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Office Work Ethic In the IT Industry?

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the asok-could-tell-you dept.

Businesses 709

An anonymous reader writes "As a recent graduate entering industry for the first time at a large software and hardware company, I have been shocked at what seems to be a low standard of work ethic and professionalism at my place of employment, especially in this poor economy. For example, at my company, the large majority of developers seem to each individually waste — no exaggeration — hours of time on the clock every day talking about football, making personal phone calls, gossiping, taking long lunches, or browsing the Internet (including, yes, Slashdot!). Even some of our subcontractors waste time in this manner. Being the 'new guy,' I get stuck with much of the weekend and after-hours grunt work when we inevitably miss deadlines or produce poor code. I'm not in any position to go around telling others to use their time more efficiently. Management seems to tolerate it. I would like to ask Slashdot what methods others have used to deal with office environments such as this. Is my situation unique or is it common across the industry?"

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709 comments

People aren't robots (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667346)

They aren't going to sit down, do 8 straight hours of work, then go home. You'll burn out even trying. People work better with short, frequent breaks taken at their own rate. So long as they get the work done, there's no problem. The only issue I see here is you- first off, grow some balls and refuse to work the extra hours. Trust me, you won't be rewarded for them. Secondly, unless someone isn't making their individual units of work, mind your own business. Or maybe even join in the next time they talk football, you might make a friend or two.

Re:People aren't robots (4, Insightful)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667434)

Mod parent up. This "Ask Slashdot" is a typical reaction of someone who is very very new to the workforce and doesn't understand (yet) it has a human component. During your studies, you don't work 8h straight either, but you don't notice. Well, most of them don't. I remember that, when I was a student, I could at most study 4h over the whole day. However, when I did that, I was concentrated. My neighbour claimed 10 to 12 hours studying per day. In reality I caught her more than once just staring out of the window, not really studying. For her that was part of "studying" but in reality it isn't.

Personally, I still adhere to the 4h/day effective work. If you have worked fully concentrated on your work for 4h during the work day, you did have a productive day. At least in my eyes.

Re:People aren't robots (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667602)

In reality I caught her more than once just staring out of the window, not really studying. For her that was part of "studying" but in reality it isn't.

I was taking second level "window studies" as a subsid to my sociology degree you insensitive clod.

Re:People aren't robots (4, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667618)

This "Ask Slashdot" is a typical reaction of someone who is very very new to the workforce and doesn't understand (yet) it has a human component.

Clearly I learnt something useful on my placement year :-).

One of the contractors said to me, "do you realise they only employ you because you cost half what I cost? You're currently working twice as hard as well, next time I walk past your desk I ought to see Facebook, not Java".

(I was also surprised that working was less stressful than studying. Of course, I had less free time -- I was at work from 9:30 to 17:30, plus I spent longer travelling, but at 17:30 I would walk out and not need to worry about work until 9:30 the next day. My free time at university was spent thinking "I shouldn't be doing this, I've got a project/revision/etc to do")

Re:People aren't robots (3, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667446)

This!

The Idea that if people are browsing the internet, or having a coffee break, they aren't working is *bull*. Programming is hard... It needs problems to go round in your head for a while before you settle on the right way to do something. Doing something idle is *exactly* what's needed to get that to happen.

Programmer productivity is not measured in: lines of code written
Programmer productivity is not measured in: amount of time spent not browsing the web

Programmer productivity *is* measured in: Actually solving problems at a reasonable rate.
Programmer productivity *is* measured in: Ability to tell people why solving problem x will take 5 days {more | less} than expected, *before* it's too late.

Re:People aren't robots (3, Informative)

dintech (998802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667506)

browsing the Internet

Oh dear. 90% of the people reading this are probably at work.

Nerd Rage in 5... 4...

Re:People aren't robots (5, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667518)

You guys are a bunch of lazy assholes. The guy even says they miss deadlines and the code they produce is crap. Of course people rarely work full out for an entire day, but he's clearly describing a situation far worse than normal. The organization obviously lacks leadership and focus because tolerance of this sort of behavior comes from the top.

Why is it that coders typically seem to have enormous egos when it comes to their work. Everybody works hard. There's nothing special about coding. My workday include tasks that are both physically and mentally taxing, I often juggle several tasks at once and am held to a very high standard of quality. Man up, buckle down and produce because you don't work in a vacuum.

Re:People aren't robots (1, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667598)

The guy even says they miss deadlines and the code they produce is crap.

So the people who make the deadlines are at fault. If they loosened their deadlines, code would be done on time and there would be time to make good code, which would save time and make people even more productive later on.

Re:People aren't robots (2, Funny)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667662)

You are a management genius. All of our economic problems would be solved if there were more people like you.

Re:People aren't robots (5, Insightful)

djjockey (1301073) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667760)

I'm amazed at the defensive attitude in most replies. Given the audience, maybe I shouldn't be, but it does seem the majority here are very defensive of their 'down time'. I accept that it is necessary. I do it myself. Read the news, make private calls, go on job interviews... or whatever. But I got the feeling that it's far above the normal in this environment. Regardless of whether this is normal or not, the best way to deal with it is probably to worry about your own output. If it's a good place to work, they'll notice you. If they don't appreciate it or notice, maybe it's really not a great place to start a career.

At my company, there is a strong relationship focus. We can "waste" a lot of time talking about stuff that is only moderately related to work, but it's all valuable.

At my company, discussing things like "what if our biggest competitor designed a flying car, what would we do", or "if we were to build a new datacentre what colour makes it go faster" is work. Gossiping, farmville/pet society/etc, long lunches, is not work, and should only be a minor part of the day. Valid down time yes, but dont' tell me it's work.

I've heard of the 5pm rule, where after 5 you stop work and just talk to people. And yes, there is still the talk of football or the stockmarket, oil prices water shortages, or whatever. My role is not specifically technical, but part of it is process and systems design, testing and improvement. Most days I would probably only contribute 4 of real output. 2 hours of thinking about solutions, 2 hours of dealing with day to day shit that comes up, and 1-2 hours of relationship building.

Oh, and the excuse that code is crap and deadlines are missed because the deadlines are a problem.... I'll buy that only after you stop bitching about your boss long enough to do some work.

Then maybe they're just no good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667610)

Then maybe they're just no good and if they worked more hours, instead of better code, they'd produce more bad code.

Why is it that CEOs get to play golf as a work activity? And your statement "Why is it that coders" indicates you don't know what concentration is required to code. When you studied for exams, you were told to take a 10 minute break every 20 minutes AT LEAST or you'll not manage to do more work, just take more time.

