Thread regarding Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) layoffs

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be HPE Code-Writers

Short Version is… At HPE, because of constant layoffs, layoffs being informed by your performance reviews… And with your performance reviews, via “grading on the curve”, making it such that you have GOT to make your co-workers look BAD, so that you can look GOOD… One of the inevitable results is, especially when code is shared between multiple supposedly-cooperating writers… Result is the coders will write their code to be as incomprehensible as possible (without making it too obvious, what they are doing), so that no one else can follow their code! “You must be stupid, if you can’t follow my code.” You should be laid off, then, before I get laid off.

I have seen it all… HUGE blocks of un-commented or poorly-commented code, written as tersely possible! The established members of the team will “lay down the rules” for coding, and then NOT follow these rules, while the junior members get ragged on, if they don’t follow the rules. Rampant hypocrisy, that is. On the “tersely written” thing, the offenders will find some totally obscure way to write code, and then justify it by saying, “Well, look, I only use 100 lines of code, and the easier-on-the-eyes, supposedly-easier-to-follow way to write the code, takes 110 lines. SEE? What a SAVINGS!” Which is totally ridiculous, of course… Ease of following the code is about 20 trillion times more important than the size of your un-compiled code, what with file-storage costs being cheaper than gravity these days. Also, use decent, intuitive signal-names or flag-names or variable-names, etc., willya!??! Clean up the old, no-longer-relevant junk, and TELL US WHAT YOU ARE DOING with check-in comments on the tracker system (Tortoise Subversion for example). Not just “incremental progress”, duh!

If this kind of bad behavior gets ridiculous enough, you MIGHT want to talk to your manager, by the way…

FYI… Code-writing is NOT extinct, by the way, at HPE; not by any means! Software spin-off, so what?!?

Anyway, a word to the wise… Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be HPE Code-Writers!!!

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Under "forced distribution" schemes like at HPE, when you are interviewing for that next "new hire", you want to make your best guess as to who is the weakest candidate (unless that weakest candidate is so obviously pathetic that even a technically clueless idiot of a boss would catch on). You want to pick the weakest candidate that isn't obviously a total misfit, and then SING HIS PRAISES to the boss, and get him hired and mired on board!

Then also under this idiotic "forced distribution" travesty, you want to PRETEND to train the new guy, while not teaching him squat, of any real value. Make sure "new guy" looks bad, so that he'll get laid off, not you.

New guy's purpose in life is that of a "sacrificial anode" (Google that) to attract the next layoffs, just as a dissimilar metal (AKA sacrificial or galvanic anode) attracts corrosion away from some other metal structural element, like a ship's hull, or a building's steel girders.

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"That's forced distribution for you. You have 5 people on a team - there is one "top" performer, 3 "average performers" and one "low" performer. It's a dirty world out there - love it or hate it - it's real."

This is in line with a manager I had that said we would only hire band 5 (top) people into the group - so we could immediately drop them down to meet the distribution for the group. That plan didn't last.

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“DXC, on the other hand, is killing it! Stock up 59% this year”

You do realize that DXC is up so much because of the thousands and thousands of layoffs they’ve executed, causing them to handily beat profit expectations. The same sort of thing everyone is on here to complain about.

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Good news: No one in US under the age of 50 want to work at that dying company, so don’t lose sleep over it.

DXC, on the other hand, is killing it! Stock up 59% this year.

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That's forced distribution for you. You have 5 people on a team - there is one "top" performer, 3 "average performers" and one "low" performer. It's a dirty world out there - love it or hate it - it's real.

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making it such that you have GOT to make your co-workers look BAD, so that you can look GOOD<<

That would make you one chicken5h!7 individual.

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Wasn't. Still learning to read and write!

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It was in jest. We used to say that when someone said there were enough or clear comments. I personally always added verbose comments about what was happening. I know how much I hated trying to figure out cryptic code. That doesn't mean I wouldn't occasionally write obtuse code where even the comments didn't help. ;)

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“As for me, I just said my code was self documenting!”

I’m not sure if that was in jest or not… I have heard it before.

If there is ONE set of well-written and complete specifications for the code, that is being implemented, and the variables, flags, signal-names, etc., are well-named and completely described, then OK, I can see it… “Self-documenting” code can work, yes…

However, far more often, there are 3 or 5 specifications being met, some of them incomplete and hazy as all git-out… They might as well just be “go ye and write some groovy-cool code, to do some stuff-and-stuff”… And often, they (specs) conflict!

So WHICH feature of WHICH specs are you targeting with this code, and HOW is it supposed to do, what it is supposed to do? Give me a least a TINY little CLUE, will you please? Some freaking COMMENTS, please?

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Well, it’s not literally “cloak and dagger”, or spilled blood, but let me tell you what I have seen…

Junior-to-the-team-member totally re-writes module. Team leader tests it, strokes chin thoughtfully, decides it might pass muster. Team leader proceeds to claim credit in weekly report, making ZERO mention of junior-to-the-team-member! Junior-to-the-team-member, apparently, ranks right up there with janitor… Janitor cleaned out my waste basket; WHY should I mention (credit) janitor for ANYTHING, comes weekly report time? Total re-write of the module is like cleaning out my waste basket, after all. Junior = janitor, basically.

If this kind of thing is done to you, squawk loudly in protest NOW!!! Do NOT wait till review time to complain about your back-stabbing co-worker, because you probably won’t be there any more, comes next review time!

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There is no performance based pay system that doesn't involve being rated better or worse. You can choose to look better or make your co-workers look worse. In the end, it's the same thing unless you are using skullduggery.

As for me, I just said my code was self documenting!

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This was a problem years ago with s/w types who worked in the defense industry. It is an old trick and was used for job security.

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