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Reach out to former employees with questions about their work?

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Mid-Level Data Engineer at Taro Community12 days ago

I've just started at a new company in Big Tech and have taken over responsibility for a large codebase. I learned that most of the people who were previously responsible for the code base (and who may have developed it) were laid off earlier this year. Is it OK for me to reach out to those people or is this bad form and maybe breaks some rules? The purpose of reaching out would be to get an overview from them on the codebase and perhaps ask questions as they come up.



  • 5
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    Thoughtful Tarodactyl
    Taro Community
    12 days ago

    I would definitely not reach out to former employees. If they were laid off they probably don't feel great about the company and want nothing to do with the company.

    Your responsibility for the company ends when you leave the company especially if they were laid off

  • 4
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    11 days ago

    I would not reach out to former employees:

    • There's no incentive for them to help you (it's all ask, no give)
    • Even if you got help, the company probably has concerns about non-employees contributing to the codebase in some form
  • 1
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    10 days ago

    Yep, definitely do not do this. There's 1,000 ways this can go wrong.

    Instead, go through the blames and their corresponding PRs. Hopefully they followed the Taro advice of attaching high-quality context sections and test plans to create a nice historical record of the codebase.

  • 2
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    Mid-Level Data Engineer [OP]
    Taro Community
    10 days ago

    Case-closed! Thanks everyone for responding.

    I'll just add, at my former work, I worked with someone for about a year who then left the company of his own choosing. I inherited some of his work and emailed him a bit at the beginning with some questions. I feel like that scenario is more conducive since I had worked with him for a year, whereas in this case, there's no overlap, so it's different.