• Andrew (unregistered)

    Frist! Working from home via VPN

  • (nodebb)

    So many places are so afraid of letting people work remote. It's a bit ridiculous in this day and age.

  • whoami (unregistered)

    Business as usual, nothing to see here, another example of corporate recto-cranial inversion at work.

    Film at 11.

    Nice to see management faced with actually paying for extra work.

    <rant> It is actually a belief of mine that one of the reasons guvmint contracts run so much over budget is that all the work is tracked AND paid, rather than having a horde of exempt engineers putting in 12 hour days 7 days a week for months and months until it becomes the new normal. Oh by the way - you just took a 75 percent pay cut (re hourly wages) thanks to your PHBs incompetence (who then of course will pocket the bonus... </rant>
  • LCrawford (unregistered)

    They were hired as HPC - High Performance Computers??

  • Pricey (unregistered)

    I was expecting to hear that the time spent recruiting snowballed even further!

  • Gargravarr (unregistered)

    Surprising that management didn't bully them into working unpaid overtime, but excellent to see the actual workers using management's own logic against them (not falsifying timesheets, a nice touch).

    Where I work is almost like whoami described, a few devs routinely work late into the evening and even when they get home, without extra pay - we have no overtime pay here. This despite me repeatedly reminding them they're not being paid for it. Most of us sensible people go home at 5:30 on the dot.

    This place isn't as restrictive on VPN use, but very few are allowed to actually WFH. Even work that requires no physical presence in the office. Draconian policies on remote work are all comfort blankets for upper management - if you work remotely, how can they hover over your shoulder to ensure you're actually doing work? Or at least see how much you're being distracted by your noisy open-plan office from actually doing work.

  • Andy (unregistered)

    HPC = High Performance Computer?

  • Richard (unregistered) in reply to LCrawford

    @LCrawford... you weren't to know that "HPC" is an acronym used by DailyWTF to mean "Highly Paid Consultant", since they come up a lot in the articles. They usually include it in the article during its first use, e.g. http://thedailywtf.com/articles/Long_Distance_DATE_0x24_ing

  • Brooks's law (unregistered)

    Brooks's law decrees; "adding manpower to a late software project makes it later".

  • (nodebb)

    I've actually seen places that, no matter how many hours you put, they'd always make it 8 if it was over 8 (under 8 was, of course, unacceptable and you better have a good reason for stealing money from the company!). It was pretty funny because it was very clearly falsifying timesheets to avoid paying overtime. I was able to use it to my advantage at one job (many many years ago) where if they would only pay for 40 hours, and I would occasionally work extra/during lunch (I was hourly at the time) I'd leave early, so it ended up with I'd tend to get out of work like at 1pm on Friday, because I'd tell my boss "Hey I wrapped up X and I'm at 40 hours, should I go?" and he'd be like "If you're at 40 hours yeah, go home! Have a good weekend!" Awful, awful company but that was the only good part.

  • ApoY2k (unregistered) in reply to DocMonster

    I don't quite see the problem with going home when your work is done and you've done 40 hours already? This sounds pretty standard to me?

  • Hasse the Great (unregistered) in reply to Brooks's law

    All those mythical man month

  • Dave (unregistered)
    All to save a few bucks in additional billing by already-trained-and-equipped developers, which would have been completely unnecessary if they had just let them work from home in the first place.

    But hey, those were the rules.

    The thing is, that's still more cost-efficient than lying back and allowing the HPCs to rape you for every penny they can get. It's a solution to the problem of HPCs working for HPCs rather than for the company contracting them.

  • (nodebb) in reply to ApoY2k

    Most places you're on salary, so whether you work 40 hours or 60 hours it doesn't matter. What was not standard was "gaming the system" by coming in earlier and/or taking lunch at my desk, so 40 hours racked up quicker when you're clocking 9 hour days. But that won't work when you're on salary, because the hours don't matter.

  • ApoY2k (unregistered) in reply to DocMonster

    Huh... I guess I've never been on salary. Maybe it's a country thing. Everyone I know tracks hours and it's unversally agreed across industries that over/under hours are either paid back at the end of month/year or you "take" them by going earlier or taking a day off.

    The only people who don't track hours are the really high ups because it's just assumed they'll work more than the usual 40 hours so they're not tracked so as to not get in trouble with the authorities if they are found out to be constantly working more than 10 hours a day.

