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What to do??

By ObiWayneKenobi ·
*WARNING: Slight rant ahead*

I have a dilemma and want the advice of successful IT professionals... I'm current "Web and Network Analyst" for a small company, which is a fancy way of saying I do some network administration and (unfortunatly) a lot of web development.

The problem is that my boss (IT Manager) has this very strange belief about "our" profession. In our weekely Monday meeting he told us (myself and two others) basically that this isn't a "regular" job and if we have to work 24 hours thinking to meet a company deadline, so be it (not literally 24 hours). He's said on more than one occasion that we aren't ALLOWED to have lives, despite my co-worker having an 8-year old daughter to take care of.

Wait, it gets better. He also imposes ridiculous project deadlines, such as 2-3 WEEKS to develop software and web applications, and then gets disappointed when we can't do it in that time (nevermind the fact that he's a yes-man to any other manager, who gets to add whatever they want to the application whether its really helpful or no). He specifically said yesterday that he "spoils" the execs by doing just that in 2-3 DAYS, and they rationalize why not get someone like him who can do that instead of paying three relatively inexperienced IT people. Would not listen to my rationalization that good software/whatever takes TIME to develop.

But WAIT, theres MORE! He also has FORBIDDEN us to socialize with anyone else in the company. My co-worker has gotten yelled at for going to lunch with another employee and for hanging out AFTER HOURS with the OWNER OF THE COMPANY'S DAUGHTER. But he turns it around by saying that THEY (never says who exactly THEY are) think we're unprofessional and he's just "looking out for us". Nobody else in the company is allowed to go to our section of the building, and we have to document practically every time we leave the area so "[he] [doesn't] form thoughts in [his] head".

But it gets even better! Now this I won't go into, but lets just say that in regards to my co-worker there is a lot of... a word beginning with har and ending in -ment. But we can't say anything because he twists it around to make it look like WE say that we can't get work done because everyone else "takes advantage of [us]" by coming to us for help.

Is this REALLY what I can expect from IT? If it is, I guess in this guy's words, this career isn't for me and I should be working at McDonalds (he said exactly that. If you want a regular 8-5 job, go work at McDonalds.)

I apologize for this being pretty much a rant, but I came *this* close yesterday to walking out yesterday. I don't need to be threatened that if I don't "bring [my] skills to the next level" and crank out fully functioning software in 3 days that I may be fired.

Help me, Techrepublic. You're my only hope.

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Dealing with Morons

by BFilmFan In reply to What to do??

The next time he has a meeting with you, take a tape recorder. Advise him that your legal counsel desires his comments on your "not being allowed to have a life" to be properly recorded for submission into evidence at the trial.

Frankly, if you live in the United States, telling an employee they are not allowed to have a life outside of work could get you into a mass of trouble with the Justice and Labor. In fact, why don't you call them, locate a local office and have a nice chat with an enforcement officer.

My observataion is that he is attempting to control your lives at work to the point he has created a hostile work environment, not to mention his "no life outside of worka" comment borders very close to the legal definition of slavery.

Get a lawyer.

Get a new job.

Slap some wake the **** up management law suits on him and on upper management at the company.

Settle for at least 250K.

Buy me a drink in Las Vegas sometime.

You'll be well served.

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you don't get a life

by mjd420nova In reply to Dealing with Morons

Gads, sounds like you're over a barrel.
I used to think I did a good job of keeping
trouble at work AT WORK, and my problems at
home AT HOME, but it really came to a head
when my youngest started flunking in school.
When I asked my boss if we could adjust my hours so I could get home as soon after the child got
out of class. All I heard was "We need this and that and then we want to do this and that.
He wouldn't address my question so I asked again,
again a statement of what he wanted. I actually
threatened to quit before he actually listened to me. Then he had no help. I told him I needed
to see to my families needs first, that the
company was second from now on. He hit the roof
and actually accused me of slaking off. By that
time I'd heard enough and I did tender my
resignation. The child passed, and graduated, so mission accomplished. They might look like they are listening but their responses should
indicate what they really think, even if they don't say it in so many words.

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Business attitudes toward employees ...

by stress junkie In reply to you don't get a life

... haven't changed in a thousand years. Many businesses support a culture where managers are allowed to treat employees like property. Many managers have exactly the opposite attitudes and personality that they should have. Some are obsessed with control. Others thrive on exercising their "power" by denying people of basic courtesies and fair treatment. Some are just sociopaths that enjoy making other people miserable. Many have no discernable management skills. Few have any leadership skills. Then, in very small companies where you may report directly to the business founder you may find that you are expected to have the same enthusiasm and dedication to the business as the founder. Of course as the business grows the business owners gain net worth to show for their investment of time and effort. The employees only have a paycheck to show for the sacrifice of their personal lives.

I've heard that things are different in some countries like Germany. I don't know. I've just heard rumors and insinuations but nothing specific or particularly credible.

It's long past time that American culture evolved past the attitude that employees are slaves of their employers. We've incorrectly equated the "can do" spirit that makes America great with personal sacrifice of employees for their employer. The two things are not the same. We can maintain the same cultural strengths that allowed us to turn our industrial base around on a dime in order to fight World War II and add humanity, fairness, and justice to the workplace environment.

