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On Finding, Hiring, Inspiring and Keeping

by eyepopslikeamosquito (Canon)
on Apr 09, 2006 at 14:06 UTC ( #542143=perlmeditation: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

According to the Top 10 Reasons to Work at Google, there are a number of workplace benefits that I'm currently being deprived of, namely:

  • Free lunches, drinks and snacks.
  • On site doctor, dentist, massage, yoga, child care and laundry services.
  • Games rooms and sports and recreation facilities.
  • One day per week set aside to work on my own pet project.
What sort of benefits do you currently enjoy? What benefits are most attractive to you? What sort of benefits can smaller, less wealthy companies realistically offer their top developers?

Perhaps Google has been influenced by Peopleware's advice to focus on who does the work rather than how it is done. Simplifying outrageously, Peopleware's formula for success is:

  • Get the right people.
  • Make them happy so they don't want to leave.
  • Turn them loose.

Further to the interview guerrilla tactics discussed in On Interviewing and Interview Questions, this meditation focuses on strategies for finding, hiring, inspiring and keeping top-notch developers.

Finding

It seems sound strategy to spread the word that your company is a great place to work. With that done, there should be less need to advertise jobs since top developers will hopefully come to you. Encouraging some of your developers to interact with outside programming communities, universities, and perhaps write a public blog discussing their work may help get the word out and develop contacts with potential new employees.

Social networking and employee referrals are also excellent ways of finding suitable candidates.

Hiring

Apparently, Google employ the Lake Wobegon strategy, namely:

  • Only hire candidates who are above the mean of your current employees.
  • No hiring manager.
  • All hiring at the company level, not the project level.
  • First decide which candidates are above the hiring threshold, then decide which projects they can best contribute to.
How does your company do it?

As already discussed in On Interviewing and Interview Questions, there seems to be a broad consensus that candidates should be asked to write code at the interview and give some sort of technical presentation to their future co-workers.

Induction and Training

Staff induction is considered so important at Hitachi Software that the chief scientist's principal function is the training of new hires! How are new hires trained at your company?

Allowing regular time for self study/self training can be more effective than sending people to formal training courses.

Recruitment seems more important than training -- after all, there is little point wasting time and money training a lemon.

Inspiring

Here is a list of management tips to get the best out of people:

  • Focus on strengths not weaknesses. Provide opportunity to use and develop strengths. Ensure each employee has interesting and challenging work tailored to their strengths.
  • Provide a nurturing work environment: respect, trust, integrity, support, openness, value learning. Encourage risk taking. Support learning from failure. Satisfy a desire to grow and create. Long term focus. Encourage individuality. Allow personal rearrangement of workspace to suit each employee. Reduce stress. Make it fun.
  • Listen.
  • Provide ways to achieve personal goals inside organisational goals.
  • Remove blockages and unnecessary administration and bureaucracy.
  • Notice when people do good work. How best to reward staff? Generally, I feel team-based rewards are more effective than individual ones.
  • Provide a career growth path.
  • Build effective teams (see below).

Keeping Staff Happy

"External" motivators, such as bonuses and recognition awards, are of dubious value and may do more harm than good; more sustainable ways of motivating staff should be actively sought.

In addition to the Google benefits mentioned in the introduction, some other ideas that might be tried are:

  • Provide a free healthy bowl of fruit.
  • Provide a quality espresso machine.
  • Give away free computer books.
  • Allot time for self-training in an area of interest.
  • After a period of three years (say), allow a developer to work for three months on a Skunk works project of his own choosing (remember that Unix, Apple Macintosh and IBM PC were all originally Skunk works projects).
  • Avoid situations where employees may feel compelled to resign to save face. This can happen, for example, when you hire external candidates and promote them over existing qualified employees.
  • Prefer growing leaders inside the company to recruiting externally.

Because taking benefits away damages morale, it seems best to be conservative and only offer cheapish benefits that can be sustained in the long term. Benefits that improve employee health (e.g. free fruit) are preferred to those that don't (e.g. free soft drinks) and may even pay for themselves in reduced sick leave.

Team Harmony

DeMarco and Lister provide a number of interesting suggestions for improving team harmony:

  • Interview Auditions. When hiring a new team member, the candidate is asked to give a technical presentation to the whole team and the whole team decides whether to hire or not.
  • Allow individuals to form their own teams and "bid" for projects. For example, developers who are friends and get along well together could form their own team and bid for a project.
  • Encourage teams to develop their own distinctive personality (by wearing all black for example, like IBM's legendary "black team").
  • Give project teams a power of veto over release of a product they feel is not yet ready. Put another way, this is following Philip Crosby's general quality advice of allowing the builder to set the quality standard.

