How do you deal with companies that are badly managed? Are all companies badly managed? Is the "real world" just an endless fight to try and get things done?
posted by blacklite to Work & Money (20 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I've been contracting for the past year for smallish companies in IT, as a software developer. Previously to that I was involved in a little startup with a friend, which didn't really go anywhere but was very fun; before that I was doing graphic design and web stuff.
The pattern, since that little startup, has been pain and annoyance. I keep working for these companies where practically no one knows how to do their job. I poked around Ask for relevant answers, and there were a couple, but they were very specific and my question is a little more general.
I keep finding myself thinking, well, this would work if, we could do this if, everyone would be a lot less stressed out if, I wish we all had clear communication about, I wish the person who was supposed to do this would.... etc. It sounds egotistical, and I do think I am good at my job, but I relate the stories to my friends and they nod and agree, and (at least at the past two places; one 7 months and ongoing, the other 3) there seems to always be this small core of people who are trying to get things done, and nothing else seems to make sense. Project managers who can't manage projects, other dev teams who don't seem to be accomplishing much, CEOs who have no real idea what you do and have specific suggestions and don't like yours, no one reading any e-mails, a total blanket of noncommunication, except among the few guys who are talking to each other about how hard it is to do anything and how much their morale has plummeted over the past half a year.
I've got a pretty good resume, so I could get another job, and I'm thinking about it, but I'm also trying to do a lot of things in my life that require me to save up a bit, and I really hate finding jobs. This place isn't even that bad, or it didn't seem like it at first, but it's like after a few months of relative success and calm, we grew a bit and now everything is this horrible passive-aggressive hand-wringing mess.
And the things I can think of that would help things a bit, I can't do, because they're massive company-wide things. It's only 15-25 people, but saying "hey, the project manager can't do his job and it's making our lives very difficult" doesn't seem like it would work. Or the fact that I don't feel like the tech department(s) have any real direction or goals or feedback. It's so vague, it's like "make everything better!" "It's not better enough!" "No not like that!" While simultaneously being yelled at every day if things are not absolutely flawless despite the fact that we are doing entirely new things that will, you know, have bugs.
We have no defined processes for anything, we have no insulation from non-technical people who freak out at the sign of any tiny bug, we have this weird vacillation between "I don't want to micromanage" and "what are you doing right now"... I mean, yeah, part of me just wants to write this to vent, but seriously, people, what do you do? This is actually an improvement over the last place I was at, where we worked hundred-plus hour weeks for a while and then "weren't working hard enough".
Do I have bad luck? Is there a secret to being employed that will somehow let me get some of these changes to happen? I'm sure it all really comes down to a lack of communication, and I am big on communication, but half the time people are too busy or too something to even read my e-mails, and then when I really want to talk to people about things I feel like I have to spend 50% of my day documenting things and trying to talk to people about things, and then I'm not being productive and it's a waste of everyone's time and money.
We've had a couple of people even come in (consulting-types) and say, "hey, yeah, you need to do this, I know it's annoying to take the time, but it'll help everything." We don't.
I felt like quitting today. I want to quit. But I shouldn't, for me, so I am going to have to start doing things differently.