Ever work for a manager who gets meaner the more they don’t know? Ever gone to HR, only to realize they are not on your side? One commenter’s experience doing IT for a law firm drives a life lesson home: if you are in this sort of situation, get out while you can.
I’m compiling the amazing, hair-raising stories our commenters shared about their worst-ever jobs in IT. User Grizzly Gaymer’s story struck a chord, because his description of his manager and the manager’s HR buddy sounded so familiar. Felt familiar. This is an experience I believe many of us have encountered, no matter the industry. Is behavior like this endemic to human nature? Why do incompetent bullies so often end up in charge?
I usually work at Engineering firms as IT, but when I moved to San Diego, I took what I could get.
I went to work for a friend of a friend who had been given the role of Director of IT for a really prominent Law Firm in San Diego. There were about 150 employees. I had a manager and the friend of the friend was the Director of IT and was in charge of both of us.
Turns out, the friend of a friend didn’t know anything about IT or troubleshooting, and to make matters worse, he had a temper. He would constantly berate me and my manager and I when someone had an IT issue, and would ask us to do things that no person who knew the first thing about IT would ask.
The more he didn’t know or understand, the more rude and horrible he would become. For instance, “Grizzlygaymer, big guy downstairs can’t view his work calendar, I need you to wipe his phone,” and I told him “We should just make sure that his work calendar is checked” and he started yelling at me “I SAID WIPE HIS PHONE!” I went downstairs, and sure enough his calendar wasn’t checked, so I checked it and boom, there were the calendar events.
He would run around the office complaining about his work and blaming us for his own shortcomings. He would schedule meetings to the leaders which were a waste of time, and just to get catered lunch. We would need him to continue on an issue, and when we would try to ask he would come up with an excuse on why he couldn’t do it, like, I’m sorry I’m busy coding, or “I worked til late last night coding and don’t have the time or the energy to. ” The man didn’t even know how to code! When we had a virus in the office, I was the one that he turned to to do the coding for the Antivirus the office used. He had absolutely no clue!
Well one day, a prominent attorney needed a simple change to his signature, to which the Director made himself in charge of this duty. When I told him that the attorney needed it now...well, the Director told me that it would take about 9 hours to complete. I asked to do it and he scoffed at me and said sure go ahead. I put in one line of code and finished the task in about 10 minutes, verified it worked and let the Director know. “I’m sure that you did something wrong.” And then left and wouldn’t talk to me for about 3 days.
Not one “good job,” in the entire year I worked there.
He would buy unnecessary software because he read something good about it, start it, and then when he didn’t know what he was doing, dump it onto the manager who didn’t even know that there was a new software headed his way and the provided him with no information. He would then complain that the manager wasn’t helping with troubleshooting enough.
He told me that in order to be more efficient he wanted us walking around the office instead of remoting into the computers. “Let them see you on the floor” and in the same day, complain that we weren’t at our desk when we needed something.
So...after yet another issue of where the Director was again rude and berating due to jealousy after an attorney came in to thank me for a job well done...I decided to do something about it, what I considered the right thing, and even though this guy was really close friends with HR (management lunch buddies), I went to the HR Rep to complain.
She said that she would see me the next day, but she went to him, told him that I was going to complain about him, and then scheduled a meeting where they ignored my complaints and came up with ridiculous faults of my own. First of all, they told me that they didn’t like my attitude (I’m very friendly and goofy, it helped with IT, as it kept the person calm during their aggravation, but to the Director, he saw it as a weakness) and also that I was to never tell an attorney, “I don’t know at the moment, I’ll look into it” when I encountered an issue that I wasn’t able to fix instantly, which is ridiculous, as no IT person knows everything.
But all of my complaints, the berating, the fact he didn’t know what he was doing, the fact that he didn’t know how to code or troubleshoot, and for also telling people in the office that I was gay (something that he had admitted to me in front of my manager, but that he vehemently denied during the HR meeting. Not something I was incredibly pissed about, but something I thought was unprofessional). All off like water on a duck’s back.
I was fired one month to the day after turning him in. People were shocked, attorneys and staff alike, as I was well liked in the office (Except by management) and I did a good job. Luckily though...I saw it coming.
I lucked out and had been contacted by a previous boss asking me if I were still interested in and IT job at an engineering firm about a week prior. I interviewed and was offered the job a week later...the same day I was fired.
I did great at the new company, being the only IT guy on site for a staff of 200 Engineers, and received a bunch of recommendations and accommodations, and had a great managerial staff offsite that would praise my work, which was wonderful. A great managerial staff is what makes a job great.
I did so well at the new firm that a year later, I was offered another job in the same company in another field due to my background and my ability to work well with people. I’m loving life now. I don’t know if I’ll ever do IT again if things were to go worse case scenario, but I am telling you, I’ll never work for a Law Firm again.
In this case, the storyteller is lucky—he got out of a bad situation, he got a different job. Not everyone can make an escape from nightmarish employment. If you want to add your story to our worst IT job round-up, tell us all about it in the comments.
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