• JustSomeDudette (unregistered)

    I wasn't expecting a happy ending, what a nice surprise.

  • Someone (unregistered)

    Fristly, I'm going to have to complain about the lack of question marks in the opening paragraph.

    I was expecting something to be going horribly awry, but nope, everything worked out well. Slightly anti-climactic. Good job for having the guts/courage to implement the best solution regardless.

  • Quite (unregistered)

    It is better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission.

    I am currently working on a tool to auto-document our APIs for our proprietary software, and In decide I didn't have the patience to craft a document for each item,. so a few days crafting a parser to write to an html file sounds like a good idea. Not telling the boss I'm doing this till it's complete.

  • Watchman (unregistered)

    I love this story. Congratulations to Charlie on his foresight!

  • Gargravarr (unregistered)

    Today's story brought to you from a parallel universe where ignoring your immediate boss will not net you payback down the line.

  • gnasher729 (unregistered)

    Well, it was a WTF for Charlie's manager.

  • (nodebb)

    The only WTF here is there was no WTF. I want my.. I want me.. I want my WTF. Money for nuttin' and my bits for free.

  • Dude (unregistered)

    I have a feeling this isn't how the story ended - shouldn't Charlie have been fired for not doing what he was told, and the new machines not being ordered because [insert lame management excuse here]?

    If not, then why is this on TDWTF?

  • Rahan (unregistered)

    TRWTF here is the developer being unable to sell his suggested approach and doing it behind management's back. It doesn't matter if this time it worked, this is a dysfunctional way of working. When you think "you know better", you're a ticking bomb for the organization.

  • Vault_Dweller (unregistered) in reply to Rahan

    "When you think "you know better", you're a ticking bomb for the organization."

    This is actually the entire point of the story, but you are applying it to the wrong individual. Charlie's manager was the one with this attitude and couldn't be convinced otherwise, but luckily the CEO was able to see this and remove the "ticking timebomb"

  • Vapors of Absinthe (unregistered)

    Your subscription to Absinthe reality is expiring. The world in which you can defy your boss and then show him up in front of his boss (or several layers abstracted) and get rewarded for it (by getting new hardware) is terminating in 3, 2, ....


  • Stephen Cleary (unregistered)

    I bet tomorrow's article will be "Ha, just kidding! This is what really happened..."

  • Bert (unregistered)

    Wow. "And this is why I don't listen to you." ... "And that is why you're fired." No?

    Also, hopefully nobody ever wants more than the simple linear approval/disapproval flow, otherwise this could quickly become the kind of hideous Frankenstein SQL-table-masquerading-as-code that has entrenched itself as a staple TDWTF genre.

    Also also, could you please consider putting some question marks in the first paragraph. It always sounds a lot like a businessperson's email to someone else's subordinate asking them to do something, but remaining intentionally ambiguous as to whether it is a request or a demand.

  • Scott (unregistered)

    ... and they all lived happily ever after. The end.

  • my name is missing (unregistered)

    This WTF is missing WTF-ery.

  • Bob (unregistered)

    Nice twist...a non-WTF DWTF story !

    Sometimes, you just need to read something a bit more....uplifting ;)

  • Bob (unregistered) in reply to Stephen Cleary

    ...or the dude will wake up in a puddle of drool on his desk, with the dev manager huffing & puffing over him....demanding to know why the hard-coded solution is crashing & burning all around them

  • Anonymous (unregistered)

    "Charlie grabbed the other developers and put together specs for their dream machines, which were ordered the next day. "

    And then the boss finds a 'bargain' and orders it instead without realising that the reason it's a 'bargain' is because there's no SSD.

  • Rattus (unregistered)

    ...Then Charlie's boss said 'Well no wonder it took months! You could have done it in 2 weeks, and then did the other solution for the next customer..'

  • ichbinkeinroboter (unregistered)


  • Watchman (unregistered)

    There's a hell of a lot of butt-hurt in the comments today. Some of it sounds scarily genuine. Here's a heads-up for you: TDWTF often showcases DYSFUNCTIONAL organizations, where you speak up and get fired. Many organizations are not dysfunctional. If you genuinely believe that in "the real world", Charlie always gets fired, then I'm afraid that you've been in dysfunctional organizations for way too long. Over where I am (which is not the US, and we don't have the stupid "competition is everything!" and "companies cannot have ethics!" idiocies), I've held a few positions at different companies, and I've always felt comfortable telling my boss (and sometimes THEIR boss) that they're wrong, and that THIS way is a better way to do it. We discuss it like adults because hey, we're adults. They've got respect for my skills, which is what they hired me for, and I've got respect for their skills. What idiot would hire someone with talent and then just decide to ignore them? Why not get a low-paid peon if you're going to do that? Otherwise, you're pissing away money AND the company time ... so congratulations, you don't know what the **** you're doing and you shouldn't be managing anyone.

    So yeah, tl;dr: in a normal company, Charlie doesn't get fired. And if you don't understand that, you're probably the dysfunctional one.

  • Kashim (unregistered)

    Pro Tip: If you ever just flat out ignore what your boss says to do, and do something behind his back, then you should be fired, and you should quit. You should be fired for insubordination, regardless of whether it was the right thing to do or not. If you have to go behind your boss's back, then go to the CEO or whatever upper management BEFORE you do the work, and get it approved. We wouldn't care how insightful/lucky a developer was, if they did 3 months worth of unapproved work, they'd be fired. AND You should quit, because your boss is a moron, and if you are really that competent/smart/lucky/insightful, then you deserve to work with a boss who isn't a moron. My boss isn't a moron, and he often makes decisions based upon a lot more information than I have. Sometimes we just can't afford to spend the time now, because we have 8273 projects with deadlines next week, and we just need something fast, but we'll take the time to do it right next month.

    TRWTF: Ganking 3 months out of a project schedule without approval and not getting fired for it.

  • Primary Key (unregistered) in reply to Watchman

    I wholeheartedly agree. In normal organisations it is allowed to suggest other approaches. I can only one fault in this story, customization of a workflow or an application in general would in general be seen as a way to generate much, much more revenue. So, by doing this the protagonist might be seen as killing a revenue stream (in maintenance).

    You could ofcourse bill for customizing the database. To make it more billable, a generic architecture with custom workflow-libraries that have to be compiled comes to mind ;-)

    Am I too cynical?

  • Note the day (unregistered)

    This is a WTF-free article because of what today is, come on guys....

  • Alchemist (unregistered)

    Wonder if Charlie's real name, or possibly mentor, was Montgomery Scott? I work for a small firm, not as a developer, though coding little utilities is part of my job. I'm THE IT person for the whole company. One main office and 8 others. About 30 employees all total. I've been with the company long enough that my manager and the company owner have learned to trust my judgement. They have a habit of asking what seems impossible on the surface, then I come up with some way (probably not the best way) to make it work. When they ask something totally ridiculous, like "We've got to prevent someone from setting up a camera, taking screen shots of our database then hiring a bunch of foreign workers to transcribe the results." I can pretty much tell them they're not only out in left field, they've left the ballpark and gone completely off the reservation, and they listen. When I first started working here, I was careful to run every purchase request by both the boss and my manager. I always received a two word reply: "Do it.". Now, unless I'm pushing several thousand dollars, I just order what I need and everybody is happy.

    I'm also reminded of that episode of ST:TNG where the Binars steal the Enterprise to act as central computer for their entire civilization while they reboot their planet or something. At the end, Picard asks them "Why didn't you just ask us for help?" The Binar leader replies "You might have said no."

  • Ducky (unregistered) in reply to Primary Key

    It's not a big deal, though. You just, as an organization, bill people for doing it the "hard way" and then take 30 minutes to actually do it. Many car repair places actually does this -- they will bill you for the time a "new mechanic" would take to do a certain task, then take much less than that with an experienced mechanic.

  • idunnolol (unregistered) in reply to Note the day


  • Vapors of Absinthe (unregistered) in reply to Primary Key

    I suggest you check your privilege and read the article again...

    "The manager insisted on the hard coding, but Charlie ignored him, knowing all too well the consequences of listening to his boss."

    Charlie suggested the more maintainable and extensible solution presenting why and the manager shot him down insisting on the quick solution. Unless Charlie had the explicit buy in from higher up the food chain, he should not have been insubordinate to his manager's requirements.

  • Herby (unregistered)

    Insurance is a fickle thing. You really hope you don't need it, but when you DO need it, it quite nice. In the case of out protagonist it turned out that the policy was used just as he had paid the final installment, and it really did pay off.

    Yes things like that pay off.

  • Nobody (unregistered) in reply to Alchemist

    I love your STTNG reference!

  • Developer Dude (google) in reply to JustSomeDudette


    • a happy ending.
    • clueless pointy haired bossed reassigned
  • Zenith (unregistered) in reply to Watchman

    And it's every bit as dysfunctional for a European working in Europe to lecture Americans about what goes on in American companies.

    In 66% of the companies that I've worked for, doing what Charlie did would've resulted in termination. In another 11%, there was so much process in the way that he couldn't have even tried it. So, TLDR, this is experience, not "butt hurt," speaking for some of us.

  • sunnyboy (unregistered)

    There's a lot of backstory left out in today's post I think. For example, the line "The manager insisted on the hard coding, but Charlie ignored him, knowing all too well the consequences of listening to his boss." suggests there's a lot more going on here than mere insubordination.

    First, it's a small company that grew, and those have a totally different dynamic from "humongous corp." dynamic, which are often cast in stone and "must never, ever be questioned". I suspect a long history with the immediate boss overriding stuff to get it done quick - probably to curry favor with the CEO or get a bigger bonus. Sounded pretty typical to the small companies I used to consult for.

    Our "hero" was not only smart enough to figure "doing it right" would not take much longer than "doing it crap", and you will notice never said a word or blew his own horn when it was done.

    It was only when the CEO and his boss came in in a panic because the inevitable happened (another customer sees feature; customer wants feature; dim-bulb manager panics and...). Now our "hero" knew that the CEO would be interested in SOLUTIONS, not whining or excuses, so simply chose to reveal the solution as well as dig at the crap-tastic manager. Here is where I suspect the big backstory. There are times you just KNOW that someone in the organization is not pulling their weight, and there's "somethin' a-coming". Smart people bide their time and often wait for someone else to yank the loose string, but in this case our "hero" was in the right place, right time. Knowing that $$$$ was on the line and the CEO was watching (and probably pretty annoyed with the b.s. he'd just been given by the manager about how/why he chose the hard-wired solution in the first place), he was smart enough (common in small companies, I might add) to see where the solution was. Apologizing (but not whining) for the crap hardware was a brilliant touch, I might add.

    Cudos to the hero in this story, as well as to the CEO for having the brains to really understand.

  • Gene Wirchenko (unregistered) in reply to Kashim

    Nonsense, Kashim. Sure, a boss may be acting on more information than his junior has, but the reverse is often true. In a highly technical field like ours, it is extremely likely.

    The balance between hard-coding and soft-coding is not an absolute, but I find soft-coding makes things easier in the long run. This is in the context of a system that will be being maintained for years.

    I write quick and dirty code, but I also generally throw it away after using it. It would not go into a system that will stick around.

  • Dave (unregistered)

    It's astonishing to see how few people here understand how the world really works. It doesn't matter how many rules you broke as long as you're seen to be right at the end of it.

  • Dave (unregistered) in reply to Zenith

    It's not dysfunctional, that's the US employment culture. It's no surprise that the more successful a US company is, the further from the normal employment culture it is.

  • Ulysses (unregistered)

    This is no WTF; it's FTW.

  • Gus (unregistered) in reply to Watchman

    How nice for you. I have stood up several times, and pointed out that (1) It wasn't so cool having 13 different programming languages, or (2) We could cut a year off the migration if we did _______, (3) We could make the app run 43.7 times faster with this little cache I wrote, or (4) I found the real problem. EVERY TIME I have been fired. Nobody likes being told they goofed up. If they can, they fire you every time. Been there, may times, now I just keep my mouth shut.

  • NotMyTempo (unregistered)

    I'm crying. For real. Congrats, Charlie.

  • Dub (unregistered)

    Am I the only one weirded out by the giant photoshopped ants?

  • Friedrice the Great (unregistered)

    I did something similar once. My boss looked so good before HIS boss that my boss got me a $1000 bonus. :)

  • snoofle (unregistered) in reply to Gus

    There was a bit of back story that was omitted for brevity. In particular, this manager had always opted for the shortcut in the past, and it always came back to having to do it over and making the CEO/customer(s) wait.

    You have to pick your moment.

  • Quite (unregistered) in reply to Kashim


    Is the office like the army now, with chains of command and underlings who have to do what they are told, to the letter?

