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Sandor Dargo
Sandor Dargo

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How not to quit

You don't like your job. You get up in the morning, you look into the mirror and you see boredom. No motivation. No excitement. You don't know why you go to the office again. In fact, you know it well. Someone has to pay for your bills. That someone is you. For how long can you keep doing this? You don't know, but you put foot after foot, you write line after line and days pass by. Months pass by.

You are slower and slower. You arrive later in the morning. You leave earlier. Your boss complains more and more. You don't care.

You write less code and even what you write is of questionable quality. Anyway, you don't believe that the quality of the software has a direct relationship with the quality of the code. Your colleagues, once buddies, complain more and more. The WTFs/LoC ratio increases. But you don't give a fuck.

You suffer. Your knowledge suffers. Your career suffers.

Finally, you decide to look for a new job. You want to work with Python. It's trendy and fewer people hate it than Javascript. Anyway, a couple of years ago you wrote a few scripts getting some information out of logs. Once you even traversed a file system looking for certain files. It was cooler than piping old-school Linux commands together. You know Python well, that's you think and believe.

The hiring process of many companies is flawed. If you are confident enough, you can convince managers who have not coded for years, that you are good in Python - or in any other language... -, after all, you wrote recently a script that queries a REST API for the latest soccer scores. To the question of whether you are familiar with the PEP8 guidelines, you say yes. When they ask you what kind of problems you might face if you mix tabs and spaces in Python, once again, you say yes.

Anyway, they need new people and it seems you like Python you just have to learn a bit of how to make your code Pythonic. They offer you a job, take it or leave it. Start the earliest you can.

You are finally excited. You stand in front of the office of the boss of your boss. You hold some paper in your hand. You look like exactly a young pupil going to the principal with a letter from your parents after skipping a day. You feel like one of those poor pupils. Finally, the big boss has some time for you and you proudly hand him over your resignation letter. You want to get out as soon as possible. Maybe in a month. Not so fast, says the boss. Your contract defines a three months notice period. You have to work for three months more. A full quarter. You were not good. You were lazy. But you know, there is a shortage of resources. The company, the team needs you. You are furious inside, but you manage to hide it.

The contract is a contract. You get in touch with your next employer. Apparently, you were not so great at the interviews that they would wait for you so much. If you were more convincing... but 90 days would still be a long period. Finally, they say that one month is always expected, they can wait for one more.

You need a month of flexibility from your management. You ask, you beg, you rationalize. After all, you are not motivated. You work slowly. There is no reason to keep you away from your new job. There is no reason to hold you back in your career. There is no reason to damage the team more by keeping you. This latter reason, they seemingly don't understand.

Finally. They agree. You can leave after two months.

You are happy for yourself. You have what you want. You could be relieved and you could actually start working with a high level of output.

But it's clearly not the case. Something went wrong. Maybe when your previous manager didn't promote you. Maybe when everyone had to work after hours to deliver a project with an acceptable delay. It's a little bit of this, a little bit of that. But you don't care at all.

You stop working. You claim you want to work on Python, but you don't even listen to those who know Python better and want to give you a hand. You are shown the Python Tricks: The Book, you are told about the PEP8 guidelines, they show you PyCharm. Nothing sticks. You cannot care anymore, you don't even care about getting out. Why would you? You sleep a lot, you rest a lot and you receive basically free money.

Deep inside you feel a bit ashamed. But you feel much more insulted because of that never received promotion, you feel so much hurt, that you don't even realize that little bit of shame. You don't even realize how bad this is for those who are committed to delivering on time.

You recently went to an Agile Developer training, but you don't even realise that how you break the whole thing. "...honest communication, transparency in data and actions, trust that each person will support each other, and is committed to the team" seems just like some random bullshit from the Paulo Coehlo of software engineering management.

Three devs can hardly cover the fourth one if that one doesn't do anything at all, but you smile under your moustache claiming that story points can hide everything. Anyway, you'll be out soon. People complain from time to time, but not strong and consistently enough to cause you even the slightest headache.

Except for that new guy in the scrum. The one who wanted to give you a hand for your Python journey. That's a jackass. Since you told him that you don't want your velocity to be decreased because story points are the agile version of fig leaves, he could kill you with his eyes. And he keeps asking cumbersome questions at the stand-ups. He even proposed to replace the questions of the daily stand-up. Maybe because of you. Instead of bullshiting, he'd focus on results and pain points.

But you're smart enough to volunteer at your manager to replace the scrum master while he'd be on vacation the next week. At least, you can use your own questions. That's already a quick win for basically no extra work.

After face-to-face attacks at retrospectives and at other meetings your official capacity is decreased to zero. It's declared that nothing productive is expected from you during the last couple of weeks. Free vacation with forest view. After all, it's not so bad. You can spend quite some time in the office with your new girlfriend. You couldn't want anything better. Seemingly the others are not bothered anymore because your idleness does not affect the scrum anymore.

Days pass by. Weeks pass by. You smile. Bridges burnt. You're out.

This article has been originally published on my blog.

Discussion (10)

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enriquemorenotent profile image
Enrique Moreno Tent

I despise and hate this post. It is demoralizing and makes me nothing but sad. It is zero-constructive and will make readers in similar position (and I have been) even more sad.

I wished I could down-vote this article.

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo Author

Thank you for your comment, I appreciate your opinion.

I agree that this story can easily be interpreted sad. It was not great for the team either. But don't forget, this is also life. Life is not - only - about happy fairy tales. We cannot experience the light without having felt the dark around us.

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enriquemorenotent profile image
Enrique Moreno Tent

I don't care what the title says, or what is life about. It made me feel bad about myself, even though I have quite a lot of self esteem. I don't even want to imagine how could affect this post, to newbies or unsure people.

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michaeltd profile image
michaeltd

I understand what you are saying but it's stated in the title ... "How NOT to quit".

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo Author

I don't think that having so long notice periods are good. But for some reason, it seems quite common to have periods of at least two months in Europe. At least, that's my experience. How is it in the States? A month tops?

lukad profile image
Luka Dornhecker • Edited on

The three months (or whatever your contract says) are enforced by German employment law.

If your employer fires you and doesn’t want you to hang around for the rest of the notice period they can offer you a cancellation contract which basically means you are paid off to leave immediately.

I think it’s not terrible at all. You have a lot of time to find a new job and you get paid either way.

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lukad profile image
Luka Dornhecker

A three month notice period for both parties is very common in Germany. One month is the minimum here.