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Toxic Work Environments

tl;dr: Care about your work environment not just the technology. It matters, it can destroy your life if you don’t know what to do with all the anxiety. Thank you Manny for all that you taught me. The environment just as much if not more than the tech.


Recently, I have had to make some serious life changes around how I work and even where I work. The environment that I was in was horrid and it caused some much stress on my life that I didn’t know what to do so I bottled it up and it started affecting all aspects of my life.

The Bright and Shiny.

I got to work in the latest and greatest technology. We had implemented Mesosphere and APIs with the business logic on top them. All of them written in Go. I am gopher so working in Go was awesome. We had the latest and greatest tech. It was in fact a dream stack for me, personally.

The Clashing Tidal Waves.

If managment was not arguing with each other, the devs were. Shoving competing technologies next to each other. We had the Node devs on one side and the ruby devs on the other. Then in the middle, we had an organization that was supposed to support them both. No one could agree to save their lives.

I landed on the team in the middle and of course, we coded in Go. That decision was mainly my call. The main argument for this was that we were going to be building a CLI that needed to be supported across different computers and operating systems so one giant binary was ideal. I emphasize that because we were the third language in the mix which caused waves. For those two teams to go to production, they had to use our product.

The Situation.

As a node developer previously, I felt very in tune with what I thought developers wanted. They just had to brew tap and brew install. Done. Then you can script the cli to your will. Honestly, I have never been more proud of a product for ease but everyone and their mom has their opinion with a limited view of the whole picture. Constantly, corrected by one team that didn’t think it through all use cases except their own. If we weren’t arguing with the devs, we were fending off their manager.

The arguing was toxic. I spent so much time arguing with people that it started to feel like the normal thing to do even within our team. That didn’t work out well. I was hated, I hated them. To top it off, we then started arguing with the “Agile” team.

The Change.

After all of this, I was done. My home life was mess from the stress at work and I hated work. The saving grace came in several forms.

The Man known as Manny

This guy was the tallest, militaric and roughed up guy that I had seen. Let’s put it this way, Navy Seals looked tiny next to him but here is the kicker. When he talked to you, he was the most ‘thoughtful’ person that I have ever met. He would always ask your permission before he did something. When he messed up, he would own it and make sure to apologize. He took on the challenge of working with me on my communication and suprisingly made me realize how I was just adding to the toxicity. He not only taught me how to better communicate but how to be a better person and that there is more to life then just technology.

Fresh Start

I decided that I needed out. It was time to leave what I had started. To start learning patience, my interview took 3 months at Bitly but it was worth the wait. I couldn’t ask for a more harmonious work environment. When we disagree, it’s done very thoughtful and with a reason. We have teams the work together even on seperate teams. I miss my close friends but I still see them and spend time with the people that matter.

Clean System

I started taking my health more serious. I quit drinking soda, I removed a certain medication that was causing me anxiety and started watching what I eat and how much I eat. I bring my lunch to work now instead of eating out. Since I have done these things, I have more energy, more patience and just feel better. I have lost little weight but that doesn’t seem to bother me as much now that I feel I am doing the right things. These things have probably even saved my personal life.


So after all of that I more just ran through things that helped me deal with my stress. Leaving that enviroment was the best thing for me. Some may solve it other ways, some of co-workers were forced but ultimately, for me. It has made a huge difference in my life to focus on the environment rather than what I was building.

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