  • ccjjharmon (unregistered)

    Almost the same here Gargravarr ... but technically we get paid overtime if you work over 48 hours in a week. Ironically though, I will provide an example of this stupidity; a few wknds ago I had to be on-site to support my project. I worked Sat 10 hours and 8 hours Sunday. One would think that means 10 hours overtime... but no - only 2 hours overtime since workweek goes Sun-Sat and I worked 50 hrs the first week and 48 hrs the second week. YEAH. Really crummy part is that we only get I think $25/hr overtime (which I believe is consistent across all positions regardless of what your salary is).

    On occasion, I really don't have a problem working overtime to get things done... but only when it's NOT the norm and expected.

    And my response to when anyone mentions knowing what I am doing (or anyone), I respond that you can see my work through various systems we use to track work! Check source control or the project management system! Heck, when you get to my annual review ask co-workers and my customers if I am responsive... now if I wasn't, I would EXPECT to lose the ability to work from home. Then again, I don't get why pay raises are just across-the-board for everyone regardless of how employees perform (and I'm not talking about being excellent, above-average or even "average" but anything below average)... but I guess it's important to note I work for the government and that's how it usually works here ... :|

  • Russ (unregistered)

    If your project can't withstand two unexpected non-working days you're completely screwed, even without the snow.

  • Kuli (unregistered)

    I was once working for a company where we as well weren't allowed to bill more than 10 hours per day. That wouldn't have been a problem if not most of the consultants were coming from distant locations, so they came on Monday noon and left on Thursday evening. Since they were asked to still work 40 hours per week (and you couldn't do much except working in that city anyway), they had to bill exactly 10 hours per day, not a minute more or less.

    Luckily their time sheet already had a template integrated, so you could add working time from 9 am to 7:30 pm (half an hour lunch break) for every day with only one mouse click. Whether it was Monday where you didn't appear before noon or not didn't matter.

    One time I did a mistake and billed too few hours. I noted it right after sending my time sheet at the end of the month, so I asked the responsible person whether I could still correct it. He replied that this would be rather complicated, I should better put the missing hours on some Friday where I wasn't in the office.

    So at the end, they had lots of HPC's all with exactly the same time sheets. It was totally impossible to reproduce how long they really worked, and whether their times were reasonable or not.

  • Dan Mercer (unregistered)

    In 1984 I worked (on salary) for a now defunct subsidiary of one of the BUNCH (the N). They changed our non-comp rules so that you only got one hour back for every two worked providing you worked more than 10 in a day and 44 in a week. Then they rented me to our overseas distributor in Paris for six weeks at $120/hour (I got about $20/hour). I worked about 14 hrs per day Mon-Fri and ONLY 4-8 hrs on Sat and Sun. Half that work was done in my tiny hotel room. But, because of the new rules I decided to only bill 40/hrs per week which wound up costing the company about $25000. Dicks should be treated like dicks. The boss decided we were using too many office supplies so he put a lock on the supply room and made everyone requisition supplies from his secretary. Analysis in those days was very paper intensive so we went through binders and highlighters like crazy. His secretary was overwhelmed so he tried to hire a half timer to take some of her load. Carrying costs for a full time employee were about $120 K and our supply room budget was about $2400/year. When the Senior VP over him got the req request he was so incensed he took the supply room door off its hinges and parked it in the boss's office. The boss's last act of dickery before I transferred out from under him was to limit salaried workers to 4 days sick leave per year. In Minnesota. Someone ratted him out to the Feds who told him that by limiting sick days for exempt workers he in effect was making them non-exempt. The Feds threatened to make that retroactive, which meant that all the extra hours we were required to so diligently track would now be entitled to overtime. It would have cost the company $ millions. Somehow he weaseled out of it, but the sick rule got dropped immediately.

  • Joe (unregistered) in reply to Russ

    An all power outage at the office would really messed them up!

  • Joe (unregistered) in reply to Russ

    An all day power outage at the office would really messed them up!

  • Alex (unregistered)

    TRWTF is the author implying that the team of 35 HPCs were on schedule prior to the snow storm.

  • (nodebb)

    Weather forecasters are wrong as often as they are right.

    Citation needed.

  • Developer Dude (google)

    Pretty darn close to where and how I work, except, on snow days, they do allow us to work from home.

