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this mad first month
singapore sunset
amw
This first month of work has been emotionally exhausting.

On Thursday, S - our "senior software architect" - got fired. Not only did he get fired, but the junior who he had groomed into a groveling minion also got fired. That left the other two juniors pretty shook, but i think after a night to sleep on it and a pep talk from our CTO back in the US they kinda settled. Me? I am just tired. I was very close to quitting from the stress of having to deal with him every day.

Here's the plot twist.

You know how when i started work i assumed that it had been the CEO who had brought in S? Yeah, turns out it's actually the CEO who was my biggest ally in getting him booted. My direct boss, the CTO, pulled the whole Silicon Valley touchy-feely thing that i liked about him when i interviewed. CTO was like well we need to give him time to prove himself, maybe he's just insecure, we need to give him something to own, let him grow into the role. HR is like, we need to have harmony in the company, we need to try and see past our differences and get along. Meanwhile this toxic douche canoe had pushed me to my last nerve from my very first day.

Oh, did i mention that a couple weeks ago i got called into an HR disciplinary meeting slash conflict resolution session? It happened because i flipped my lid and sent an email saying i refuse to work in a sweat shop and if the Chinese staff is being treated like slaves while foreigners only work half days then i am point blank out the fucking door. The CEO took personal offense to it because he thought i was accusing him of being a slave driver or a racist, but actually i had been talking about S. Once that very uncomfortable meeting was over, the CEO and i had a private lunch where it turned out we both had exactly the same opinion of S - that he was shyster through and through, a master of bamboozling who was taking full advantage of softer folks like the CTO and head of HR.

It got to the point that even the soft folks couldn't deny it any more. He was out the door Thursday. Friday i took my first look at the code he had spent the last 2 months writing that was supposed to have been delivered to the customer 6 weeks ago.

It was a fucking shit show. It did not even run. All the times he said in meetings that it was running, he was lying. It never ran anywhere except on his own laptop. Even several weeks ago when the CTO specifically said that all code must be reviewed, no exceptions, S just sent his stuff to J to review who gave the thumbs up like the bootlicker he was. Meanwhile this software does not work. It is full of bugs. Everything is hard-coded, even down to the date of the supposed "daily" report. I thought it would take me a couple hours to get it up and running on the customer site, but so much stuff was broken or not actually implemented... it's like... fuuuuuck. This fucker didn't know the first thing about coding.

The CEO is really fucking pissed. To be honest, i am pretty pissed too, because literally since day one i have been telling my boss: you must fire this guy immediately. It wasn't just his arrogance and aggressive behavior toward other people in the office - he was also clearly not capable of doing the job of an architect, i could see that within 5 minutes of trying (and failing) to talk to him about even the most basic technical topics. He flagrantly ignored processes laid down by the CTO. When i called him on it, he had the nerve to say "well in the real world we don't follow process like that, it just gets in the way"... Which, okay, apparently the "real world" that i have been earning my paycheck in for the past 19 years is a mirage. I mean, i just can't.

Anyway. This flim flam artist has cost the company BIG. The CEO shared with me that his salary was by far the highest in the China office. For the two months he has been "working" here he has not only generated complete garbage output that will need to be thrown away and rebuilt from scratch, he has sucked up hours of his colleagues' time derailing meetings and having pointless arguments, he has undermined every process and quality gate that is supposed to encourage accountability and level up the junior guys, our customers are withholding payment because the solution they were promised weeks ago still isn't done... I mean, for fuck's sake.

My boss - the CTO - is almost certainly going to get a fucking reaming from the CEO when he comes into Shenzhen on Monday. And, honestly, rightfully so. Perhaps he didn't see how bad it was because he was in the US and his guys were here in China... but that's no excuse when at least one person has been reporting almost daily all the bullshit that has been going on. I mean, i like having a California boss who is all squishy and nice and shit. But dear lord, never thought i'd be grateful for also having Philly boss who is coarse and demanding and a bit of an asshole.

I guess all CEOs need to be a bit of an asshole. I do appreciate that he takes no shit, though.

I was talking about all this with my friend R on Skype drinks over Christmas, and we are still baffled by how these sorts of con men succeed in hoodwinking even smart people. I mean, we are living in an era where 100 million adults honestly think a two-bit grifter is enough of a stand-up guy to be president of their country. It's insane. How is it possible people can't see though the act?

And then i wonder, i mean, i must have been hoodwinked too before. Surely we all have at some point or another? Did then the people around who weren't suckered feel as baffled as i do now? Were they all thinking to themselves: how could you have fallen for such nonsense?

Man, i dunno.

So the next few weeks are going to be tough because we need to un-fuck the mess that was left behind. And it may take a while to smooth things over with the young guys because it's only their first or second job and they probably never saw someone get fired before, especially not two on the same day, and one who was their lunch buddy.

I took them out for lunch yesterday. If they pull through they'll be tougher and better developers for it.

Not sure if i will be. Just another scar on my battered work sleeve.

Speaking of sleeves, in the past month both my work jeans and my home jeans have split at the crotch so now i have no pants at all. And i am too fucking tired to go shopping in a country where the largest size available is usually two sizes below anything that could fit me.

I am going to hide under the covers and drink banana rum.
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Well, at least he'd gone. Hopefully once the mess is all cleaned up, you can get to a place where you enjoy working there.

Yes, he’s gone, gone, gone! Though from purely selfish perspective, he did make a fun-to-hate blog character, a bit like your Randy.


Don't worry, I will find other things to rant about. Like, physicals!

Although I guess moaning about my decrepitude is less entertaining than having a nemesis.

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