Tech Support Douchebags

At work, they decided to use a 3rd party PDF editor. Allegedly, it has the ability to edit the PDF and save the changes back to our server. I write “allegedly”, because I couldn’t get it to work.

That’s offensive. It’s a buggy POS, but it’s my fault because I can’t magically make it work. “You’re a smart guy! You should be able to make it work!” ignores the fact that I’m experienced enough to recognize garbage. I’m experienced enough to recognize when the tech support guy is giving me evasive answers and trying to emotionally intimidate me.

The other programmer says “They advertise a lot! They must have a good product!” I responded “That only proves they have a marketing budget. That doesn’t prove they have a good product.”

The owner said “Their tech support guy is cool! You’ll like him!” He was a total douchebag. He was stonewalling and avoiding my question.  He was trying to emotionally intimidate me, rather than answer my question.

The owner is a douchebag and the tech support guy is a douchebag. They have the same personality type. Unfortunately, that isn’t the personality type that leads to good software.

I’m mostly convinced that it’s a buggy POS. They have a lot of marketing and evil salesmen and evil tech support. That’s enough to convince evil owners to buy the product.


I reached the limit of the abuse that I’m willing to accept. I’m unemployed again. They were abusive. They were getting worse and worse. Instead of appreciating me, they were getting angry that I wasn’t reading their minds, regarding what features to implement.

12 Responses to Tech Support Douchebags

  1. I’ve worked for scumbags. You have to balance the increasing damage to your mental health by staying there against the need for a paycheck.
    Well that is what a friend of mine has said and he worked for years in the software industry.

    Good luck. You can either apply for software jobs again. Or perhaps try a different line of work. However when people say that to me, I get slightly offedned as I have so much software experience. Maths teacher perhaps?

    Perhaps go for scientific software jobs as the quality of clowns might be higher. Or what about that maths software company in Canada?

  2. As you have some time now, perhaps you can tell us whether we should invest in Sandstorm, Silver Wheaton (they are precious metal middlemen) or go direct for physical in our sweaty paws.

    • I’ve already said many times, physical gold/silver/platinum and take delivery.

      I’m going to look for another programmer job. I’m also going to work on my blog some more, maybe put back up some ads.

      This definitely was an “increasing damage” situation. They weren’t just abusive. They were getting progressively more and more abusive.

    • You missed the footnote at the bottom. I quit and am unemployed again. It got to the point where I wasn’t willing to put up with their abuse anymore.

      It’s easier to look for a job when you’re unemployed, because then you can meet with every crazy headhunter and prospective employer. It’s a numbers game. You have to meet 50+ abusive jerks to find one decent hiring manager.

      Many clueless headhunters insist on meeting you first. I have gotten jobs through headhunters, but never through one who insisted on meeting me first.

  3. Anonymous Coward March 25, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    > You have to meet 50+ abusive jerks to find one decent hiring manager.

    Do you think there is something about software that attracts bad managers? Or is every type of work equally affected by sick clowns?

    Have you done a time-benefit analysis of working in software compared to another line of work? (I’ve had my share of sick dishonest clowns in software, but I wouldn’t consider another line of work just yet.)

    A friend of mine once thought that software might attract stupid managers that want to prove how clever they are.

    About 10 – 15 years ago, when I told people (well family and friends of family!) I write software, they always said how clever I must be! Yet in companies, I’m treated badly.

    • I’ve considered switching to standup comedy, independent filmmaker, or trying to make money via my website. Based on an eCPM of $0.50, I’d need 1M+ pageviews a month to make $500/month, so it isn’t easy.

      In software, there’s a double filter against competent people. First, there’s the possibility of an evil manager able to smooth-talk his bosses. Second, there’s the possibility of evil non-technical managers, which would preclude a competent technical manager. It can be a disaster if *EITHER* the manager is evil OR if the non-technical bosses are evil. Also, a nontechnical manager is typically unable to tell the difference between a competent programmer and a good liar.

      For now, I’m sticking with the wage slave software engineer track. I’m going to try something different eventually.

      Yes, it is really surprising. I know I’m on the top end of the ability and intelligence and experience scale. I should be doing better career-wise, but I’m struggling. It’s a symptom of a collapsing economy.

      In my last job, there was another aspect. The evil bosses got to make themselves feel better, by talking down to me. The reasoning is “I’m abusing someone intelligent like FSK. Therefore, I’m smarter than FSK.”

      There also was the other programmer. He had less job security while I was there. That gave him an incentive to work against me. He probably was telling the other owners what a lousy job I was doing, rather than saying they were lucky to have me. I don’t mind leaving and giving him his desire. Those three scumbags deserve each other.

    • The software industry attracts parasites for two reasons that are unavoidable. 1) Software is an intellectual activity and as such the common person cannot distinguish between competent and a mimic. It takes an expert to tell the difference and for a non technical business owner he can never know if his expert is a mimic and so must just trust someone until circumstances prove otherwise. 2) Software is a non tangible activity so quality and quantity is very hard to measure. This makes it easy for a lazy person to mimic a productive person.

    • If you want to participate in ycombinator, you have to move to California. For personal reasons, I’m staying in NYC now.

      I did send a resume to Union Square Ventures once. They never got back to me.

      The “ideal situation” would be to join a startup as tech lead. I wouldn’t work for equity-only, but I’d take a below-market salary and the rest in equity.

      You should never work for equity only. As a minority shareholder, there’s too many ways to get ripped off. If I’m going to work for equity only, I can work on my website and keep 100% of the equity. If their idea is so brilliant, they should be able to afford to pay a salary. Once you accept an equity-only job and they do raise money, the priority will be to spend it on other things rather than pay you a fair salary.

  4. Anonymous Coward March 26, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    > FSK get hooked up with ycombinator. It would go well with your independent streak.

    In reply to Justin’s comment, FSK does not have an independent streak – it is just a lot of other people don’t have fully functional minds or don’t have a developed emotional IQ yet.

    FSK is human being as they are meant to be made – the others just haven’t woken up yet.

    • “Start my own business” is a good long-term goal. It isn’t as easy as it sounds.

      With an eCPM of $0.50, I’d need a *LOT* of pageviews to get decent earnings.

      VC is out. I probably wouldn’t be able to get VC until I had a successfully bootstrapped business, at which time I wouldn’t need it.

      Ycombinator is out, because I’d have to move to California.

      It is more accurate to say “Almost everyone else is crazy!” rather than “FSK is defective.” For example, at my last job, I’m pretty sure they were getting a huge bargain, but they didn’t appreciate me. It was crazy for them to be so rude to me.

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