And that's not for a day-to-day job. That's for a one-off deadline.

Re:Then maybe they're just no good (4, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667716)

Bullshit. The only reason they can get away with acting like "keepers of the secret flame" is because "outsiders" don't have the tools to adequately measure productivity. Nobody ever told me to take 10 off for every 20; if I did that I would have flunked out. If you can't hack more than 20 minutes of work at a time you're either lazy or stupid.

My advice of the author of the article is to start looking for a new job NOW. Find someplace where the company culture includes a work ethic because productivity means profit and profit means paychecks.

Re:Then maybe they're just no good (3, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667740)

You'd think so wouldn't you?

I work for one of the biggest names in the business and they seem to spend an awful lot of time trying to stop us producing anything, yet the money keeps flowing in...

I agree in part though, if your concentration span is 20 minutes you're doing it wrong. When I get into "the zone" I can go for several hours at a time without really even looking up. I just don't do it every day

Re:People aren't robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667696)

Why is it that coders typically seem to have enormous egos when it comes to their work. Everybody works hard. There's nothing special about coding. My workday include tasks that are both physically and mentally taxing, I often juggle several tasks at once and am held to a very high standard of quality. Man up, buckle down and produce because you don't work in a vacuum.

That is true for any kind of work :D I agree with the sentiment you expressed: perhaps it is the US's relaxed attitude to work?

Relaxed attitudes exist in every society for sure, but a "in principle we shouldn't do this" may be what is missing.

Re:People aren't robots (1)

SlashDread (38969) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667700)

"The guy even says they miss deadlines and the code they produce is crap. Of course people rarely work full out for an entire day, but he's clearly describing a situation far worse than normal"

Clearly you think prgramming is normally on time and bug free. Snicker.

Re:People aren't robots (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667530)

This.

Try to code your ass off for 8h straight every day and you'll end up tired, burned out and making a huge number of mistakes where you haven't thought things through properly.

You can do it for a while after you first start working perhaps, I know I did and I was more productive for a while, but you can't keep it up forever and frankly if you can stay interested, inspired and creative for four hours a day your doing bloody well!

I know one or two people who are the exception to this. They seem to live for their work and revolve their lives around it much more than most. They are very highly valued but they are not always promoted first or given the best opportunities. They also seem to be the types with little to do when not at work.

Re:People aren't robots (4, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667634)

I know one or two people who are the exception to this. They seem to live for their work and revolve their lives around it much more than most. They are very highly valued but they are not always promoted first or given the best opportunities. They also seem to be the types with little to do when not at work.

I worked with someone like that. If he ever stopped for a chat it would be about the pros and cons of using a linked list or a circular buffer in various circumstances or something like that. I found out later that when he went home he programmed open source projects. He was the ideal programmer, accurate and highly productive. He needed careful management however because he was only a programmer. A manager once asked him to discuss requirements with a user and both came away angry, the programmer because the user "was being ambiguous" and the user because the programmer "wasn't listening".

Re:People aren't robots (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667666)

I work with one who turns his brain to the whole thing, design, methodology, requirements, coding, testing. Highly, highly valuable. Not the world's best team lead, and no life to speak of outside of going to see his parents once in a while.

I'd hire him in a second, were I in charge of a company, and promote hime way up the technical chain. He's that good. But I don't want to be him.

Re:People aren't robots (2, Funny)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667848)

He sounds like the kind of guy that shows up with a sawed-off shotgun one day and pulps the office.

Re:People aren't robots (0)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667548)

Did you not read the summary? We're talking hours of time here, not say half an hour or so through out the day. Working 5 or 6 out of your 8 hours every day shouldn't be acceptable to anyone especially when you're missing deadlines all the time and the quality is poor. What's the point in taking all of those breaks to regroup if your work is shit and never done on time?

Re:People aren't robots (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667560)

If you're missing deadlines then that's bad, sure.

But most people seem to work about half the day as far as I can tell, inside and outside of programming.

Re:People aren't robots (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667832)

In the UK at least, working at *most* 6 hours of an 8 hour day is a *legal requirement*.

All people using VDUs must take at least 1 hour for lunch, and at least 1 half hour break in any session longer than 2 hours IIRC. That leaves you with only 6 hours in an 8 hour day left.

Re:People aren't robots (4, Informative)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667724)

The solutions to so many design problems pop into my head while I'm walking to get coffee or on my lunchbreak it's not funny.

Re:People aren't robots (4, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667512)

I'm not necessarily sure you read the full question. From the information contained there, it sounds like the big part of the problem is that the work isn't getting done; at least not to the quality that's needed.

I've been in a similar situation once before, early in my career, when I came as a relatively junior member of staff into a part of my organisation that had a really toxic, time-wasting culture. And despite what you may think, ill-disciplined working habits were a big part of that. I understand that people like to structure their days differently and that properly managed, this can make people more productive, but there needs to be some form of control exercised to prevent people from crossing the line into taking liberties. By all means, show toleration of slightly eccentric working patterns, people listening to ipods at their desk and a moderate amount of personal web-browsing, provided it doesn't start to eat up most of the day. But if the job isn't getting done, remedial action is needed to break the culture. And yes, in the short term, this might involve imposing a draconian regime (with rigidly set hours, dress code etc), which can be relaxed slightly back to a more normal level once it's safe to do so.

The problem is that if you have come in at a junior level, there's almost nothing you can do, particularly if your management chain are complicit in the culture. Personally, when I found myself in that situation, I transferred sidewards to another part of the organisation after a few months; I didn't want my reputation to be tarnished, and was worried that the lack of self-discipline shown by my co-workers would rub off on me. About 18 months later, the head of the division in question was replaced, with his replacement apparently having a specific brief to clean the area up. So yes, working hours were suddenly enforced more rigidly than anywhere else in the organisation, dress codes were were imposed, music at desks was banned, all personal web-browsing was blocked and so on. About half of the staff resigned in protest (we weren't in a recession at the time), while the other half knuckled down and became more productive. 18 months after that, the area looked more or less like the rest of the wider organisation.

The message: sometimes "I work differently to other people" is just code for "I don't want to do any work". Learn to recognise the difference and stamp ruthlessly on the latter. Also, understand that if not monitored, the former can develop into the latter over time.

Oh, and working the odd late night or weekend can, in the right situation, do your career a power of good. Try not to make it a habit, but a willingness to do so when actually required will usually be noticed.

