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226

Well I hate to burst your bubble but if this is the third time this happened that almost rules out "it's not you, it's them". Your title says that you were fired for being "indispensable" but apart from that being an oxymoron, it's also not what happened. You were fired for writing code that your colleagues can't understand, which is a critical performance ...


205

If you advertise looking for someone with COBOL experience, tough luck. So who could do this job? Someone less than ten years from retirement, who can afford to switch to a dead end technology, and who is willing to learn a new / old language. I learned Swift just recently. Compared to that, COBOL is primitive (I know it, took a two week course in 1979). No ...


196

Your friend is giving you some shaky advice. It's true that if the company is looking at major layoffs being the only one who can do X is really good for you. However keeping this to yourself means people in the company are less likely to know what this technology is capable of and won't suggest using your skills on interesting projects so it's less likely ...


190

That should be easy. Open up a new account to use at work and tell your boss that having your private account open at work reduces your productivity because of the private messages that your friends are sending to your personal account. Give him your new account name to chat with you while you are at work.


177

I think the thing to do is to explain to them what you think happened, explain that you've disconnected from the browser history syncing done by chrome, so that they won't see this any more. Explain how you were browsing on your own hardware and in your own time, unaware that chrome was syncing. Ask if they can view the time of the events, and so verify ...


156

20% Time + Open Source You've probably heard about Google's 20% Time policy. In essence, any employee can ask to use up to 20% of their time on pet projects. I suggest that you implement something similar. The problem of working with antiquated technologies on maintenance projects is dual: Technology skill obsolescence: the technologies learned in the ...


143

From what I've seen in terms of questions on this site, the practice is at least somewhat common. That said; unless I was being paid for this "assignment", I would not do it. It is an unreasonable demand for your time and requesting you to deliver the very service they are interviewing for at no charge. Doing an assignment to prove you can do what it takes ...


140

It's not a joke, I could not stand to have this happen a fourth time, it's impacting me mentally. This line is important, because it shows that you feel it is time to change. It shows that you recognize this as a pattern, and would like the pattern to stop. That desire is probably the most important part of the solution. Fixing these sorts of situations ...


134

There are always reasons. A previous employer did this with a coworker of mine. His skill level was far beyond our skill. So, he was let go. Why does this make sense? He was the only one who could maintain his code He was not collaborative He did not follow shop standards While he was delivering more than needed, this was not a good thing Simple, ...


115

Remember that coding does not exist in a vacuum. Even code that's less than ideal can solve real business or humanitarian problems. Quality is not an all-or-nothing proposition. There are certainly situations where a team is so junior that introducing complexities can kill productivity and morale, and fail to deliver even the basic goals of the entire ...


108

Go for it. Be open and clear about the change in circumstances. Explain why you said no the first time and why you are suddenly available. Go directly to the hiring manager (if you can) to minimize the risk that it gets snagged in HR. Phone call preferred, but e-mail can do too. Something like Hi XXX. Previously we talked about a lead position on your ...


96

Your friend's advice reveals his underlying assumptions about the workplace in general. He sees the workplace as a hostile environment where the survival strategy is to preserve indispensability. In this bleak view, colleagues are not co-workers - they are rivals for the scarce resource of job security. So you must ask yourself - is your workplace such a ...


88

This line destroyed my confidence in your firm's leaders: No more Test-Driven Development and no more unit tests. That's such a bad decision, I cannot imagine working somewhere that behaves or believes that. You will waste 10 to 100 hours fixing errors, because they want to save 1 hour by not using Test-Driven Development or unit tests. That's bad ...


86

This is the issue with mounting technical debt and sticking with aging tech - the amount of people familiar with the technology declines slowly at first and then quickly as they age and leave the workforce. Eventually, the people who understand the tech will be rare as hen's teeth and will command high salaries if the tech is sufficiently essential to the ...


