that your manager had to go in and manually edit your schedule after the day was done if it wasn’t your fault and being on a call into your lunch time and then taking the appropriate amount of lunch time was a double ding to your “alignment”. In theory, you’d email your manager, they’d fix your schedule afterwords since you were, in fact, doing your job and just happened to get roped into a long call; in practice those lazy bastards wouldn’t do a damn thing and you’d get dinged for doing your job.   With all of that explained, while working on the campus of one of our clients, our call center was in a “high security” building with only one exit and entrance. These exits and entrances were called “man traps”, because they had a very specific way of opening and closing. You had to badge in past one door, then wait for the first door to close, before you badge through the second door; the second door had pressure sensitive floors. Well, one day during lunch time, the pressure sensors on the floors failed, leaving one poor guy trapped for almost an hour coming back from lunch with everyone else trapped outside, alarm blaring. Everyone’s “alignment” was super fucked because of this, management assured everyone that they would correct schedules as appropriate, they did not. The sensors failed twice more that week until they were finally fixed for good, we all had to sit through a mandatory reminder meeting on the importance of alignment…because we couldn’t get in the damn building.

AFNick: I’m going to try and keep this as anonymous as possible. I currently work for a tech giant that manufactures PCs/laptops/servers, etc. I’m part of the services of the company that is contracted to support a government agency.   Problem right now we are having is that the work we are asked to do, along with the credentials needed, we are fairly underpaid. Because of that, lately we have been having a hard time hiring any new employees for positions. What this is causing, is no fear for employees for their job. Since we have no new employees to replace ones that leave or separate, it is next to impossible to be fired for being late/missing days/not doing work.   I have a co-worker that works with me overnights. For the past few months now, he has been repeatedly late, missing work, sleeping on the job, and not taking calls because of sleeping. Since their is only a handful of us at night, when one misses a call, it will redirect to another tech and that’s usually me. So Ive been doing double work, while other co-workers having been sleeping and getting paid for it. He has been talked to, several times but supervisors and managers. But nothing had come of it simply because their is no one to replace him.   Needless to say, he is getting fired in October. What I cant understand is why it has taken so long, and why still that far out? Any other company, sleeping on the job, would have been dismissed most likely on the spot.”

AtomicSnowman: In one of my positions I was a contractor for a .com (after the boom) that had been using the old magazine subscription revenue model for ages and needed to move on. They had been churning through skilled IT for years. Almost nothing in their onsite datacenter had documentation or support of any kind. Their main database hardware was pushing 15 years old, and rather than migrate to a newer version, they instead purchased backup chassis from across the country. They were paying support monthly in the 5 digit range to make sure they didn’t lose this thing. When I was hired they were in the process of migrating to MSSQL and they had hired every Oracle relic programmer they could find to get the data out. That’s just a sample of the shit they had going on in the datacenter.   There were a dozen developers and designers writing up their websites which were to serve as their new revenue stream, but those in charge were just too used to the old model and couldn’t understand how internet business works. Image was everything to these guys but they had no content. They released an online store they SWORE would compete directly with Amazon, and even allowed you to compare prices with other sites on their junk. This feature took months to develop and was removed almost immediately after it went live because nobody had bothered to notice that Amazon was always 20-40% cheaper and didn’t charge exorbitant fees for shipping.   There were numerous violations of PCI specifications, which were overlooked by a completely fabricated self-review ever so often. Literally every computer node in the building was on the same subnet (which was using public IPs they didn’t own), and PCI data was flying across the wire unencrypted. Five minutes of wireshark and any employee could walk away with enough credit card data to ruin 100’s of lives… of people who order crappy flashlights from magazines…   I spent months trying to clean up and get them ready for the real world. My “boss” (remember, I’m a contractor here) continually fought to keep me from doing anything useful. RFC1918? No, we don’t need that. 2008+ Active directory servers that support PCI encryption across the network? No, we don’t need that. Password change policies? Nope. Remove firewall rules that allow employees to TELNET into servers to work on databases? Nope, that would make their jobs to hard. Business class internet from their datacenter to their HQ? Nope, we’ll just run VPN over best-effort. Pay for support contracts on their ‘new’ MSSQL servers? Nope, they probably won’t break and cause us to lose the entirety of our revenue system…   I meticulously documented everything I did for that company using exchange server backups (oh, they didn’t want to pay for backups), gmail exports, etc. I wanted my ass covered. Eventually I was ordered to scrub all email backups from C level and accounting employees (there’s still a backup on site if they haven’t found it, and I doubt they have). I recorded most of my conversations with the “head” of IT and the CTO.   The reality of it, though, was I really enjoyed working there for all the frustrations and nightmares. I had to teach myself old and new tech constantly in order to keep the company from falling into the abyss. One day their VPN appliance stopped working and I found out they hand’t paid for the licensing for five years. The box reset and wouldn’t hand out VPN connections anymore. I built a VPN using open source tools and managed to distribute it to 120 employees in a few hours. I moved half of their junk from the onsite data center to a colocation with (almost) no loss in employee hours. Took an ancient datacenter that was running like crap (it was never well planned) and turned it into a fine-tuned, ancient machine. Dang, I’m awesome.