Emotionally Intelligent (EI) Leadership

Daniel Goleman asserts that the primary job of leadership is emotional. The leader primes good feeling (creates resonance) in his staff ... which unleashes the best in them. Emotionally engaged employees usually have higher productivity and achievement. Moreover, various studies have shown that up to 70% of employee perception of their organisation comes from the actions of their leader.

From the six fundamental leadership styles, namely:

  • Visionary
  • Coaching
  • Affiliative
  • Democratic
  • Pace-setting
  • Commanding
only the first four are suitable for inspiring and keeping staff over the long haul. Goleman suggests you switch between the first four styles appropriately and cautions against using the last two styles, except in short term emergencies. Moreover, for long term company health, it's vital to rely not on one leader, but to cultivate leadership and EI skills throughout the organisation.

Deadlines

Peopleware provides convincing evidence that setting overly tight deadlines does not speed up product delivery. On the contrary, their analysis shows that unrealistic deadlines actually harm productivity and that higher productivity is achieved when working to realistic deadlines. Apart from harming productivity, unrealistic deadlines (especially artificially imposed ones) cause significant long term damage to staff morale, turnover and to the company's reputation for quality. To keep staff happier and more productive, allow the builder to set the deadlines and the quality standard.

As for improving estimating accuracy, keeping historical data on how long previous projects took is a good place to start.

People versus Process

In many disciplines, such as aircraft maintenance, following a strict, well-defined, step-by-step process has achieved excellent results. But what about software development? Should the job, the process, the methodology be strictly defined and the developer ordered to follow it? Or, at the other extreme, should each developer be allowed to choose any process or methodology he/she prefers based on individual taste, strengths and weaknesses? Perhaps methodologies and processes are best agreed by consensus at the team/project level rather than the company or individual level. How formally defined is the development process and methodology at your workplace? How strictly is it enforced?

References

14-apr-2006: Significant update based on feedback and further thoughts. 14-may-2006: more updates.

Comment on On Finding, Hiring, Inspiring and Keeping
Re: On Finding, Hiring, Inspiring and Keeping
by QM (Vicar) on Apr 09, 2006 at 14:49 UTC
    I don't want to turn this thread into a big list of negatives, but it's going to be difficult for me. I've never worked anywhere that managed to look better than a sausage factory (you know, "Great products, but don't ask how they're made.")

    Under the un-inspiring category: One of my personal peeves is working for a company that expects late hours when projects become critical, yet provides no support for this. For example, there is only junk food in the vending machines, mostly chips and candy bars. At comparable companies, there are major-meal vending machines providing soup, sandwiches, pasta, salad, yogurt, dried fruit -- heck, even breakfast cereal is better than a Snickers. And it's not like it has to cost the company anything -- the employees would gladly pay to have a real meal at 2am. When every newhire is given a laptop and a VPN login, they must think we come with our own wall adapter.

    On the flipside, in another corporate incarnation, my team has worked late on several occasions. I've gone out of my way to get them a dinner break, even if it comes out of my own pocket. They're much more likely to work quickly and accurately if someone is looking after them, and it also becomes something of a social event to work late and share a meal.

    -QM
    --
    Quantum Mechanics: The dreams stuff is made of

      The first job I had after college was for a major chemical company in the Northeast US. At one point my boss asked three of us to pitch in and help out another developer on our team who had dithered around with the specs too long. In addition to our own responsibilities, we worked on this system most evenings until at least 9 pm and most weekends for more than six weeks. Our boss gave us carte blanche on expensing meals, saying any time we were there after 5 pm or on a weekend we could charge whatever we wanted to eat, to support us while we wrote this system. The total bill for all our meals was probably less than $1000 but was a major factor in our willingness to work long hours -- not because we were willing to work for food, but because we felt that the company took our sacrifice seriously. Afterward, we all received a spot award of a month's pay. I would have done anything for that boss -- that kind of pound-wise thinking is what separates the men from the boys in this area.

      Some months later, that boss ran afoul of some internal politics and was shunted aside in favor of a man who could have been the prototype pointy-haired-boss. Not long after that our department was decimated by employee departures for greener pastures, myself included.


