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posted by n1 on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:05PM   Printer-friendly
from the before-writing-on-the-wall-sinks dept.

I currently work at a very small startup with about 8 people on staff total. My position is to manage all the technology we use, from the server and website, to the physical phone systems and network.

Lately, I have noticed some odd behaviors from the two top dogs in the office. They started by asking me about how our network is managed, and access to the router. Then a memo went around asking all employees to create a list of all logins associated with our company. This means logins to our website, emails, phones and computers. This didn't seem off the wall to me as it is company property, but what came next got me a bit more alarmed. They requested access to the database information, and server logins. After letting them know that the access to the server was already posted and that all of this information could be reset from there, they still wanted a list of all user accounts for the databases, and their passwords as well as any ssh users I had created.

Added with the fact that the CEO has been distant and in and out of meetings away from the office, I have started to get a bit worried for my job. Needless to say I have started to get a resume together to be safe, but I am curious how any other members of the community have read the signs of an impending firing.

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Woods on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:16PM

    by Woods (2726) <woods12@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:16PM (#42689) Journal

    How many people work in your department? How crippled would they be without you? How many things do you know how to do, that nobody else does?

    Despite your answers to the above questions, it may still not rule out you being fired. I once got the boot even though we were low on employees, and I was the only one with any laptop hardware experience, and we dealt with laptops at least a couple times a week. It left the company pretty crippled, but apparently they survived the ordeal.

    If I were you I would go ahead and update my resume, just to get a head start, in the event of the worst case scenario.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:20PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:20PM (#42691)

      Maybe IT dept is about to get outsourced?

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:30PM (#42700)

      It sounds as though they are ready to outsource at least some of the tech positions or are at least entertaining the idea. I've seen this type of scenario happen a few times before.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by nitehawk214 on Tuesday May 13 2014, @03:25PM

      by nitehawk214 (1304) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @03:25PM (#42764)

      He said that only 8 people work for the entire company. (not sure if this includes the 2 "top dogs", as he called them)

      I would say that it is more likely that your company is about to go poof, and the employees will get kicked to the curb. Expect your final paychecks to bounce.

      --
      "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
      • (Score: 2) by Woods on Tuesday May 13 2014, @03:58PM

        by Woods (2726) <woods12@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 13 2014, @03:58PM (#42785) Journal

        Yeah, I had already forgot that by the time I got to writing my own comment... Such is life.

        • (Score: 4, Funny) by nitehawk214 on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:07PM

          by nitehawk214 (1304) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:07PM (#42825)

          If a summary lands on Soylent and is forgotten by the time the FP happens, did anybody RTFS?

          --
          "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
          • (Score: 2) by Woods on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:49PM

            by Woods (2726) <woods12@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:49PM (#42849) Journal

            Well, then I would like to apologize, I tend to get swept up in the story, and my response. My horrible memory problems appear to have gotten the best of me yet again... Such is life.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by hybristic on Tuesday May 13 2014, @05:19PM

      by hybristic (10) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @05:19PM (#42808) Journal

      This is the AC that submitted this Ask Soylent. To answer your question, I am the ONLY person that works the position. I was brought in to remove the need for 3rd party contractors, which this company was built off of. The next closest person to my position is our graphic designer. The rest (total of 8 people WITH the CEO) are administrative, marketing, etc. No one understands the technology we use, and I forgot to mention our entire company lives online. So without me, I think they would be very crippled, but an email I recently got leads me to believe they have someone else evaluating what I do. I got an email saying they needed access to the router so that someone could setup an intranet for us. Thanks for the advice.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by frojack on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:00PM

        by frojack (1554) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:00PM (#42821) Journal

        You said: The entire company lives on line.

        This says to me its even EASIER for them to dump any in-house solutions, and outsource it to an on-line solution, or buy a package that fits your business and convert to that.

        Note that this is radically different than having 3rd party contractors waltzing around the office, and doesn't necessarily mean that everything done in house will be dropped.

        Maybe the company is getting bought out. That could be good or bad or you personally. I've seen it go both ways, a buy-out followed by an expansion, and a buy-out followed by a consolidation/shut-down.

        Usually, companies do not run around collecting login information (for external sites) from employees they expect to keep.

