Well, that was a little stressful

So a few months ago I got a new job. I.T. at a bank, doing network stuff only with close to a 25% increase in pay. What’s not to love, right?

Well, the job was a fucking nightmare. They managed the I.T. staff through fear. The turn over was way high. In fact I was brought in because most of the I.T. staff had left a little before I came on. Of course, I did not know this when I took the job. The C.I.O is a screamer. You’d hear her screaming at various people in their offices as you walked around.

When you were at work no one talked. Everyone was too worried about getting fired. So you went in, sat at your desk, did your work and pretended that it was natural to not talk to any coworkers.

The change control procedures were insane. Moving a cable on an access port required 6 forms and about a week. I understand the need for change control but this was seriously insane. Projects were crazy as well. Not enough people and not enough time. For example, we were changing internet providers and it required huge amounts of firewall and routing changes. How much time? About three days. With one person doing the work. It should have been a week, minimum and preferably more.

Anyway, it sucked.

And then my boss, a director, left. I thought the guy was an ass. Smart but a total dick. Then he put in his two weeks because he found a better position, and he became the nicest guy. Since he didn’t have to deal with the C.I.O. anymore, he was suddenly happy and really cool.

Before my boss left we went over open projects/tasks that I would need to pick up. More work and not enough time.

Did I mention that I was the only network person? The bank usually has three.

So I am totally swamped. Stressing out and hating going into work because everyone is so damned scared of The Screamer.

Then comes the meeting.

We head into a meeting. The first after my boss left. The Screamer is running it. First up, network team which is just me. I go over all the stuff on my plate. A crap load of work. When I finish The Screamer, in a tone I had heard before but never experienced first hand, asks me about a project. This project, reconfiguring the firewall to block all traffic and only allow partners, has never been mentioned to me in any way. It is an insane amount of work.

I tell The Screamer that a) there is no work order for this b) my boss did not go over this project before he left and this is the first I have heard about the project and c) I can get it done but it will take some time. I will have to go through and identify all incoming and outgoing traffic, write the rules, contact our partners, write the change controls and ensure that the new rules will not break anything.

Cue The Screamer.

The Screamer starts freaking out. My ex-boss is the guy who got everything done. He is gone and The Screamer is fucked because the only skill she has is the ability to scream really loud.

So The Screamer starts in on me. I break in and tell her I can get it done but she just goes off.

I break in again and said something like:

“This is insane. The project got dropped in the transistion. Yelling about it ain’t gonna get it done and…”

The Screamer breaks in with her screaming.

I cut her off and said something like:

“This is fucking stupid. I am not sure what the hell you are trying to do but I sure as hell know that screaming at the people who you want to fix your problem is the dumbest damned thing you can do. If you want peoole to work for you, treat them with respect. If you want someone to keep on screaming, go for it. But I am not going to deal with it. Fix the damned firewall yourself. I rather work at Taco Bell than put up with you.”

The Screamer started screaming again but I didn’t pay much attention as I was walking out the door.I grabbed my stuff from my desk and left.

I am not sure if I quit or was fired.

Anyway I ended up out of a job.

Short on cash due to my wedding and having my wifes kids out to visit.

I came home and explained what happened to my wife. Then applied for a couple jobs.

I got an interview with a national testing company. They needed a network/VM guy.

First interview went well. Then I went in and took some tests. Think personallity and skills tests. It is what the company does so of course I had to run through them.

And I got the job. And I start a couple thousand higher than the bank job. Plus this is straight to hire. The bank job was contract to hire.

I am flying out to California next Monday to meet the people in the head office. Two days out there then I start out here.

In hindsight I discovered employee reviews are something you really ought to check before taking a position. I checked on the bank reviews after leaving. They are pretty damned funny. For the customer service side all the reviews are glowing.

On the I.T. side they are all negative. One just says:

“Do not work in I.T. here. Run away”

Another says simply:

“Horrible management in I.T.”

It has been stressful as hell. I haven’t hated a job so much ever. I was hunting for a new job the second week I was there. I didn’t plan on leaving untill I had a new job but some shit is just not acceptable.


If you didn’t get a slow clap from your co-workers when you walked out, I’m sure we can arrange for one here.

So… how did you handle the usual interview question of “why did you leave your last job?”

Sadly the screamer will scream at the HR department: “where do you get these incompetent people!!!”.

Can’t agree with this enough. I did a job search last summer, and sent a resume to a place that only sorta kinda looked good. In fact, I almost didn’t send it because it was not really all that easy to get a resume to them; their website made you reformat it and I almost blew it off.

Then I went and read the employee reviews at Glassdoor.com and another site. Holy crap, everyone who worked there LOVED the place. It almost didn’t seem real.

Luckily, I ended up getting an offer from them and one other place. The high reviews were a not significant part of my decision process; now 4 months later, I can say they were right. This place is great! Very happy I thought to check reviews.

Did you mean “insignificant?”

Been there (slightly different field). Done that. Did the same thing. Let me know where to send the t-shirt.

Doh! Yes, I did. Serves me right for posting and playing Civ at the same time.