Re:People aren't robots (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667644)

That is indeed a big problem. However, the submitter seems to think it's his problem.

Certainly, a professional will solve these problems but there's a big difference between being a professional and being a doormat.

Re:People aren't robots (1)

HateBreeder (656491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667702)

Sounds like the submitter thinks there's a problem.

I'm not entirely convinced.

Somehow that big company survived as a business before he joined and made his observations. Whatever it is they're doing, seems to be working out for them.
Maybe he specifically joined a department that's in loss or will be shut down if they don't start producing results, but i'm certain that it isn't indicative of the company as a whole.

Re:People aren't robots (4, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667794)

That an organisation is big and hasn't failed yet is absolutely no guarantee that it isn't headed to fail now. I think that is one lesson we can absolutely take from the events we've seen in the wider economy over the last two years.

More broadly, it's by no means uncommon for organisations to lose focus as they grow, and for the original culture that made them successful to be diluted, or for smaller sub-cultures of failure to develop within parts of the organisation. I don't work for Microsoft (or indeed in the tech sector), but I've certainly heard many plausible accounts from people who do of this happening there.

And is it the submitter's problem? Yes. Of course, as a junior member of the team, he's not going to be the one who fixes it, but if the area he works in has a bad reputation within his company, or if his company has a bad reputation within the marketplace, then this can and will impact on his career prospects further down the line (as well as making him more vulnerable to layoffs). He needs exercise some good old-fashioned self-interest and weigh up his options. If he can't give up the income and has absolutely no other job prospects (such as an internal move to a better part of the company, or even a move to another company in the same field), then he may just need to hang in there for the time being and protect his own reputation as well as he's able to. Sometimes, being the only useful, helpful person in a team full of idiots can actually be beneficial, in the short-term. You might stand out more to colleagues elsewhere, who may try to poach you. The most important thing is to avoid falling into the same bad habits. It's generally a good idea in the workplace to try to fit in and get along with your immediate co-workers. However, there will always be some cultures and cliques where thee last thing you want to do is fit in (a lesson most people should have learned by high school). Tolerating some unpleasantness now may turn out to be worth it further down the road.

Re:People aren't robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667672)

Definitely don't bend over backwards unless you have negotiated what's in it for you, or in the rare case you have a boss you can trust to make it worth your while.
When i was younger, I did much extra work and 'going the extra mile' stuff that was taken for granted. Others did just above the minimum and got better raises and such. Sure, you become a 'go to' guy of sorts, but for fixing others craptastic work. It is not worth it unless you can get something out of it.

Re:People aren't robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667770)

The trick is when to know when you are not bending over backwards, but bending over forwards. Remember, it's not the work you do, it's the work your boss sees, and your boss's boss sees which give you your promotions, raises, and makes you last in the line of victims when the axe starts falling.

Toot your own horn. If you are a dev, keep a log of bugs fixed, and make sure your name is touching every fix in the bug tracker, so people think you are responsible for stuff getting shipped on time. If you are in IT, don't just hide in the server room. Get your derriere out there and start asking various people if they are having any computer problems. Don't be rude, but get known. Even if someone bitches in another department about how things suck, just having someone actually have a face may be good, especially if its a manager who gets a problem fixed in a reasonable amount of time. IT is one of those places where people forget about you until the shit hits the fan, then they want you to lick the fan blades clean as well as disinfect the walls.

Oh, and network, network, network. If you have a bunch of ties in a company, you are *FAR* better off than someone who just "does their 8 and out the gate". Get to meet the Squeebles in finance during the office Christmas party and pretend you are interested in their kids' escapades without appearing like a perv. Pretend to marvel at the sales-droid's new BMW because he feels it is his ego wrapped up into a vehicle. If you are in IT, check how the dev side is doing and perhaps find stuff in common.

Of course, if you either are a dev or in IT, document everything. This way, some cow-orker that wants to play office politics and play the "set up for failure" game now has to deal with the fact that every bullshit assertion he makes is stomped into the ground by a ream of syslog files or diffs. Trust me, every department has one of these guys. You either defend yourself, he will be promoted ahead of you without doing a single line of code, or he will get you fired.

Don't forget to figure out the REAL power structure. Every company has a map of who reports to whom, but usually in real life, the person with the most say may not be the person you think it might be. I've seen the company security guard supervisor be the guy that approves or disapproves big dollar purchases, even though he is not in the purchasing structure anywhere. I've seen company officers who do absolutely nothing, and have no power in a company. They are only there because other people in their family are officers.

Keep your resume updated. Here in the US, people's nads are falling off like rotten cherries in how they handle "rightsizing" issues. If someone actually has the guts to hand you a pink slip, count yourself lucky. It is becoming common for companies just yank employee accounts after everyone has gone home for a weekend, and people's who badges are disabled are told to leave the premises or face trespass charges, and their stuff will be mailed to them.

Finally, remember this adage in this shitty economy: If you have a job, you can get a job. HR droids prefer hiring people away from other companies than hiring people who are jobless. Yes, its harsh, but HR people think that if you have a job, you have more worth than a candidate who is between positions. Don't hesitate to keep your job hunt machine going.

Re:People aren't robots (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667726)

Been there done that. Just working 40 hours a week with little or no breaks and got burnt out. You will understand when you get there yourself. We don't, as a general rule, learn from the mistakes of others.

Re:People aren't robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667784)

People work better with short, frequent breaks taken at their own rate.

Do you have a reference for this bit of wisdom?

In my experience people tent to believe they take short frequent breaks but in reality they work for short infrequent bursts and waste a lot of time talking nonsense among themselves. This I have found is a symptom of a immature work environment where goals are vague and feedback delayed and infrequent.

Re:People aren't robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667792)

The only issue I see here is you- first off, grow some balls and refuse to work the extra hours. Trust me, you won't be rewarded for them.

This is not the political approach. "Not a team player", frowned upon.

Approach your boss about being paid overtime. Of course you will be denied, but then it's -them- not playing on the team with you and whenever they want you to stay, you can just tell "As soon as I'm paid the overdue overtime."

Re:People aren't robots (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667804)

Glad to see the parent is mod up. I've had people on charge, and as long as actual work was done i didn't really mind small breaks - in fact, i think they're healthy in the workplace.

Then again, taking breaks shouldn't mean "slacking". Most people do just fine when you give them deadlines and allow them to micromanaging their own time. Some, of course, do not.

