Author Topic: Epic FU money stories  (Read 1815751 times)

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2700 on: June 24, 2019, 04:21:09 PM »
  ^Epic story right there

Glad you liked it. I swear that while it's very condensed, it's entirely true.

markbike528CBX

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2701 on: June 24, 2019, 09:37:43 PM »
My ex-boss' son, who I will call Snotty McStuffington IV, knew I'd been cheated out of some commissions. One day he said in an email that, ".....you don't have to be a baby about it."

My written reply was, "Go fuck yourself. I mean that literally. Next time you're fucking yourself, you should know that you've earned it."

A month later I gave notice. The boss asked me to not say anything until after Christmas to prevent the other employees from worrying, and that my only job for the following 6 weeks was to secure another job if I didn't already have one.

I received a Christmas bonus, 6 weeks pay to job search, and did some "business travel" where I caught up with a buddy I'd not seen in 8 years.

Regarding Snotty McStuffington IV, we don't keep in touch.

How did ex-boss (presumably Snotty McStuffington III) not have any irritation at you for such a blunt response?
  a)didn't care/ wanted to do the same,but couldn't because of family
  b) wasn't told by Snotty McStuffington IV because of ???

and why the  wait to "prevent the other employees from worrying"?  Not understanding that at all. Quit is quit, not layoff/fired.

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2702 on: June 25, 2019, 04:21:13 AM »
My ex-boss' son, who I will call Snotty McStuffington IV, knew I'd been cheated out of some commissions. One day he said in an email that, ".....you don't have to be a baby about it."

My written reply was, "Go fuck yourself. I mean that literally. Next time you're fucking yourself, you should know that you've earned it."

A month later I gave notice. The boss asked me to not say anything until after Christmas to prevent the other employees from worrying, and that my only job for the following 6 weeks was to secure another job if I didn't already have one.

I received a Christmas bonus, 6 weeks pay to job search, and did some "business travel" where I caught up with a buddy I'd not seen in 8 years.

Regarding Snotty McStuffington IV, we don't keep in touch.

How did ex-boss (presumably Snotty McStuffington III) not have any irritation at you for such a blunt response?
  a)didn't care/ wanted to do the same,but couldn't because of family
  b) wasn't told by Snotty McStuffington IV because of ???

and why the  wait to "prevent the other employees from worrying"?  Not understanding that at all. Quit is quit, not layoff/fired.

The boss never brought it up, and I am positive the son told him. The boss has also called me 4 times since I left when he had issues with a customer, an employee, his nephew, and the IRS.

Boss' worry: I think the boss worried he could be sued for the commissions. It wouldn't have been the first time.

People worrying: When I was hired, things began to change at the company. Employees, including a nephew who'd been there 20 years, thought the business was going to be sold, but now felt more secure.

Things that changed: I updated the corporate guidelines and employee manuals, started an annual employee appreciation barbecue during work hours, created a social media presence and blog, and updated all product photos to meet the standards for Amazon, Shoplet, Wayfair, etc, who then began carrying our lines. I also replaced my boss in his role of going on the road. Additionally, we started receiving grants that I applied for that were specifically for businesses looking to add employees, update their processes, or seek out local consulting work. Regarding the consulting, they were great, but the boss would not share the final report, or implement anything they suggested, and told someone he was worried the consulting co was trying to poach me; they weren't, but that was how he was; not wanting to share anything while also worried people could get what they wanted elsewhere.

The FU event/My departure: It was right before Thanksgiving. I did not expect to be fired for it, but had some things lined up if I was. Approaching Christmas, I couldn't stand being there as an employee anymore, and had one last meeting with the boss, attempting to coordinate a purchase with the previously mentioned nephew. It was a long-shot because it would require him getting paid over time, and competitors were offering him cash. When he rejected our offer, I told him I would be leaving. He asked me to give him a day. The next day he asked if I had a job. I said no, but had actually been working for another company remotely the entire year. That's when he offered to just pay me to job search from mid-December through January, on the condition that he'd let everyone know in a company meeting, and that we'd have a going away lunch for me.

How it ended: A year later the boss sold the building for about $10MM, but appears to have retained the brand name.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2019, 04:34:12 AM by A Fella from Stella »

A Fella from Stella

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Ghostwriting for a Best-Selling Author/Speaker
« Reply #2703 on: June 25, 2019, 02:23:04 PM »
Adding another story:

I was ghostwriting a book for a best-selling author [how to land that gig explained below]. Now, I'm not FI, but I have passive income that is very helpful, so I can afford to negotiate a deal like this: I will work as much as it takes to create a high-quality product to your liking for royalties with no limit.

"Do you need an advance?" he asked. "Monthly pay?"

"Nope. Just the chance to show you what I've got."

For the next 16 months we ended up writing what I consider to be 3 versions of the book, which could have been 3 overlapping products (not uncommon in the self-help business). At the end of it he said he wasn't happy, and asked to settle up.

I said, "You owe me nothing."

"No," he said, "you've put your heart and soul into this. I have to pay you something. How about $10,000, or if you can wait, $25,000 on first royalties."

"But there won't be any royalties," because I failed.

At this there was a silence, and he filled it by saying "But who will own the intellectual property?"

"There won't be any. But if you find some content you can use, I'll get a percentage of the original royalty deal."

"Look," he said, "I want to reward your efforts, so think it over and let me know."

My estimate was that I would make $300,000 off the book, so I emailed him a long analysis that settled on

(a) $50k today, or
(b) $25k today with another $50k on royalties over the first 100,000 copies sold.

We had some back and forth. He concluded by saying his offer of $10k was generous, and that I was greedy.

I said, "Let's go back to our original deal, dated xx/xx/xxxx," where I got paid only if something I created was used in the final product.

Maybe I was just stubborn to let go of the bird in the hand, but the truth is that I didn't need $10k. I take that home about every 4 weeks. What I wanted was a best-seller and $300k, preferably 5x over. He has not released a book since before we worked together.

[How to land that gig]

I shot gunned it - contacting publishers, agents, authors, athletes, pretty much anyone - trying to sell something else I'd written. This guy didn't get back to me, so I followed up twice and we had an hour-long conversation that concluded with him asking if I'd consider writing an updated version of a previous best-seller about how the web is going to make billions!. We ended up creating nothing, but I'm still trying.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2019, 02:27:04 PM by A Fella from Stella »

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Ghostwriting for a Best-Selling Author/Speaker
« Reply #2704 on: June 25, 2019, 06:21:12 PM »
Adding another story:

I was ghostwriting a book for a best-selling author [how to land that gig explained below]. Now, I'm not FI, but I have passive income that is very helpful, so I can afford to negotiate a deal like this: I will work as much as it takes to create a high-quality product to your liking for royalties with no limit.

"Do you need an advance?" he asked. "Monthly pay?"

"Nope. Just the chance to show you what I've got."

For the next 16 months we ended up writing what I consider to be 3 versions of the book, which could have been 3 overlapping products (not uncommon in the self-help business). At the end of it he said he wasn't happy, and asked to settle up.

I said, "You owe me nothing."

"No," he said, "you've put your heart and soul into this. I have to pay you something. How about $10,000, or if you can wait, $25,000 on first royalties."

"But there won't be any royalties," because I failed.

At this there was a silence, and he filled it by saying "But who will own the intellectual property?"

