Working with me
Oct 14, 2011
4 minute read

Introductory bullshit

Insert heartfelt comment about how I am sorry if this offends anybody and where is the closest tissue store.

Note about how this is not related in any way to my current or past experiences and that any person recognizing him or herself is welcome to hide in the closet.

If you are above me

Oh hai, so you give me paychecks and/or orders. Jolly good!

Here is a list of things this does not entitle you to do:

  • Get sensitive when I disagree with your ideas. If you ask me for my opinion, be ready for honest feedback - it is what you pay me for, after all! There is only one business where you can make money sucking each other’s cocks, and I don’t work in that business. While talking on the idea level, there are no feelings involved, no tone, no personal bullshit. Just ideas, and a rational discussion about its pros and its cons.

  • Keep telling me that I have such a nice job as an excuse for unrealistic deadlines, overtime, and internal shitstorms. I love what we are doing here, I think it is a fantastic opportunity, I believe in the future of what we are doing (otherwise I would not be here), but ultimately it is such a nice job because I am so enthusiastic and willing about it. Because I work shifts at unholy hours to try and provide the best environment to my fellow co-workers. Just because unicorns are part of our company culture does not mean we are playing polly-pockets. We are doing serious shit and we are good at it.

  • Have a complete lack of basic decency, politeness, and interest for my culture. We might have different backgrounds and different horizons. We might not envision our jobs the same way. We might come from different continents, have twenty years of difference. And yet we have to communicate using the same human language: english. Please take the time to understand that english is spoken anywhere near 1.8 billion people, and as a result, subcultures emerge. What might come off as an insult or affront might simply be an expression of surprise for some people. If you take the time to understand the meaning behind expressions us europeans, citizens of the world, internet-fed, redditors, githubbers, comic-readers C&H-humored connected human beings, you might just find your work a hell of a lot easier to do.

If you are not above me

It is not uncommon these days to have to work with teams distributed among countries, cultures and timezones. Yet I still believe we can all work together. To this effect, here is a little list of things to pay attention to:

  • Take initiatives. Usually written as ask for forgiveness, not permission, although between you and me, if you do not have to ask for forgiveness because you did not fuck up anything, that is even better. Do not ask me whether this or this would be a good idea and then stand legs crossed until I say yay or nay. I am not the holy spirit, often it is way more efficient to try it in branch (yay git), stage it somewhere, and post the results (if you still think it is a good idea). And if it was not, explain why it was not, so that others do not lose time trying it. It is that simple.

  • Think forward. As all team members have different hours, and a lot going on, we want to minimize the amount of time everyone is waiting on everyone else. If you are the waitee, make an effort to provide the waiter with the minimal amount of stuff he/she needs to make progress. If a front-end guy is waiting for some back-end feature, fake it! Cheat! Just allow him/her to work with a defined interface, that you can later replace with the real thing. When doing your final push for the day, always think will my co-team members be able to build upon what I have done or will they be stuck and confused by the state of things?. If yes, do not leave now. Write instructions, mini-reports. Sometimes meaningful git commit messages are enough, sometimes they are not.

  • Be honest. Do not take credit for the work of others. If you have done 20% of task A, do not say you did task A. You do not need to conceal your real intentions. If this job is just a money cow to pay your bills, say so. If you wish you would have more time to spend on open-source projects, do not do it behind our collective backs: say so. If you only wish one thing and that is to grow out of this team and get promoted to a place you do not have to deal with me anymore, say so. I am honest with my team, and I wish the same in return.


It is not that hard, really.