Thinking is hard work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667358)

Try programming all day, every day. You end up driving home in a fog.

Websites (5, Insightful)

mxh83 (1607017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667362)

Many people browse IT websites at work. In this industry, how to you propose we keep ourselves updated? You sound like one of those irritating prudes who can't understand how the normal world works.

Get use to it ! (3, Insightful)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667364)

It's the same in every field of activity (banks, everything), not only in IT.

I admit it might be hard to realize at first but you should get use to it eventually ! ;-)

Re:Get use to it ! (1)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667468)

Things of note:

1) People have life outside work. And noone is going to just hang on friends/family with "can't talk, i am at work". That would be way too porr social skills. People also need to take care of other business, i.e. phone to bank or support of some sort.

Expect people to have private conversation on phone

2) Making friends in workplace is a must, if only because you need to cooperate with people and workign with friends is easier than working with bunch of robots.

Expect people to have conversations about 'nothing' and gossip.

Re:Get use to it ! (1)

readthemall (1531267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667562)

Yes, we humans are social animals [wikipedia.org]. What you describe - talking about football, making personal phone calls, gossiping, taking long lunches, or browsing the Internet - is normal.

On the other hand, if it takes hours of time every day, you are at the wrong place. Large companies have this tendency to become a place where such people gather and get their salaries for doing almost nothing. Stay there for a while - until you get a year spent in a large software and hardware company to have it on your resume - and then leave at first opportunity. You will surely find a place where people have more serious attitude to their job, and you will find it is better to work with them.

Oblig XKCD (4, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667370)

http://xkcd.com/303/ [xkcd.com]

I'm starting to wonder if there is a case where no XKCD comic applies.

Re:Oblig XKCD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667520)

I'm starting to wonder if there is a case where no XKCD comic applies.

XKCD link on ubiquity of XKCD links in 3.. 2...

Actually, can we have a Venn diagram illustrating the realm of material in the universe covered by XKCD, Monty Python, and the Simpsons? What exists in the multiverse that isn't covered by one of those three?

Hopefully... (4, Funny)

dsavi (1540343) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667372)

Hopefully they will see this while browsing /. during work and straighten their ways. I mean, that happens all the time, doesn't it?

It is simple supply and demand (5, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667380)

The more real work which is done, the less it's worth. As a supplier of work it makes no sense for you to reduce the value of that work.

 

Get a life (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667392)

For example, match Man.Utd. - Chelsea is more important then anything you are programming anyway, so STFU and listen to elders. Your work is not something to escape and doing everything very fast for your fat stupid manager will not make you Employee of the month (or maybe it will, who cares). And your customers actually expect you will never meet deadlines anyway.

Hey, is that you Arun? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667396)

It's you, isn't it. You're the little douche bag who keeps bitching about us taking breaks. We actually have a pool going on how many times you'll say yes to extra hours before you crack. Hey, you got something brown on your nose.

Re:Hey, is that you Arun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667720)

On slashdot again I see.... I'm off to tell the boss.

Time for you to grow up (2, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667408)

This is how the world of work is. In time you'll fit in. As the new boy, expect to take the crap. You won't always be the new boy. Until then don't be a pain in the arse trying to get everyone else to change.

As a coder most work is done in youre head. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667412)

So they might be working you just don't understand it since you do "grunt" code that requires no thinking.

Don't worry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667414)

In a short time, there will be another new guy and you can slack off like everyone else. Or, if you really want to work at a place where everyone half-kills themselves, I hear EA games is hiring.

Normal (5, Insightful)

CountHiss (110786) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667416)

This is just the way it goes - nobody is able to do the same routine job they've been doing for a while for more than say a cumulative 6 hours a day. Taking a break to say read slashdot (= keeping up with developments), socialising, talking about football (= good for teambuilding!) relaxes the mind and will allow for another few hours of good, concentrated work. If you want to make a career, better to join in occasionally, otherwise you'll be the odd one out, the one who won't be part of the team, and, importantly, the snotty just-out-of-school kid who thinks he knows better that everyone loves to hate. Which in end-effect you are because a. you have no experience, b. no life-experience and c. you don't keep up with developments, whether it be professional (slashdot reading!) or social (talking about football, the families and so forth). So, relax, get used to it and participate as much as you can without screwing up your own portion of the work.

Those mines aren't going to sweep themselves. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667424)

Glad you got that degree aren't you?

Stick to your hours! Tell your boss! (5, Interesting)

fantomas (94850) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667442)

I used to work in an IT research group in a university. All of us were single or in relaxed relationships where the other partner was also a professional, so there was no pressure to keep to 'school run' times, pick up kids, get home for set meal times etc. Which meant we worked erratic and long hours. Some days we'd kick back and mess around, other days we'd work late, weekends etc.

We got a new guy in who laid down the rules politely but firmly with the boss. He said "I've got a 3 year old son and he's the most important thing in my life. I'll come in early, and I'll work hard from 8.30 til 5.00 and if you need me to do more hours I'll even come in earlier. But I leave here at 5.30 to get home for his meal and I don't work weekends because I spend time with my family".

The guy got a lot of respect for his stance, and he was true to his word. He'd come in bang on time, work damn hard, not goof around when we were kicking back, and leave prompt on 5.30. We all knew if we needed his help on a project we couldn't leave it til 5.25, we had to get organised and get our questions to him for lunchtime.

I think you should do the same - tell the boss you'll work the hours and you'll work hard while you're in the office but you have other commitments and you'll not be able to pull all nighters. You'll be respected for it. And if they say that this isn't fair, and you should be prepared to sacrifice your life to the job, you should be looking out for other employment.

This isn't 1999. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667570)

...tell the boss you'll work the hours and you'll work hard while you're in the office but you have other commitments and you'll not be able to pull all nighters. And if they say that this isn't fair, and you should be prepared to sacrifice your life to the job, you should be looking out for other employment.

What do you think this is - 1999?!?

I know someone who was called in for the weekend to just be there after a previous weekend where he sat around doing nothing because his supervisor apparently just wanted her people in to show her boss that she was "cracking the whip". He didn't show that weekend of this BS and was considered to have quit - he was walked out by security that following morning and he couldn't collect unemployment. He had two lovely toddlers.

In this economy, you can be replaced easily and getting another job is near impossible - that's assuming you're not Steve Jobs or Linus.

I'm a PHB and on the rare occasions that I need help, I get swamped with resumes from qualified people - and I'm sure my boss feels the same about me - MBAs are a penny a dozen now and getting cheaper.