"There won't be any. But if you find some content you can use, I'll get a percentage of the original royalty deal."

"Look," he said, "I want to reward your efforts, so think it over and let me know."

My estimate was that I would make $300,000 off the book, so I emailed him a long analysis that settled on

(a) $50k today, or
(b) $25k today with another $50k on royalties over the first 100,000 copies sold.

We had some back and forth. He concluded by saying his offer of $10k was generous, and that I was greedy.

I said, "Let's go back to our original deal, dated xx/xx/xxxx," where I got paid only if something I created was used in the final product.

Maybe I was just stubborn to let go of the bird in the hand, but the truth is that I didn't need $10k. I take that home about every 4 weeks. What I wanted was a best-seller and $300k, preferably 5x over. He has not released a book since before we worked together.

[How to land that gig]

I shot gunned it - contacting publishers, agents, authors, athletes, pretty much anyone - trying to sell something else I'd written. This guy didn't get back to me, so I followed up twice and we had an hour-long conversation that concluded with him asking if I'd consider writing an updated version of a previous best-seller about how the web is going to make billions!. We ended up creating nothing, but I'm still trying.

Have I missed something? You worked for 16 months and got nothing for it..... because you were holding out for the big score.... that hasn't come.

Rural

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Re: Ghostwriting for a Best-Selling Author/Speaker
« Reply #2705 on: June 25, 2019, 07:29:50 PM »
Adding another story:

I was ghostwriting a book for a best-selling author [how to land that gig explained below]. Now, I'm not FI, but I have passive income that is very helpful, so I can afford to negotiate a deal like this: I will work as much as it takes to create a high-quality product to your liking for royalties with no limit.

"Do you need an advance?" he asked. "Monthly pay?"

"Nope. Just the chance to show you what I've got."

For the next 16 months we ended up writing what I consider to be 3 versions of the book, which could have been 3 overlapping products (not uncommon in the self-help business). At the end of it he said he wasn't happy, and asked to settle up.

I said, "You owe me nothing."

"No," he said, "you've put your heart and soul into this. I have to pay you something. How about $10,000, or if you can wait, $25,000 on first royalties."

"But there won't be any royalties," because I failed.

At this there was a silence, and he filled it by saying "But who will own the intellectual property?"

"There won't be any. But if you find some content you can use, I'll get a percentage of the original royalty deal."

"Look," he said, "I want to reward your efforts, so think it over and let me know."

My estimate was that I would make $300,000 off the book, so I emailed him a long analysis that settled on

(a) $50k today, or
(b) $25k today with another $50k on royalties over the first 100,000 copies sold.

We had some back and forth. He concluded by saying his offer of $10k was generous, and that I was greedy.

I said, "Let's go back to our original deal, dated xx/xx/xxxx," where I got paid only if something I created was used in the final product.

Maybe I was just stubborn to let go of the bird in the hand, but the truth is that I didn't need $10k. I take that home about every 4 weeks. What I wanted was a best-seller and $300k, preferably 5x over. He has not released a book since before we worked together.

[How to land that gig]

I shot gunned it - contacting publishers, agents, authors, athletes, pretty much anyone - trying to sell something else I'd written. This guy didn't get back to me, so I followed up twice and we had an hour-long conversation that concluded with him asking if I'd consider writing an updated version of a previous best-seller about how the web is going to make billions!. We ended up creating nothing, but I'm still trying.

Have I missed something? You worked for 16 months and got nothing for it..... because you were holding out for the big score.... that hasn't come.


I think what you missed is that he declined to let the guy out of the contract and simultaneously give up 16 months of work for $10K he didn't need.

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Ghostwriting for a Best-Selling Author/Speaker
« Reply #2706 on: June 25, 2019, 08:16:29 PM »
Adding another story:

I was ghostwriting a book for a best-selling author.....................

Have I missed something? You worked for 16 months and got nothing for it..... because you were holding out for the big score.... that hasn't come.


Rural is right. But maybe this will also help explain.

During the month we were negotiating, I said to my wife, "why am I being like this? Literally the night before, I'd said if he offered me five grand to just walk away, I'd take it." Because working with him had become a frustrating waste of time.

"Because," she said, "you don't need $10,000. You need $300,000."

And she was right. $10k didn't mean much to me, but $300,000 paid off my house, freeing up $2800 every month 14.5 years early. Also, if I'd have let the work go for less than $50k after 16 months, and it became the best-selling book, I'd really hate myself, because I knew that could be the case.

SEPARATE, BUT RELATED NOTE: I teach a college class or two per semester, and one of the things I tell my students is that at some point you'll become so valuable that you're going to start turning things down that you'd have previously tripped over yourself to get. You'll be offered positions on corporate and charitable boards, you'll be offered to teach at multiple colleges, and opportunities to be a keynote speaker. And when this happens, you can pick and choose, and you can also choose your price. I then tell them (I guess another FU story - maybe I'm the problem here!) about a college I was teaching at where the kids were fantastic, but the boss was a total nightmare. At the point where I lost half a night's sleep over her expecting me to be available 7 days a week on email, I gave myself a week to think it over, and let her know that I would not return the following semester.

You get to a point where you can set a standard. It's not always monetary.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2019, 07:06:16 AM by A Fella from Stella »

Gondolin

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2707 on: June 26, 2019, 08:28:22 AM »
Quote
Have I missed something? You worked for 16 months and got nothing for it..... because you were holding out for the big score.... that hasn't come.

If I were the cynical type I would say that Mr. Big Shot DID like the finished product and was trying to cut his ghostwriter out on the cheap.

SwordGuy

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2708 on: June 26, 2019, 08:32:50 AM »
Quote
Have I missed something? You worked for 16 months and got nothing for it..... because you were holding out for the big score.... that hasn't come.

If I were the cynical type I would say that Mr. Big Shot DID like the finished product and was trying to cut his ghostwriter out on the cheap.
And I would take actions to be able to prove Mr. Big Shot plagiarized the work product when he releases his own, royalty free version later.    Copyright infringement can be lucrative if the person doing it has the money to pay.

fattest_foot

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2709 on: June 26, 2019, 08:54:51 AM »
I guess I don't understand the writing business, but I'd be pretty pissed if I didn't get paid for 16 months worth of work.

That $10k is "insignificant" seems to be missing the point. If there are never any royalties, you worked for free. This wasn't a "I'm not working for only $10k because I'm worth $300k" The work was already done.

But maybe that's just how that entire industry works?

BicycleB

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2710 on: June 26, 2019, 09:05:15 AM »
I think he challenged the guy instead of taking a crappy deal. The chance at $300k (including possible collection re infringement) was worth more than $10k in hand. Because he haz FU $.

Epic!!

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2711 on: June 26, 2019, 09:06:56 AM »
Quote
Have I missed something? You worked for 16 months and got nothing for it..... because you were holding out for the big score.... that hasn't come.

If I were the cynical type I would say that Mr. Big Shot DID like the finished product and was trying to cut his ghostwriter out on the cheap.
And I would take actions to be able to prove Mr. Big Shot plagiarized the work product when he releases his own, royalty free version later.    Copyright infringement can be lucrative if the person doing it has the money to pay.

I did keep an eye out to see if he would release a book after all (he has not), and that I'd have a fair claim to a portion of it. If he did, then after the big initial sales I'd cordially reach out after figuring the percentage. If the book was totally different, then I'd also feel good that he was not only a completely straight shooter who was incredibly generous, after all, but also a gentleman of the highest caliber.

