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I have been working with a software company for about 6 months now. I like the projects I work on there and I really like all the people there except for 1 guy. That guy is technically smart, and he is a co-founder of the company. He is an okay guy in person (the kind you wouldn't want to care about much) but things get tricky when he is your manager. In general I am all okay but there are times when I feel I am not being treated fairly:

  • He doesn't give much thought to when he makes mistakes and when I do something similar, he is super critical. Recently he went as far as to say "I am not sure if I can trust you with this feature". The detais of this specific case are this:

I was working on this feature, and I was already a couple of hours over my normal working hours, and then I decided to stop and continue tomorrow. We use git, and I like to commit changes locally and only push when I feel they are ready. This manager insists that I push all the changes to the central repo (in case my hard drive crashes). So I push the change, and the ticket is marked as "to be tested". Next day I come in, he sits next to me and starts complaining and says that I posted above. I really didn't know what to say, I tried to explain to him that the ticket is still being worked upon but he didn't seem to listen.

  • He interrupts me in-between when I am coding, which I do not mind, but when I do that same, his face turns like this :| and reacts as if his work was super important and I am just wasting his time. He asks me to accumulate all questions, and then ask him altogether which is not always possible, as you need a clarification before you can continue on a feature implementation. And when I am coding, he talks on the phone with his customers next to me (when he can go to the meeting room with his laptop) and doesn't care.

  • He made me switch to a whole new IDE (from Netbeans to a commercial IDE costing a lot of money) for a really tiny feature (which I later found out was in Netbeans as well!). I didn't make a big deal out of it as I am equally comfortable working with this new IDE, but I couldn't get the science behind his obsession. He said this feature makes sure that if any method is updated by a programmer, the IDE will turn the method name to red in places where it is used. I told him that I do not have a problem since I always search for method usage in the project and make sure its updated. IDEs even have refactoring features for exactly that, but...

  • I recently implemented a feature for a project, and I was happy about it and considering him a senior, I asked him his comments about the implementation quality.. he thought long and hard, made a few funny faces, and when he couldn't find anything, he said "ummm, your program will crash if JS is disabled" - he was wrong, since I had made sure it would work fine with default values even if JS was disabled. I told him that and then he said "oh okay". BUT, the funny thing is, a few days back, he implemented something and I objected with "But that would not run if JS is disabled" and his response was "We don't have to care about people who disable JS" :-/

  • Once he asked me to investigate if there was a way to modify a CMS generated menu programmatically by extending the CMS, I did my research and told him that the only was is to inject a menu item using JavaScript / jQuery and his reaction was "ah that's ugly, and hacky, not acceptable" and two days later, I see that feature implemented in the same way as I had suggested. The point is, his reaction was not respectful at all, even if what I proposed was hacky, he should be respectful, that I know what's hacky and if I am suggesting something hacky, there must be a reason for it.

There are plenty of other reasons / examples where I feel I am not being treated fairly.

I want your advice as to what is it that I am doing wrong and how to deal with such a situation. The other guys in the team are actually very good people, and I do not want to leave the job either (although I could, if I want to).

All I want is respect and equal treatment. I have thought about talking to this guy in a face to face meeting, but that worries me that his attitude might get worse and make things more difficult for me (since he doesn't seem to be the guy who thinks he can be wrong too).

I am also considering talking to the other co-founder but I am not sure how he will take it (as both founders have been friends forever).

Thanks for reading the long message, I really appreciate your help.

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closed as off topic by Jim G., Jörg W Mittag, gbjbaanb, Yusubov, Walter Sep 15 '12 at 14:02

Questions on Programmers Stack Exchange are expected to relate to software development within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I think that identifying the underlying problem and finding possible solutions to your situation would be suitable for either workplace.stackexchange.com or pm.stackexchange.com. I say that it may not be suitable here because, although you are a software developer, having a manager who is disrespectful and hypocritical is not specific to programmers. However, since the question has not migrated yet, I would say there is a good chance that my viewpoint is not shared by the moderators and your question may be considered fine here. –  David Kaczynski Sep 15 '12 at 13:58
@SoftwareGuy - the point of the email mechanism is that you have a trail of evidence that you can later use in a tribunal, or even just as something to take to HR. IF HR or the other co-founder have any sense, they will take your complaints about bullying seriously. Its a big financial problem to them if you take it all the way (and win, obviously). Anyway, ask on area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/30887/the-workplace –  gbjbaanb Sep 15 '12 at 14:00
Please do not cross-post between Stack Exchange sites. We have a system in place for migration, which involves contacting the moderators of potential sites to ensure that the question is appropriate for them. It can take a bit of time to get a response, but we can migrate closed questions. In the future, do not cross-post questions - flag the post for migration and let a moderators coordinate with other sites to move the question or determine why it isn't a good fit. –  Thomas Owens Sep 15 '12 at 14:25
thanks for your feedback mods. apparently posting a question is a science of its own it seems. –  Software Guy Sep 15 '12 at 19:03
The High Art of Handling Problem People is a must read for dealing with difficult people. Essentially, you can't change them, so don't even bother trying to, you will only frustrate yourself. Accept them the way they are, minimize contact with them, don't try to reason with them or try to get them to see your side, and only present them with facts. –  Anthony Sep 16 '12 at 5:06

1 Answer 1

up vote 16 down vote accepted

I was in a very similar situation. Guess what I did? I left as soon as I could secure another job offer.

My advice: Life is too short to deal with these bi-polar, hypocrite types. Do not speak to the other co-founder about his misbehavior. I'm willing to bet that it's well known. Simply leave as soon as you can.

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Thanks Jim, good to know that I am not alone. The only thing that might stop me from doing that is, that I don't want a job on my CV for 6 months, in an ideal world, it might not matter, but in reality, its a red flag for most companies. But yes, I agree, that life is too short, so perhaps happiness and satisfaction in the present time is more important than sacrificing present (which is real) for a future we don't know we would live :) –  Software Guy Sep 15 '12 at 14:02
The boss is showing poor leadership by lack of trust. Try repeating his comments back (shows listening) and then answer, e.g. "I hear you about JS being disabled, that's a great point. I have implemented a server-side validation method to address those cases. Here is how it works." (then demo to him by disabling JS) –  Turnkey Sep 15 '12 at 14:07
Amen! For some reason, this industry attracts more than its share of "difficult" people. I've never regretted leaving a job, but there have been a couple I've regretted not leaving sooner. If you're good, you WILL find another job. –  Joe Ballard Mar 23 '13 at 2:50

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