Never work for minimum wage in IT

As i managed to get a better job leaving my minimum wage programming job things will eventually look up as i spent more than a year on minimum wage. When i first came in before covid-19, the salary was low but not minimum and i got bad comments instead so never considered increasing my salary or treating me better. IT is not a cheap field to work with and you must at all cost avoid working at minimum or low wages. I know some will say they can get by as a programmer on minimum wage but have no idea how things are for regular people and how screwed their future is.

For reference, the minimum wage at the time of writing is RM1200, which if converted to USD is below $300 at the time of writing. Please do not cheap out on your programmers. If you are reading this from the US, try to be a coder at this rate and learn how severe slave labour around the world.

Heres how things regularly happened in the company. Whenever i took a nap, watched a video or played a game i get told off, its not like one can constantly focus on work, and the key to being productive in programming is ensuring your mind can get the rest it needs. When it came to managing tasks, i was constantly bombarded with a variety of tasks daily which meant i could not focus on writing a single line of code. It did not matter how well or fast i completed the tasks, i was constantly bombarded with datelines that clashed and no way out irregardless. I could not even practice any of my devops skills and was constantly not listened to in following up constantly with the client directly, even with managing tasks.

I even leant them some of my infrastructure including servers to boost their productivity, which worked well for them but things turned sour later. Aside from my own laptop i use for work, some things did spoil, and the company only bought a basic PC after for me to use which i mentioned can only be used for web design but not programming, which they said they wont assign that to me, but they still did regardless. They also didnt even bother to help pay for the repairs after all the extra help and effort i put in. Till today they do not seek to right the things they wronged.

I ended up being worse off than when i first started. I only took the job so that others wouldn’t starve and i figured i could at least save and be ok in a year for another job, but aside from the economic down turn, things got very tiring. Being poor takes a toll on your mind and tires you out. I had hoped i would get some useful experience and knowledge in marketing, dealing with clients but i was not allowed for any of that as those are essential skills no matter how good or bad the economy is. I couldnt even find the time to partake in their extra activities and my family were constantly barraging me with a lot of extra chores, even getting sick a few times due to heavy dust.

Bad comments i often get
“you’re very unproductive so you get less” – with minimum wage, i havent paid my electric bill for a year. I have others who depend on me as well and cant even feed myself properly, let alone pay for my own required medical care. My own laptop i used for work got ruined and no effort was done to help me afford to repair it so that i can continue to improve outside work hours.
“you’re tardy and have a bad attitude” – I am actually critical about the quality of my work. Since im “not allowed” to nap at work i figure i’ll be more productive if i get more sleep as in a programming job, your 8 hours should not be purely spent coding. A lot of the time you’ll be spent doing other things to boost your work. If someone had bothered to read my presentation in rawsec 3, only 1 hour of time or less is actually spent writing code. So while it is cliche for someone who writes performance code and configures webservers to be super fast to be late, i come late because i want to maximise the amount of work i do with reduced rest during the day.
“you spill our secrets and break NDA” – No, but rather a few negative people in the community didnt like my take on hosting panels. They assumed that the company used a particular hosting panel because of my recommendation in the community but this is no secret. I never said the company used it, and did my comparison of hosting panels based on my own experience but the cpanel fans didnt take it well and simply implied. (This is a bigger reason to avoid cpanel and plesk aside from the rip-off pricing. Please care about your quality and offers to your customers, stop using them). Telling people you use cisco is not a secret, its something anyone can guess for example or figure out with a few simple tools.
“you spend work time to do non-work stuff” – When you’re in IT, you have to constantly learn and improve. It doesnt matter if you learn something unrelated like spacecraft engineering, its a fun thing to learn and improves your cognitive ability to think around problems and other things. I know some would say to do it after work but consider that if you’re paid 1/3 of what you’re supposed to be paid, you really shouldnt be giving it your all and exhaust yourself. i was already spending time outside work hours resting and improving my skills for a better job, and at one point my laptop failed so didnt have anything to use outside.

Their HR looks at me like as if im just a burden to the company, always not responding to regular chat from me and showing a miserable face towards me. They dont even have flexibility like half days, i mean how am i supposed to find the time to send my mum to her medical appointments and finish work at the same time with the minimum number of holidays and get sufficient rest? The best way to describe them here is with “barely legal” when it comes to their regular work force.

Shops downstairs advertised cashier jobs at a higher salary, though its a trap as either job sets you back from being able to advance in your field. Luckily i was able to find another job before the damage got too bad.

In conclusion my time at said company was terrible, and i ended up worse off, only increasing my hatred of local companies. Never again with a local company and there should be a different minimum wage for IT. One would think the highly religious culture of malaysians would make them want to right things, but turns out they don’t and instead just kept putting blame on me and trying to find wrong where there shouldn’t be any instead of trying to make things right and improve things. The local culture instead makes people to think low salaries are ok, when they do not understand savings and investments, and the cost of having to constantly learn new things, to improve and to be productive. They also didnt even understand how severe asthma is in relation to smoking until i was hospitalised.

In another company i work part time to provide help, i successfully implemented better management techniques and solve staff issues to make them productive. I am horrified at how terrible local companies are in this regard as the tools are easily available and it only takes a bit of understanding to figure out the issues someone on the other side of the camera is facing in doing the job and solving it. People always forget, people are the biggest asset, and it is because of the lack of human factor is why we get the messes today. In order to be successful with tech, machines, etc one has to first master the human factor.