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2712 on: June 26, 2019, 09:12:15 AM »
I guess I don't understand the writing business, but I'd be pretty pissed if I didn't get paid for 16 months worth of work.

That $10k is "insignificant" seems to be missing the point. If there are never any royalties, you worked for free. This wasn't a "I'm not working for only $10k because I'm worth $300k" The work was already done.

But maybe that's just how that entire industry works?

That is completely understandable. For me, writing is something I pursue as an all-or-nothing venture. I want unlimited royalties only, and am willing to make nothing if that's how it goes down. I have also edited work for free, if I truly enjoy the book, and like the person.

To start, this author asked me what kind of deal I wanted, and he agreed to royalties only, with no limit. If we sold 1,000,000 copies, which was his average, it would have come to $300k.

Tyson

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2713 on: June 26, 2019, 09:33:17 AM »
Quote
Have I missed something? You worked for 16 months and got nothing for it..... because you were holding out for the big score.... that hasn't come.

If I were the cynical type I would say that Mr. Big Shot DID like the finished product and was trying to cut his ghostwriter out on the cheap.

This.

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2714 on: June 26, 2019, 09:37:12 AM »
I think he challenged the guy instead of taking a crappy deal. The chance at $300k (including possible collection re infringement) was worth more than $10k in hand. Because he haz FU $.

Epic!!

Thanks! You are correct. While I am not rich, I have some cushion via passive income, and a fairly paid profession.

I felt suspicious of this offer, and while $10k is not nothing, it's like nothing for all of the work I did, especially if my work was good enough in the end, which seemed possible based on our discussions.

NorCal

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2715 on: June 26, 2019, 11:02:08 AM »
I think he challenged the guy instead of taking a crappy deal. The chance at $300k (including possible collection re infringement) was worth more than $10k in hand. Because he haz FU $.

Epic!!

Thanks! You are correct. While I am not rich, I have some cushion via passive income, and a fairly paid profession.

I felt suspicious of this offer, and while $10k is not nothing, it's like nothing for all of the work I did, especially if my work was good enough in the end, which seemed possible based on our discussions.

I'm curious, why don't you just tell him he owes you nothing, you'll keep the IP rights, and try to publish it under your own name?

I'm imagine the total value is lower without the "brand name" attached, but maybe it could increase the value of your own personal brand.

FIPurpose

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2716 on: June 26, 2019, 11:11:34 AM »
I think he challenged the guy instead of taking a crappy deal. The chance at $300k (including possible collection re infringement) was worth more than $10k in hand. Because he haz FU $.

Epic!!

Thanks! You are correct. While I am not rich, I have some cushion via passive income, and a fairly paid profession.

I felt suspicious of this offer, and while $10k is not nothing, it's like nothing for all of the work I did, especially if my work was good enough in the end, which seemed possible based on our discussions.

I'm curious, why don't you just tell him he owes you nothing, you'll keep the IP rights, and try to publish it under your own name?

I'm imagine the total value is lower without the "brand name" attached, but maybe it could increase the value of your own personal brand.

I'm guessing he does not have a right to publish, only to a part of the royalties.

Warlord1986

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2717 on: June 26, 2019, 02:13:27 PM »
Copied from my journal.


So our Executive Director came in my office and told me she wanted to take on a 'leadership role' now that my supervisor was leaving. I said I would need the title of interim director and the according pay. She immediately shot that down. When I said that wouldn't work for me she started threatening me with double speak and dog whistles. I decided life is too short to put up with that crap and sent HR my two weeks notice.

I have some money saved and a part time job. But if anyone wants to buy one of my short stories, here's a link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKSBZT1

Just an update. I spent the last few months bumming around, working as a waitress (and filling a $15,000 wholesale order for that business), reading a lot of books about Venice, Istanbul, and the Medicis, getting certified as a Stand Up Paddleboarding instructor, dating a bit, and volunteering. The library where I volunteer hired me. I start on Monday. The position is part time, but it's enough to pay my bills, and I'll be back in the state retirement system (which I didn't know when I applied!). My funds are at roughly the same place they were when I left, and I'm saving for a trip to Malta. This sabbatical turned out really well for me! :3

By the River

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2718 on: June 26, 2019, 04:26:14 PM »
Copied from my journal.


So our Executive Director came in my office and told me she wanted to take on a 'leadership role' now that my supervisor was leaving. I said I would need the title of interim director and the according pay. She immediately shot that down. When I said that wouldn't work for me she started threatening me with double speak and dog whistles. I decided life is too short to put up with that crap and sent HR my two weeks notice.

I have some money saved and a part time job. But if anyone wants to buy one of my short stories, here's a link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKSBZT1

Just an update. I spent the last few months bumming around, working as a waitress (and filling a $15,000 wholesale order for that business), reading a lot of books about Venice, Istanbul, and the Medicis, getting certified as a Stand Up Paddleboarding instructor, dating a bit, and volunteering. The library where I volunteer hired me. I start on Monday. The position is part time, but it's enough to pay my bills, and I'll be back in the state retirement system (which I didn't know when I applied!). My funds are at roughly the same place they were when I left, and I'm saving for a trip to Malta. This sabbatical turned out really well for me! :3

Congratulations, that really turned out well. 

Ladychips

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2719 on: June 26, 2019, 05:37:33 PM »
Copied from my journal.


So our Executive Director came in my office and told me she wanted to take on a 'leadership role' now that my supervisor was leaving. I said I would need the title of interim director and the according pay. She immediately shot that down. When I said that wouldn't work for me she started threatening me with double speak and dog whistles. I decided life is too short to put up with that crap and sent HR my two weeks notice.

I have some money saved and a part time job. But if anyone wants to buy one of my short stories, here's a link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKSBZT1

Just an update. I spent the last few months bumming around, working as a waitress (and filling a $15,000 wholesale order for that business), reading a lot of books about Venice, Istanbul, and the Medicis, getting certified as a Stand Up Paddleboarding instructor, dating a bit, and volunteering. The library where I volunteer hired me. I start on Monday. The position is part time, but it's enough to pay my bills, and I'll be back in the state retirement system (which I didn't know when I applied!). My funds are at roughly the same place they were when I left, and I'm saving for a trip to Malta. This sabbatical turned out really well for me! :3

This is a beautiful story!  Thanks for sharing it.  Can you share more details about how your Executive Director reacted when she found out you gave notice?  The story doesn't need it...I'm just a nosy Nellie!

Neustache

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2720 on: June 26, 2019, 06:06:02 PM »
Copied from my journal.


So our Executive Director came in my office and told me she wanted to take on a 'leadership role' now that my supervisor was leaving. I said I would need the title of interim director and the according pay. She immediately shot that down. When I said that wouldn't work for me she started threatening me with double speak and dog whistles. I decided life is too short to put up with that crap and sent HR my two weeks notice.

I have some money saved and a part time job. But if anyone wants to buy one of my short stories, here's a link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKSBZT1

Just an update. I spent the last few months bumming around, working as a waitress (and filling a $15,000 wholesale order for that business), reading a lot of books about Venice, Istanbul, and the Medicis, getting certified as a Stand Up Paddleboarding instructor, dating a bit, and volunteering. The library where I volunteer hired me. I start on Monday. The position is part time, but it's enough to pay my bills, and I'll be back in the state retirement system (which I didn't know when I applied!). My funds are at roughly the same place they were when I left, and I'm saving for a trip to Malta. This sabbatical turned out really well for me! :3

That's amazing!  Part time at the library sounds like a great gig!

