Things that kill motivation at work.

In some past jobs, my commitment was strongly damaged by a few events that happened as the company was rapidly growing.

  • I noticed silos between Dev an Ops, and I’ve automated the process for delivering software to Ops. But the Ops people decided to not use it.
  • We engineers were regularly asking to do something about the silos between IT department and the rest of the organization. I reported them via Slack, lot of colleagues supported my initiative but it was backfired to me by management, because some things have to stay the way they are and transparency was not a priority, even if this contradicts the company values.
  • Our team was overloaded with shit tasks. We were executing the same manual instructions every day for helping the same group of people and after a few months, we had executed hundred of such requests manually without adding any value. I automated the process by allowing this group to solve this kind of task without the need to ask our team. It was applauded by those people, my manager and my direct colleagues, but the initiative was backfired to me by top management as they had decided in the past to never automate this, and killing this initiative was an opportunity to remind us of who is in charge. The automation was retired.
  • I got a warning that the new boss was in a mood to fire people so we had to keep a low profile and stop taking any initiative. Any new initiative should be validated via our managers.
  • We had no backup of our codebase (hosted on SaaS) thus in case one administrator would accidentally click on some delete button, everything would be lost. After fixing this with automation, I was asked to test if the backup could be restored, and I tested this on a test environment. Unfortunately, access to the test environment was not restricted, and a few secrets were found in the codebase. I was blamed for that initiative.
  • We had daily stand-ups, I was requested in private to rather shut up than speaking for more than one minute.
  • During those daily stand-ups, I was requesting help for our team as we were overloaded with work for a long time and we were in despair to get new people in our team. The manager and the rest of the people didn’t react, only a fresh colleague helped.
  • My colleagues and ex-manager were praising my kindness, but new management was blaming me for being rude in public. What they really mean is that I was too honest (assertive), something that was not totally aligned with the new politics.
  • We had to keep management informed with a weekly report listing our planned activity, blocking issues, decisions to be taken etc. Despite I’ve sent a few of those reports, I never had feedback on the decisions nor blocking issues, so it seems it was just management covering their back with this.
  • The same discussions occurred over and over again with managers, it would be very common from them to ask us to explain everything again about our current infrastructure/architecture, without them showing any progress in the understanding of the system.
  • A lot of things were promised by the manager during the Sprint retro but those would never be done.

I ended up resigning, because I don’t need micro management nor to be managed by fear, and I wanted to avoid burnout.

I expect the freedom and I need to be supported when speaking of problems, acting on them, taking initiatives, help other people and get helped. And I don’t need managers in my way for that, especially managers abusing their power to kill initiatives and fire people.

Managers, please let us do our work. And if you notice the organization malfunctions, please blame yourself for bad leadership, don’t threaten your employees and learn how to keep your best programmers.

 
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