Re:This isn't 1999. (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667640)

1. You're an AC so everything you say is automatically assumed to be bullshit.
2. What part of "the new guy said how it was going to be" don't you get? He established the rules before they hired him, if you tried to go back on those rules you wouldn't need to fire him, he'd quit.

Re:This isn't 1999. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667812)

1. You're an AC so everything you say is automatically assumed to be bullshit.

As opposed to some user id and account based upon a throw away email address? So I can be credible in your eyes by creating a phony online identity?

2. What part of "the new guy said how it was going to be" don't you get? He established the rules before they hired him, if you tried to go back on those rules you wouldn't need to fire him, he'd quit.

It doesn't say anything in the OP about laying down the rules before he was hired. And if he quits and he can get a job fast - more power to him. But the job market is incredibly tough for everyone these days and if he has kids, he should be very conservative regarding his job prospects unless his wife is in medical or some other profession where it wouldn't be a problem for him to go on wife support.

If you have a job in this economy, hang tough until things get better and if you're going to look, be very very discrete about it.

Re:This isn't 1999. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667808)

And that's exactly why you're not allowed to fire people over just anything in more civilized countries...

Not unique across industry. Actually S.O.P. (5, Insightful)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667444)

In my experience, this is common. I've been at both ends. The weekend working newbie employee, and the casual relaxed contractor not busting my ass.

There are a number of reasons for the perceived slack of attention that you notice. One main one, which relates to something you don't necessarily learn in college, is that even in a technical environment surrounded by socially awkward geeks/nerds, there is a necessity for social bonding. It can make the work day less stressful, lead to cross-pollination of ideas, outside perspectives on problems you've been working with, etc...

We tend not to value these things when we're fresh faced and eager to code 40 hours straight. Give me a problem and let me solve it. But the older you get, the more you realise the advantages in it. For one thing, as we get older, our brains require some distraction to avoid burnout. Even when coding, sometimes you need to take a break before the subconscious can solve a problem you've been consciously wrestling with.

Basically, there's a reason management tolerate it. They've learned that if they crack down on this sort of behaviour, and start clock watching themselves (monitoring lunch breaks, toilet breaks, net usage, phone usage, etc...) the company suffers. Either because humans will strive to find ways around rules they perceive as unnecessarily restrictive, or the really talented guys get depressed and move somewhere else.

My 40 hour working week these days is very different to my 80 hour working week 15 years ago. I may not produce as much code, solve as many bugs, etc... But I have a good idea of everything that's going on in my department. I am regularly asked for advise by colleagues on technical matters. I know which of my co-workers are good people, who are the experts and in which fields, and which are assholes. I know who can be relied upon, and who can rely on me. Basically, I'm better at being able to bring my years of experience to bear on different problems. And that doesn't require me to knuckle down and concentrate fully on these problems for 40 hours in isolation.

Re:Not unique across industry. Actually S.O.P. (1)

frinkacheese (790787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667482)

I fail to understand why anybody would work an 80 hour week, really, what were you doing that for? Unless you actually do make a few million at the end of it when you sell your company, I really do not think it is worth it. Now, it's 10:35AM, I have posted a /. article, I now need at least another cup of tea and a biscuit before I start doing any work. Somebody called me at 9:30AM this morning, 9:30AM! I wasn't even here..

Re:Not unique across industry. Actually S.O.P. (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667554)

Basically, there's a reason management tolerate it. They've learned that if they crack down on this sort of behaviour, and start clock watching themselves (monitoring lunch breaks, toilet breaks, net usage, phone usage, etc...) the company suffers. Either because humans will strive to find ways around rules they perceive as unnecessarily restrictive, or the really talented guys get depressed and move somewhere else.

There's the third option - everyone gets in bang on time, takes exactly their allotted lunch break, any other breaks as required by health and safety or similar laws and policies, and leaves bang on time.

I can't think of a single project I've worked on where adherence to the letter of my contracted hours wouldn't have killed the project stone dead. For whatever reason (under-estimation, third-party problems, unreasonable client demands allowed through by management, loss of a critical team member, etc) they have all required some degree of extra work to bring them in on time.

Re:Not unique across industry. Actually S.O.P. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667834)

That's the threat I hold in reserve (but haven't yet had to execute) should my slightly unconventional (10.30am-7pm, yes I work a 37 hour week) hours be questioned.

When called upon to do so I work a lot more. I worked 50+ hours a week through July to get stuff done. Americans may scoff at the hours but that's 35% over what I'm contracted for, and that they got it for free.

Wait a few years... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667454)

It'll happen to you. Seriously though, it's just not possible to stay that enthusiastic about someone else's business 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 240 days a year. There are great jobs out there - but not everyone can have them. So you have to find happiness where you can. It sucks, but it's the reality of living in a modern society. You need people out there doing boring rote jobs, even if they're doing them sub-optimally.

Try to enjo it, that's how the economy works (in t (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667460)

The best interpretation of work time that I ever heard was when I worked in Germany and my boss said that 20% utilization of resources was the perfect score for his performance as a department manager.

People do spend a lot of time doing other things, that's not to say that they are lazy or unwilling to work, its just the ebb and flow of the workload in many cases.

If resources got kicked out every time there was a shortage of work, or if businesses closed their doors when revenue slowed down we would end up with a lot of people out of work and an awful lot of businesses unable to show that they can take on a project (having the resources in a workable team is part of the criteria for getting project work).

Get used to wasting more than a few cycles at the office, find informative things to study, get along with your colleagues by knowing the sports news, the entertainment news and by practicing your people skills (communication). Try to enjoy it, it should make up a big chunk of your life.

If you are only interested in going to the manager with this viewpoint, you are likely to stand out as a person who doesn't fit in. Good managers know their resources and can usually do a good job of matching resources to workload, that's the whole point of their role.

Don't you get paid for overtime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667464)

If not quit. Otherwise, be happy to have the money. Who cares whether things get or done? As long as you get your money you have nothing to worry about.

And people *still" wonder why m$ is dying (0, Offtopic)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667474)

You could report it to your CEO, but if he is prone to throwing chairs about don't ask him how his mission to "f***ing bury" Eric Schmidt is going. And seeing how much he loves iPhones you'd better hide that Nexus One too.

Yes (4, Informative)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667484)

Having worked in numerous fields (probably more than the IT workers who have thus far replied) I can say without a doubt that IT consists of the biggest bunch of slackers I've ever in my life seen. I enjoy it quite a bit, but I'm actually getting to a point where I'm starting to feel a little guilty. But only a little.