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2721 on: June 26, 2019, 08:58:28 PM »
I think he challenged the guy instead of taking a crappy deal. The chance at $300k (including possible collection re infringement) was worth more than $10k in hand. Because he haz FU $.

Epic!!

Thanks! You are correct. While I am not rich, I have some cushion via passive income, and a fairly paid profession.

I felt suspicious of this offer, and while $10k is not nothing, it's like nothing for all of the work I did, especially if my work was good enough in the end, which seemed possible based on our discussions.

I'm curious, why don't you just tell him he owes you nothing, you'll keep the IP rights, and try to publish it under your own name?

I'm imagine the total value is lower without the "brand name" attached, but maybe it could increase the value of your own personal brand.

I'm guessing he does not have a right to publish, only to a part of the royalties.


This author has a name and a core base of hard core fans. It's the kind of situation where he could release a bad book and sell 500k copies. In fact, if he sold 500k copies it would be his greatest failure.

If I published it under my own name, it would go nowhere. Not just because I don't have a name, but also because it was written with references to his other work, even adapting a chapter from a former book to be more relevant to today.

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2722 on: June 26, 2019, 09:00:25 PM »
Can you share more details about how your Executive Director reacted when she found out you gave notice?  The story doesn't need it...I'm just a nosy Nellie!

I'd like to know as well.

Great job.

NykkiC

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2723 on: June 26, 2019, 09:50:44 PM »
I guess I don't understand the writing business, but I'd be pretty pissed if I didn't get paid for 16 months worth of work.

That $10k is "insignificant" seems to be missing the point. If there are never any royalties, you worked for free. This wasn't a "I'm not working for only $10k because I'm worth $300k" The work was already done.

But maybe that's just how that entire industry works?

That is completely understandable. For me, writing is something I pursue as an all-or-nothing venture. I want unlimited royalties only, and am willing to make nothing if that's how it goes down. I have also edited work for free, if I truly enjoy the book, and like the person.

To start, this author asked me what kind of deal I wanted, and he agreed to royalties only, with no limit. If we sold 1,000,000 copies, which was his average, it would have come to $300k.

I’d add, for people like A Fella from Stella, that the deal you took would be considered a terrible deal for most professional ghostwriters. Books, even by people with good track records, can tank for a thousand different reasons. Maybe the self-help guy gets caught in a scandal or another book by someone even bigger in that space is released on the same topic right before the one you worked on comes out, and sales are basically zero. It’s a huge gamble on your part, with the potential for getting nothing. I get that’s the point of the post in this thread, but I feel like we need to make it clear to people browsing this thread with no background in the industry that, ninty-nine times out of a hundred, a ghostwriter would turn down this deal (sometimes with extreme prejudice).

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2724 on: June 27, 2019, 05:36:41 AM »
I guess I don't understand the writing business, but I'd be pretty pissed if I didn't get paid for 16 months worth of work.

That $10k is "insignificant" seems to be missing the point. If there are never any royalties, you worked for free. This wasn't a "I'm not working for only $10k because I'm worth $300k" The work was already done.

But maybe that's just how that entire industry works?

That is completely understandable. For me, writing is something I pursue as an all-or-nothing venture. I want unlimited royalties only, and am willing to make nothing if that's how it goes down. I have also edited work for free, if I truly enjoy the book, and like the person.

To start, this author asked me what kind of deal I wanted, and he agreed to royalties only, with no limit. If we sold 1,000,000 copies, which was his average, it would have come to $300k.

I’d add, for people like A Fella from Stella, that the deal you took would be considered a terrible deal for most professional ghostwriters. Books, even by people with good track records, can tank for a thousand different reasons. Maybe the self-help guy gets caught in a scandal or another book by someone even bigger in that space is released on the same topic right before the one you worked on comes out, and sales are basically zero. It’s a huge gamble on your part, with the potential for getting nothing. I get that’s the point of the post in this thread, but I feel like we need to make it clear to people browsing this thread with no background in the industry that, ninty-nine times out of a hundred, a ghostwriter would turn down this deal (sometimes with extreme prejudice).

NykkiC, you are correct. The odds of this book being a big deal were better-than-remote, so I wanted to take the chance. For almost any other author, I would have needed money on the front-end with a strict 90-day deadline for completion, and then would have negotiated royalties with a $250k cap, knowing that sales would never make that cap.

Warlord1986

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2725 on: June 27, 2019, 07:59:26 AM »
Can you share more details about how your Executive Director reacted when she found out you gave notice?  The story doesn't need it...I'm just a nosy Nellie!

I'd like to know as well.

Great job.

Thanks y’all!

She wasn’t used to people telling her no, so when I refused her kind offer of doing two jobs for the pay of one, she threatened me and left to go to a meeting with the other top brass in the organization. I emailed the other top brass my two weeks notice, so they got it while in that meeting (and I know HR was checking email) so the whole meeting got my message and my explanation of why I was leaving. This meant she had 100% turnover in a year. She came back and slammed her office door. She spent the next two weeks not speaking to me, and leaving me out of office activities. I kid you not, she called her administration assistant and my outgoing supervisor into an office and slammed the door in my face. I heard them giggling behind the door.

I documented everything, the anti-Catholic bigotry, the bullying, name-calling, vulgarity (she called other women cooters), the retaliation, and the overall office environment she created and encouraged (my supervisor was fond of screaming about Goddamn straight white men and there Goddamn penisis, but she was another nightmare altogether. Screaming at me in front of colleagues, public tantrums, insulting project manager’s projects, slamming things on her desk, and lying). Everyone on campus had a story about this woman and everyone knew how she got her first admin assistant fired (and then laughed when she heard the woman was driving Uber to make ends meet. I really can’t get over that). While I was documenting stuff, I also told all my fellow Catholics, and all the other religious minority colleagues, about her comments. Her job strongly relies on having good relationships with colleagues and the community. Several people stopped volunteering at her events. Partly because she was fond of screaming fits, partly because who wants to work with a bigot?

I have it on good authority that HR and the College President were not happy about her behavior and some disciplinary action was taken. She’s still working there. She said she hated it multiple times, but whenever she came into the deli where I worked she made a point to wear brand new Lily Pulitzer. And to be rude to other customers. Who are often very wealthy and influential people in the community.

And that’s why I left before I found a full time job.

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2726 on: June 27, 2019, 08:26:22 AM »
Can you share more details about how your Executive Director reacted when she found out you gave notice?  The story doesn't need it...I'm just a nosy Nellie!

I'd like to know as well.

Great job.

Thanks y’all!

She wasn’t used to people telling her no...................



Thanks for sharing. You did a great thing by sparing yourself.

Will you use the documentation for any legal action? It sounds to me like you have grounds to at least make a small claim if you wanted to DIY.

radram

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2727 on: June 27, 2019, 08:32:37 AM »
Copied from my journal.


