At the end of July, 2000, I accepted a job as a "UNIX System Administrator/Webmaster" at a dot com in Vancouver. Being from Ontario, this was a huge move for me, as well as being the first time I was on my own. They offered everything I was looking for: An opportunity to learn, work with some very smart people and a higher than average salary. Although I did not realize it at the time, I was being lined up to be screwed.

This company was getting very close to launch their new software. All they needed now were some "finishing touches" to the product such as a large database, and CGI scripting in Perl with DBI. This is something I have done only as a hobby, and never in any way professional. They did not tell me this. Since I applied for an "Intermediate UNIX Administrator" position, this is what I thought I was getting into. I was told that %95 of my time would be spent maintaining their Linux and Solaris servers, with the rest of my time spent developing basic CGI scripts.

After the move, finding an apartment and buying some furniture, I found out the truth. My full-time job was writing these scripts, and designing and maintaining the database. The only time I was allowed to touch a server is when I needed to upload a script. They had been looking for a "web developer" for over 6 months with no luck. They had become desperate, and chose me since I had a small amount of experience in that area. Since that was not the type of job I was looking for, I was lied to. You were expected to work from 8:30am to 7:00pm. Every day except Saturday. Even on holidays. In my interview process I was told the typical hours are 10:00am to 4:00pm, and people stay late or leave early depending on the work that needs to be done.

The software launched, and they no longer needed me. I was told I could continue my employment but only as a "Junior" system administrator, and a salary cut of %40.

If you are young and looking for a new job, be very, very careful. The only thing I ended up learning from this experience is to never trust anyone again. Be sure to have a backup plan in case things do not go the way you planned them. Ask a lot of questions and take notes. Record any phone conversations if possible. Try to get it in writing. And when you start work, for the first month or so, keep a tab of the work you have done. Don't be a moron like me.

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