This isn't likely to happen any time soon. The people who would have to implement this are the ones that thrive on the current state of affairs. What we really need is a new civil rights movement akin to the one in the 1960s. We need to change the attitudes of young people and then wait for the a$$holes that are currently in power to die off. And we need to change the laws about unemployment insurance qualification. We need to find a way to qualify for unemployment insurance if you are unfairly terminated by a sociopathic manager. The current system assumes that the reasons stated by the business for an employee termination are always correct. That doesn't make any sense and is completely unfair. We should turn the situation around. Just as in our criminal system, we should assume that the employee is innocent until proven guilty. We should make the employer prove that the employee deserved to be fired. The unemployment office should hold a hearing where the parties are able to present their side of the case and have the situation decided by a fair arbitrator. This would be the equivalent of the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s. It would create the structure for reform with the backing of the state's authority to censure the decisions of the employer. When the state arbitrator decided in favor of the employee then the former employer would have to pay for the employee's unemployment benefits PLUS a penalty which would be given to the agrieved employee.

We won't see any improvement in employment injustices until our society rejects the current attitudes about employer/employee relationships and the qualifications for managers, and creates a legal structure to promote fairness in the workplace.


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the A$$holes don't die

by givemejava In reply to Business attitudes toward ...

Or perhaps the better way to put it is that they die but are replaced by new a$$holes.

I have worked in Europe and would trade my working conditions in the USA for conditions in the Netherlands in a heartbeat. You are treated with respect. You have balance with your family life. There are no great disparities - at least by US standards - between what the bosses make and what the workers make. You get to take a lunch break! You can be home for dinner with your family!

I think that we need to use the model of the early 1920's through the 1950's - the only way an indivdual worker gets a fair shake is to organize and join a union. We do not have the money or the power to do it alone, but together we can get back to the days when a worker could earn enough for a decent middle class life with time for family and some reasonable expectation of a decent retirement and pension. Have a look at

My $.02

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Working in Europe

by jtakiwi In reply to the A$$holes don't die

There is an economic price to pay for those 34 hour work weeks and 30 days of vacation, it is called .25 % annual growth in the economy, 45% tax rates and little incentive to work beyond what you need to live within your means. Now, this doesn't mean I wouldn't enjoy a 34 hour work week and 30 days vacation, beleive you me. But, I think what we need here in the US is an IT union, enforcing 40 hour work weeks, 2 weeks vacation initially, and overtime for hours worked beyond 40. Of course that would only work if there were no scabs, and as mercenary as the IT workforce has been over the past decade, there would be tons of people willing to work for less and put up w/ much more crap.

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That's why the legal course would work better

by stress junkie In reply to Working in Europe

If IT workers were NOT exempt from the Fair Labor Standards and Practices Act of 1938 then we would have the 40 hour work week and overtime without resorting to unions.

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Fair Labor Standards

by vltiii In reply to That's why the legal cour ...

Not all IT workers are exempt from the Fair Labor Act. My company just settled a multi-million dollar law suit with the employees because they mis-applied that Act. Potential employees need to do a better job of researching the position they are considering/being considered for before they accept employment.

The other thing that I've seen mentioned in the last few post, is unions. As much as I am opposed to unions, employees have the right to form one whether the employer likes it or not. The employer has no say in whether a union is formed or not and it is unlawful for the employer to use coercive tactics to try to prevent the employees from forming a union. If enough of the employees want to form a union... poof... it is so. On the same token if those same employees want to disband a union, it is their right to do so. All it takes is a vote.

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Work In Europe

by mombasadog In reply to Working in Europe

OK, 0.25% growth is still growth. In the UK we laugh heartily when we hear about two weeks holiday in the US, whats the point having growth and dollars when you haven't got the time to spend it or spend any time with your family. One thing about Americans is that they constantly jabber on about money and dollars and cars and so on but they are mostly miserable. Another point about tax I went to New York last month and stayed at the Sheraton Manhattan just up from time square. The face value of the room was $189 but with state tax, bedroom tax!*?!, and some other tax it came to $400 or so. In England you pay the price as advertised... who's being conned!

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Europe's way is better.

by conquistador In reply to Working in Europe

I've worked in several European countries over the span of my career and I have to admit they know a lot more about how to work effectively and efficiently than we do here in the US, even if they work less hours than we do. Has anybody noticed that Europe is beating our socks off in just about every industry now, while the workers in the US are so tired we can't even think?

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don't die

by vltiii In reply to the A$$holes don't die

The things you mention can be had right here in the U.S. Some seem to forget that there is a relationship between and employer and an employee. No one if forced to take the job that doesn't fit their lifestyle. We tend to view jobs based on the employee's perspective. What about the employer? I don't support a socialist style of living where everyone is essentially at the same level. All work is not equal and those that make decisions that affect the fiscal health of an organization should receive better compensation. If all were the same what would motivate anyone to do better than what they're compensated for? There was a time when unions had a useful purpose, but it seems that in these days they're more motivated about lining their own pockets then they are in ensuring equality and fair treatment of employees. Of course they've also managed to convince many of the people they represent that's not true, but take a strike for instance. The striking workers are out receiving a stipend from the union while union big wigs are still living in relative comfort.

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