So our Executive Director came in my office and told me she wanted to take on a 'leadership role' now that my supervisor was leaving. I said I would need the title of interim director and the according pay. She immediately shot that down. When I said that wouldn't work for me she started threatening me with double speak and dog whistles. I decided life is too short to put up with that crap and sent HR my two weeks notice.

I have some money saved and a part time job. But if anyone wants to buy one of my short stories, here's a link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKSBZT1

Just an update. I spent the last few months bumming around, working as a waitress (and filling a $15,000 wholesale order for that business), reading a lot of books about Venice, Istanbul, and the Medicis, getting certified as a Stand Up Paddleboarding instructor, dating a bit, and volunteering. The library where I volunteer hired me. I start on Monday. The position is part time, but it's enough to pay my bills, and I'll be back in the state retirement system (which I didn't know when I applied!). My funds are at roughly the same place they were when I left, and I'm saving for a trip to Malta. This sabbatical turned out really well for me! :3

That library gig sounds fantastic! Do you get perks, like getting to check out books for free?

Kidding of course. My daughter would just LOVE a gig like that. Actual books are a must for her. She loves all the senses of the actual book. Are you the same?

FireLane

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2728 on: June 27, 2019, 08:59:55 AM »
Copied from my journal.

So our Executive Director came in my office and told me she wanted to take on a 'leadership role' now that my supervisor was leaving. I said I would need the title of interim director and the according pay. She immediately shot that down. When I said that wouldn't work for me she started threatening me with double speak and dog whistles. I decided life is too short to put up with that crap and sent HR my two weeks notice.

I have some money saved and a part time job. But if anyone wants to buy one of my short stories, here's a link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKSBZT1

Just an update. I spent the last few months bumming around, working as a waitress (and filling a $15,000 wholesale order for that business), reading a lot of books about Venice, Istanbul, and the Medicis, getting certified as a Stand Up Paddleboarding instructor, dating a bit, and volunteering. The library where I volunteer hired me. I start on Monday. The position is part time, but it's enough to pay my bills, and I'll be back in the state retirement system (which I didn't know when I applied!). My funds are at roughly the same place they were when I left, and I'm saving for a trip to Malta. This sabbatical turned out really well for me! :3

Kickass! What a great example of the power of F-U money.

Also, uh, is it OK to be surprised that Warlord1986 is a woman?

Warlord1986

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2729 on: June 27, 2019, 09:04:54 AM »
Can you share more details about how your Executive Director reacted when she found out you gave notice?  The story doesn't need it...I'm just a nosy Nellie!

I'd like to know as well.

Great job.

Thanks y’all!

She wasn’t used to people telling her no...................



Thanks for sharing. You did a great thing by sparing yourself.

Will you use the documentation for any legal action? It sounds to me like you have grounds to at least make a small claim if you wanted to DIY.

I thought about it and spoke to family and friends who are lawyers. They all said it was ‘she-said, she-said’, legal action would take 1-3 years, be very expensive, and there was no guarantee of an outcome in my favor. That didn’t sound like a good way to spend my time, and honestly, I was just exhausted after dealing with that lunacy. There were no spoons left.

@radram Yes, I love physical books! It’s really hard to concentrate on stuff online. In addition to being back in the state retirement system, there are a lot of knitting circles, and I’m told people regularly bring in tasty baked goods! As the HR lady said, “you’re in Library-land now!”

@FireLane I’m actually a rather scrawny woman, and not a large, robust Viking. :(

Ladychips

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2730 on: June 27, 2019, 10:38:37 AM »
Thanks for the additional info although the details made me sad.  Good for you for getting out!

saguaro

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2731 on: June 27, 2019, 11:42:22 AM »
I thought about it and spoke to family and friends who are lawyers. They all said it was ‘she-said, she-said’, legal action would take 1-3 years, be very expensive, and there was no guarantee of an outcome in my favor. That didn’t sound like a good way to spend my time, and honestly, I was just exhausted after dealing with that lunacy. There were no spoons left.

Years ago after getting fired from from a job, after being informed that I was not performing adequately never mind I got a raise 2 months before, I considered legal action.  I talked to attorneys and an acquaintance who was HR director at another company who agreed they didn't follow their own progressive discipline policies, but in the end I decided to let it go because of the time it would take and interfere with my next job not to mention moving on with my life.

Two years later, the boss who fired me got a taste of her own medicine.  She was notorious not only for constant turnover in her own department but was behind firings of other people in other departments.  The bosses who let her get away with this all retired.  The guy who took over leadership of the organization was someone that she fought with and whom she had seriously pissed off.  Once he had the authority to fire her he wasted no time.  Oops, made the mistake of not identifying the next in line and cozy up.  Unfortunately he fired her whole department with the exception of one person who was smart enough to identify who would succeed the retiring executives and took measures to distance herself.  She eventually became president of the organization.   

To be honest, I was quite satisfied with hearing the outcome.  And I didn't have to spend money or go through legal hassles. Maybe @Warlord1986 you will have the same satisfaction.

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2732 on: June 27, 2019, 08:20:17 PM »
I thought about it and spoke to family and friends who are lawyers. They all said it was ‘she-said, she-said’, legal action would take 1-3 years, be very expensive, and there was no guarantee of an outcome in my favor. That didn’t sound like a good way to spend my time, and honestly, I was just exhausted after dealing with that lunacy. There were no spoons left.

Years ago after getting fired from from a job.........................To be honest, I was quite satisfied with hearing the outcome.  And I didn't have to spend money or go through legal hassles. Maybe @Warlord1986 you will have the same satisfaction.

Referring to bad bosses, you cannot screw so many people and not have it come back on you in some way. Not because of magical karma, but because of non-magical people.

To quote "The Big Lebowski," This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass. Only this isn't a stranger. This is someone who WILL definitely have something on you eventually because they see you everyday.

I once had a subordinate who did her best to undermine me, and she was protected by someone senior to me. That guy - her protector - ended up getting into trouble for forging company documents, and he was gone. She tried to keep it up, but realized she was in quicksand, so did everything she could to transfer out, saying that I was out to get her. A sympathetic manager took her under his wing. A month later he came to me and said "I can't believe what I'm dealing with," as did a subordinate of his. I just shrugged because she wasn't my problem anymore.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 05:38:25 AM by A Fella from Stella »

saguaro

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2733 on: June 28, 2019, 09:24:58 AM »
I thought about it and spoke to family and friends who are lawyers. They all said it was ‘she-said, she-said’, legal action would take 1-3 years, be very expensive, and there was no guarantee of an outcome in my favor. That didn’t sound like a good way to spend my time, and honestly, I was just exhausted after dealing with that lunacy. There were no spoons left.

Years ago after getting fired from from a job.........................To be honest, I was quite satisfied with hearing the outcome.  And I didn't have to spend money or go through legal hassles. Maybe @Warlord1986 you will have the same satisfaction.

Referring to bad bosses, you cannot screw so many people and not have it come back on you in some way. Not because of magical karma, but because of non-magical people.

To quote "The Big Lebowski," This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass. Only this isn't a stranger. This is someone who WILL definitely have something on you eventually because they see you everyday.

Yep, and eventually you mess with the wrong person.

