Episode 326: Good perks, bad code and paper shredder suggestion box


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. ‌About a year ago I joined what it seemed to be the best company ever.

    It’s a pretty big, pretty successful company which has been fully remote for decades. They have a great work culture where async written communication is the norm. There’s no scrum, no micro management, no crazy and absurd planning/guessing meetings, etc. Of course we also have some pressure to ship product, but nothing out of the ordinary. Salary is good, work life balance is awesome, I like my team a lot and overall people are awesome too, so this sounds like paradise to me.

    However, on the technical side, this is the worst careless outdated bug-ridden untested unmaintainable inscrutable ide-freezing mindblowing terrible wordpress codebase I’ve ever seen in my life.

    No linters, no formatters, the repository is so big you can’t even open the entire thing on your editor and you need to open just the folders you’re touching. The development environment is “scp files to a production server taken out of the load balancer”. Zero tests, manual QA by a team mate before merging, outdated tooling, outdated processes, css overriden 10 times because nobody wants to modify any existing rule, security incidents hidden under the rug every now and then and the worst part: any attempt to improve this gets rejected. My team laughed at me when I tried to write an acceptance test in my early days. Months later I can see how ridiculous it looks now I have a better grasp of the technical culture over here.

    I’m towards the second half of my career. So “learning” and “staying up to date” with the trends is not my priority. I really enjoy this company and love working here until the moment I open my code editor.

    I’m seriously thinking on starting to look for another job, but I have this feeling that wherever I go the code might be slightly better but the perks will be worse. Now I understand why we have these perks, otherwise nobody would be here I guess.

    Have you been in this situation, or maybe the opposite one? Not sure what to do at this point.


  2. My team got a new manager about 6 months ago. While I’ve had managers all across the spectrum of weird quirks in my time as an engineer, this person has one that’s new for me, and I’m not sure how to handle it. He operates in a very top-down fashion, which isn’t unusual. What is unusual, however, is that he will insist that everyone on the team give him feedback on a given issue…and then inevitably just proceed with whatever he had decided beforehand.

    I take giving feedback very seriously, and spend a lot of time getting my thoughts in order when I’m asked to give input on something. Having someone request that and then immediately throw my input in the proverbial paper shredder is frustrating and a waste of my time, especially since the team and company are growing rapidly and there are a lot of these kinds of decisions that have to be made. How should I approach this? I don’t want to keep spending time and effort on feedback that’s going to be ignored, but I also don’t know a polite corporate-speak equivalent of “please don’t ask my opinion on this when we both know you’ve already made up your mind”.

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