Keyan Reid: I worked in software for a predatory insurance company, does that count? So yeah, I was in mid-management with a boss who was ridiculous. He would get upset with his managers because we weren’t smiling every day and “acting like we work at Apple” (I don’t even know what he fully meant by that, but I know working to force high cost predatory insurance on people already in financial trouble probably doesn’t give one the same sense of pride that creating the iPhone or iPad does).   My last year there, my mother was fighting a losing battle with cancer. So I started taking some days away from a ridiculous routine: At that point, I would routinely get assignments with zero detail, zero baring to my profession/skill-set, and zero detail outside an impossible deadline that I would then work 24-36 hours straight to try to meet (this was on top of acing and exceeding in my actual job duties, which were a full time job already). Inevitably, the results of my efforts were always tossed in the trash, with no feedback or input other than “this isn’t what I wanted” (literally zero clarification as to what was wanted mind you).   Shortly after my mom passed, 7 or so other people in my family/friends of family circle passed away, including my dad quite unexpectedly. That year became an awful, awful blur.   Some time in the midst of that though, said boss used the time away and the failure to reach impossible goals as cause to lay me off. Again, this was all while my actual assigned job duties were completely successful – the ‘extracurriculars’ we’re a designed-to-fail exercise so there would be a semi-legitimate reason to point to when justifying my dismissal with HR.   Thus ended a 13 year stint with a company where I started in the mailroom and worked my way up to being an expert in my field and managing a very skilled and successful team. It was also the most liberating moment of my life, making it extraordinarily bittersweet.

Garrett Davis: Realities of being a major corporation being bought by Microsoft, the beginning:   ‘This is nothing but good news, guys! We have no plans to make cuts at this time!’   ‘Now we have an 80 billion dollar budget behind us!’   ‘Free Xbox One for every employee (who pays the sales tax)!’   “Of course we’re going to keep you guys around, we didn’t just acquire a company, we acquired you! We need your expertise! You’re the experts, not us!”   Then things get a little rocky (within just a few months):   ‘OK, sure, we’re laying off a 5 digit number of people(!), but there was a lot of overlap in our employee base, the rest of you are golden!’   ‘We have many new technologies rolling out in the next year that will take the market by storm!’   Just a few months after that, a wild new CEO appears:   ‘I fully back my predecessor’s decision to acquire your company, and we will make many leaps forward this year!’   ‘An email regarding your employment status will be sent out within the next ten minutes. If you do not receive an email, you will be staying with the company. Refer to your immediate manager for any questions or concerns.’   5 minutes later:   ‘We regret to inform you that your employment is being terminated. Details about your severance (if applicable) will be distributed to you shortly. Refer to your immediate manager for questions or concerns (who in all likelihood also lost their job).’   This is where I lost my job, along with most at my site. Less than a year later the site was closed (just last month), and a small percentage of those employees were given the option to move to Redmond to apply for a job there.   One bit of luck I and my colleagues had here is that the severance package and benefits were still under the same contract from my former company, so we got a pretty generous payout, which helped a lot. The OG Microsoft employees that lost their job (far less, but still quite a few) only received the minimum required by their respective state or federal laws. So that was one small silver lining in that rain cloud for me. Also, Microsoft isn’t a bad name to have on a resume.   They have acquired many, many companies over the years, and I know others will have happier endings than mine, but for me, these were the joys of working for Microsoft.

