Print Story Employment disaster looms
Working life
By NoMoreNicksLeft (Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 02:46:04 PM EST) culture, work, unemployment, startup, loserosity (is this a work?) (all tags)
In September 2006, a guy I knew only from IRC from years back looked me up, and offered me a job. $60,000 a year at a startup in Atlanta, GA. I was unemployed, not uncommon for me, and this was nearly twice as much as I've ever made. That and some personal things led me to accept and make the move.

Well, things were nifty. I wasn't as giddy as everyone else... even good ideas lose out in the marketplace. And I was less than enthusiastic at first. But as things kept going on, the founder kept getting more meetings with the big record companies, we were bringing in real revenue (though maybe only 1/20th of expenses), and I started to lighten up.

Hell, I was in the process of getting another real life friend hired there (real life friend? That's never happened before either).

And in September of this year, I actually had enough money and accrued time to take an actual, honest to god vacation. That's never happened before.

So, midway through my vacation, I get a call from the boss. I figure it's him needing me to fix something, no big deal.

Instead, I'm told that when I return to work on Monday, I wouldn't be returning to work on Monday. Funding was getting low, the new round of investment hadn't happened as expected, and I'd see my last paycheck as severance.

Now, I'm a loser. Despite anything else that might be said about me, I at least have this going for me... I understand. No delusions. And while there are plenty of other losers here, indulge me for a moment while I explain just what that means.

If I had applied and interviewed for this job, I'd never have come close to getting it. Same for any other real job. And I like my job. I like the people there, I like being creative in my own way which fit well with this, and I like my 10,000 shares worth of stock options. So losing this job is not really an option for me.

It's sort of the employment version of that ugly guy that was dating the hot chick only to be dumped... he won't give up on the idea.

So, I call my boss back. I say "if development stalls, there's nothing to show any other investors, and things tank. I've got savings, let me continue to work for nothing or for stock grants or something, but let's see this through".

I walk in on Monday, there's some paperwork. For legal reasons, they're paying minimum wage (savings will last a bit longer).

Well, the few of us left, we continue working. No graphic artists left, so most of the changes we make are backend type things.

My coworker, the other guy who has the same job title as me, bugs out 3 weeks ago. Says he wants to return if things work out. (Heh, and the lucky bastard lands a 6 month contract at $45 an hour with overtime.) I hope he does, I really like him. The other worthless coworker wasn't returning, not that he'd want to, but Bert said that it wasn't on offer. (For an example of how worthless, read footnotes!)

So now, it's just me, the friend who hired me, and the founder, basically. Ack.

But there was one new investor that had been flirting with us. We're at the point that it's now just a wait for the terms sheet.

Anyway, he's making time for a call on Monday, supposedly. He had called last Friday with a question presumably. No idea if the fucker is going to write a check or not.

So if he does, I get my salary back, maybe even backpay. My friend might even get a job there, which is doubly cool... not only do I like the guy, but he owes me $300 from when I still had money.

Now, all of the sudden I'm hopeful. Bert though, who hired me, tonight he had me help him carry his personal effects out of his own office in boxes. And he's been pestering me to look for another job, says he doesn't want to see me destitute.

I don't know what to think.

[Example of my coworker's utter worthlessness follows.]

We need something positioned on a webpage in a way that margins and maybe a float will do. So we get this.

 <div class="floatLeft">
  <div class="absolutePositionedStuff">
   <div style="something random here" class="floatRight absolutePositionedStuff">
    <div class="clearLeft">
     <div class="frontPageImage">
      <img src="..">

Never mind that you can have multiple classes per element, which he demonstrates semi-awareness of. Never mind that you can stack all of those classes up on one element, instead of nesting 5 deep, you might as well use inline styles if your tags have fucking names that aren't semantically different from the css properties themselves!

And why not on the image directly? WTF?

But it gets better. When asked to turn one of them into a link, he proceeds to put an onclick onto one of the divs, and has it alter window.location!

Oh, and his idea of a good default for a filename that's just been uploaded (I'm not making this up) was "now checking for mimetype of audio/mp3". That's not even the correct mimetype, or even one of those most common incorrect ones for mp3.

Perhaps I'm not thinking clearly. These sorts of things kinda make us deserve to go under.