        You know, you COULD just Ask the big dogs. If they are trying to get rid of YOU personally (for cost savings, or what ever reason) they might actually want to know you are looking. If they get a clue that their behavior has everyone worried, they may just be honest and explain the facts. If they tell you none of your business, I'd shop that resume around quickly.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by hybristic on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:14PM

          by hybristic (10) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:14PM (#42828) Journal

          Good point. I guess at the end of the day I am worried my fears will be realized, but that is also a good thing. It's pointless to wait around wondering if I can get a straight answer. It just feels like there is no trust for me anymore, and that makes me believe I will just get some BS to hold me over until they figure out what they plan on doing. We have been working on planning the newest version of our site that I have been leading the way on, but even those talks have subsided. There have been talks for a while of a few different buyouts, but with me as part of those teams at some capacity. Now however, I cant even sign for packages when they show up. It looks like a pretty clear case that I will be let go, I just have no clue as to what the timetable will look like. Nearly half our company will be out for most of the remainder of the month for one thing or another, and I am not aware of any contingency plan post me. I am thinking I should maybe use up the remainder of my vacation time and use that to job search.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Woods on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:54PM

            by Woods (2726) <woods12@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:54PM (#42852) Journal

            Sounds like a good plan, you will have to let us know how it turns out. I hope you get the good end of the deal.

          • (Score: 1) by bill_mcgonigle on Thursday May 15 2014, @05:06AM

            by bill_mcgonigle (1105) on Thursday May 15 2014, @05:06AM (#43602)

            Visualize your dream job and go find it. :) If you're living paycheck-to-paycheck, rein in your expenses so you have the freedom to explore your options.

            The cynic would say if they're gonna shitcan you anyway (sounds like they're selling off their assets to me), might as well look for the new job from work. "What are they going to do, fire you?". The cynic would also call himself a realist.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by kaszz on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:26PM

    by kaszz (4211) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:26PM (#42697) Journal

    Why wait for the first move? Use the first mover advantage and look for another job right now, discretely and watch out for HR and CEOs talking to each other.

    Have look at the revenue, profits and orders. They might hint at what's going on. Also watch what kind of people come to visit the higher ups.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by GlennC on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:44PM

      by GlennC (3656) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:44PM (#42712)

      ^^THIS!^^

      It doesn't matter if you're in a small startup, or a Fortune 500 organization.

      ALWAYS be ready to move, keep your resume up to date, have references ready.

      It doesn't necessarily have to be for a negative reason, either. You never know when or where an ideal opportunity will arise.

      Fortune favors the prepared.

      --
      Sorry folks...the world is bigger and more varied than you want it to be. Deal with it.
      • (Score: 0) by Ethanol-fueled on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:12PM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:12PM (#42725) Homepage

        ...and always have a "Samson Option" available in case they do fuck you over. No, I'm not talking about hacking their infrastructure and selling credentials to the crooks, I'm talking about anonymously but visibly and convincingly dropping the dirt on the company. Contact customers, job boards like Glassdoor with poor reviews, and reveal the dirtiest and most horrifying internal workings of the company. Like how the boss' inept grandson was fast-tracked into management, or poor quality control.

        Assuming you are identified, they cannot sue you for defamation unless they can prove the information you provided is false.

        Petty? Perhaps. But they'll fuck you a lot sooner than you fuck them.

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday May 13 2014, @03:34PM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @03:34PM (#42768)

          With only 8 employees, it sounds like the company is about to go poof, and probably be acquired by someone else (why else would they want all the credentials? Login credentials are useless if you're going into Chapter 7).

          Airing the company's dirty laundry really isn't going to make a difference in this case, I think.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @05:49PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @05:49PM (#42818)

          Waste of time & energy. Just move on

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14 2014, @12:12AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14 2014, @12:12AM (#42975)

          You're the server admin, right? You have root passwords, right?

          Nothing will tell you faster what the bosses are up to than reading their e-mails. :)

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Lazarus on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:55PM

      by Lazarus (2769) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:55PM (#42750)

      >Use the first mover advantage and look for another job right now

      Agree completely. It's a lot easier to find a job when you have a job. If management is acting shady, get out fast.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @03:52PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @03:52PM (#42780)

      While I agree with your advice, this is not what the first mover advantage [wikipedia.org] is.

