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I feel very distanced from my colleagues. I'm not sure if it's just this company or all software places so I am seeking your opinion. Also, I think it gets in the way of productivity because no one wants to mentor or share knowledge and that's not really my style. I like sharing knowledge.

I work as a game programmer at a small company. When I first started it was just 4 very senior guys in a room and they did not talk to each other or eat lunch together. They set the tone for a silent and disconnected atmosphere. I can understand as they were working on separate projects.

I was just out of university and started as a tester. They also gave me an old legacy game to convert and I had no clue what I was doing as I had never made a game before in my life and they were very very rude to me about my 'newbie' questions. That created even more distance than there already was because the manager hired me because there was room to grow into the role. The fact that I'm female doesn't help either.

As time went on nothing really changed. I got married and didn't tell them - why would I don't think they would care. I also got pregnant and didn't tell them because a) was afraid of discrimination b) I didn't think they would care (a bunch of young unmarried guys).

Also, they can be very judgmental. When I did share some of my personal life like I haven't traveled much in my life they looked down on me.

The company grew and they took on more people. When I came back from mat leave they hired even more people but the culture didn't change. The new project manager said some border-lining sexist comments to me about why I'm not home with the baby. He appears to be small-minded and power-hungry. Because of this I am closed off even more to the point where I avoid taking lunch at the same time as anyone else and try my best to avoid any non-work conversation topics at all costs.

I'm a very shy, quiet, geeky girl who finds any non-standard/'politically-correct' dialog or confrontation in a work environment to be extremely inappropriate.

Is it normal for colleagues to be so closed off from each other? Is a non-game software environment any different? I don't think this place will ever change so what are some things to ask in the next job interview?

closed as off-topic by Jim G., gnat, Chris E, Monica Cellio Mar 16 '15 at 22:01

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Real questions have answers. Rather than explaining why your situation is terrible, or why your boss/coworker makes you unhappy, explain what you want to do to make it better. For more information, click here." – Jim G., gnat, Chris E, Monica Cellio
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I wonder if it's appropriate to ask if there are any women on the software team in the new company. This fact is no guarantee but it might give some hint or impression as to the social makeup of the new place. – Brandin Mar 15 '15 at 10:07
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    But you said one coworker asks (too much) about the baby and the morning meetings are unproductive. If you want to share knowledge then why do you not like a morning meeting? – paparazzo Mar 15 '15 at 14:22
  • @Balm the morning meeting is to give your to do list to the manager for the day and that's all. – Kerry Mar 15 '15 at 16:35
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    I have read nearly all of your questions and I am sorry to say, but I am not surprised if your coworkers are reserved. On the one hand you complain a lot about how they invade your privacy (by asking about your baby, your husband, ...) and say yourself that you are shy and quite. Well, if a co-worker of mine isn't sharing anything of their personal life I would also guess they are simply not interested in getting closer - Especially, if they didn't even bother to tell news like getting married or being pregnant. The normal reaction should be to be professional, but distant. – dirkk Mar 17 '15 at 16:32
  • @dirkk, I don't want to share with them because they are judgmental about everything. When they found out I don't travel much they started to look down on me. I hate it. – Kerry Mar 17 '15 at 17:09
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You have to decide whether this atmosphere is right for you. The company is clearly not progressive, these four guys set the tone through their example as to how the work gets done by the rest of the staff and there is every reason to expect that this tone is not going to change. Especially since none of the Gang of Four sees mentoring the junior staff as part of their responsibilities. If you stick around, you may inadvertently get contaminated with some of their bad habits.

There are plenty of companies where the senior staff does not operate the way these four individuals do. You need to be exposed to the effectiveness of Agile and in particular XP, which derive their effectiveness from mutual support and interaction on the part of the staff. You need to pick up the Devops principles, which provides the software engineering teams with the support necessary to implement Agile as a team. Knowing the software development process is at least as important as learning how to code. And if you stick with this company, you will miss all that.

I'll just say that their behavior as professionals would not be considered acceptable in companies such as Google or Pivotal Labs or About.com - and I know software engineers from these three companies. The reason the junior staff gets mentored is so that they understand the procedures, that they get socialized into consistently programming the company way, and that they don't screw up the company with haphazard coding and quality control.

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