Programming is very intensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667800)

Programming is very intensive. You can easily do project management for 8 hours straight but try do that with programming for a month and you'll understand why people take breaks. Yes, I've done both. We're plagued with project managers who don't get this because they've never been in the trenches themselves. That's a good way to make bad leaders in any field, I might add.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667824)

Biggest bunch of slackers? At the firm where I work, the product pretty much sells itself, so that title unabashedly goes to the sales staff -- or more precisely, the "order takers" department.

Go play golf with customers, have dinner, bullshit, etc., then come back to the office, surf the web and bullshit some more while padding the "work" hours and expense reports. Leave at exactly 5 PM, hop into the company-expensed Jag, and head home for an evening of romping on the couch beside the warm fireplace. For the weekend, take home the big paycheck (double what the average IT person gets) and use those company perks to take the gal to the big football game.

But IT is only a support role (a "jock strap" job), while sales makes the world go 'round, right? So it seems to the big boss, anyway. That's why I *never* feel guilty, and rarely work weekends anymore.

IT work can be theoretical (4, Informative)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667490)

I know, I've been asked if I'm feeling okay by colleagues when seemingly all I did was to stare into the empty space, at the window or someplace else. In reality, I was working more efficiently than most of them, preferring to think about a problem before I try to implement a solution for it. Probably 90% of the work I do is designing a good architecture, making sure it's fast, scalable, robust, flexible and maintainable enough. This requires weighting dozens of different factors and thinking about a lot of "action at a distance" kind of problems.

I love my job. I would do it even if I wouldn't receive financial compensation for it. One drawback is that you can't really work office hours with it, it's hard to switch off iterating a problem in the back of your mind (resulting in several House-esque moments of some totally unrelated thing reminding me to a neat concept that helps me implement an elegant solution).

I guess the point is, different people work differently. Yeah, if someone's browsing for porn or looking at bash.org, they are probably not doing anything useful, but taking a break or if someone looks like he's idling, it's not always the case that they are not doing anything productive.

Michael J. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667498)

I guess its fairly apparent that some of your coworkers have stumbled upon this article. ;)

get out while you can (1)

dan_in_dublin (833271) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667540)

if you want to become strong, as a start out developer you need to be an environment where you learn from your peers. If you are motivated to learn and produce things it will be difficult if your peers are unproductive and management weak. The risk is that your peers are happy with the status quo and that management are not motivated to improve the engineering dept. You may find yourself getting frustrated as you grow, but your colleagues stay the same. There are some great companies out there who care about engineering, the trick is to identify them when interviewing. Asking questions such as 'how do you guys measure engineering quality' or 'what software lifecycle is predominant' are inoffensive, but tell you important things about how the engineering department operates I've 10 years experience as an engineer now. In your position, I would ask myself question 'what can i learn from my colleagues' and if after 6 or 9 months in a company, the answer is not good then you may have made a mistake joining that company. While job hopping is not good, it may be the best thing to do. Just be careful not to repeat the mnistake,I know some companies that will not hire someone with a history of changing job more frequently than once every two years.

Just ignore the problem, sorta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667542)

I work for the US government. Once a year I send an email to upper management reporting the massive waste I'm forced to deal with (about 30% of all money spent, in a multi-$1B/year budget, is wasted in one way or another).

Each year management decides to ignore me. I make sure I'm not part of the problem, and do my best to deal with it.

Being at the bottom of the food chain, the system is designed to crush me if I want to take a stand for the benefit of all. So I don't. No one likes whistle-blowers, except for maybe tax-payers . . .

Maybe your managers will be more attentive? Give em a try.

Another case of asking the wrong people. (1)

billsayswow (1681722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667558)

I really don't get how it always ends up this way. Most jobs at IT firms are like this, and so long as a majority of the employees, and their supervisors, are barely out of college, then it is going to be idle chatter, Nerf gun fights, and decorating your workspace with 4chan memes and 'amusing' motivational posters, with work getting done in between. I worked in the administration division of a large software firm, and it boggled my mind that going through the more techie areas of the company was like a playground or a dorm room, but going through legal, accounting, marketing, et al., was like going through... a real workplace. It showed, too, in the reports I'd put together, the way general work ethic was. Of course, oddly enough, our foreign offices' tech people were entirely different. It's just the culture we live in. Then again, you're bringing this up with /., where most people are going to complain that the sofa in front of the Playstation in the lounge is starting to get uncomfortable...

Re:Another case of asking the wrong people. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667818)

it boggled my mind that going through the more techie areas of the company was like a playground or a dorm room, but going through legal, accounting, marketing

You were doing so well up till there.

Dont judge too quickly (5, Insightful)

PeteV (1704822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667572)

I've been on both sides of this, as a developer and as a manager: first off, its wholly impractical and counter-productive to try and control every thing staff do. The more controls you impose, the more time you spend policing the rules - and all that does is make for a miserable unproductive environment. One of the first rules of a "happy" productive team, a happy engineering team, is mutual trust between those doing the work and those responsible for ensuring it gets done - its a quid pro quo. And at the end of the day, in my experience, good engineers WANT to work, want to solve problems, want to design, they/we get a kick from it, job satisfaction if you will, pride in a job well done. And every single engineer needs "think" time - chaining people to a rigid set of work methods really doesnt work (unless you are working on a production line). THAT said, it is certainly true that some offices/teams are poor, thats the nature of things - and if productivity is low and people are just taking the p*** then sooner or later the manager gets replaced and the situation is rectified or the good engineers move on. My teams get total freedom, the senior designers have the flex to work from home too. But i know exactly who is and who is not productive - and I get rid of engineers who dont pull their weight - its that simple (and very rare). And that never causes an issue with the others, and nor did it when I was a "grunt" - in fact, you dont want idiots in around you who dont do any work. Gauging productivity is the managers job and responsibility - they should be able to do it, they should have a range of choices/skills/options that allow them to improve it when needed. As a new person with little industry experience your assessment may be premature - I would say dont jump to instant conclusions or be too judgemental, it may well be you've landed in a poor office - and in due course you will either understand that to be the case and move on to a better place, or you will adjust. Bottom line, if you're unhappy and remain unhappy, find somewhere else.