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:07PM

        by frojack (1554) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:07PM (#42824) Journal

        Its entirely possible for a phrase to apply to several different situations.
        Your own link cites a chess advantage.

        Pretty sure the meaning was totally clear with the context here.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Geezer on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:37PM

    by Geezer (511) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:37PM (#42706)

    1. Don parachute.
    2. Find new gig.
    3. Pull rip cord.
    4. Profit!!

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by tibman on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:39PM

    by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:39PM (#42708)

    That stuff might also be required to sell the company or outsource. Maybe they are just worried you'll die or be hit by a bus? Are the top dogs approachable enough that you can ask them? It seems like they could at least give you a heads-up or timeline. The unknown is always scarier. I'd rather leave the company than sit in limbo just thinking happy thoughts : /

    --
    SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:44PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:44PM (#42711)

      It seems like they could at least give you a heads-up or timeline.

      No, they couldn't, because they've heard the horror stories of sysadmins who know they're about to get fired sabotaging everything on the way out the door. Standard operating procedure is to call the admin into the office for the "we're firing you" talk, and while that's going on somebody is cutting off all access to company systems.

      They're hoping he won't notice what's going on.

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Tuesday May 13 2014, @03:56PM

        by Angry Jesus (182) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @03:56PM (#42784)

        Depends on the reason they fire the admin. If its for cause then yeah, its kind of by definition that he can't be trusted. But if it is a financial problem with the company then the risk is far smaller and they end up doing damage to the company's reputation for being jerks.

      • (Score: 2, Funny) by ArhcAngel on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:29PM

        by ArhcAngel (654) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:29PM (#42839)

        What they probably aren't aware of is truly 3lite sysadmins have the nuclear option programmed to a dead man switch should they not log in at a predefined interval. Not that I'm suggesting AC set something like that up or anything.

    • (Score: 2) by hybristic on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:17PM

      by hybristic (10) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:17PM (#42831) Journal

      This is the guise under which all the information was requested. It could very well be true, but honestly there are some security concerns with having all critical logins in a central, online, plaintext format. Further only the CEO has access, so if something happens to him, what happens to all of that information? Still, it just doesn't sound correct to me. None of them are technical enough to even know what information they need, yet the knew everything to ask me for. That tells me they Googled "how to fire your IT guy" or something. Still, it's probably better to get ahead of it no matter what.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tibman on Tuesday May 13 2014, @07:49PM

        by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 13 2014, @07:49PM (#42878)

        The only thing else i can think of is a login audit. If they are feeding the passwords to someone, that person will probably check to see that they work.

        It really could just be that the CEO read a horror story about a sysadmin dying. But you are right, it would make anyone a little uncomfortable.

        --
        SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:41PM

    by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:41PM (#42710)

    Your instincts are absolutely right. There's a round of layoffs coming, and you are probably one of those on the chopping block. My guess is that it's nothing you did, it's that management has decided to rename the development team "devops" and give them all your job responsibilities.

    One important point here: You want to start your job search now, while you still have a job. That improves your bargaining position and your attractiveness to potential employers dramatically, because the trend since the 2008 crisis hit is for HR drones to assume that if you're unemployed you are unemployable. If they ask why you're looking, you can just say something boilerplate like "I'm in a bit of a rut career-wise where I am, and wanted to see if there were better opportunities out there."

    --
    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by VLM on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:57PM

      by VLM (445) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @01:57PM (#42717)

      "I'm in a bit of a rut career-wise where I am, and wanted to see if there were better opportunities out there."

      Even that sounds kind of negative compared to "I heard you guys are extensively using XYZ technology, which I have some experience with, and I'd enjoy using that interesting technology more than I can at my current job"

      This is probably for HR drones, so XYZ could equal "git" or "/bin/ls" or "cat 5 cables" for all they understand, all they care about is how you sound. Bonus points if you can tell the truth, and they really are doing something interesting.

