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What was your worst job ever, and why?

Marcel Wentink
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 19, 2008
Posts: 157
No names off course! I just want the reasons why.

I will start. A software company I used to work for. about 50 people working there. I disliked it because

1. bad salary
2. obliged company outings
3. a manager/owner who really loved his own baby

I had more things to do at home as a single father. So my personal situation was deciding for the reasons why I disliked this job. Also I do not like it when a manager constantly is reclaiming his company is so much more special then others. I know they all do that a bit, but this one really believed himself. For this the 'number 3' reason. But really this was the worst and most irritating position I ever had!
chris webster

Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 2288

That's a dangerous question to ask, isn't it?

My very worst job was as a dishwasher in a restaurant - I quit when they told me to clean the inside of the oven without switching it right off!

But my worst IT job was for a government agency, working on a project that had already been through the entire design/implementation cycle twice, was years overdue, millions over budget, and had now decided to declare itself an "Agile" project in a desperate attempt to inject a sense of urgency into the whole process. The aim was to upgrade and extend an existing system to include new J2EE internet interfaces and so on. The underlying database and core functions were not going to change, and the company's key business processes had not changed radically for about 50 years. Should have been easy, no?

Well, I joined the project about a year into the 3rd attempt, when they were hiring legions of freelance developers and testers to implement the system.

Being "Agile", they didn't have much in the way of written requirements or specifications. Unfortunately, unlike most Agile projects (although I'm no Agile expert so maybe I'm wrong here), they also had an enormously bureaucratic process of establishing the requirements, which more or less prevented developers from ever meeting users.

Also, unlike most Agile projects I've heard of, they were actually taking a kind of waterfall approach to the implementation process i.e. lots of meetings to discuss requirements (without actually including the user representatives), then tell developers to implement something (not clear what), and finally hand the results over to an army of system testers. No obvious signs of iterative development, prototyping or user feedback, things that we non-Agile-experts would ordinarily expect an Agile project to include.

As a developer, if you wanted to find out what the user expected a particular program to do, you had to submit a request to the appropriate business analyst, who would then call one of the senior business users, who would then talk to the ordinary users, which could take days. Because of this bureaucracy, they had spent over 3 years on the project, already implemented it twice, and still didn't know what they wanted their new system to do. The developers had no way to find out what functionality they were supposed to implement, and the test team had no way to design and plan their system tests, because nobody knew what the system was supposed to do in the first place.

The organisation also had a truly toxic working atmosphere, very political, lots of people bitching and backstabbing each other. Meanwhile, a lot of freelancers got so bored waiting for something to do that they quit before ever starting any real work, despite the very generous rates of pay. As for me, I was only on the project for a few weeks, before getting fired for asking too many stupid questions, like "does anybody know what they want the system to do?" (answer: we don't know) and "where are the user representatives?" (answer: another county). Because I'd been hoping to use my ill-gotten gains from this contract to fund my Master's degree, I could not afford to go to college after being fired, and spent most of the next year out of work. Which is why it qualifies as my worst job ever.

However, a couple of self-proclaimed "architects" and project managers got some really cool buzzwords on their CVs, because they could claim to have run an "Agile" J2EE project (right into the ground...). So I guess it wasn't a complete waste of taxpayer's money, eh?

I think it finally went live about a year after my departure, although a colleague who survived the process to the bitter end told me the system was still rubbish when they signed it off. The depressing thing is that this isn't even the most incompetent or wasteful government IT project around - this was just a low-key screw-up by UK government standards!

No more Blub for me, thank you, Vicar.
Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 15081

I did a lot of small jobs when I was a student.

I worked at a paper recycling factory for a few days. That was a bad job... I was standing along a conveyor belt on which the old paper was travelling, and I had to remove the non-paper stuff (glass, plastic and other stuff) from the paper. Besides me, there was an old guy who had been working there for years. I discovered that in a corner below the conveyor belt he had a stack of "dirty" magazines that he was taking from between the paper.

I also did a one-day job in a store where there had been a fire next door, so that everything in the store was covered with black soot. We had to pack everything into boxes. Ofcourse you'd get very dirty from the soot.

One of the nicer jobs was for two months at the helpdesk of WordPerfect. I'd get phone calls from people who needed help with WordPerfect. Some really had no clue what they were doing ("Ok, I've typed in a letter. Now what do I do?"), and some of them had an illegal copy (Me: "Your license number is not valid. Where did you get WordPerfect from?", customer: "I copied it from the neighbour."). Can you imagine that, copying software illegally and then calling the helpdesk?!

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Mark Spritzler

Joined: Feb 05, 2001
Posts: 17276

Worst job ever, selling newspapers door to door. I was maybe 13 at the time. Luckily only did it for one day only.


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Tomita Militaru
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 16, 2009
Posts: 37
I think its my current job in a software company, they just reduced my salary by half and suggested I should come more hours than usual. I'm a student too.
Of course, the reason is always this financial crisis.

Poor is the man whose pleasures depend on the permission of another.
Ankit Garg

Joined: Aug 03, 2008
Posts: 9462

My current job, which is also my first job, is my worst job I think. Earlier things were good when we were 2 developers on JavaEE and we had to develop a sort of CMS in Servlets which we did in 2 months. Then that other guy left and I was the only person on Java. After that, they made me work on ASP (classic) for 1 month which I can never forget. Then finally they got a project on JavaEE which used EJB3. Then the problems started to get worst. The project was developed 2 years ago, with very bad coding standards, and for the past 2 years, freelancers were maintaining the code making enhancements to it (and introducing bugs on the way). The code was mostly broken when I got it. My job was to get it back together which I did after a lot of efforts. But the problem was that the person whose site it was, used to be on chat with me everytime. He is a completely non-technical guy. So he sometimes tells me to do very hard things and that too in a very small time. And you can't say no to him. And if you don't complete the work on time, then you have to listen to words beginning from "f" if you know what I mean. I'm still working on that project, but I've heard enough of "f" words and now I've no other choice but to resign from my job and look for a new job as that project is like never ending and my company is earning a lot from it so they won't go for another project. Let's see how it goes...

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R K Singh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 15, 2001
Posts: 5382
Ankit Garg wrote:And you can't say no to him.

Say NO. Say loud and clear No.
Most of the time it would be appreciated as you would be telling him truth. Involve your senior to tell him the correct time lines, obviously with valid reasons.

If F word is not friendly then you also tell him that you dont like using this word with you.

You cant run away from such people, you have to learn them to handle them.

"Thanks to Indian media who has over the period of time swiped out intellectual taste from mass Indian population." - Chetan Parekh
Ankit Garg

Joined: Aug 03, 2008
Posts: 9462

R K Singh wrote:Involve your senior to tell him the correct time lines, obviously with valid reasons.

What senior, I'm the only one on Java in my company. I tell my boss about this and he says, just do it in the time he has given you. My boss is also scared of saying anything to him. My boss knows that the project could slip out of his hands if he says anything to him.

R K Singh wrote:You cant run away from such people, you have to learn to handle them.

You are right here I agree. But one needs backup to handle such situations. I don't have any senior, my boss acts as if he is helpless, so I'm left on my own . Anyways I'll try to tackle him...
marc weber

Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

I worked the night shift running an injection molding machine that made those little plastic swords they put in cocktails. It was so hot next to that machine, I sweat off about 6 pounds per shift. I think I made about $3.35 per hour.

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subject: What was your worst job ever, and why?
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