Helpful Vs Unhelpful War stories


We have all heard them, someone in work starts telling you about how the last place they worked was so much better because of some reason, examples of unhelpful war stories are:

  • In my last job we used better technology (No real detail it was just better…)
  • In my last job they had free drinks and biscuits (So it was easier to put on weight?)
  • In my last job the pay was better (So why did you leave?)
  • In my last job they were a bigger company (Is bigger always better?)

I myself have not been immune to the lure of trotting one out an unhelpful war story on occasion but recently i have made a effort to stop. My reasons are:

  • It usually doesn’t help things.
  • It makes people wonder why you’re working there.
  • It can make you look silly. (So if your last job was that much better why did you leave?)
  • It can effect your teams moral and you can end up being the person seen by management as the bad apple.


If we are going to tell war stories we should make an effort to make them helpful and constructive, examples are:

  • In my last job we used an agile development process and we all really enjoyed working that way.
  • In my last job we used a great free testing tool that helped us find lots of bugs, could we try using that here?
  • In my last job I used python to write my test scripts i could help some other team member to learn it.

Remember to try to only tell helpful war stories!