Career flashback: Small companies are small

5 minute read article Leadership   Technology   Wisdom   Career Comments

Earlier this month, I wrote this post about a job I had back in 2005. Today while surfing through old backups, I found a gem! It’s a draft of a blog post I never published. It’s not complete, but it sheds some more light on the situation I found myself in.

I was about 10 years into my career and had spent a few years working as an independent consultant, but decided to get a “real” job only a few minutes from my home! I had high expectations, but as this post shows, the show they put on at the interview was nothing more than lipstick on a pig.

The draft post had no title and it was just in a text file named “blogpost.txt” dated July 19, 2005.

Untitled blog post from July 19, 2005

Wow, it’s been two months since my last post.

I’m into the fifth month at my job. It isn’t turning out to be what I expected. While my last W2 position sucked, this job sucks for different reasons. I like the people I work with, but I sure as hell don’t miss the office politics. Everyone has their own agenda and noone wants to do the “right thing”. The company is spending an assload of money and a lot of it just doesn’t make sense. We’re getting a new parking lot, but there are a lot of people running on 5 year old PCs. :-\ No one is even considering LEASING our equipment…I guess that’d make too much sense. Execs are getting LCDs, but those of us that actually use our systems are outright denied LCDs. Projects need software, but it’s “not in the budget”. Did I mention that I’m using my own freakin’ Visual Studio.NET license?

No one is on the same page with anything…well, except for two or three of us “technical” people. We’ve got good people in the IT department, but noone outside of our immediate bosses ever freakin’ comes to us to solicit input. Hell, my boss doesn’t even solicit my input as much as he should.

At least two of the other developers are freakin’ contractors that don’t produce anything close to what I think they should. They don’t know 1/10th of what I think they should know AND would never get past one of my interviews. 99% of the code being written in Visual Basic 6! I’m the only one doing .NET! WTF is that about? Of course, maybe it’s a good thing…the only .NET experience ANY of them has is a 1-week Developmentor course they took about 3 months ago.

It turns out that the company paid to send these contractors to the training which completely drained our budget! This means that there is NO money for any of our full-time employees to get ANY training for the rest of this year! Well…let me correct that….we all get “SmartCertify” training. WTF ever.

As for our internal software…let’s just say there are a lot of “broken windows”.

It hit me over the weekend that there is no career path…I report directly to the CIO. He’s been there since the company started (or very soon after it started). I have no control over the other developers / contractors AND it looks like my boss has already interviewed a web developer. It isn’t like this is a big company, but hell if people don’t work hard at having their own little kingdoms. :-\

(end of the draft post)

Final Thoughts

If that post was written five months in, that means I lasted another four months. Yikes.

I didn’t remember the company being that financially strapped at the time, BUT they were a small company in a small town, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

One of the IT guys I worked with eventually moved on to the FinTech company I worked for a few years later. He started several years before me, but I’m glad he was able to get away from the dysfunction.

Another of the IT guys is still a great friend. He also moved on and has had a successful career helping school districts with their IT needs.

There was one other IT guy - the one who really helped me implement a lot of the things I mentioned in my first post. We have fallen out of touch, but I just found his contact info on LinkedIn and plan to ping him to see how he’s doing.

I know there was at least one more who worked in IT. I think she quit before me, maybe just after. I know she left to raise a family. I’ve also fallen out of touch with her, BUT I’m pretty sure my wife has remained FB friends with her.

Interesting times that helped make me the developer I am today.

I hope you enjoyed this bit of history!

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