Recently I wrote about the what I look for when I’m considering a job or a contract, things like interesting problems and fun people. There is, however, a dark side. For some things I’ll stop even considering a job or contract. Just like a job’s qualities, these are different for everyone. My red flags might be something you don’t care about one way or another.
Before I share my list, I want to include one caveat: Earning enough to pay the mortgage and the bills is the first consideration. Personally, I’ve never had a problem getting a job, I understand that you may have to take what you can get. So, assuming that I’m not worried about finding any job but instead finding the right job for me, these are the red flags I watch out for.
- Micromanagers. Places where someone — technical or not — engages in constant oversight aren’t for me. A good management structure is great, and technical feedback is always welcome. I even enjoy pair programming. Just please don’t turn every meeting into a “status update for the one person who gets to make all the decisions.”
- Can’t administer my own machine. If I can’t be an administrator on my own machine, I’m slowed down. It also says you don’t trust me. How about we agree that you’ll trust me and I won’t do anything stupid?
- All my potential coworkers are short-timers. When the entire team lasts six months or less, that means something’s wrong. Of course sometimes a person doesn’t work out but if that’s rampant, something more systemic going on. If this is a brand new venture, or the company’s coming off an event they can explain, this doesn’t apply.
Those are what I look out for. How about you?