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15 Comments

Got fired at my first day

Hi. During most of the last year I was building an app which I thought would be useful. And I ran out of money.

To cover my liabilities I decided to look for a job. And found multiple offers at the same time.

Then I took the best offer - it was a consulting job for an American company. I had to wait a bit to start.

And today was the first day there. I've got rejected during my first day of my new job.

It happened because I challenged their use of so many cloud platforms to do the work and from what I could see there are quite a bit of people who are engaged with that company.

The company handles really really sensitive people data (I didn't get access to it) and I don't know any of its privacy implications.

I had an idea to help. I thought about reducing the amount of cloud platforms that even devs use.

I wrote a message in their channel about the issue (And it looks that the channel had many people there).

I ended up with two middle-size messages because during writing I had more ideas and added them there.

After these messages, almost instantly, I got a message from the business guy that I was interviewing with a few hours ago.

He asked me to remove the messages. So I did. Then he told me that even though they are American company they still must adhere to GDPR and so on.

After two or more messages my company account got disabled. I didn't get any notice, nothing. I got kicked out of the chat's session. I've just got the access to it a couple hours ago.

They have disabled it without any explanation. My corporate email got disabled as well.

So I've found the email of the person who I was contacting last and asked whether they feel the same downtime as I do.

They've replied with the info that they notified the contractor company through which I was affiliated with that my services are not needed.

I have no idea what to do now. I need money and I thought that the job at this company would be great.

But my first effort was put out so harshly and so fast that I don't even know what I want now.

I found this site on youtube and I thought I'd share my story with you. I'm not sure what to do... Probably it's good that they rejected me... But it's still pretty bad.

  1. 3

    You made a classic rookie mistake.

    I know it doesn't seem to make sense that you would be fired for merely offering suggestions to improve things, but that is because you are thinking about it the wrong way. You were thinking like an engineer. You needed to think like a politician.

    This sounds like a large company and unfortunately large companies are full of this stuff.

    A lot of it stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of your position. You were a contractor, not an employee. Companies use contractors for various reasons, but you can usually count on a few things being true:

    • You are expensive.
    • You are coming out of somebody's budget, so they have a very clear idea of what you should be doing.
    • Somebody else thinks you're a waste of money.
    • The role you are doing is seen as temporary or inessential. Otherwise it would be a permanent position.

    These things are not always true, but they usually are.

    What does this mean? It means that you are on thin ice politically the second you walk in the door. Your first task is to get the measure of the place and form relationships with existing power brokers and get them to think that you are an urbane, reasonable, skilled professional. This may take a month or two. During that time, you complete your assigned work well, and do not rock the boat.

    After that, depending on how well you have completed your first task, you may start gently pushing innovations. These must be presented in a way that shows an understanding of the business goals of your internal sponsors, and an appreciation of why things are the way they are.

    This is not a tech job. It is like being a courtier. Your tech skills are valuable, but they are secondary to the goal - which was left out of the job description - of making your sponsor look good so they can get another success under their belt and ultimately advance in their career. Don't kid yourself. This is the game.

    So where did you go wrong? A few places:

    • You inadvertently called a bunch of your colleagues stupid by criticising their past decisions.
    • You showed a total lack of appreciation for the business realities, which can dictate technical choices to a large extent. Your sponsor basically told you this.
    • You offered an opinion in a large forum that probably included your sponsor's superiors, without running it by him. You thereby demonstrated that you cannot be trusted to advance the goal of making him look good. Instead you made him look incompetent for hiring someone so naive and politically maladroit.

    This may all seem psychopathic to you. I agree.

    1. 1

      Lol that's why I don't touch companies with more than 15 people too much time wasting politics garbage

      1. 1

        I have always regretted it. Unfortunately they're often the only game in town if you want proper rates.

