Rich’s Story

A techie’s workplace experience was less than ideal, so he reprogrammed the culture.

Rich Sheridan found his vocation early in life. It was 1971, and at the ripe old age of 13 he got hooked on computers. “This is gonna be the coolest profession ever,” he thought at the time.

And it was for a while. But by the time Rich reached his 30s, he was completely dissatisfied and disillusioned with his career. Workloads had continually increased and shifts had grown longer. It wasn’t uncommon for programmers to work twenty-four seven. They became isolated, working long nights, in dark cubicles, with earbuds in to drown out the world. Consequently, the workplace became unbearable and coworkers became despondent. “It was a death-march culture,” Rich explains. “I couldn’t do it any longer.” Shortly after being promoted to vice president of product development, Rich decided to get out.

He did not, however, want to abandon the work he loved. So he instead turned his attention to changing how programming work is performed. To do that, he knew he’d have to change the culture. He’d have to find a way to encourage and support new behaviors that made programming cool and fun again.

In the video at top, watch the story of Menlo Innovations, the software development company that’s breaking with tradition and creating an error-free workplace centered on joy. ◼

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the storyteller and do not reflect the view of VitalSmarts.

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