The only bad experience that comes to mind and actually acted as a gate-keeper and propelled me to work on my own was when I worked at a web dev firm downtown Toronto. I was doing most of the work from scratch while the person next to me did jack all. Every time a milestone was achieved this person would go and present it and I was looked at as the person not doing any work in the team. We also had arguments because I wanted to maintain a cleaner code base while this person wanted to just add libraries and let them "handle it". Also this firm was literally copying the work of another company.
I have refused to work with people who put me down since :)
The landscape of Toronto companies is wild and all over the place.
I strongly dislike working in bro-cultures.
I feel like the startup scene and web agencies are the two environments where it is still possible to find sexism (and general crude intolerance) that makes you do a double take every now and then. At my first job, many of my coworkers were South African expats and I don't feel comfortable even summarizing some of the vulgarity that I heard. And this wasn't "locker room conversation;" VPs would make jokes about domestic violence in the middle of meetings. Come to think of it, every female left her job while I was working there with the exception of the owner's family members.
I've learned how important it is to immediately put an end to dehumanizing language of any kind as soon as it happens, especially if you are a manager. One of the main reasons for me abruptly quitting my last job was the treatment of visa workers as essentially second-class citizens. They were segregated to a certain part of the office and were often the first to be blamed for anything that went wrong. The more I learned about their cultural backgrounds, it became apparent that company leadership knew absolutely nothing about cultural sensitivity, was unwilling to learn that or anything else which would allow us to empower those developers and help them feel like part of the team, and that senior leadership didn't care who they had to blame or how low they had to slide in order to avoid taking any personal responsibility for failure. It got to the point where I was having panic attacks going to work in the morning, and one day I finally told them bluntly what my observations had been and resigned on the spot. Pretty sure I lost every reference I had at that job, but I did not feel morally comfortable or safe to express myself at the job...I can't imagine how traumatic it must have been for those who were being actively mistreated.
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