How abusive bosses and Slack led software engineers to unionize and demand justice


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/04/11/the-harder-you-squeeze.html


#2

About time coders organized!


#3

No, no, no! You’re supposed to love coding so much you would happily do it for free!


#4

No joke. Have you seen their desks?

I’m not even going to talk about their documents folders.


#5

I’m demanding justice right now.


#6

I resemble that remark!


#7

I thought I’d encountered crap management in my 2.5 decades in this biz, but woohoo! I’m off to buy my boss a present and get his car washed…


#8

He repeatedly compared himself to a parent and us to his children. That pissed us off.

I don’t blame them. You’d think that in 2018 the owners would start things off with something more original than “You know, I like to think of this company as a family…” Especially when they’ve been acting like the the mom from “Precious.”

What are you talking about? It’s not like they’re filthy manual labourers or minimum wage workers. They’re educated professionals, dammit, who paid $100k+ to study CS and math and thus get paid big annual salaries*.

[* disclaimer: when calculated on an hourly basis, salaries are smaller than they appear in tech shops with eternal crunch time]


#9

Harrumph. Back in the old days, (80’s in Silicon Valley) SW engineers were so coveted that we used to joke that if you didn’t like your situation, you could just drive into the next driveway and work there.


#10

Thirty years ago they were Software Engineers

Nowadays they’re code monkeys.


#11

https://goo.gl/images/CRrtGG
Well now I know why retirement seems a bit strange.


#12

Oh I do! And I would! They don’t pay me to code[1]. They pay me to code and not kill any of the manager drones or the marketing creatures or the…

Anyway. I like this. A lot. :slight_smile:

Программисты всех стран, соединяйтесь!

[1] Okay, okay, they didn’t really hire me to code so much as to curse at research papers, play around in R and, on a good day, C++, make inscrutable possibly occult marks on whiteboards, and get someone else to code it all up. But still!


#13

And if you work in the video games industry, you should be paying them!

I’m reminded of something film/television guy John Rogers said - that they weren’t paying him to write, he’d do that for free; no, they were paying him to not punch people in the neck.


#14

Oh, coders aren’t skilled labour but are part of the professional class like Doctors, Lawyers and Engineers?

So they should be organized then, like all professions are, with standards of education, training and behaviour. And a professional organization that enforces those standards and protects its members right?

You even get a different name for the same organizational structure so that you aren’t associated with the “filthy” lower classes! The privileged professional elites of the past saw that objection coming and already solved it for you!


#15

Their foolishness is that they believe this makes them “too good” join a union or guild or any organisation that advocates on behalf of labour in addition to promoting and enforcing standards as you describe. This has been the attitude in the profession for at least 25 years, during which same period too many tech employers acted like the one in the original story.

Part of it comes down to the industry constantly churning through young programmers, part of it is young coders who have no sense of finances and time, and part of it is young programmers who – to an alarming degree – declare themselves Libertarians.


#16

Or the “data” folder, that has been growing since you started your current job, at a rate of about 100GB/year of assorted variants of csv and xml files, with titles consisting of thousands of takes on “test_(some set of numbers and letters you no longer have the context to decipher)”.


#17

I dabbled in the tech sector for awhile- worked for a major multinational and left when they started to implode. Never received a penny from my pension or options. Later, went to work in the finance industry with another major multinational. Lost my pension there, too.

I decided to start a third career in construction. Studied electrical. Got into the IBEW and haven’t looked back. I’m happy to be in the union and have a great career after a few years of working through my apprenticeship. Now I get to share my love of the trade and an appreciation for an honest day’s work with new apprentices. I don’t have to worry about putting food on the table or how I’ll pay for prescriptions.

It really was the right choice. I hope more people make that choice.


#18

/shudders
All those data folder hoarders are going to get a rude awakening when the EU GDPR hits the fan.


#19

Dude, I have some non-techie friends who questioned me on why only 2tb of mirrored backup was worrying to me.

It goes fast. Unbelievably fast. Sure, I can rationalize some of that stuff going away after a while.

But there was this one time my old boss from a previous gig 8 months later asked me for some documents he lost in a HDD crash…

Yeah, that old boss is a solid reference on my resume still.


#20

test_YYYYMMDD

It’s the only way. Self sorting, too!