JediCounsil: While working in professor and student technical support for one of the largest for profit Universities, I started wearing kilts all the time in my off time from work. There was a slow build up for me from wearing them to the highland games, to wearing them to SCA events, to wearing them on weekends. I’d decided since we were a non customer facing position (phones only so they never got to see us), and kilts met all the rules for women’s skirts that I should try and get kilts approved for business casual wear.   I spoke with my manager and I spoke with HR a few times and they said that if I wanted to request a change to the dress code (which did not forbid but did not specifically allow kilts) then I needed to file a full business needs proposal. I wrote a 5 page proposal, and even got it endorsed by a few managers and coworkers (some of whom would have also liked the option to wear kilts to work). I took all of this into HR and sat down with one of the managers and their legal consultant, gave them all of the reasoning. Which included but wasn’t limited to our non customer facing nature, the kilt meeting all requirements for a woman’s skirt, the cultural significance and desire of several staff members for this option.   I was turned down, and the denial was fairly polite and included an offer to rework the proposal and try again. Myself and several staff members rewrote the proposal twice to additional denials. On the last attempt the manager took me aside and said I could keep trying but that I would keep getting denied. The reasoning he gave was that while legal counsel had informed him that if I wanted to cross-dress and wear a skirt there was nothing they could do; if I wanted to wear a men’s skirt (ie. kilt) that they were under no legal obligation to allow it so I could ‘piss up a rope’ for all the good my proposals would do.

morgartj1: At MyCompany, we have strict divisions between business lines. Some of this is regulatory, but some is done to make a department appear to save money, which is total BS. They push off certain tasks to vendors because that’s a different line in the books so they can say “We saved $300,000 last year!” even though their vendor expenses were $750,000. This of course is problematic.   We had hired a vendor to fix some I/O issues on our SQL servers and they were working away on it. One day, we come in to find a whole business line unable to do their jobs. After calling around to lots of middle managers, we find that the vendor had moved specific databases from one server to another, and didn’t inform any business units. When asked, they stated that they were supposed to include it in a report each week. A report that went to one person…the vendor’s mgmt. When asked, he said he didn’t know who used each DB, and don’t know he had to notify anyone when they were moved.   This then led to lots of fingerpointing as to who hired this inept vendor, who made the decision to have them move the DB, and why no one was notified.   Oh, and I should mention, these meetings were going in WHILE users were completely out of commissions, unable to do their jobs, because no one was sure who should notify the users that their DB had changed servers.

ScottyD84: Worked as a ‘Setup Analyst’ for a large global company, where your work consisted of testing software used by call agents for the company. I was a MIS major (should just call it database major) and there were definitely some db related responsibilities, however 90% of the work was tedious and mind numbing. I sat on one floor out of many, filled with hundreds if not thousands, of cubicles. Coming from a small company’s IT department, where there were only a few of us, and the work changed from day to day, this was a dreadful change of pace and environment. I remember going through depression and anxiety during those times…. you just felt meaningless and buried in repetitive tasks, and would be asked to work late/weekends often. I’m sure it wasn’t as bad as many other people around the world have it, though. The pay was decent for entry level, plus, they had a good cafeteria. Work was awful, and didn’t do much to develop tech skills.

JocelynkaZimova: It’s too traumatizing and not very interesting to recap the 15 hour days that drove me to a mental breakdown after working for at GiantTech company, but I remember one funny incident…   When I first started, I asked what was behind this secret door that was about 2 rows away from my seat. My colleague said, ‘Oh that leads to the executive offices. You need a certain badge to get in. The walls are made of special material, so that it’s bomb-proof… isn’t that cool!’   Isn’t that cool that I sit just steps away from a group of people who think they need to work in bomb-proof offices, where I am in the non-bomb-proof zone? Ummmmm…. Yeah, super cool.

TheRealBicycleBuck: My wife was a project manager for an A&E firm and that required a lot of on-site work. She was called in one day and accused of logging hours she didn’t work. They could tell because they had no record of her logging into the network with her laptop, despite it being required for her to access a floating license for the software and pick up e-mail. They also ignored the fact that many of those e-mails were logged after hours.   She had to connect her laptop to an outside line and dial into the server with the IT manager watching to prove that she was logging in and their security wasn’t keeping record of it. I guess he wasn’t as good at his job as he thought he was.