< Week 0 | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Employment disaster looms | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden)
Crap. by NoMoreNicksLeft (2.00 / 0) #1 Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 02:55:18 PM EST
I seem to remember that you could edit stories here... what gives? Senility, or did something change?

Without post-submission editing, you'll all have to suffer an even higher rate of really bad typos and spelling errors from me.

You have been warned.
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.

hi by discordia (2.00 / 0) #12 Sat Nov 10, 2007 at 07:14:52 PM EST


[ Parent ]
Did you see this? by Wise Cracker (2.00 / 0) #13 Sun Nov 18, 2007 at 02:43:22 PM EST
Not sure if it's helpful, but lm's employer was looking for a VB+SQL guy.
Caesars come, and Caesars go, but Newton lives forever
[ Parent ]
so you're looking for another job, right? by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 03:12:18 PM EST
So much easier to find work while you're still employed.

Even with a year's worth of real experience... by NoMoreNicksLeft (2.00 / 0) #3 Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 03:16:06 PM EST
On my resume, I don't even know where to start. I look weird, I'm a 33 year old man that has a decade's worth of 3-month-long service tech experience, and I have zero social grace.
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]
network by clover kicker (4.00 / 2) #4 Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 03:28:46 PM EST
Ask your former co-workers, buddies, anyone at all.

The best resume advice I've seen:

Hell, post your resume here (anonymized if you like) and you'll get a ton of help.

[ Parent ]
following up to myself by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #5 Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 03:32:49 PM EST
I 100% understand the desire to stay where you're comfortable, but you still need to look out for #1 - no-one else will!!!

You owe it to yourself to spend a few hours this weekend building a presentable resume.

[ Parent ]
First thing by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #6 Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 04:41:48 PM EST
Once you date the hot chick, all the other hot chicks suddenly decide you are a potential. Sell yourself as such.

Second thing: If you aren't getting a real salary, job hunting should take priority over work.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

The hot chick thing didn't really work out for me. by NoMoreNicksLeft (2.00 / 0) #7 Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 05:53:29 PM EST

Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]
I'm Trying to Feel Some Sympathy by creo (4.00 / 1) #8 Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 09:25:59 PM EST
but it's tough - maybe I'm just getting to be a hard arse in my old age.

Without meaning to sound like a smug arsehole, if you truly think like this then you are a loser.

You either commit to your course of action because you think it will work and give it 100%, or you bail out and go find other work. Interview out of the paper is bullshit anyway, every job I have got, other than my first, I got through my network of people I know - which is effectively how you got this job. So get out there, let it be known that you are around, and hit the boards. To take your chick analogy further, notice how it's not always the hot (or rich) guys that get the hot chick - confidence laddie ! They can spot a self confessed loser a mile away - same with employers.

I have worked for and as consultant to multiple startups. Most are likely to crash and burn, so you must always have a plan B.  My own view is never be the one to turn out the lights - if you know it's going down, then put out the feelers, and get out before they suck you dry. Even though these guys sound pretty reasonable (i.e. you have not just turned up for work on the monthly payday to a locked door), it's nothing personal, just business and it is your role to look out for number one, because believe me, they do, and you are not even on their "look after" list.

So toughen up sweetheart, and get to it.

"I shall do what I believe to be right and honourable" - Guderian

No need for sympathy. by NoMoreNicksLeft (2.00 / 0) #10 Sat Nov 10, 2007 at 07:49:42 AM EST
Don't be so hard on yourself.
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]
Look for a new damned job already. by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #9 Sat Nov 10, 2007 at 05:16:17 AM EST
Even if things workout where you are, you need a fallback.

I've worked for 3 start ups. The first two went under. The last one bobbed several times before being bought by a larger company.

I've worked for several mid sized companies. I've been laid off from them. I worked for a mid-sized company that was eaten by a larger company because they were so cool. The larger company was then eaten by a multinational that had no idea what to do with our products. I sat around for 12 months with nothing to do, waiting to get laid off.

There is no such thing as job security. Hope for the best, but defend yourself.

Has anybody seen my clue? I know I had it when I came in here.

If you're good, then you can get something else by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #11 Sat Nov 10, 2007 at 09:11:33 AM EST
Enough to pay for a course of psychoanalysis, perhaps. And I'm not really kidding here. I think you could do with someone else to pick you up and sort you out.

I know your last project was incredibly gross, but it was technically accomplished. You can do great things.

Employment disaster looms | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden)