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Former employer weirdness

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    dough boy | Male | 41 years old | Kansas City

"Why do today what you can put off 'til tomorrow"

Programmer by day, comic nerd by night. My official job title is "Director of Janitorial Engineering"

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Former employer weirdness

2185 views • Oct 1, '08 • (3) Comments

So I worked for my former employer for 6+ years.  Gave them blood, sweat, and tears.  They were my first professional job and right now accounts for 80% of my professional life and thus makes up a large portion of my resume.

One of the products I designed and help build was an online event registration system.  When I was in the hospital with my dad he asked me if I would help him setup an event on it that was coming up.  So I e-mailed and was told to create a new account instead of using one that the organization already had.  I thought nothing of it and created the account, then proceeded to setup the event.

As I was "test registering" for the event I noticed a new feature they added (likely was "demanded" by a client and of course we could never say no).  Basically it was a running ticker that floated and told you as you progressed how much your registration was currently costing.

This was not thought out well, and wasn't implemented well either.  So I e-mailed the guy in charge and let him know why it doesn't work for "all" events and proposed a few changes that would fix the problem.  I soon received an e-mail asking me to use another competitor of theirs.

I thought this was strange as they are not affiliated.  After basically getting the run around from the family I called the owner (also head of family) and I asked him why I was not "allowed" to use the product.  He said, "Frankly it is because of you. You are mean, vile, vindictive, and not a really nice person".  He then proceeded to haul off on me.

Turns out one of their servers had been hacked, and then once fixed, was promptly hacked again in about a week.  My former employer always did things on the "cheap" and never really had a truely dedicated server person.  Evidently they hired one (likely on the cheap as well) and he and the lead technician from the colocation center said that it "had to be a former employee".  Basically they probably have no clue and apparently missed something.

So somehow out of the 5 logical choics of former employees my name comes to the top of the list. Nevermind that all 5 people left on their own free will. Nevermind that I gave 2+ weeks notice. Nevermind that I worked on a contract basis for 5+ months for them after I left to make sure they wouldn't die (once I left they really didn't have anyone). Nevermind that I was employee #4 and was their longest serving employee after the CEO.

Now people say "don't burn bridges" when you leave a company and I never did.  I still talk with 3 of the people there regularly and chat with a few others as well every now and then.  As I listened to my former boss lay into me I questioned why and said that whatever he thinks I did I didn't do and they have no proof.  He threatened to get an attorney and go to the FBI.  He even threatened to sit down with my wife and my dad and let them know what a not very nice person I am.  I told him to go ahead on all fronts as I have done nothing wrong.

See, what the "accusers" (the 2 IT guys that said it had to be a former employee) failed to realize is that all of the people that left could have done a whole lot more damage than basically turning a server into a zombie.  If any one of them wanted to get in and could (would likely be hard after all of the passwords had been changed multiple times - but I am not a hacker) they could have deleted files, wiped the server, deleted the database, etc.  They also forget that we all have lives, families, most of us kids, and none of us would be stupid enough to hack a computer in the US as it is a Federal offense and we don't want to go to jail and lose our livelihood.

So who knows what the next step is.  I was sick to my stomach for the first 2 days.  1 because I was blindsided by it, and 2 because I have no idea what it takes to get the FBI involved.  I.e. someone says it has to be a former employee and they can then go with warrants and get the computer from each employee?

But the more I thought about it the more I realized I don't really care.  Without me that company would never have made it past 3 years.  My first 2.5 years I worked for them for basically what I could have earned at McDonald's. The CEO should have stuck with working on cars and left the IT industry alone as he has no clue.  I am just really sad that it took me 6 years to realize what 10 others had realized before me.

  • Oct 1, '08 by jkoswald's avatar jkoswald
  • i tend to see the good in people....and i am rarely motivated enough to look for a new job while still at a job that i enjoy enough.....so i probably would have done the exact same thing you did..........i've got no real trust in our country's legal system though, since it is reliant of the quality of judge you get...but i am sure any thorough investigation would come up in your favor, so i would doubt that there would be anything real to worry about......oh and i dont burn bridges either, but i do let them become rundown and termite infested. (upkeep of former employers is a bit annoying)
  • Oct 2, '08 by joshschr's avatar joshschr
  • Sounds like a poor deal, Matt. If the employer thought you were such a bad person, why didn't they fire you? What are the chances he was just accusing you to see if you'd confess? I wonder if there are any lawyers on CBR who could help you out with some advice on what to do?
  • Oct 3, '08 by evlthecat's avatar evlthecat
  • Matt, you are not alone in this, but really your former employer has no leg to stand on when it comes to getting the FBI involved.. Empty threats are the first sign of a stupid person.. Telling you before he gets the law involved is the second sign of a clueless person...

    Cut ties with former friend from the company unless you can totally trust them.. You already know the rest about unsecured chat..

    People only believe those who are bringing the money in for them.. God only know what the people who came in after you said about you and your ability. I have seen so many Programmers and IT's come in and start bad mouthing prior employees just so they look good, and unknowable employers have no choice but to believe them.

    The only people you can trust now a days is your family and friends. There is no such thing as employee or employer loyalty.

    Sorry Matt!!
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