I Took A Paycut For Quality

I have been looking for a little over a year now to move away from the company I currently work for and move on – either do some development, or still doing QA but on a different kind of product. I was becoming increasingly unhappy with the focus of development at my company – quantity over quality; push back QA time to put in more (half done) features. I feel it is ethically wrong to sell software to people when it is half finished, but telling them it is complete and taking their money (a LOT of money), just planning to ship out hotfixes later. No matter what my small QA team found, the release was still shipped on time. For that year I have been leading the team of 4 QA, since our QA manager left. Our department was sucked into Development, and were directly under the Development Manager – “fox guarding the henhouse” was often repeated. Since then, quality has suffered, deadlines have become tighter, and the QA staff have become dejected.

So in one of my searches for a new QA job, I found an ad that said the role would include “hammering the shit out of the product” – I applied right away! The whole description of the company sounded like they were very quality focused, but you never know. I heard back about an hour later and spoke with an HR guy for about 45 minutes. That conversation got me very interested in working for them for the company’s culture alone! I then got a call to find out if I could do a phone interview the following Tuesday. I spent another 45 minutes talking to a lovely woman who is a kind of HR/Admin for the company and to a developer. More and more I was stoked about this company and their focus on quality and the culture. Later that day I was called again and asked to come in for an in-person interview with an owner the next day. I agreed.

The conversation with the owner threw me for a loop – a company that REALLY focused on quality, QA are the ones that say when a release is ready to go, no set release dates, it just goes when it’s ready. The owner told me about all of the challenges the QA lead would be facing, and asked if I was scared off, and I said no – it sounded awesome! I even said “challenge accepted” at one point πŸ˜› I left that interview feeling like I had nailed it, I was going to be the QA lead, and it was going to be awesome.

The next day, I got a call at about 12:30 with an offer. I would be the QA lead, and I would be getting about a 20% pay increase from what I made at my current company. I accepted right away, and let them know that I would be out to sign the paperwork needed to get me officially accepted the next evening. About 30 minutes later I had a meeting with my boss and told him that I was resigning. He seemed stunned, and a little pissed. He said he would work on a counter offer for me and get back to me before I had to leave to sign the papers the next day. The QA team meeting shortly after that was very awkward, as he showed me some serious contempt during the whole thing.

The next day, my boss pulls me aside and lays down what the company is willing to offer me – a 30% pay increase. I was kind of blown away – that money would be awesome, I could really use it. But honestly, I knew I would still be miserable and feel like I was assisting my company in unethical practices. I turned him down, and he was surprised.

Yeah, I’m taking a pay cut essentially to work at this new company, but I know that the feeling I will have working on a product that is quality, and that the owners care about the quality of, will make all the difference.

It also doesn’t hurt that Friday is “Fun Day” and the staff tends to drink after lunch… And that the days generally don’t start until 10 or 10:30 πŸ˜›

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Posted on April 11, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Lanette (Testyredhead)

    Go. Take the new job. You know when your contributions to quality are REALLY valued because you can feel it in your gut. If testing at your current company is no longer fun because the culture is constantly getting in your way and you don’t feel supported, there are new challenges for you. It sounds like a great time to thank the company you worked for, and go work on something new.The worst thing I’ve ever done in testing is assume that they loyalty I feel for the company I worked at for 10 years was returned. They simply don’t want the hassle of having to pay for and train someone new. That doesn’t mean they can change the culture or the incorrect direction they are going in to focus on quality. I can tell from this post you are excited to leave and try this new company. Go with that. The 10% and more is coming your way in time. Each new skill you gain, each new challenge you face and overcome is freedom of choice under your belt.Many congrats and best wishes on your new job! Lead the testing well. I’m also a tester who chose layoff over a job that didn’t fit me, and it’s the best choice I ever made. I believe that those who aren’t willing to risk their job over ethics don’t really deserve a job in quality. The fact you are willing to risk it shows that you are ready to be a test lead. High five for doing what is needed to lead, and also for doing what is needed for your teams, current and future. Standing strong in your ethics doesn’t mean that we aren’t thankful, polite, kind, and willing to be of service to others. It just means we set healthy boundaries and care about quality first. There is nothing honorable about allowing a company to waste your talent.

  2. Thanks for your comments. I agree, of course πŸ˜›

  3. Jeff McWherter

    "I feel it is ethically wrong to sell software to people when it is half finished" i agree with this 100%. QA seems to always suffer when trying to push stuff out the door. When the day is done, you are putting your "stamp" of approval on the software as a dev or QA, its important to keep your ethics. Congrats on the new gig.

  4. Congratulations. Never accept a counter offer, no matter how good it is. Like you said they already know you are looking and not happy, and willingly or not will show contempt. Plus it jumps you to the front of the line for the next person to have to go. Company culture is a huge consideration for me in a job. Hope your’s goes well. Good luck.

  5. Thanks guys πŸ˜€ Jeff, I knew you were a Quality guy πŸ˜›

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