The Only People Who Don’t Mind Staying Late to Work Unpaid Overtime Are Idiots Who Hate Their Families and Their Lives

Nothing pisses me off more than having to stay late and work unpaid overtime (especially when it’s the result of poor decisions by company leadership), but the one thing I’ve never figured out is why everyone in the world doesn’t share that same opinion.

When the frequent announcement was made that we “need to stay late” to finish some project (an announcement that usually came around 4:45pm when you were starting to think about getting ready to go home), you might think that there would be heard a collective groan mixed with varying levels of profanity, but you would be mistaken. Instead, one of the most amazing and disturbing social events I’ve ever witnessed transpired:

People would get excited.

Excited to stay late and work for an unknown period of time until the project was complete? (Not knowing when you are going to get to leave is the worst. It’s actually psychologically similar to some forms of interrogation and torture.)

Excited that they weren’t going to have to see their families tonight? (That sucks… unless you hate your family!)

Excited that they were going to get home late and not have time to do anything productive or fun before they go to bed and have to get up the next day and do it all again? (That’s… pathetic.)

Or excited because their lives were so empty and boring five minutes ago before they were given extra work tonight by a company that they think actually gives a shit about them and wouldn’t replace them in two seconds with cheaper programmers in India if it wasn’t already at its Indian quota?

Hawaiian Shirts Don’t Make Work Fun

Want an easy way to find out who all the idiots are at your company? Make the following announcement:

Next Monday is Hawaiian Shirt Day!!!

Anyone who gets excited is an idiot. Wearing a Hawaiian shirt doesn’t change anything about your job. It’s like if I told you I was going to punch you in the nose, and you got upset, but then I told you I was going to let you wear a Hawaiian shirt while I punched you in the nose. Would that change anything? Would it make getting punched in the nose fun?


It’s Too Bad a College Education Doesn’t Teach You How to Use the Bathroom

As much as nearly every aspect of corporate life annoys me, there is one thing that never ceases to completely dumbfound me: no one in the corporate world, not even those in the upper echelons of management, knows how to use a toilet without making a complete mess.

At first I thought this might be an isolated event; I thought perhaps it’s just this particular bathroom on this particular floor near my desk. I thought I must have just had bad luck in that the bathroom nearest my desk is the messy one.


I realized this was not the case the first time I ventured to the other end of the hall to use that bathroom. I walked in, and what did I see? Shit on the toilet, toilet paper on the floor, and perfectly clean water in the bowl! I don’t even know how it is possible to miss by that much. It’s like they got everything backward.

But it wasn’t just at that company (a large, international firm with stringent entrance requirements). Every company for which I have worked, and even every corporate office and campus I’ve visited, has had bathrooms that looked as if they were used by baby chimpanzees.

Even private bathrooms on the top floors that are reserved exclusively for company owners, presidents, and CEOs are exactly the same! You would think they would be cleaner, since in some cases there are only 2 or 3 people using that bathroom and by basic deduction it would be pretty easy to figure out who made the mess, but no.

The other component of basic bathroom etiquette is hand washing. Now, it’s pretty gross in general to not wash your hands when you’re done in the bathroom (despite the laundry list of reasons people give for not doing so), but this goes ten fold in a corporate environment. Not only do I not want you to touch me or any of my stuff if you haven’t washed your hands, but I really don’t want to get Hepatitis C from the guy who shit on top of the toilet, either.

But what frightens me the most is that I’ve heard the women’s bathrooms are even worse…

Working in Systems Development Sucks

A while ago someone asked me what it was like to work in Systems Development at a large firm. I shared with them my experience:

Long hours. Long. My first job out of college, and my introduction to the corporate world, was in systems development. We regularly worked 50-60 hour weeks and sometimes mandatory weekends, but systems development and programming are always salaried positions so you will never get overtime pay. Employers hire programmers as overtime-exempt because they know how much you will end up working and don’t want to pay you overtime.

Imagine it’s 4:45pm and you’re ready to go home and some unforeseen difficulty comes up and you’re told you’re not allowed to leave until the issue is resolved. The only problem is you have no idea wtf is going on because it’s some other guy’s code who doesn’t even work there anymore.

Well, go get some dinner and bring it back to your desk to eat because you’ll be there until at least 10pm trying to figure out what the hell the other guy was thinking because he didn’t put any comments in his code, nor did he leave any documentation, and plan on spending another 2 or 3 hours trying to fix and unit-test your fix despite the fact that it’s for some project with which you weren’t even involved and has no documentation, and then finally at midnight you’re fucking exhausted and you decide that this will take at least a week to fix and will require a team of people so you devise a workaround which must be tested and then you have to write SOP (standard operating procedure) documentation for your workaround and distribute it to everyone on the team before you leave.

So the actual fix get shifted to the next iteration which now must be done by a team of people in addition to everything else that was already planned for that iteration, and so now you have an additional 40 hours of work times 5 people on that sub-team (200 hours total of extra work) that wasn’t allotted for originally yet for which your team can bill the client. Keep in mind, however, that you won’t see any of that extra money despite the fact that you busted ass until 2am coming up with the analysis for the fix for the project that was the result of someone else’s shitty programming in the first place, and you know that this will manifest itself in an additional 40 hours spread over the timeframe of 2 weeks for you, so now during your next 2 weeks, instead of your “normal” 50 hour week, you will be working 70 hour weeks along with the other people who were unlucky enough to be put on the same project as you.

And you know what? Near the 70th hour of your second week, after not seeing your family or going to the gym or even being able to eat a home-cooked dinner because you’ve been eating at your desk and you can’t remember the last time you left the office before 11pm, just when you think you’re about to complete that project, one of the lead system analysts will come up to you and let you know of another “urgent” issue that “has to be fixed before tomorrow” and you will be staying until 1am again to fix it.

And this is on a regular basis.

Now you know why, after years of putting up with this, I quit that job with 2 days notice.