She had a pattern of cycling through people, as I learned after I was hired, which troubled me.  But a lot of coworkers bought into her reasons/excuses.....until she fired me. After I left, I heard those same coworkers were shocked that she canned me, I was well-liked and respected and it seemed to be the tipping point where people started to think that maybe, just maybe the problem was her.   What happened after I left: she trained her sights on another person who quit before she could get fired.  After that, she yanked someone from another department over to hers because she was short-staffed, the person was unwilling to go after seeing what happened to me, but ex-boss forced the issue knowing that person was a single mom and needed the job.  Six months after my departure, she moved yet another person over to her dept into a position similar to mine. 

The organization was in bad financial shape, the CFO had quit along with the senior VP who was tagged as the person to succeed the President/CEO who was a year away from retiring.  New executive comes on board to help right the ship and it's this person that ex-boss starts to fight with.  One issue was that ex-boss' mom came in a couple of times a week to help, new executive says can't have nepotism so mom had to go, pissing off ex-boss.  She predictably cycles through another person in her department, firing him a week after his wife had a baby.  I heard he was super pissed and he did not go quietly, it was shortly after this that she got canned along with most of her staff.   She made the critical mistake of fighting with this key person when she knew all her protectors were retiring.  Then again, maybe he already got wind of her antics.  One time I had to talk to him to make arrangements to transfer my 403b money and he knew who I was. 

Dicey

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2734 on: June 28, 2019, 09:36:15 AM »
I thought about it and spoke to family and friends who are lawyers. They all said it was ‘she-said, she-said’, legal action would take 1-3 years, be very expensive, and there was no guarantee of an outcome in my favor. That didn’t sound like a good way to spend my time, and honestly, I was just exhausted after dealing with that lunacy. There were no spoons left.

Years ago after getting fired from from a job.........................To be honest, I was quite satisfied with hearing the outcome.  And I didn't have to spend money or go through legal hassles. Maybe @Warlord1986 you will have the same satisfaction.

Referring to bad bosses, you cannot screw so many people and not have it come back on you in some way. Not because of magical karma, but because of non-magical people.

To quote "The Big Lebowski," This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass. Only this isn't a stranger. This is someone who WILL definitely have something on you eventually because they see you everyday.

Yep, and eventually you mess with the wrong person.

She had a pattern of cycling through people, as I learned after I was hired, which troubled me.  But a lot of coworkers bought into her reasons/excuses.....until she fired me. After I left, I heard those same coworkers were shocked that she canned me, I was well-liked and respected and it seemed to be the tipping point where people started to think that maybe, just maybe the problem was her.   What happened after I left: she trained her sights on another person who quit before she could get fired.  After that, she yanked someone from another department over to hers because she was short-staffed, the person was unwilling to go after seeing what happened to me, but ex-boss forced the issue knowing that person was a single mom and needed the job.  Six months after my departure, she moved yet another person over to her dept into a position similar to mine. 

The organization was in bad financial shape, the CFO had quit along with the senior VP who was tagged as the person to succeed the President/CEO who was a year away from retiring.  New executive comes on board to help right the ship and it's this person that ex-boss starts to fight with.  One issue was that ex-boss' mom came in a couple of times a week to help, new executive says can't have nepotism so mom had to go, pissing off ex-boss.  She predictably cycles through another person in her department, firing him a week after his wife had a baby.  I heard he was super pissed and he did not go quietly, it was shortly after this that she got canned along with most of her staff.   She made the critical mistake of fighting with this key person when she knew all her protectors were retiring.  Then again, maybe he already got wind of her antics.  One time I had to talk to him to make arrangements to transfer my 403b money and he knew who I was.
Wow! Did you ever learn what happened to the guy with the new baby?

saguaro

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2735 on: June 28, 2019, 10:21:02 AM »
I thought about it and spoke to family and friends who are lawyers. They all said it was ‘she-said, she-said’, legal action would take 1-3 years, be very expensive, and there was no guarantee of an outcome in my favor. That didn’t sound like a good way to spend my time, and honestly, I was just exhausted after dealing with that lunacy. There were no spoons left.

Years ago after getting fired from from a job.........................To be honest, I was quite satisfied with hearing the outcome.  And I didn't have to spend money or go through legal hassles. Maybe @Warlord1986 you will have the same satisfaction.

Referring to bad bosses, you cannot screw so many people and not have it come back on you in some way. Not because of magical karma, but because of non-magical people.

To quote "The Big Lebowski," This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass. Only this isn't a stranger. This is someone who WILL definitely have something on you eventually because they see you everyday.

<snip for brevity> She predictably cycles through another person in her department, firing him a week after his wife had a baby.  I heard he was super pissed and he did not go quietly, it was shortly after this that she got canned along with most of her staff.<snip> 

Wow! Did you ever learn what happened to the guy with the new baby?

According to a former coworker I was in touch with, he made a lot of noise about being fired, including consulting an attorney.   This was interesting because the organization was an HR consulting firm that advised companies about labor law, collective bargaining, EEOC regs, etc.  A lot of our time was spent advising companies steering them away from anything that could subject them to lawsuits yet my ex-boss couldn't always follow our own policies or followed them but for stupid shit.   The guy unfortunately did not have a case, (because employment-at-will laws) but for the first time, ex-boss had someone willing to raise hell over it, causing unwanted attention and to the wrong person.  This put turnover in her department on the new guy's radar, plus all the conflicts, plus all her "protectors" had retired so he had reasons and a clear field to get rid of her. 

ETA:  The guy who was fired was ticked off not only for the timing, but he and his wife decided to have a baby because of this job and its attendant money and benefits.  So to have the rug pulled out from under him after they have the baby, was pretty bad.  But ex-boss had a predatory streak, she seemed to zero on on people when they had difficulties or challenges in their lives.  She was behind firing a guy who just lost his mother to cancer, was getting a divorce on top of health problems of his own due to a diabetes diagnosis.  When I was fired, I was getting over something that was a stubborn intestinal bug which was nothing compared to having a baby, cancer and type 1 diabetes, but one of my ex-boss lame excuses for firing me was that I was "sick". 
 
« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 10:54:49 AM by saguaro »

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2736 on: June 28, 2019, 10:45:40 AM »
I thought about it and spoke to family and friends who are lawyers. They all said it was ‘she-said, she-said’, legal action would take 1-3 years, be very expensive, and there was no guarantee of an outcome in my favor. That didn’t sound like a good way to spend my time, and honestly, I was just exhausted after dealing with that lunacy. There were no spoons left.

Years ago after getting fired from from a job.........................To be honest, I was quite satisfied with hearing the outcome.  And I didn't have to spend money or go through legal hassles. Maybe @Warlord1986 you will have the same satisfaction.

Referring to bad bosses, you cannot screw so many people and not have it come back on you in some way. Not because of magical karma, but because of non-magical people.

To quote "The Big Lebowski," This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass. Only this isn't a stranger. This is someone who WILL definitely have something on you eventually because they see you everyday.

Yep, and eventually you mess with the wrong person.

She had a pattern of cycling through people..............................

My current manager has this reputation, but we're in government, so she couldn't fire people, only belittle them.

Several people filed EEO complaints about her early on, so she had to settle down a bit.

When I came on board she kept trying to get me to confess that my background was embellished on my resume and cover letter. It wasn't. And then she made 2 fatal errors.
FATAL ERROR 1: She asked me to do something that was a violation (not a crime) when I was very new. I clarified over email and she took the walk over to me in person to confirm, for which I had a witness. the paperwork could only go through with her signature, so I did it. Word spread around the office, and it made her wary.
FATAL ERROR 2: A work product I created was rejected. She asked why I would do it in the way that I did, and I speculated that my initial thought was that that was how I was instructed, but perhaps it changed. Without checking my hypothesis, she went on the record to say that I was lying about what I was told, and "always blaming others." Lo and behold, my hypothesis was correct.