    They also sometimes - very rarely - allow overtime (paid at flat rate).

    Also, we can work on weekends to make up for missed work - but not more than 40 hours per week.

  • Carl Witthoft (google) in reply to DocMonster

    Problem is, as most of us know, is that yeah you're on salary so no paid OT, but whether or not you are ahead of schedule, there's no such thing as working less than 40 (or attempting "comp time" for last week's 60 hrs).

  • Carl Witthoft (google) in reply to Dan Mercer

    Even in 1984 there was NO SUCH RULE about minimum sick days. I don't know where you got that story from, but it isn't and wasn't true. Corporations can and do set any kind of sick leave rules, including zero ("oh, you have X personal days to use however needed").

    If you hadn't noticed it's always been the case that the only difference between exempt and nonexempt employees is that the latter often have to punch a timeclock. Oh, and the latter actually get paid for every hour worked.

  • fragile (unregistered)

    good deadpan. All consultants worked locally at the office. All employees worked remotely overseas.

    Those are the rules!

  • Cannot be True (unregistered)

    To be honest ... this TDWTF does not make sense and seems not true and a play on words instead. Yes, 35 HPCs, 2 days lost each. Two-and-a-half man-months lost. But when deadline came, you have same 35 HPCs still working. So project would still be complete 2 elapsed days later. Two-and-a-half man-months in 2 elapsed days remains a constant - snow or no-snow.

    Does not make sense why they would need to spend a month on hiring more people, unless all said HPCs left precisely on original scheduled day and replaced by 1 HPC to pick up work left behind by 35 HPCs.

  • Chris Paterson (google) in reply to Cannot be True

    Completely agree with Cannot be True - came on here to post exactly that. If this magical project management continued to work so flawlessly on all snowless days, surely they were done two days into the "month of interviewing"?

  • Wanted Different Ending (unregistered)

    I expected the new hires to be allowed to VPN in. Was disappointed.

  • FormalWare (unregistered)

    Bureaucracy isn't just The Real WTF - it's the ONLY WTF.

  • Jim B (unregistered) in reply to DocMonster

    At my last place we were salaried so the pay was the same no matter what. Out timesheets were for project billing back to the business unit (beware chargebacks) for which we were doing the work. If the project plan had me allocated at 40 hours for a week (+- 4 hours) than that's what had to be on the time sheet. Now project plans were sometimes done a year in advance so I was allocated for a fictitious number that I had to meet no matter what I actually did.

    Of course, now I',m a semi-HPC (not in the real HPC bucket) so 40 hours is 40 hours.

  • Worf (unregistered)

    The real solution was to be hire themselves again. HPC would charge themselves as HPC, then they'd work a bit more overtime and charge it under the new hire HPC_A. So if you worked 12 hours, 8 will be billed to HPC, and 4 to HPC_A, a "part time" worker we hired for catching up. Rule skirted!

  • ChaoticEd (unregistered)

    Currently working (as a HPC) for a customer who didn't allow employees or consultants to work from home. Then they started implementing a new ERP system and somehow one of the HPC turned employee and program manager managed to get an exemption for the ERP people. This luckily tore down the resistance against working from home so while it is not recommended it is allowed and supported. This is the only time I have ever seen anything good come out of an SAP implementation project.

  • foxyshadis (unregistered)

    So many of you guys need to talk to a labor lawyer. I have no idea why you're putting up with this BS when labor suits award triple damages within the last three years.

  • (nodebb)

    Was it just me or did it not immediately click it was talking about a literal day where they couldn't use the roads due to snow? I read the entire paragraph thinking it was a metaphor of the scheduling system imploding or something.

    I guess I've never had a weather event preventing me from going to work. I've had a few hours without power, a few storms in the afternoon making me late home, a train system meltdown for a day, and even a political thing, but not weather. (Definitely not snow: this area has only been below 0°C once since records began!) When the city was flooded in 2011 I was actually working in the small part of this state that was not declared a disaster zone.

  • Quite (unregistered)

    Can't remember the last time someone actually monitored my hours. I routinely book 7 hours a day whatever I work. Sometimes it's ridiculous hours, sometimes I skimp. Depends on the work that needs to be done. And my presence or absence from the office is barely noted, as I am the only member of my team in this country -- even my line manager is based at an office at the other end of a long train journey.