      There is a danger with HR drones that if you piss them off by giving memorized textbook answers to their textbook questions they just pull out heavier weapons. This inevitably escalates to "The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping. Why is that, VLM?" And this never turns out well. HR drones hate jokes about Bladerunner, probably because of how the interview scene ends, even if most people subjected to modern HR interviews are cheering for Leon the whole time. No, not "even if", more like "especially because".

      • (Score: 1) by q.kontinuum on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:30PM

        by q.kontinuum (532) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:30PM (#42735) Journal

        "The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping. Why is that, VLM?"

        "Interesting question. Since the question is utterly unrealistic in its presumptions, me being such a compassionate person, the more interesting question is what makes you ask? And what does it tell me about this companies culture?"

        Let's see where this interview will be heading then. If the interviewer manages a U-turn from there, I might give the company still a chance :-)

        --
        Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:44PM

          by VLM (445) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:44PM (#42742)

          Go watch the movie Bladerunner. The point was to stress out the applicant.

          Aside from memorable movie scenes, not following the correct primate dominance ritual will just get you not-hired or fired. "Well, he didn't grovel and appear stressed out enough, so he's not a culture fit".

          • (Score: 2, Funny) by terryk30 on Tuesday May 13 2014, @08:22PM

            by terryk30 (1753) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @08:22PM (#42894)

            ...to stress out the applicant.

            ...another joke there. E.g. "Ah, so you're the next repli...applicant." "Wait, what is this for?"

          • (Score: 1) by q.kontinuum on Tuesday May 13 2014, @09:47PM

            by q.kontinuum (532) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @09:47PM (#42931) Journal

            Ok, I will give bladerunner a try. Regarding job interviews: Maybe I'm too optimistic / overconfident here. We were looking for some new team members and had real difficulties to find someone good. Currently, if I would interview for a new position and the interviewer would try to stress me out with bullshit questions, I would assume they test my self-confidence, and blocking this sort of question vigorously could work in my favour. If they are serious with this attitude, it would probably be a company I wouldn't want to work for in the first place.

            Well, as I said, maybe I'm overconfident. If I was unemployed for some time, I'd probably react differently already.

            --
            Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
            • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday May 14 2014, @11:55AM

              by VLM (445) on Wednesday May 14 2014, @11:55AM (#43127)

              "If I was unemployed for some time, I'd probably react differently already."

              If you were unemployed they wouldn't even bring you in for an interview. Well, maybe in SV or NYC, if its a hot field. Thats that "economic death penalty" thing they're talking about.

        • (Score: 1) by terryk30 on Tuesday May 13 2014, @08:34PM

          by terryk30 (1753) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @08:34PM (#42896)

          Yes, watch the movie - then you'd know the correct answer. (Geez, if the person on the other side of the table ever throws that one out, bonus point if you interrupt them with the answer!)

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @03:37PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @03:37PM (#42770)

        I for one got the ref. Great post all around. This is why I come to SN, kudos.

      • (Score: 2) by egcagrac0 on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:27PM

        by egcagrac0 (2705) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:27PM (#42836)

        At least around here, that's a major reason why there's a sign on the front door that discourages concealed carry.

        Not that a sign is going to stop bullets, of course - just increase the penalties against someone who uses a bullet-launcher on site.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by grub on Tuesday May 13 2014, @07:40PM

        by grub (3668) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @07:40PM (#42873)

        Wish I had mod points, if only for the clever paraphrasing of a Blade Runner quote.

        --
        Trolling is a art,
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:11PM

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:11PM (#42723)

    All these comments are right. Your job is on the chopping block, and you need to find a new job NOW. As someone else said, it's exponentially easier to get a new job while you're employed, because everyone has this stupid idea that if you're unemployed, you're unemployable, so find a new job while you're still receiving a paycheck, and you can be the one to leave rather than being terminated.

  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:12PM

    by VLM (445) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:12PM (#42724)

    If they want all your info, you need to get all their info first, sorta.