I said I was glad it was cleared up, and strategically let 3 co-workers know how upset I was, and that I had a written log of 8 different things she'd done in just 5 months since I arrived.

Since that day, she treats any perceived error I might make as though perhaps she's mistaken, and I was recently given a mid-year bonus.

And she is counting down the days until her retirement.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 10:49:39 AM by A Fella from Stella »

saguaro

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2737 on: June 28, 2019, 11:19:23 AM »
And she is counting down the days until her retirement.

I hope the number of days aren't many.

My ex-boss bounced around a couple of jobs afterward, eventually moving out of the area and settling elsewhere in the state.  I think because of the industry, crossing paths with her one staff member who survived and rose to the top of the organization that canned her, the organization that she hoped to lead, might have been too much.   At least I no longer had to worry about looking for a job and having to deal with her again (she was in HR). 

SwordGuy

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2738 on: June 29, 2019, 05:07:58 PM »
Saw this meme and thought of this thread.

It also reminded me of a story way back in the day.

I didn't have FU money, but I did have FU expertise.   

I came into work one morning and my boss told me he had ordered pagers for me and for all the programmers who reported to me.  (Yep, pagers, not cell phones or smart phones.  Told you it was back in the day!)

Now, these pagers would be totally useless because we (a) wrote really good code so there just weren't many defects that users had to deal with and (b) the only consistent problems users faced were network related, not program related.  So we would spend our time tracking down networking people.  My immediate thought was that the users could do that with -- drum roll please -- giving the network people the pagers.

So I looked my boss in the eye and said, very deliberately, "When I and my programmers write such bad code that we need to carry pagers, **I** will find another line of work."   And then I said nothing more, I just looked at him.

Never did see those damn pagers.

flipboard

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2739 on: June 29, 2019, 11:46:32 PM »
Now, these pagers would be totally useless because we (a) wrote really good code so there just weren't many defects that users had to deal with and (b) the only consistent problems users faced were network related, not program related.  So we would spend our time tracking down networking people.  My immediate thought was that the users could do that with -- drum roll please -- giving the network people the pagers.

So I looked my boss in the eye and said, very deliberately, "When I and my programmers write such bad code that we need to carry pagers, **I** will find another line of work."   And then I said nothing more, I just looked at him.
Wow that is arrogant. On your side, not the bosses.

To be fair: pager duty would require additional compensation, but no one writes flawless code and if you want systems without downtime pagers are the only way that has been shown to work.

SwordGuy

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2740 on: June 30, 2019, 12:48:01 AM »
Now, these pagers would be totally useless because we (a) wrote really good code so there just weren't many defects that users had to deal with and (b) the only consistent problems users faced were network related, not program related.  So we would spend our time tracking down networking people.  My immediate thought was that the users could do that with -- drum roll please -- giving the network people the pagers.

So I looked my boss in the eye and said, very deliberately, "When I and my programmers write such bad code that we need to carry pagers, **I** will find another line of work."   And then I said nothing more, I just looked at him.
Wow that is arrogant. On your side, not the bosses.

To be fair: pager duty would require additional compensation, but no one writes flawless code and if you want systems without downtime pagers are the only way that has been shown to work.

No, we didn't write flawless code.  But we damn well knew what code was absolutely essential to work correctly and we made sure it did.  99.9% of the remaining code could wait until morning to deal with.  It was the nature of the business we were in.   The network people that ran across the 0.1% of the time when we needed to come in to work off hours could call us and we could come in.  In the six years I was there, no one ever had to call us in...

The bosses plan would have had us called 100% of the time and us calling the network people to come in 98% of the time.  The other 1.9% would be "we'll fix the software in the morning" and the remaining 0.1% would have us coming in right away.   That was just plain bass-ackward and that's why I refused.

PS -- I had to put about 2% of our manpower on fixing defects in our software.  The rest was for new software development, either green fields work or enhancements to existing code because the business wanted more functionality or laws or contracts had changed.  I've read that industry averages for fixing software are in the 50-80% range.

I had really good people working for me, we had good processes, we got specifications from really good analysts who worked with really savvy business people.  I've written a lot of conference papers and technical articles over the years to teach people good techniques to improve software quality and software development speed.    I used to present 1-3 papers at 5-6 software conferences a year and have been an editor or contributing editor for 4 different technical magazines.

For example, I was presented with a specifications problem in the business.  Corporate HQ had tried to solve it with their software and the resulting product required four full time programmers just to get the data representing cargo containers "unstuck" so users could continue to move the containers around and record what they were doing.   They showed me the 12 SQL statements they used to verify what the users were allowed to do.    Each was over a dozen printed sheets of paper long.    I'm damn good at SQL but it would take me a couple of days to work out what the statement was doing and by that time my brain was full.   And there were 11 more statements to go thru.   

I took the same problem and in a few weeks had developed a technique to analyze the requirements and used it to produce the specs.  I designed and built a specifications database to hold a series of decision tables and a business-rule based engine that would populate the tables based on simple business rules that a user could easily verify for correctness.   In the process of the analysis, I identified 14 variables and 25 events that had 122.5 quadrillion combinations of pre-event states, events, and post-event states.    It took less than 2 hundred business rules to weed those down to less than a thousand allowable combinations.  Addition additional variables into the mix was simple and quick to do, so when we identified a rule that needed an extra variable we could incorporate it within an hour, including re-validating our rules against the presence of a new variable.   My initial "best educated guess" had identified 5 variables and 25 events so I went thru the new variable drill another 9 times.  A business rule included a business English statement and a SQL where clause fragment that tied to the variables and events and their respective values that were pertinent to the rule.   The where clause needed to be written such that we could say, "This rule is broken when...".  Example Rule:  "We do not sell containers we do not own."    This rule is broken when " Ownership != 'our company' and event = 'Sell' ".  Script would run thru the event database and mark all combinations that broke that rule as invalid.

Advantages to doing it this way were seriously important: 

A generic routine could be used to determine whether the pre-event state, event and post-event state were valid combinations.  Much easier to code and test than all those combinations with individual if-then statements..

If someone wanted to change a rule, I could run a query to determine which combinations would be newly forbidden by the new rule and which would be newly allowed by the new rule.   That way, we could get useful feedback so the users could refine the rule before we put it into production.   "What?  No, we can't let that happen!  Let's modify the rule so..."

Not only that, but if a user (or developer) wanted to know why they weren't allowed to take an action they wanted to take, we could give them a list of all pertinent business rules.

One of the key data entry screen languages we worked in allowed us to load up the source code into a structured database.   I wrote scripts to verify standards compliance or to modify code components to meet new standards.   Other scripts would write reference manuals for the data entry screens.   

In later years, I would write scripts to read a database design and produce prototype business specifications for the data maintenance screens and reports.   I would write other scripts that would read the database design and identify likely business rules and record them as candidate rules in a rule database.  If the rule was approved, other scripts would write the database enforcement code with either fully working code or a stub marked with an @ToDo marker and the specifications the code should meet.   Data entry screens knew how to read the business rule database so a generic routine could tell the user what rules were being violated or just which ones applied to the data.   All of these techniques removed human labor and the vagaries of human error from large portions of the system.  So, instead of spending our time finding and fixing random defects in simple to intermediate code, we could spend much more attention on the key parts of a system that really needed to be correct.