All things in moderation (2, Insightful)

RiffRaff06078 (1297983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667576)

Is it a sin to spend a few minutes talking about last night's game while you're on the clock for the company? No. Socialization creates camaraderie in the workplace, which ultimately increases morale and productivity. Is it a sin to spend several hours surfing sports websites while on the clock for the company? You betchya, and I'll be the first one with my boot up your ass when I review the network activity logs. As usual, it all comes down to common sense. Our network policy states "no personal surfing on the clock." Period. Do I enforce that to the letter? No way. I have no problem with someone checking their bank account or a news site while they're sitting on hold with a customer. I recognize that employees who do this are going to be more productive and happier in the office. When I review network activity, I always allow a small percentage of personal traffic even though it's technically against company policy. My superiors know I do this, and they trust my judgment. As for your situation, you have two options as I see it. You can abide by your own work ethic, which might not accomplish anything other than being able to sleep better at night; or you can lower yourself to the standards of your coworkers. Either way, until you have more seniority or move into a supervisory position, there is little you can do about it.

It's all too common, but don't misunderstand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667578)

Don't misunderstand when I say this, but general unprofessionalism in IT is quite rampant. I don't mean large amounts of personal time or anything, but general jackassery, politics, and bad bosses seem to be exponentially more numerous in IT from my experience, especially in contracting or development. If anything, you should be glad that management tolerates it, since I work in a tight spot where bosses have cracked down on everything treating the staff like Kindergartners who can't wipe their own ass after taking a shit. Use the leniency in management to get some free time in at work, while making sure you still get your work done properly and to the best of your ability.

As for the extra hours, it varies in time from person to person, but you'll eventually grow some balls and tell them (albeit in very polite corporate speak) to get bent. My corporate balls dropped after putting in over 40+ hours on off days for various emergencies and projects, only to get a strictly average performance review from my boss with no mention of my efforts; your situation will probably differ in some respects, but all of us here have had that eye opening moment at some point.

Look at it this way. If you're being challenged, find the work interesting, and find some downtime during your normal shifts after work has been completed, then I see no problem. You'll always have asshat employees and jackass bosses, but that's the norm. Quit worrying about everyone else, and worry about what concerns you directly, and get it done.

To be expected... (1)

achyuta (1236050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667588)

... in a large organization where the majority of the skill-set requirements is commoditized. - The company finds the people expendable because most of the times the market has enough replacements - similar attitude grows amongst employees where there are enough companies out there to hire them if they cop a bad rating / demotion in a cycle. - The company policies apply to huge sections of the employee base - as a result a wide range of work ethics / capability will get the same benefits. People won't be motivated to go the extra mile as they would still be in the same category. Often times, people in a higher category may lose faith as fundamentally, the grading systems in large comapnies struggle to reward justly. If you want to find great / extreme work ethics, you should go to a start-up or an industry where the (talent or hard work ) vs (requirement or pay) are more closely correlated . I suggest you get out before the environment grows on you.

Only one thing you can do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667600)

As others have pointed out: keep working hard. Don't raise the issue unless you want to be a pariah. And just to be sure, make sure you double and triple assess the actual work they produce - e.g. I worked in finance, and couldn't believe the lunches and goofing around of other people- but then I realised they actually were very good at their jobs and could create more useful action with a single email than me in a day. With experience and seniority you are allowed to make a tradeoff and put in slightly fewer hours alongside your very much boosted productivity. Call it social contract.

If you double and triple assess, and still feel quality is low - then work hard, *learn as much as possible*, keep your head down on complaints, and discreetly look for jobs elsewhere. There are big differences in what the top employers pay.

Your company isn't prepared to pay for work ethic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667624)

I know it sounds funny but your company (assuming it is a decent size shop) isn't prepared to pay for work ethic. To get a group of expert developers who are willing to work 40, 50 or 70 hours (and I mean really work) requires that they pay huge hourly rates, reward success monetarily, and provide expensive benefits that allow someone to spend that amount of time in high gear. Companies are sometimes willing to do this for jobs they view as most valuable (e.g. executives or some jobs in their core competency that accounts for revenue directly). Unfortunately companies see developers as commodities and don't want to pay these rates since the way you make a commodity more valuable is to buy it cheaply. Additionally, they don't understand the work being done (which is partially why the see developers as commodities) and can't really tell you when a developer is productive or not. They respond to their lack of knowledge by burdening the developer with all sorts of process to try to control the fact they don't understand what is really happening and lower their perceived risk.

All of this leads to an unmotivated developer who gets paid the same whether he goofs off for 90% of the time or works like a dog. As a result developers tend to gravitate toward a least common denominator or commodity level of productivity. This means the really good ones can work 1/10th speed and keep up with the average level. Heck even average developers can work half speed in this type of environment. By viewing and managing developers as commodities companies have created the very reality that they will act like commodities.

As a long time freelancer in IT ... (4, Informative)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667632)

... and having worked in at least 12 different companies by now, i can tell you that:

a) It depends on the company - company culture, profit margins and the business the company are in all make for more or less hectic enviroments in the IT areas (and others).
b) It depends on the morale of the employees. Recessions actually mean that there are more unmotivated workers around since many which would otherwise left will stay put until "the storm passes".
c) It the depends on the point of the development cycle you are on. For all you know, a week before you joined people were over-stressed and working long hours to make a release and now they are in the decompression period before a new major project is started.

Also and to put it plainly: as a recent graduate you know nothing working in IT.

Let me break this too you now before you learn it the hard way:

  • You'll have to unlearn a lot before you're a proper professional
  • Activity is not the same as Productivity. To give you an easy to understand example: if a guy is breaking stone in a quarry with a hammer the whole day without stopping, he still vastly underproduces the guy that does it for 2 hours with a jackhammer and then loafs about the rest of the day. Working smart always beats working hard.
  • If you're really good, people will take advantage of your innocence, ignorance and eagerness to overwork you to death. The funny bit is that, because you have no real professional experience (and due to overwork), you will make all the mistakes in the book and somebody (maybe you yourself) will inherit a POS that they will have to fix.

Adapt or leave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667646)

I'm largely with the OP, and that after some 15 years of professional experience. Developers have made an art form of making everybody else believe that they're working on stuff that's incredibly complex, and thus best solved while playing pool or surfing the web. I've seen dudes submit estimates of several days for jobs I *knew* couldn't take them more than a few hours. I've seen differences in productivity between individuals of at least an order of magnitude, which weren't recognized/rewarded/sanctioned by management. After trying to rock the boat a few times I've concluded that this is an issue of corporate culture, and unless you are Alpha enough to take on everyone's entrenched attitudes, you can either pull everyone else's weight, you can adapt and use the "spare" time to your advantage, or you can find another place that suits you better.

