Lately, I was approached by a completely fucked up exponent of human race. This so called person works for one of the clients of the company I’m currently working for.
I was publicly and unexpectedly accused of asking payment for the software that “didn’t work at all”. Unfortunately, that’s quite a widespread characterization of a software engineer’s work by a pea-brained employee from the client’s side.
Those who can formulate the task correctly and in case of problems work on them together in an adequate way worth their weight in gold. Of course, it’s not required to say that these people are always welcome.
However, most of the time people are way too self-opinioned and use “Master-Servant” role model when communicating with others (of course, unsuccessfully trying to take the Master role).
It has to be said that most poor (financially and what’s more important, spiritually) people, when they get a chance, tend to dominate over those who are tied with them by a personal of professional relationship. For example, such person is used to criticize waitstaff in the most personally humiliating way.
At the same time these people become genuine arse-suckers when roles are changed.
Getting back to the story: that dumbass employee publicly and without any obstruction (though this person’s supervisor was sitting right there) dared not only criticize my work in a slanderous way (‘coz the piece of software I wrote did actually work), but also made it personal, criticizing my qualities as a person.
Perhaps, living in the US, I could easily sue this person and win the case. However, you can’t hope for it in Russia. The chance to get any compensation in this case is close to zero.
Being a member of the company and thus, responsible for its image, I chose not to use the same pathetical techniques on this piece of shit. I had strung myself up to reply officially and decently as much as I could, although the amount of adrenaline which filled my blood at that moment was enormous.
After I left the client’s office I was in a quite devastated state of mind: the preceding events dropped a bombshell. I had lost control over situation.
That was exact moment and a vivid example when someone should take care of her/himself. To return control I had to set conditions. On the road back to my company’s office I came up with the most logical and sane condition I could.
Here it is: I won’t perform any more work for this client until the payment for the previous work is done.
Technically, my contract does not allow me to choose, which clients to work or not to work with. As a consequence of my refusal to continue working for this client, I could be fired.
However, the fact was that my very human dignity was involved, and I could lose much more than just a job, – my self-respect.
When I faced my boss, I stated this condition very clearly, though in perhaps more emotional way than I’d like. The message was heard, though not from the first talk. Later that day and next day (which is when I’m writing this post), the boss and I analyzed the task and the software again and he agreed that it works as it should be.
You may say that when I determined to quit my job if the company does not agree with my condition I was in a better position due to my high professional skills and the offer I got earlier from the other company. I’d answer: yes, you’re right.
But does it mean that someone can mess with your personal dignity if you’re just starting your career? Does it mean that someone can humiliate you as a person if they pay you money? It’s up to you to answer this question. But I really hope that the answer will be “HELL, NO!”