I was pretty honest actually. I explained that the work environment was extremely negative. I didn’t go into the whole meeting bit, they didn’t need to know that part. However, I explained that the company managed through fear and it wasn’t an environment I was willing to accept.

The person I interviewed with said something along the lines of:

“Oh we tried (the management through fear) technique a number of years ago. It didn’t work very well.”

The thing is that the I.T. staff for the bank is full on professional. This isn’t answering tech calls. This is keeping the whole damned thing running. So the management through fear thing is extremely stupid. The I.T. staff has a lot of talent, lots of certs and degrees and can, without too much trouble, find another position.

I forgot to mention Bill in my OP.

When I came on there was another network guy, Bill. Bill was from Asia somewhere. Very smart though his accent took some getting used to. Anyway, Bill got fired.

For what?

Well, we had a meeting. During this meeting Bill asked about a project. The project had been put on hold. Bill asked when we would be doing the project because he wanted to get started on it.

Good idea, right?


After the meeting we went back to our desks. A few minutes later The Screamer came in and went into my bosses office. Screaming ensued. A couple minutes later they brought in Bill. Then fired him.

The offence? Asking about the project that had been put on hold.

On the bright side, I don’t have to deal with that shit anymore.



All I can figure out about the Screamers of the world is that they give really, really good head. Their incompetence and lack of ability to handle staff is usually evident, the deep unhappiness and high turnover of staff should be plain, the problems and unfinished goals should stand out like red flags… and they persist and persist and persist.

Many years ago, I had a job that was so terrible, I briefly considered surrendering my license. A few years after that, I was interviewing for a different job, and the interviewer asked me why I left Hospital X after 4 months. I hemmed and hawed a bit, and he said, “You can tell me the truth. I’ve been told many times that Hospital X is a very difficult place to work at.”

I was told that the woman who replaced me walked out in the middle of her shift - and her husband has been a SAHD since their disabled son was born over 20 years ago. :eek:

Well done sleestak.

Nothing worse than a bully at work. I know how you felt, I kind of have the same problem. My team leader is really negative, raises his voice, admits to problems with rage, and thinks everyone is an idiot. Everyone except him of course. I’m on my way out, but I have to put my ducks in a row first. A hostile work environment is no fun.

I “went to corporate” to complain about ‘being thrown under the bus’,

the guy generous to a fault, but CYA mentality prevailed

Me? Got enuff to live on to call a spade a spade.

I’m in IT (DBA) and look at the local help wanted adverts every once-in-a-while (best time to look for a job is when you have one theory). There were two places that always had job openings. One was a law office and the other a credit card company. I ran into people who use to work at them and found out that both places were horrible to work at and turnover was extremely high.

I had submitted my resume at another company then remembered that a former co-worker of mine was working there. Called him up and he said that he was actively looking for a new job as the place sucked. I declined an interview request at that place.

Always good to check into a potential employer when possible.

Many years ago the company I worked for was in the process of shutting down, but no problem, there was a competitor right across the highway. So I go there to interview; after meeting with my potential boss, who seemed nice, the next three or four sessions are with people roughly at my level, and they begin to take on an odd tone. In addition to the usual technical questions, at some point in each I get questions like, “how do you deal with a boss that yells at you?” “How would you deal with the manager that demanded you change your work to reflect (change in insignificant detail)?” “How do you do deal with a stressful work environment?”

It’s pretty clear near the end that I’m being warned off, in big letters. Then I get into the last interview of the day, with a guy who is fairly senior. He talks to me for a while, then says, “Look, let me level with you. Based on feedback your interviews are going well, but I don’t think you want to work here…it’s a really bad environment. Confidentially, I just accepted a job across town, and I’d like you to think about coming to work for me instead.” Which was all kinds of unethical, but what the hell… I went and interviewed with them, and took a job there instead.

Heh. For my money (and I’m the asshole who does this sort of thing);

Only person who does a mission critical job = Doesn’t have to take your shit.

And yeah, I’ve been there, done that. Told them how much of an asshole they were and how badly their management sucked on the way out.

Yeah, I’ve noticed that the same jobs at the same places seem to keep showing up from recruiters.

That’s usually a HUGE flag that I don’t want anything to do with them. If they can’t fill them, or keep them filled over a 6-9 month period, then they’re either overworked, underpaid, some combination of both, and/or a toxic work environment.

Jeezus, it’s pretty bad when people at the front door are holding up signs basically saying “It’s too late for us but save yourself and run”

I once had the job from hell. The boss was an ass, his wife also worked at the same company and they would bring their home conflicts to the office all the time. Nobody seemed to stay for more than a few weeks, and they verbally abused low level employees. I was as miserable as any person could be on the job, so when I couldn’t have it anymore I showed up one day two hours late wearing shorts to pick up my stuff and walked out. I got a great job that week, and stayed there for nearly 10 years until I quit to go freelance.

I never would have listed that job in my CV. Luckily I was getting another degree by then so I could just say I spent those two months in school.

Good on you sleestak. Glad things worked out. The only thing different that I would have done was on your way out of the building, would be to stop by the Screamer’s boss’s office and let them know that you are quitting and the exact reasons why.