5 Ways to Lose My Business As a Potential Customer

I do a lot of business online and as a result I interact a lot with various companies’ websites and email customer service.  Sometimes I’m surprised by what I encounter.  Here is a list of ways to lose my business as a customer or potential customer:

1. Have music and/or a video autoplay on your website.  This goes double if the volume is super loud and it scares the crap out of me when it starts playing.  How can losing my business go “double”?  You lose my business and I’ll also tell a friend your company sucks.  Double.

2. Have your website resize my browser.  SERIOUSLY.  My browsers are sized correctly for my own optimum surfing experience.  Make your website work for everyone or gtfo.  Resizing browsers is so 1998.

3. Send me a link to a database when I email you with a specific question.  Your job as a customer-facing employee is to answer potential customers’ questions.  I do not want to look the answer up myself in your 500 page database.  I want you to answer my question because that’s what you get paid to do, which brings me to my next point:

4. Answer my specific questions with vague nonsense.  You know who does that?  Scammers.  If I ask you a specific question, give me a specific answer, otherwise it screams “I’m BS’ing you!”

5. Send me a form letter response when I email you.  This goes double if the form letter response doesn’t answer my question because your algorithm incorrectly tried to guess my question based on the words I used.  See #1 for an explanation of how it goes double.

Stop Saying “Proactive”

If I had a dollar for every time my managers used the word “proactive” in an evaluation, well, I’d have a lot more money than I do now.

The problem with this word is that, while it has a definite meaning, its use is vague enough that if your manager feels like giving you a bad review, they can just say you “aren’t proactive enough.”  Even if you do more than what is assigned to you, even if you anticipate future problems and take the necessary steps to avoid them, you can still be told you “aren’t proactive enough.”  It’s a catchall word for people to use when they need a reason to yell at someone who hasn’t really done anything wrong. It’s great because there’s no defense against it.

Consider this scenario:

Manager: “Your performance is sufficient, but you need to be more proactive.”

You: “I appreciate the feedback.”

Over the next few weeks/months, you proactively demonstrate all sorts of new, innovative ideas.  You proactively write a script that catches a certain kind of error before it’s introduced to the system.  You discover that some additional work needs to be done to clean up some issues from a project that just went live, and not only do you proactively bring this up to your manager, but you also proactively present your analysis and volunteer to head up the team that is going to be working on it.  You’re a proactive machine.

Then your next review comes:

Manager: “Well, the main issue I have is that you haven’t been being proactive enough.”

You: “Are you serious?  Not only did I successfully completely everything that was assigned to me, but I also proactively wrote that error catching script, identified errors that were missed by the testing team, did the analysis to fix the issue, and headed up the team that was in charge of implementing the updates.  All proactively, all ahead of schedule, and all without being told.”

Manager:  “Yes, but you weren’t being proactive enough.  So I have to give you ‘below expectations’ on your review.”

You: “I am proactively managing my career by accepting an offer from another company who has offered me more.  Later.”

If Your Website Resizes My Browser, I Am Not Doing Business With Your Company

No exceptions.

What is this, 1995?

Same thing goes if you autoplay background music.  How does that garbage even get approved?

“Hey, you know what would be awesome?  If we annoyed our visitors with background music.  Oh, and let’s make the pause button really tiny and hide it so it takes them 30 seconds to find it.  That’s a great way to keep potential customers on our website!”



The One Question Everyone Wants To Ask At A Job Interview

Job interviews are awesome.  You study and practice answers to insightful questions such as:

“Tell me about a time when you were working on a team and someone asked you to do something unethical…”

Those questions suck.  That one in particular sucks.  If you have had the good fortune not to work for any sleazy dbags, you won’t have an answer, so do what everyone does: make something up.

The best part of the interview, however, is at the end.  This is the time when they ask you if you have any questions for them.

Be prepared: if you don’t have any questions you won’t get hired.  It doesn’t matter if they already addressed all your concerns, because not having any questions means you aren’t really interested in the job, so have some ready.  The thing is, they have to be appropriate questions.  They have to be G-rated.  You cannot ask the one question that you want to ask most:

“What is the most annoying part about this job?”

Of course, you can’t actually ask that, and if you did, no one would actually answer it.  No one wants to admit that there are things about their job they don’t like.

If you were lucky enough to get an answer, it would probably be phrased as “well, nothing is annoying (lie!), but some things are challenging…

But you know what?  It’s not always the “challenging” parts that are annoying.  I don’t mind a good challenge.  Challenges feel good when you complete them.  Annoying things don’t.  There’s no sense of satisfaction when you finally get through something annoying.  I mean, there’s relief, but not satisfaction.