    You don't want to be sitting at home later today after getting downsized and trying to remember everything you did. So... Oh yeah, I did configure the firewall and for those loser-orgs who ask for specific version numbers and software builds, I had the version 1.2.3.4 with BStechnology(tm) and PPTP enabled build. OK you loser-org who needs to know the exact JVM version I was using to figure out if I'd be qualified, I'm using open jdk 7u25-2.3.10-1, of course if they're dumb enough to put version 7u25-2.3.9 in the job req you're already smart enough to claim expertise with .9 (and of course they would circular file anyone dumb enough to submit a custom resume with .10 and newer or .8 and older as being utterly unqualified for the job)

    Oh the cat 5 tester in the bottom drawer isn't just "the cat 5 tester" its a "Fluke CableIQ qual tester" Any idiot capable of operating a tester knows the up-to-speed transition time to a new meter is about 5 minutes but HR will circular file anyone not using the correct model number.

    Resume keyword searching is certainly a plague.

    • (Score: 2) by nitehawk214 on Tuesday May 13 2014, @03:29PM

      by nitehawk214 (1304) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @03:29PM (#42766)

      I assume you are making up bullshit, but any company that is keyword searching a specific version of java is not a company I would want to work for anyhow. They are doing me a favor by skipping over my resume.

      --
      "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday May 13 2014, @04:09PM

        by VLM (445) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @04:09PM (#42792)

        Unfortunately no. Usually that kind of stuff appears in H1B ads (prove there's no local capable of doing the job...) or when the bosses kid has been assigned the job but HR feels the need to go thru the motions.

        Sometimes they're just clueless. From OPs story of being the only IT-ish guy at the company, whoever interviews a replacement for OP isn't going to know anything at all about IT nor will anyone else still there, so its quite possible the requirements will look like the output of 1000 monkeys in front of 1000 typewriters.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:17PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:17PM (#42728)

    I just went through this myself. A group of PE investors (the private equity kind, not sports) bought my company and began to suck it dry. They had no interest in anything but limping along until they repaid the debt from the purchase. They'd already sucked the money out. They began doing the same thing, outsourcing everything the company did and firing people. It's just standard business practice. They don't care that they're destroying healthy companies or breaking up teams that create great software. They literally manage by spreadsheet, firing people to meet their debt payments.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:20PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:20PM (#42731)

    Well, I've worked at startups and been laid off several times, and although one CEO attempted to paint me as a slacker (which was really a sign that money was getting tight), he ended up letting me go the day after the board turned him down for funding he expected them to give.

    Other places have let me go as part of a mass-layoff >80% of staff out the door at a throw, and that's all about lack of funds. Even the larger place I worked that laid off 10% at a time (and kept me), was doing it because they screwed up and overspent their income.

    Just recently, I was at a company of about 35 people, 7ish in R&D (more if you count some of the field tech/engineers), and the CEO came through one day out of the blue tearing new orifices in everybody he spoke to, ranting about how the department was costing him X millions per year and what's he getting for it? I had another opportunity fall in my lap shortly thereafter, so I took it. Apparently a lot of people followed my lead, alleviating some of the salary stress.

    --
    🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by nitehawk214 on Tuesday May 13 2014, @04:01PM

      by nitehawk214 (1304) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @04:01PM (#42787)

      On the same topic, never give a company warning that you are going to leave.

      As I told my boss that was apologizing for giving me a crap raise, "Don't worry, I will let you know if I am unhappy with my job... with a 2 weeks notice." He thought I was joking, but I made it clear that I was not.

      About a year later I followed through on that threat, though it had nothing to do with the amount of money I was making. I thought I had made it clear I was unhappy, but they were still super surprised I was quitting. I also did not entertain counter-offers.

      --
      "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:31PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:31PM (#42842)

        I also did not entertain counter-offers.

        This to the nth degree. I can't say "never", but accepting a counter-offer in most situations is a very bad idea. This is from my 30 years experience and there are a number of good reasons, but I would advise the AC posting the question to search around and he'll get much better written prose that backs this up.

        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday May 13 2014, @07:28PM

          by VLM (445) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @07:28PM (#42865)

          "accepting a counter-offer in most situations is a very bad idea."

          They're looking for you to help write the job req for your replacement, not keep you around.

          So if you say "Well, XYZ Inc has offered me $100K so I'd consider staying here for $120K" then the req that HR will write will probably contain something very much like "Salary Range $100K to $120K" or more likely just $100K.