        1. 1

          Yeah it's true some people in smaller companies have weird expectations for hourly rates as they don't factor in all the stuff you have to pay yourself as a contractor, especially in countries that are fairly tax and insurance heavy like Germany 😁

  2. 1

    I think there's always takeaways on both sides for things like this:

    1. On the company side:
    • Be more open to criticism and try to embrace the good will behind them
    • Be more transparent in how you handle these situations, clearly they just disabled everything and went silent, not a good move
    1. On your side:
    • Feel out the waters first and gain some reputation, can you speak up? Will you be beat up if you do? (If it's 2nd question if you should really work with them lol.)

    • Don't think you have all the answers or any answers before understanding how things work, they probably have a reason why they are where they are, infrastructure wise, codebase wise etc etc. it's never as easy as it seems if you just come in from the outside as things grow over a long period of time

    • See if you can improve your messaging, you haven't shared the content but I think from their reaction in didn't sit well with them. Package it very carefully to not make someone look like an idiot even if they are wrong, a lot of people in big companies have strange egos from my experience.

    As what the company does with this is outside your control so focus on point two and good luck with the next gig! 💪

  3. 1

    It's their loss that they rejected your insights. I wouldn't want to work for a company that kicks out people so harshly. You'll find a better job.

  4. 1

    Have you done consulting before?

    Doing what you described is really silly and smacks of inexperience.

    No-one, wether you are a consultant or a new permanent hire should go on day 1 and start telling everyone who will listen why what they're doing is the wrong thing.

    Someone else said it here already, but you are a nobody on day 1. You have no credibility, no relationships and no trust. You need to work on all that first before shouting about your big ideas.

    1. 1

      No. Not for this kind of company.
      I did some consulting for a small company where I could ask direct questions.
      Probably that could be one of the reasons.

  5. 1

    Sorry to hear what happened to you. However, I think you fell into a typical trap new hires, especially devs fall into. I once did it myself with a similar fate to yours, though not on the first day. Often times as a new dev you are enthusiastic, driven and have up to date skills. BUT: For the social group of people working there, you are a nobody. A new team member, dev or not, is a big stirr in the organization. Some might even disapprove of your hiring simply in that they see you as a potential replacement of themselves. If you are a consultant, other stereotypes will be projected on to you. The absolute worst thing you can do is appear as the 'I know everything better guys, hey look how many cool ideas I have on my first day'. Maybe somebody else has had the same idea, but was shot down and now is disgruntled. Maybe the business guy hears your ideas and thinks not this debate again. You don't know the backstories, the way this company or team ticks. Maybe for years previous management despised everything cloud and the devs had to work with outdated legacy tooling and outdated in-house tools and thus hold their newly won cloud possibilities dear and sacred. The most important thing you have to do on your first day, more than getting your environment set up or anything else is just observe how the people around you interact, talk and what the unwritten hierarchies are. Even if the issues you raise are valid, you are not in the position to do so in the beginning unfortunately. Job life is a jungle. In addition, the most praised consultants I encountered could best be described as focused worker bees that above all else focused on what their exact job was and did this very well. This focus is actually a blessing of being a dev consultant.
    Don't make yourself down, I think you have learned something very important.

    1. 1

      I agree with you.
      But I was told that "teams are autonomous" and that there is no comitee who decides software-related matters.
      So I still tend to justify my effort. It would've at least started a discussion.

  6. 1

    Sorry to hear that, being kicked out without a reason sucks. I would check your contract terms and termination clauses.

    Share your CV and/or skills, perhaps someone here will be able to help or might need your skills, even if just for few hours.

    1. 1

      I'm there through a consulting company. So I don't even know what the contract was.

      I don't want to share too much until everything ends.

      I do Clojure.

      1. 1

        I'm there through a consulting company. So I don't even know what the contract was.

        This sounds insane. I kinda don't believe you...

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          I have a contract with a consulting company with specific terms and they have a contract with this one. And I didn't sign any additional contracts. So that means that I don't know what the actual contract between those two is.

        2. 1

          Mhh. Why not? Doesn't really matter either way 😁
          The advice here might still be applied by people in similar situations (hopefully before they do it 🧐)

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