Wes: I worked as an IT contractor (Tiger Wood’s old sponsor) for a year after college. I was working in a cheap rental office with about 30 people, most under the age of 35.   The managers were these terrible jerks who would yell and scream like I had just enlisted and in boot camp. I even got yelled at by one jerk because I was one of the last people to do HR’s online training. My response was: “I have an email account? I never got a computer…”   Literally the “IT” work I was doing was setting up new Windows laptops for a corporations employees. I just came in and did the same work over and over…

Steve-Oh: I studied jazz and criminal justice in college. Never took a single college math or business course. Never finished college. A few years later I started as a data entry contractor for one of the largest telecom companies in the world. 7 years later, I was an employee, in management, on salary, with the job title Senior Financial Analyst. How did I do this? I swear, all I did, was one day, I spent about an hour Googling how to do pivot tables and Vlookups and I became the ‘Excel expert’ in my office.” Author’s note: Not exactly a horror story, but highlights the prevailing issue in big corporations where underqualified people are put in important roles.

evador: Here is an actual email from a “CONSULTANT” that was hired for a company I worked for back in 2004… I have bolded the best parts of the email for your skimming convenience.   From: CONSULTANT Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2004 6:02 PM To: Company Employee Subject: RE: Follow up on today’s session   Thank you for your email and time today.   Product development, marketing, promoting and sales are all areas we are focusing on. That said, at the end of the day, Our Company needs a Purple Cow which can be marketed to Sneezers. If you have not read the book Purple Cow, by Seth Godin, please read it. It is a fun, easy, 2 hour read about Marketing. I would also like for OPERATIONS to read this book, it will assist you in better understanding my mind set regarding Product Development and Marketing.   I wish I could simply recommend that Our Company invest in a marketing budget to achieve success. However, I believe that budget must be committed to Product Development to create Enhanced Services like we discussed today such as POS integration, Voice Portal access, Payroll, Enhance Sexy Services, Dual Play option, Forward thinking exercises, etc.. My focus is to identify profitable Sexy Enhanced Services that will complement the product offerings and birth a Purple Cow. This is the way forward. Through the Purple Cow comes the honey fields of sales joy.   Some of my questions are: How do we touch the e-purse? How do we build the bridge of trust with the customers? How do we partner with strategic players allowing instant credibility from their reference accounts? What Enhanced Services should be added to product offerings? What are the margins and returns based on the different business models? Who has the right cheese for our mouse trap? What are the identifiable trigger to buyers overall purchase conscious?   Regarding Stability. We will all be happy when there is stable positive cash flow. Based on what I have seen and investigated, Our Company’s Investors have been very generous and have fully supported management. Anyway, smooth seas make poor sailors….hopefully the necessary reorganization will bring more focus to the bottom line. If you feel like the ship is too leaky for your taste, maybe you should stay on the shore.   I look forward to having more discussions with you regarding your position and your future at Our Company. Have a great and productive day. CONSULTANT

Miskatonic: I was working for a big bank in San Francisco doing Windows NT server side support from 2000-2001. Two months after I started my new job my boss left for a new job of his own in New York. I was given a new boss from a bank we had just acquired. I had almost no transition time and was not really made familiar with any of the bank’s processes or procedures but I knew my way around a Windows NT computer enough to realize that the NT domain and nearly all of the individual systems were acting very weird.   I started doing some investigating and noticed that hundreds of the bank’s critical systems were still running Windows NT 4 Service Pack 2 with no anti virus software. (Service pack 6 had been our for years at this point and companies were migrating to Windows 2000.) Curiously nearly every computer at the bank was running Microsoft’s IIS server. The bank also had 100,000 active user accounts in the NT domain which was past the theoretical limit for a Windows NT domain.   In a meeting and in email to my boss I brought the security issues with Windows NT running such a low service pack along with the IIS server. I also told him that we were past the theoretical account limit for the domain. I suggested a migration path to service pack 6 and recommended removing services such as IIS if they were not needed. The domain account issue wasn’t really my problem but the guys that had been managing these systems did not really know about the issue.   My boss said that going to the latest service packs was out of the question. so my boss came up with a plan to run a scan on the computers for security holes and then have the IT team go through hundreds of servers by hand and change the registry entries. Each computer had dozens of different registry entries that needed to be made so I suggested that we run a script to make all of the changes. The script idea was flatly denied because he believed that scripts were a greater security risk.   I then gave my boss a mathematical model of how long it would take the team to edit the registry entries doing it his way and it was something like a year if everybody pitched in. I was told that it was a top priority and my group was forced to do the registry entries on each server by hand. We were even told that 12 hour days were the new normal and we had to work on the weekends. All vacation and time off had been canceled until the project was complete.   After about three months I told my boss about the enormous pressure that all of us were under and how what we were doing wasn’t really going to resolve the overall issues that the bank had. My boss told me that he understood because one of his first jobs was “doing typewriter repair.” “If the typewriters didn’t work then other people could not do their job so I understand the pressure your team is under.”   Around July 2001 the bank was hit by the Code Red worm. Each affected server had to be re-formatted and re-patched by hand. This of course took several months to complete. When everything was said and done my boss asked in a meeting with a lot of the senior bank VPs why the IT team did not head off this virus by installing the latest service packs to begin with. The little prick even denied getting the emails that we had been sending him about these issues.

