I Have a Personality Conflict with Typical Managers
I left home at a pretty early age to go take my first “professional” programming job out in Colorado. Prior to that, I had some modest success (for a teenager) doing freelance web development work. I’m from Alabama and I had never lived on my own, so it was a pretty crazy move to uproot and move across the country and away from my family to take my first job. My mom was pretty upset.
I enjoyed working for myself, not having to report to anyone (other than my customers!), and just being able to use the general understanding of my craft as the foundation for everything that I did. Taking this first “real” job in the industry gave me my first exposure to some of the really ugly side of our line of work. The long hours, the sleepless nights, the unrealistic deadlines, egotistical developers fighting with each other during an 8 hour conference call and you getting so pissed off that you shout some obscenities into the phone and hang up on everyone and then walk up the street to complain to your boss about the idiots only to find out that moments after you abruptly left the call they found a critical bug in your part of the application and you had just locked yourself out of your apartment so the only way to fix it was to use your photographic memory of your own code to walk someone else through it line by line and instruct them on what to change to fix it. Phew. That was a mouthful. To be fair, that was the first (and last) bug they found in my code during that 10 (?) hour call. After that, I had to wait something like 45 minutes for my apartment complex’s maintenance crew to come let me back in.
I’m not a big fan of any of the following:
- Setting unrealistic expectations
- Consistently working overtime every single week
- Extreme personality conflicts in teams
- Being micromanaged
- Managers that do nothing to buffer their subordinates from negativity up the chain
- Managers that can’t give up control or try to run parts of their business that they’re clueless about
- Managers that can’t take criticism, constructive or otherwise
- Managers that can’t admit when they’ve made a mistake
I could make that list a lot longer, but I think I’ll stop there for now. I’ve changed jobs a few times in the 8 years I’ve worked professionally in this industry. I’ve noticed an unfortunately common theme in a lot of the managers I’ve worked for. I’m not always necessarily referring to my direct manager, though. I’ve had a couple really spectacular direct managers that had really bad managers above them and there was just nothing my direct manager could do to make things better.
My personality conflict comes from being unable to stand for bullshit. When I see problems, I’m very vocal about them. I expect the people who work with me to act the same way. If you can’t explain to me why what I’m seeing is not bullshit, then you’ll be hearing from me about it. A lot. At least until some measurable effort is put forward to try to correct whatever the problem is. Most of the managers I know aren’t big fans of this. Because of the fact that my end-goal has always been to run my business and make my living that way, I’ve invested an enormous amount of time learning about the parts of business that I’m weak in. Sales, customer development, marketing, etc. It’s made it so that I can’t unsee the bad decisions in these parts of the businesses that I work for and I’m physically incapable of keeping my mouth shut about it. When trying to take it formally up the chain doesn’t work, I default to getting louder and louder until someone listens. Or fires me. Because, at the end of the day, I don’t need a job. I need money. I know how to make money, so working for people who have no interest in considering my insights is just a waste of my time. Time is one of my most valuable assets. There’s few things I hate more than people who waste my time.
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