So no, I don't think that I was being arrogant.   :)


Zaga

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2741 on: June 30, 2019, 06:46:23 AM »
Sword Guy, I work indirectly with people who write code that I have to use and OMG I wish they were half as competent as you sound!  I do testing when new code is added, and despite the extensive testing there are always huge problems in production.  We are dealing with a production problem that takes up to an hour of my time EVERY DAY to fix, and it's been that way for months and they still haven't figured out how to fix it.  Gah!

SwordGuy

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2742 on: June 30, 2019, 09:34:51 AM »
Sword Guy, I work indirectly with people who write code that I have to use and OMG I wish they were half as competent as you sound!  I do testing when new code is added, and despite the extensive testing there are always huge problems in production.  We are dealing with a production problem that takes up to an hour of my time EVERY DAY to fix, and it's been that way for months and they still haven't figured out how to fix it.  Gah!
Huge, long running problems are usually due to a bad design solution.   A good design for complicated data transformation programs includes built-in ways to prove it's working or prove where it's not working correctly.  It's actually faster to build the transformation program and one or two "prove it's right" programs than it is to build just the transformation program by itself (unless you don't care whether it works).  Makes testing largely automated and fewer things get past the programmer because they've automated the testing and the tests tell them exactly what kind of data isn't being handled correctly.

FIPurpose

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2743 on: June 30, 2019, 11:26:26 AM »
I have never been a part of any software team where when I joined, I always thought the whole thing needed to be rewritten/ rethought out. When I join, I see huge glaring problems, where the programmer or two who wrote the code simply acclimated to having to constantly write patches and fixes every couple days. And he was the only one who knew how to write those fixes!

The biggest barrier is always the software guys themselves. They have so much on their plate + they're maintaining all this legacy code, but the irony is that they should absolutely be the ones involved in the rewrite. All code needs to be written twice. Once you understand the problem, where the logic of your first attempt breaks down and complicates things, you can more clearly see the problem for what it is.

The second biggest barrier is the boss. Bosses hate to risk a redevelopment. They remember how long it took to make it the first time, and they imagine that it will take just as long the second time. But that is rarely true (unless the first attempt was really really bad).

My current job involves maintaining a number of websites. My company took over a contract/code from a years old project that never went to production. And it was easy to see why. Large amounts of duplicate code, lots of dead code because programmers are super afraid to delete any code, so red herrings and dead ends start littering the code base. (Code should be a french garden, not a junk yard). And lots of patch work to get things boot strapped. We brought up rewriting the front end in a more modern style and framework, but were shot down immediately be the contract owners. They did not want this project being delayed any longer. I can understand the frustration, but working in a bad code base lengthens the new feature dev time, bug fix time, and overall frustration with the work.

And since working on a completely new project is rarely the case, your decisions and organization at the beginning of a project has huge consequences positive or negative down the line. Bad decisions, and you will eventually have to burn it and start again. Good decisions, and you will only have to prune and cater to your code as it grows.

I have never worked any job where the first thing I did wasn't cleaning and reorganizing away 30-50% of the existing code base.

scottish

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2744 on: June 30, 2019, 11:35:05 AM »
I've had similar experiences.   The first time you build something it's likely to be ugly unless you're allowed to refactor it on an ongoing basis.   And even then it may be ugly.

Things are so busy negotiating requirements, schedule, deployment, etc., it's hard to get people focused on having a viable architecture.


Zaga

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2745 on: June 30, 2019, 12:17:18 PM »
Sword Guy, I work indirectly with people who write code that I have to use and OMG I wish they were half as competent as you sound!  I do testing when new code is added, and despite the extensive testing there are always huge problems in production.  We are dealing with a production problem that takes up to an hour of my time EVERY DAY to fix, and it's been that way for months and they still haven't figured out how to fix it.  Gah!
Huge, long running problems are usually due to a bad design solution.   A good design for complicated data transformation programs includes built-in ways to prove it's working or prove where it's not working correctly.  It's actually faster to build the transformation program and one or two "prove it's right" programs than it is to build just the transformation program by itself (unless you don't care whether it works).  Makes testing largely automated and fewer things get past the programmer because they've automated the testing and the tests tell them exactly what kind of data isn't being handled correctly.
I..I...I...
did not know this was possible.  What I'm doing (I'm in retail accounting) is manually checking every test transaction bit by bit and making sure that all the parts of all the transactions add up to the same number that the code calculates.  Among other things.  It's painful.

Candace

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2746 on: June 30, 2019, 02:27:54 PM »
This is a cool discussion, but can we please get the thread back on topic?

fredbear

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2747 on: June 30, 2019, 06:51:10 PM »
...
In later years, I would write scripts to read a database design and produce prototype business specifications for the data maintenance screens and reports.   I would write other scripts that would read the database design and identify likely business rules and record them as candidate rules in a rule database.  If the rule was approved, other scripts would write the database enforcement code with either fully working code or a stub marked with an @ToDo marker and the specifications the code should meet.   Data entry screens knew how to read the business rule database so a generic routine could tell the user what rules were being violated or just which ones applied to the data.   All of these techniques removed human labor and the vagaries of human error from large portions of the system.  So, instead of spending our time finding and fixing random defects in simple to intermediate code, we could spend much more attention on the key parts of a system that really needed to be correct.
.../quote]

For God's sake, where were you back when I was hiring?  For the matter of that, now I am working with a volunteer organization that has chosen a classic hacker -- his operating mode could be summed up as: he does what seems cool at the time, documents nothing, and abandons it half-assed and to move on to the next thing he thinks cool -- to automate our business solutions via the web; I wish I could have found you when that project started.  Nothing specified, nothing tested, no bug-fix or enhancement plans.  Given the budget, it's hopeless now.  I am noiselessly retreating like a cat that stepped in cowpiss.

BicycleB

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2748 on: June 30, 2019, 09:49:21 PM »
Software people - that was the most educational discussion I've seen in my entire life. Thanks!!!

Everyone else, sorry for the interruption.

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Epic FU money stories
« Reply #2749 on: July 02, 2019, 05:24:53 AM »
This is a cool discussion, but can we please get the thread back on topic?

About a Guy I Know:

A CPA friend of mine had a pretty nice business going. One year he gets referred a special project for a start-up that ends up taking off in such a way that it monopolizes his firm's time, and he ends up making 2.5x what he normally would have. A year later the start-up is still growing, and begins demanding that he move his office 40 miles to their location. He says, "Let me help you find another firm."

End of Discussion.


A Year Later

Same guy sold his company (net worth maybe $3MM) and was then asked to be president of another company, so he's there about a year, working for a guy who is probably worth $100MM. The richer guy is used to yelling at people, telling them how to be, where to go, etc., and the guy I know is used to having dozens of clients, or, as he called them, many bosses, some of whom are difficult.

After about a year of making $500k as president of this guy's company, things are going well, but the guy comes in yelling like a maniac. The CPA tells him he has done everything he can to help the business, and it's time to transition.

The guy began sputtering, and my friend said he'd give him 6 months, but it was over.