My Corporate Slave Self

I’m currently under a 2-year bond to work for a Filipino software company. While this may be my first real job, I have a feeling I’m working for a company that could really do better. In less than a week of working there I have broken so many coding rules just to finish a project on time. 

Let this post be my post mortem…
I was asked if I knew HTML. Of course I do, every computer science student knows how to use that primitive markup language. I asked if it was XHTML he was asking since HTML is basically extinct. He said just simple HTML for a static web app. Ok, simple HTML. Just basic stuff. So I said yes, I’ll do that.
I was assigned to a team of three. The specs where given to us and WTF!… it asked for functionalities that require Javascript, CSS and at times even AJAX or Actionscript to work. I guess their definition of static is “anything not connected to a server”. What kind of software company who specializes in web and enterprise apps doesn’t know what a static website is?
My teammates (a fresh grad and a career shifter) don’t know anything about Javascript! And 4 demos in 9 days? Complete with verifications, menu bars, image viewing, input processing. How the hell are we going to do that?
Not to mention we are serving 2 masters at the same time. We report to the QA and our PM. They have different ideas about the project. One wants to focus on the layout since it’s a demo after all. The other wants to focus on the functions since it’s a demo after all. I know, I’m supposed to follow the PM but what happens when they also have a different understanding of the specs. One interprets a “search” as a “search” the other interprets it as a search of local data on the local computer because not all data is sent to the server. WTF!
And what happens when the PM, who wants to focus on the layout, wants to stick to her “layout” which, to put it bluntly, is an insult to interface design and all the things I like doing. Large confusing icons. Bad color combinations. Cluttered web pages. Redundant forms. Non-cross browser compatibility. Any true web designer would have resigned right there and then when he was told that that thing they call a “layout” is better because it is what the client wants. Look, I’m no expert in banking, but I know design. And if this company wants to sell their product it should never be demoed on a very very amateur interface that looks like a highschool girl’s friendster layout. I’ve seen softwares sell because of interface alone (ex. Windows), I’ve seen companies thrive by making useless, though cute and pretty, programs (ex Atlassian), and I’ve heard of Microsoft Bob.
Anyway, to cope with my teammate’s lack of scripting experience I didn’t enforce standards. So now we he have a bunch of spaghetti codes, redundant functions, brute-force algorithms, and the uber-low-level “i just created pages with the values predefined and make it look like it’s javascript when actually we just made separate pages of every possible value”.
Now I wonder if I made the right decision to work on a non multinational company. How many coding standards do I have to break before I realize that my work is actually making me more stupid. I chose to work here because I want to take side with the underdog. I always think that small companies are purer.. people who code because they want to make the world a better place. They remain small because they are not doing it for the profit. I hope I’m not mistaken.

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