    As Watchman has ably pointed out: a properly functional company treats its staff as consulting experts: they know what they are talking about, and a manager is a manager because they don't have the smarts to make the technical decisions. I have in the past required my staff to program something in a particular way, but when the occasion happens that they find a better way to do it, I congratulate them and let them get on with it. If the way they choose to do something is not a better way, I patiently explain why this is that and these are those, and request (a little more firmly) that they do it the way I suggested, and treat the exercise as a learning experience.

    I am currently in the throes of a delightfully little entertaining exercise where one of my boys forgot to cache some static data, and is reading an XML file once (or possibly more) for every single record (potentially thousands of them) being accessed, and has just sent an email saying "[Quite] said to do it that way." I can of course lay my hands on the email I sent 18 months ago where I reminded him (during a design review) to cache the static data and he replied "Yes of course." As this is not the first time he has said "Yes of course" to an obvious efficiency improvement, and then I find to the company's cost that he has failed to do so, we may be in a position to review his contract of employment. But I would not dream of doing so if these lapses of acceptance of good advice had resulted in a better product.

  • I dunno LOL ¯\(°_o)/¯ (unregistered)

    Later that day, the development manager was transferred to manage another team

    Found the WTF! The Peter Principle strikes again!

    Hopefully the "other team" was for a project that was already planned to be cancelled so that $PHB could get laid off along with all the other slackers that had been transferred to it.

  • Dude (unregistered) in reply to Watchman

    I completely agree with you, that is how most businesses (at the very least should) work, and I'm also certain that even in the US those companies exist - I'm working at one now, and my previous was also that way. I'm glad that I'm trusted enough that when I say "this isn't right", people listen; or, if they say "do it anyway" I've been able to go back to them 6 months later and tell them "I told you so" (which they acknowledge was a mistake, we fix and move on).

    However, this is The Daily WTF. Those kinds of organizations are not exactly the type that show up here for any real reason. The code they produce might be, but the organization isn't.

  • Gene Wirchenko (unregistered) in reply to Quite

    I am fortunate that I can flat out tell my boss he is wrong and not get whacked for it. I have rarely done it, because it is rarely necessary. More often, I have had to tell him that things do not work that way. Usually, after receiving a request, I work out how it is to be done, I might discuss it with him if there are potential issues, then I implement it. Occasionally, things do not turn out. Sometimes, it is my bobble, sometimes his, and sometimes, we can not tell; we do not stress about who is at fault.

    Sadly, there are bosses who do not take any sort of adjustment/correction well at all. They are also far more likely to be wrong. That, because they do not listen much to others.

  • Watchman (unregistered) in reply to Gus

    Maybe it is your social skills? With respect, I notice that there is a larger element of "I AM RIGHT, YOU ARE WRONG" in some environments or personalities, and those environments/personalities are almost always toxic and unpleasant. If you are raising an issue politely, respecting other people's views and having them respect yours, bringing non-cherry-picked data and facts with you, then I cannot see why anyone would fire you for that. That is how adults have discussions. If you have been fired for this, then I hope that you find a better company and that they value you. There is no need to settle for a bad environment. If you cannot find a good environment where you are, the world is a big place and your skills are transferable. I am in Africa (sorry Dave), though I have also worked in Europe, and there are many opportunities.

    But I have also had to deal with people who, after a TEAM decision has been made constantly whine about it for months or years. And maybe they are correct, the team wisdom is not always correct ... but usually it is quite acceptable. As we know, there is no utopian silver bullet in software, it is all about trade-offs. But to groan for so long makes it very unpleasant and uncomfortable for everyone. Save your redesign for the next version of the software! I would also seek to remove such a person from my team or from the organization.

  • Watchman (unregistered) in reply to Watchman

    (whoops - I mean Zenith, not Dave. I agree wholeheartedly with Dave!)

  • Andreas (google) in reply to Friedrice the Great

    Which means that YOUR Boss got an even bigger bonus (think 2-10x)

  • wizzleard (unregistered)

    employee lies, disregards manager and is flippantly and overtly disrespectful later. regardless of whether it was the right long-term decision, project timelines, company priorities, or how awesome his solution was, this person has no character and will do whatever they want at the expense of anyone else and God forbid they leave the company on bad terms...who knows what they'll do. the right thing to do would be to pursue an immediate exit strategy. only a moron would want people like that working for them.

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