I’ve often found that the most annoying parts of a job are relatively small things that don’t even take much time to complete, but they just cause so much mental dissonance that it is difficult to do them.  That’s why I usually begin to slack off and do something else.  I’ll jump right into a challenge, but I keep the annoying stuff at bay.

Just so we’re clear, if you ask that question in an interview, you probably won’t get the job.  You’ll be labeled as “pessimistic” and “not a team player” and “unmotivated” or whatever else they want to say.  But if you happen to be at a job interview that you don’t care about, ask the question and then write me and tell me what their response is.  I’ll post it up in a future article.

Hey Tech Support, When I Ask You a Specific Question, a Link to a 300 Page Database is Not an Answer

I asked a specific question because I want a specific answer.

If your garbage documentation was helpful in the first place then I wouldn’t have even needed to bother you with my question at all.  But since your documentation sucks, now you need to answer my question.

That doesn’t mean to give me pre-scripted responses, either.

It means listen to my question and then give me the answer.  Not 5 other things that aren’t the answer, and certainly not a link to a big ass database that may or may not have the answer in it somewhere.

Geez, this is like if I ask my doctor a question about a drug and he throws the Merck Manual at me.

This makes me want to rip out what remaining hair I have on my head.

Answer my damn question.

Answer it.

Even saying “I’m not sure, let me get back to you” is better than the BS I’ve been wading through for the last 45 minutes as you throw answers at me that might be good answers to other questions, but don’t address the specific question I’m asking you.

You suck.

What Is the Cloud?

I thought the normal barrage of corporate buzzwords was bad enough, but now everyone has to talk about “the cloud” all the time?  Really?

Exactly what is the cloud?  Every time you see a technology commercial, someone is talking about “the cloud.”  It must be pretty awesome, right?

Do you know what it is?

It’s the internet.


We’ve all been using the cloud for years.  In fact, you’re using the cloud right now.

So why are they calling it that?  Why the new name? Why not just say “the internet” or after you finish uploading something, say “it’s online?”

Because people like stupid names for things, I guess.  It makes them feel special.

Now, get off of my cloud.

Top 5 Articles to Read While You Wait For My Book

I know the book is supposed to be out by now, but you know how things go.  In the meantime, here are some classic Corporate Life Sucks articles for you to read while you’re working late without being paid overtime.  On a weekend.

The article I wrote that was the inspirational basis for this entire website:
Working in Systems Development Sucks

The article that exposes the truth about the corporate game.  It’s not what you know, nor is it how much work you do.  It’s how much your managers think you do:
How to Get a Good Performance Review

So many of you are disgusting:
It’s Too Bad a College Education Doesn’t Teach You How to Use the Bathroom

Keep your germs away from me:
If You Come to Work Sick, You Should Be Fired

Stop talking like idiots!
Guide To Corporate Buzzwords, Part I

These should keep you satiated until the next article/book release.

I Am Famous in Turkey!

It has been brought to my attention that someone in Turkey created a group on Facebook to celebrate Corporate Life Sucks!  Here is the link.  I am touched, and would like to express my gratitude, appreciation, and love to my fans all around the world.

It seems that corporate life sucks no matter where you live.  Keep fighting the good fight, everyone.

When I Ask For Clarification, Don’t FWD Me Another Copy of the Same Email

It boggles my mind that some of the people I deal with can even manage to tie their shoes in the morning.

Imagine you get a request from a client for some work they want done.  Ok, great, right?  Except their request has a few issues so you email them back and point out the issues and ask for clarification.  At this point, you are probably expecting an email from them clarifying the items in question, right?

So imagine when the response you get is just a FWD’ed copy of the first email they sent you.  This is like the business equivalent of when some idiot is dealing with a tourist who doesn’t speak English and they just repeat themselves louder when the tourist doesn’t understand them the first time.

Way to be classy, asshole.

Had I wanted to read a stupid, unhelpful email, I would’ve just read the first email you sent me all over again.  Why send me the same thing again?  Why?  What possible thought process lead you to do that?  Were you like “Hey, this guy asked specific, quantifiable questions, so rather than answer them so we can move forward with this project, I’m just going to send the same ambiguously vague bullshit again”??

I cannot wait until I have the power to refuse work for clients simply because they’re annoying to deal with.

Corporate Life Sucks: The Book – Coming Soon!

Soon you will be able to head over to amazon.com and buy yourself a copy of Corporate Life Sucks: The Book.  The book will feature a cover that pays tribute to the original Corporate Life Sucks color theme, every article posted so far on the website, and a few new, unpublished articles as well.

Have a look at a rendering of how the actual book may look:

In the meantime, keep working that unpaid overtime with a smile on your face, taking smoke breaks, and asking stupid questions in meetings while you wait!