Contents of the article originally appeared on Gizmodo Australia


  • I worked in the IT department of a company with 600 employees across two offices. There’s 10 IT guys in the team, headed by one manager who, like a lot of people who are leaders of IT teams, had more business knowledge than computer knowledge.

    This manager had the power to approve purchases and frequently used that power to his advantage. He approved the purchase of a $4,000 Alienware laptop for himself, citing the need to “crunch very large MSSQL datasets” when queried by finance. It was purchased outright, instead of leased like the rest of our equipment. When lease renewal time came around, he leased himself a work laptop and the Alienware machine quietly disappeared, apparently given to someone in marketing for rendering the 3D scenes used in our brochures, but nobody knew of such an arrangement. He’d also attend lunch meetings with vendors, returning with the receipts so he could claim that money back through the budget. A few people reported seeing him with his girlfriend in cozy little restaurants, so we believe the “vendor” was his missus and work was paying for their dates.

    Even though he had a girlfriend, he still liked to flirt. If someone came in to the office looking for IT support, he’d direct them to one of us, unless they were good looking, then he’d take an overly enthusiastic personal interest, going “the extra mile” to solve the issue. The change was so obvious, he’d go from an unenthused “have a chat to John over there. He’ll get you fixed up” wave of his hand, to a bright-eyed “Good morning! How may I help you on this LOVELY Monday morning?” kind of tone with hand gestures that was bordering on patronizing.

    The final straw for me was his delegating of tasks with no explanation or deadline. He’d ask you to take a look at a non-critical aspect of the network for him (“when you get a chance, can you log in and see what our internet usage is sitting at?”) and get mad at you ten minutes later because apparently he needed that data for a board meeting and you didn’t get it done during the time he was browsing Reddit and reading what was new on Lifehacker (Hi Tim! If you’re still at that job and are reading this, get back to work).

    So I quit.

  • doing dodgy tech support for telstra. started as inbound technically support and quickly became outbound sales for technical support .. go figure.

    backstory – your ISPs email servers are monitored for malware, of course, and most ISPs like money.

    one of the tasks was to call everyone in a malware list, which i suppose is a good idea, but starting with “hi from telstra, you have malware, pay us $99 to fix it” was quickly met with “yes, and bill gates wants to give me a million dollars for forwarding an email” or “why are you reading my emails?!”

    this was targeted, and not a single team member sold a single job. It stuck around for a while before it was realised to be an enormous waste of money/resources since literally not a single person believed us.

  • Steve-Oh: I studied jazz and criminal justice in college. Never took a single college math or business course. Never finished college. A few years later I started as a data entry contractor for one of the largest telecom companies in the world. 7 years later, I was an employee, in management, on salary, with the job title Senior Financial Analyst. How did I do this? I swear, all I did, was one day, I spent about an hour Googling how to do pivot tables and Vlookups and I became the ‘Excel expert’ in my office.” Author’s note: Not exactly a horror story, but highlights the prevailing issue in big corporations where underqualified people are put in important roles.

    That is not the first time I have heard of such a case. There are many IT companies that are hiring people without any technical knowledge and would give them the post because they flood their CVs with incomprehensible skills without testing them out.

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