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So today I found out the "real" reason that my friend Rakesh was not renewed.

Apparently someone took umbrage with the fact that he tends to e-mail questions rather than meeting the person face to face. Apparently he sent 40 e-mails in a month!

And this was a problem?

Even if you look at 20 working days being a month, 40 e-mails is an average of 2 a day.

And even if that was a problem, don't you think that a better solution would be to actually talk to him about it, rather than essentially firing him?

The rest of the stupid stuff that this company does I can write off to inexperience, ineptitude, and a number of other slothful things.

Resorting to termination as a first response to an issue that is so minor isn't something that I can write off so easily. It isn't something that you learn from working in the industry, it's a basic human decency thing. Respect for a person.

However, it goes a little deeper. Of the development team on this project, our little group of five is isolated in a separate building. Anything between buildings, e-mail is a perfectly reasonable means of communication.

So if we assume that the issue was that he was communicating by e-mail with one of our own small team, it narrows the field considerably. Of the five others, there are only three that he had a lot of dealing with:

I like Rakesh. He asks a lot of questions when he doesn't necessarily understand something. About half of them are by e-mail. Many times that is the most efficient way of putting forth information.
His grasp of the english language isn't perfect, but it's a whole hell of a lot better than my... whatever his native language is.
I know that I didn't complain.
Helmut had very little interaction with him overall, and when he did, it was primarily face-to-face. And Helmut is pretty even-tempered.
That leaves Andy.
Andy, who seemed to take a disliking to Rakesh from day one. Andy, who has gone out of his way to be exceptionally harsh to Rakesh in reviews-- unnecessarily so.
Andy who a few weeks ago got fed up with Rakesh's progress on a unit test plan and took it over completely.
(ding! ding! ding!)

I have watched Andy with other non-white developers. He seems to have a special disdain for folks from India and the surrounding area. Nothing that I can nail outright, but more of an attitude.

However, even if I chalk it up to personal bigotry, there is still no excuse for the company to operate in such a manner as to use termination as a first response to any but the most heinous offenses.

I am livid. I very nearly walked out after seeing this, and I'm still considering the ramifications. I have lost any minimal respect I had for this company, and I know that I will not be extending my contract after it ends next.

I am updating my resume for sure. And I think I'll start the job-hunting process early.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 15th, 2004 06:13 pm (UTC)
Don't try to fool yourself into thinking he was terminated for communicating by email. The email thing is just an excuse and it's really obvious from HERE.

It is legal to terminate anyone for any reason, at any time - EXCEPT if the termination is based on race, gender... blah, blah...

Golly, if I were an employer and I wanted to get rid of an employee, I'm pretty sure I could find something to dislike. I might even be able to convince *myself* that the termination was legal and justified. (We had to let so-and-so go, he twirled his spagetti rather than cut it and this is a company of spagetti cutters. No messy eating here.)
Sep. 15th, 2004 06:30 pm (UTC)
Sounds like you are doing the right thing. I should have began my job hunting a lot sooner! You have some very good reasons for getting out SOON!
Sep. 15th, 2004 07:39 pm (UTC)
Maybe Andy has a prediliction towards people of Indian descent because of the recent surge of tech companies to farm out their support over there??!!! Just maybe...
Or maybe he doesn't think foreigners should still have heavy accents? Who knows? We lost an employee at my office who didn't speak or write English too well. She was laid off & her husband works for the same place. He was very angry because he thought she was a great employee. I suspect they chose her partially because of her lingering language barrier! :/
Sep. 15th, 2004 10:23 pm (UTC)

E-mail is frequently my first choice as far as communication goes. It's asynchronous, you can save the response and keep better notes, and it is auditable.

Sep. 16th, 2004 08:22 am (UTC)
I'm with Mike on this - when asking technical questions, email is preferred. I know exactly what I asked, and what the response is. I can refer back to it if I need to. It's clear and permanent, unlike a memory of a conversation.

Yep, it's just an excuse. And a piss-poor one at that.
Sep. 16th, 2004 08:22 am (UTC)

I used to work with a woman who prefered e-mail even though she worked on the other side of a cube wall from me. She was Chinese and felt much more comfortable with her written English than with her spoken English. She was a great programmer though.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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