Pay your dues in respect, peace and silence (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667686)

You are green, so keep that in mind when I call you a proper wanker. You work the shit jobs not because everyone else is fucking off but because you need to pay your dues mate. This should be true everywhere. You may be superfly TNT mental giant wonderbra and your manager could be half a monkey's cortex but as far as management is concerned, he has shown up every day for the past 5 years and all you do it bitch. Who's the liability?

First thought is good for both women and business. If you walk around and point out flaws you see in the system, you are going to create two effects for yourself. You are going to get frustrated with the workplace and the workplace is going to get frustrated with you. The former makes you look like a know-it-all and the latter is because you question people's competence without enough experience. Similarly, if you meet a women and start to critique her decisions, the result will be the same. You have two options: 1) accept what is in front of you; 2) go somewhere else. But you don't want to go somewhere else because there's so much about THIS situation that could be fixed so we can all MAKE MORE MONEY. Don't go down that road, dog. Sit back, relax and enjoy the easy work. Have fun. Watch some football and goof off. It's a recession and people are holding on tight to their jobs. Your chances of shooting up are low. So kick it, maybe have a beer. Hopefully get laid and just do your work and listen.

Second, well, there is no second but I think a lot of you can use some advice in this area -- and by you I mean grads. Because I was the same way. Gung-ho. In a rush. Complaining about wankers. Until I realized that in fact, I was the wanker. Go watch Glengarry Glen Ross -- learn the score before you say anything.

And remember, if you don't like the way something is done, you can always go start your own business.

Reading /. != slacking (4, Insightful)

Shag (3737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667730)

Working as a developer back in the 1900s, I had free subscriptions to some relevant magazines. Yes, the time I spent reading them was time I didn't spend coding, but it meant I kept abreast of developments in the field, which was a Good Thing as far as my employers were concerned.

Slashdot's "news for nerds" and "stuff that matters" are generally more useful, and certainly more timely, than those magazines ever were. I'm not in IT any more, but I'm close enough to it that people still appreciate and value me knowing what's up in technology.

time management! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667744)

50 minutes of work & 10 minutes of rest, every hour of the working day. What i do in those 10 minutes is very much my own business. Being able to "chill out" for 10 minutes definitely boosts my productivity (especially towards the end of the day, or in fact night every once in a while). There were certainly exceptions to this, when I'm really concentrated on something and I did have cases where I literally worked non stop for 8, 12 and my own max record of ~30 hours (with small brakes to refill coffee & snatch someones half eaten sandwich from the fridge :) ), but after this non stop I'm certainly expecting a chillout period which has to at least compensates to some extent for the stress I've taken. In any case I doubt you'd see anyone working their ass off after pulling a ton of overtime the day/night before.

That being said, i've came to such "schedule" after working for ~7 years for the same company in different roles, attempting to resign 4 or 5 times (convinced not to) and actually quitting & coming back after a years break.

If you think that you can come to an 8 hour working shift and work non stop breaking for lunch only, I guaranty you that after a couple of years you will be a 110% burnout and that definitely does no good neither to your own health nor does this benefit the company you work for. I mean regardless of how enthusiastic you are about your job, or how good you are at it or anything of this nature. Work stress is stress regardless of anything.

Everyone needs space & time to "blow off some steam".

As far as people deliberately wasting time, and this affecting schedules, deadlines and quality of work - unless you are in the management/supervision, or want to pave the road into those area MIND YOUR OWN F***ING BUSINESS!

Last but not the least - work ethics & business ethics are concepts belonging to a class room, ethics have no room in business. Business is about making money, everything else is PR BS.

PS It is only unethical if you get caught!

What what what? (4, Funny)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667746)

You sure you've chosen the right profession? Sounds to me like you want to be in management, you'll fit right in.

persepctive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667754)

hey our senators are playing solitare.... , that is when they actually show up. What job actually works non-stop for 8 hours, very few, cops take breaks, I have seen doctors relaxing, ....

Don't worry about it (5, Insightful)

Inda (580031) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667764)

Something I learned a long, long time ago was don't worry about your peers. Just do your work and don't worry about anyone else. Don't go crying to your boss, he'll already know the score.

Turn up on time, do your work, go home, get paid. You'll be happier with this attitude.

You probably already know that life is not fair and some people seem to get all the breaks. Life is not fair. Take it on the chin. Play the cards you have in your hand.

Focus on your responsibilities, and your self (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667778)

As a federal employee for over 10 years I have seen it all. Trust me :). Just make sure you bring up your end and people should do right by you. Dont worry about other people's bad habits and dont go over the edge to impress your employer or burn your self out. Set a pace, be reliable and try not to judge unless its your responsibility. Be helpful but dont hurt yourself. Stay sharp, dont stay in one place too long, always have more than one way out. If you can manage to be a positive influence with in your work center and still do right by your self you are moving in the right direction. Lead by example, try not to criticize and alienate.

imho (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667782)

Most IT slackers have been effectively punished for taking initiative when they were young and idealistic so now they mosey through their existence in exchange for a modest compensation. If a company treats their staff well and encourages work, self actualization, and initiative through tangible real life benefits this doesn't happen so much.

Hidden Opportunity (1)

fr5nk (1714580) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667806)

What you're observing are effects, not causes, so don't be so quick to judge your peers. If quality really is low and deadlines are problematic, perhaps you could read up on your Agile Methodology and gently nudge that into this workplace by acting as an example. Much of the advice I read here is about placing limitations and making your job sustainable which is an essential part of e.g. SCRUM. You working your arse off will not help, indeed., so that would be a priority, or you won't be able to do anything else. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrum_(development) [wikipedia.org]

Subject (5, Funny)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30667822)

"I would like to ask Slashdot what methods others have used to deal with office environments such as this."

I usually dump my extra work on the new guy so I have more time to relax and goof off. You should pressure your company to hire someone newer than yourself.

balance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30667830)

A comfortable work-life balance is important and there is no right answer for everyone.

I am happy to work as hard as possible during my working hours and will stick to them quite strictly. But I see working hard as possible involving taking short breaks every now and then otherwise I feek I would actually be a less productive developer because I'll get a fuzzy head and frustrated.

I'm a young person, but my point of view on the importance of my personal life is more that in line with an older married person or one with children. My time outside of work spent with my girlfriend or on hobbies and family / friend occasions is something I value extremely highly, and I'm not prepared to compromise that by bending over backwards to suit an employer.

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