          Or they'll offer you $110K and your reaction to that will help them write the req. Like if you laugh the req will read $110K to $120K and if you appear to think about it, the req will read $100K to $110K.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:30PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:30PM (#42734)

    I have been consulting for 20 years. I document all the stuff you refer to, changes, access request etc. and let the management know from day one that it is the corporate property and they have rights to change what they want.

    There are multiple situations, one is they could be hiring a manager for you, or selling the company. Forget worrying about the job. If you are good at your work, be ready to let the job go at anytime.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by number6x on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:31PM

    by number6x (903) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:31PM (#42736)

    Startups have a huge failure rate, so yes you could be seeing signs of trouble. Even the ones who survive will have many ups and downs. There could be a few other possibilities as well.

    Could be a buyout is coming. This may amount to the same thing as layoffs. If a larger firm is buying your startup, they may take over the duties of your IT staff.

    Could be that someone is up to no good on your network. Was someone given the boot quietly and quickly in the last few days or weeks? Running their own business on company servers? Hosting their own software? Who knows.

    When working for a start up, always expect the axe to fall. Get all the experience you can out of it. Make connections as well. Don't get angry or frustrated and burn bridges. It can be exasperating, but future potential employers will not hold it against you. Most people realize what employee life expectancy at a start up is like.

    If your bosses are Star Trek fans, you and your co-workers can start wearing red shirts to work. The boses might get the joke.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sl4shd0rk on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:33PM

    by sl4shd0rk (613) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:33PM (#42737)

    There's little point in worrying about when the axe is going to fall. you've done the next right thing by getting your resume updated and that's really all you can do. keep in mind what you have with your employer is a business agreement; you do stuff, they pay you. you are free to leave at any time just as much as they are free to get rid of you at any time. far to many Admins have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and tend to regard equipment, sensitive data and access to them as some kind of personal property. it ain't. if the boss/supervisor says he wants the keys to his kingdom, its your job to turn them over. if there is a question of malicious intent the best thing you can do is cough up the goods and then document it with someone over his head. if the guy asking is also the owner then you have your answer.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:38PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:38PM (#42740)

    Remember this simple rule: MANAGEMENT IS LYING TO YOU.

    My experience has been that management is going to lie to you. Don't go by what they say, go by what they do. I was in the middle of the same thing with management outsourcing stuff, and they brought in someone who was a "VP" but his job was to lie to us. He literally got paid to lie to us and fire people so the higher-ups wouldn't have to have blood on their hands.

    The VP pretended to solicit our opinions and recommendations on what to do. We would do proposals and diagrams and give him our recommendations, but we noticed he basically had already decided what to do and ignored everything we said.

    So I was already looking for another job by the time he fired me, and had another job before the severance ran out.

    Always be looking for your next job...!

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:45PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:45PM (#42743)

      Good management lies to you at every opportunity. When times are good, they lie about it to avoid having to share the wealth, when times are bad, they lie about it to avoid losing valuable staff before they have to.

      Personally, I prefer working with bad management that just tells me what the hell is going on, or excellent management that really does insulate you from the ups and downs such that you never know how close you came to being homeless. Unfortunately, the world is filled with mediocre management that lies most of the time, but can't help cracking every so often.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:45PM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @02:45PM (#42744) Journal

    You are right to heed the signs. There are several reasons the CEO could be asking you for the logins and such, which other posters have already pointed out. But as far as you're concerned the reasons are irrelevant because they all boil down to the same outcome: you will shortly lose your job.

    What I've seen several other posters recommend is to get your resume in order and find another gig immediately, because being unemployed makes you unemployable. They are not wrong, but I have been through the same experience all my career and have learned how to avoid the trap they're talking about. To put it more exactly, being "unemployed" does not make you unemployable, being idle does.

    We all remember the lag we had as kids after summer vacation was over. Goofing off for three months made it hard to get back into the swing of things and you really didn't get your rhythm back until a couple weeks before Christmas. That's the dynamic that's at work here--companies almost always want someone who can hit the ground running because they put off hiring until the absolute last minute when their need has become urgent because A) it costs money to increase headcount, B) they're looking for a guy who can be as good or better than the last guy in that role, and C) it's frankly a pain in a butt to find a qualified candidate after wading through the ocean of dross that recruiters send your way. So the thought of bringing in a new guy who's still partly checked out in his head, probably doesn't mentally wake up until 11am because that's what he's been doing for months, whose skill set might be rusty or have developed serious gaps, is not optimal.