70

If the manager expressed the desire to move to Git (or any other new technology) then it is their responsibility to notify everyone that the change will be effective by a specified date (X days from the announcement). The announcement should be explicit that the new technology will be active and fully functional by the said date, and at the same time, the ...


66

There is never anything to be lost by reaching back out to the prospective employer and explain that your situation has changed if they still had any positions available. At worst they wont be hiring and at best you end up with a job!


66

Maybe be more prepared to hire older people eg those that are returning to the workforce after being stay at home parents or carers. My general experience is the IT industry is incredibly ageist, often to their own detriment.


63

Good code is easy to understand, even for poor engineers. One advice I often received is "program like if the person that will maintain your code is a mediocre programmer, and a dangerous psychopath who know where you live". And it's true. Too clever programming is bad, because maintenance is longer when you don't know the code. In maintenance, you often ...


63

Unfortunately, IT is one of those parts of a business that is almost completely invisible to the rest of the business as long as things are going well. Generally, people don't know, don't understand, and don't care what IT does as long as they can get to their files, read their their email, and look at funny cat pictures during their lunch break. You've now ...


60

The basic strategy here is to get her alone, and identify what her core issues are. Using this strategy you will try to get her to seperate emotions from facts, and plans from personalities. If she is a valuable member of your team, then her opinion should be equally valid. Schedule some time with her (a couple of hours at least), and hear her out. It will ...


52

I was in a similar situation a few years back and this is what I have learned from it, though I am more of a server side developer. Productivity in software development should not be the sole criterion when deciding on software technology. It is actually software maintenance that matters much more. While some new software development technologies do ...


51

In my experience working for a company with a startup mentality, focusing too much on one single platform, stack, or technology could be detrimental, and we're always learning new stuff, especially since technologies change so quickly. There is still the occasional developer I encounter on the Internet who focuses his or her energies on ten year old ...


49

You're finding out painfully why so many developers specializing in old languages are making serious bank right now. As a young developer, it's a losing proposition to adopt these technologies now - best practices and capabilities are so far from where they were back then, and software development is such a fast moving field, that if you don't work with the ...


44

I've fought this battle more than twice. Here is what you are going to come to realize at some point: No executive wants to admit (and probably even to themselves) that they are producing garbage. They will either face the pain, and make the necessary changes to produce a good product, or they will "justify" the decision with a combination of woes about a ...


39

You should explain that you've spent the last 5 years taking care of some personal issues, and that you have been doing accounting work for a family business to stay up on things. If asked whether whatever kept you occupied for all that time is going to be a problem going forward, express your confidence that things are under control and you're ready to ...


39

If you are feeling like this is some scam to get free work out of you, consider how much they've already invested in the interview process. If the whole goal was to get a couple hundred dollars worth of unpaid coding from you, would they have wound up ahead in this endeavor? Likely not. This is more likely a knee jerk reaction to a past poor hire who ...


37

It's unlikely that you are fired because you are too good. I guess that's just an excuse. It's much more likely it's a behavior issue, or the boss just doesn't like you for reasons he can't tell you without creating grounds for a lawsuit. It's also possible that you are the most expensive and they believe in FTEs (i.e. every worker is the same). If you ...


33

Use the right words in a sentence when replying in mail/person where there has been a mistake. e.g Them : are we done with git depository restructuring ? You : We are are still working on the restructuring of git repository. Rinse and Repeat.


33

Remote development. Let them choose their cost base and lifestyle. Flexible time. Let them work when they want. High salary. Let them know their craft is appreciated. Stability. Let them know this is a long term prospect. Fun. Let them know the technical challenges are just as interesting as they ever were. Collective. Organize a club feel around this retro ...


32

I really want to get across that I am looking for a company/position that is ready to innovate and has a forward thinking 21st century vision planned that needs someone to initiate it. (me hopefully!) Your method of choosing such companies is clearly suspect. Three jobs in two years either means you don't know how to choose the right company, or you can'...


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