    The main reason I work from the office more than at home is that there are more facilities here (free coffee, free fruit), and I have a lot more room to spread myself. As WFH is the default position, it is usually very quiet here.

    Utter bliss.

  • Ron Fox (google)

    "One of the more prescient rules" - I don't think that word (prescient) means what you think it does.

  • Quartzite (unregistered)

    The last place I worked, I worked late Monday and Tuesday, to go to Lilith Faire on Wednesday (with my manager's approval). HR flipped out, because we had to work 8 hour days, regardless of how many hours we worked the week. So I lied on my timesheet with their approval. We also got badly hit by SQL Slammer. Many developers had local copies of SQL Server on their computers they had personally installed, rather than doing a software request. One had it on a laptop. They took it home, it got infected, and brought it in. That infected everyone else. Information security walled us off from the rest of the company because the network traffic was affecting the production environment. They sent out emails about the problem, telling people to patch/uninstall SQL Server, which got ignored. Then they sent out an email with a batch file to fix the problem. People ignored that, too. Then they rounded up a bunch of us, handed us floppies, and had us reboot all of the developer machines using the floppies. (I'd go down a row, making people log off, reboot their machine, then go to the next desk.) That worked. Two days of downtime for our entire development staff, and a pissed off information security department. They announced that if they caught any other computers infected by SQL Slammer, they were going to just haul off the computer and reimage it, without giving the user a chance to back anything up. They did to a couple of people, too.

  • Aquaflesh (unregistered) in reply to Quartzite

    "They announced that if they caught any other computers infected by SQL Slammer, they were going to just haul off the computer and reimage it, without giving the user a chance to back anything up. They did to a couple of people, too."

    They hauled off a couple of people and reimaged them, too?

  • Dave (unregistered) in reply to foxyshadis

    Because we're mostly in Europe, where the absurd American micromanagement of employment contracts by an invasive government is a subject for mirth rather than anything viewed as in any way a sane proposition. People earning six figure sums don't need the government to tell them what they may and may not agree to do for money.

  • Zenith (unregistered)

    Reminds me of the winter of 2013. We had a storm drop so much snow/ice that a Republican(!) governor closed the city for 2 days. I couldn't get there at any rate because the roads in my town weren't plowed. Still, my supervisor was really angry.

    The stupid part was that in 3 months I only ever had about a day's work to do. I'd go in and basically twiddle my thumbs for 8 hours. So there was literally no reason for me to be there.

  • Quartzite (unregistered) in reply to Aquaflesh

    They were never the same after that.

  • Daniel (unregistered) in reply to foxyshadis

    "So many of you guys need to talk to a labor lawyer. I have no idea why you're putting up with this BS when labor suits award triple damages within the last three years."

    Not everywhere is as fortunate as you guys. Over here in Asia, working ONLY 48 hours a week is considered a luxury. We don't get paid overtime and labor laws are virtually non-existent.

  • Dave (unregistered) in reply to Daniel

    You call that fortunate? It's stifling. May help poor people, but it's nothing but cost to people earning IT money.

  • Paul (unregistered)

    Or, you know, build in some slack here and there in the planning so that, if something unexpected were to happen( like, say, a snow storm...) you would have some buffer to handle the situation.

    Or, push the deadline by two days... Why spend a month to reclaim two days?

  • Anonymous Coward (unregistered) in reply to whoami

    <quote>It is actually a belief of mine that one of the reasons guvmint contracts run so much over budget is that all the work is tracked AND paid, rather than having a horde of exempt engineers putting in 12 hour days 7 days a week for months and months until it becomes the new normal.</quote>

    My experience as government employee (albeit in a reasonably sheltered research unit) is that by far the biggest obstacle is Finance and the legislation around spending the tax-payers money. If we want to buy anything, even a $50 widget, we're not allowed to specify an actual model number or where to get it, but have to describe generally what we want, and weeks later supply chain will come back with quotes for completely the wrong things, and you have to start all over again.

  • American (unregistered) in reply to Dave

    AT least we don't have VAT!

  • (nodebb) in reply to Anonymous Coward

    It could also be the reason that government contracts run so much over budget is the fact that they're contract with private "free market" businesses who are only in it to maximize profits, not to benefit the citizens. What if..... the federal government internally ran its contracting company staffed with highly skilled professionals - they could be contracted out on a temporary basis to other government entities ---- at cost.

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