    You can sidestep that dynamic altogether by doing some or all of the following. First, the best of both worlds is to find another job you'll love before the axe falls. The timing on that might not work out in your favor, so then move on to the following: register with a reputable recruiter in your area. Tell them you want to consult for a while until you find a company that suits you--aka you are taking an active step of shopping around for companies that will be lucky to have you "buy" them. It's a totally different approach that puts you in a totally different light and the recruiter will try harder to place you well because they'll be confident you'll interview better and get a better offer, which means their cut is larger. Also, if keeping your cash flow constant isn't an urgent, pressing need, you could tour the hackathon circuit or get involved with a coding non-profit like Code for America that works on civic hacking and projects like that. Keeping yourself out there, using your skills to build projects for competitions or good causes, will both keep your skills sharp and bring you into contact with a lot of new people who can help you network into another paying gig.

    If you do those things and describe yourself as a consultant or a great coder who's taking time off to give back, then you come across as an active, directed professional who has full control of your career trajectory. It makes you irresistible to companies. And another great thing about this approach is that you can continue it for an indefinite period of time.

    To close, above all else you must get out of the all-too-common belief that you are a powerless victim of circumstance, and into knowing that you are an intrepid explorer, calmly navigating rough waters.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:27PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @06:27PM (#42837)

      My first gig was with a small (10 to 25 person) company. for 12 years. During those 12 years, we "almost" shut down about 3 times, more or less spaced every 3-4 years, before the real one hit. I hung in, and too long the last time, but hanging in through the 3 previous crises was good for both me and the company, and through it all, the pay was competitive and of about 300 paychecks, only one came a few days late, the rest were on-time as promised.

      The gig I left about 18 months ago ran for about 2.5 years for me, during which time they "furloughed" most people twice and played around with not paying promised salaries... as I said, I left - sticking around did not appear to be beneficial to me, and even with me, they still couldn't close sales on any kind of predictable basis.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 1) by grumpyman on Tuesday May 13 2014, @04:02PM

    by grumpyman (4297) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @04:02PM (#42788)

    ... straight in their face (1-to-1 is sufficient): are we in any sort of difficulty? By looking at his reaction after listening, you'll get the answer.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @04:35PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @04:35PM (#42796)

      ... and if he's any good, you're none the wiser.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @05:15PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13 2014, @05:15PM (#42807)

    Years ago, there was an article in the Harvard Business Review that was for owners of startups. It specifically advised to fire all the existing staff when the company starts doing well, and hire professional people with regular lives and experience. Because the startup people have been able to put in many many extra hours of their own time, and also have quirks that are detrimental to a mature organization. Their work was good for the startup, but not good for a regular running company.
    So, _DO_ work for startups, only to get very useful experience, and learn as much as you can by working hard (you will never get this experience at a mature company).
    For the owners of the startup, the goal is to start making solid money. The goal for you working at a startup is to get very important experience that will one day be indispensable when you start your own company.

  • (Score: 1) by laserfusion on Tuesday May 13 2014, @05:28PM

    by laserfusion (1450) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @05:28PM (#42811)
    It can be something else, as others have mentioned. But if it was anything else not related to your employment, they would probably discuss the issue with you. Especially in such a small company.

    But in the long run you shouldn't depend on jobs for income anyway. Save and invest as much as you can, so you can stop working in jobs altogether. It takes only a few years. They can't fire you from your own properties.
    • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Tuesday May 13 2014, @08:34PM

      by kaszz (4211) on Tuesday May 13 2014, @08:34PM (#42895) Journal

      Your employees may walk away with your skills and knowledge. Competitors may find an edge. The tax man may audit you to hell. The lawyers (liars) may sue you to the ground. Putin, mortgage scams, and other shit may screw up the economy. So you can't be fired, instead a lot of other stuff may happen.

      Investments is also dependent on the mood of the economy. But most of all it is very much dependent on that you have money to begin with. And of course time to handle them. Which a job will deny you.