      No good deed goes unpunished. -- (attributed to) Oscar Wilde
Re: On Finding, Hiring, Inspiring and Keeping
by dragonchild (Archbishop) on Apr 09, 2006 at 18:00 UTC
    In my career, there are only two (maybe three) places that I would fight to continue working at. The top is my current job. Some of the perks:
    • The company is completely virtual. When we all get together, we do so in the owner's basement.
    • We set our own work hours. If I need to take a kid to the doctor, I take the kid to the doctor. If I'm burnt out, I take the afternoon off. This isn't allowed - this is required.
    • When I don't have a deadline for work, I am expected to be working on OSS projects, preferably those that we will be able to use in future projects. This includes articles and networking with others.
    • Complete trust. I didn't meet my coworkers until I'd been working for the company for over three months.

    Now, we keep things great because the only people hired are those that will work well with every other developer. Or, put another way, every developer has right of veto over a prospective hire. This ensures that everyone will be able to work with everyone else, and that everyone will want to work with everyone else.

    The second-best place I've worked was at Motorola. I think that it was more the team than the company. I was trusted to do my job. I had veto power over releases. No-one sat around and told me how to dress. In other words, I was treated like an adult. Too many times, companies feel that they have to treat their employees like children. If you look for childish behavior, you will find it.

    Now, this means that about 70% of all prospective employees will not work out in your company, and you have to be willing to be extremely selective in hiring. Yes, you could fire people after trying them out, but that gets to be really disruptive over time. Much better to lose a qualified candidate than to fire an unqualified one. If your company is a good place to work, qualified candidates will find you.


    My criteria for good software:
    1. Does it work?
    2. Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?

      I think your reply deserves a spotlight. By holding up your employment situation as an example, you've at least cursorily defined most of what makes a good tech employer to a T. One of the key ingredients, I think, is that the employer makes learning new things a desirable activity for its employees and fosters that. There are few ways to do this that compare with the "work on open source software projects when you're not on deadlines" approach. I think that really the most valuable aspect of Google's 20% time isn't the new projects and "products" that employees generate, either: it's the fact that it fosters, encourages, and supports learning — and makes that learning desirable to the employees in a way that "paid training" and similarly institutionalized corporate initiatives don't.

      Bleeding edge technical industries, which covers almost everything related to computers these days, thrive on new knowledge. The core issue of this entire discussion is that tech employers need to harness that new knowledge phenomenon. The things to look for are people who learn about the field on their own time because they like it, because they want to know new things, and because the way they're wired you couldn't get them to stop learning and tinkering short of inducing burn-out. The things to do involve providing inducements and environments encouraging that learning, and the things to avoid doing are those stultifying bureaucratic and buzzword-compliant procedural things that contribute to burn-out and a feeling of oppression.

      Autonomy is really one of the key ingredients to this. The only other such that comes to mind is creating a work environment where the employees don't have to worry about anything they're not getting paid to do. If you're working sixteen hour days to meet a deadline in an office building, for instance, the employer needs to find ways to address concerns like childcare, hot meals, and the like, so that the employees don't have to, and if you're a reasonably intelligent employee that was worth hiring in the first place the management should trust you to know what you're doing, be able to organize your own time, and be able to turn whatever interest grabs your attention into a benefit to the company, even if the primary benefit of it is just keeping you sharp.

      Unfortunately, American corporate culture is pretty much diametrically opposed to these characteristics of a work environment that are most conducive to acquiring, keeping, and improving on quality employees.

      print substr("Just another Perl hacker", 0, -2);
      - apotheon
      CopyWrite Chad Perrin

Re: On Finding, Hiring, Inspiring and Keeping
by zentara (Archbishop) on Apr 09, 2006 at 19:18 UTC
    I've remembered seeing a number of these "great employee benefits" companies, brag about their offerings over the years. The one that really sticks out in my mind, was even on 60-Minutes. It is Sullivan Air Compressors. They set up this great place, like Google, the employees all loved it. Then it happened, a bunch of new employees claimed they didn't want all the frills, and wanted the money spent on it to go to higher pay. Things became bitter, and it fell apart.

    So I'm eager to see 10 years from now, how Google's plan has flowered or withered, especially as competition in data mining and record keeping increases.


    I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth. flash japh
Re: On Finding, Hiring, Inspiring and Keeping
by Marza (Vicar) on Apr 09, 2006 at 20:28 UTC

    Hmmm there is a problem hiring people? Might be a regional thing as I am told by HR they get calls and resumes for IT people all the time.

    Benies? Well a great boss is a HUGE benefit. He leaves you alone if he feels you know what you are doing. I have a free hand to do just about anything I want. A company charge plate is useful especially when you are allowed to buy tech books as long as you don't go crazy. We get a free dinner on Wednesday and every so often a gathering with Beer and and wine.

    Down side? Health Insurence is medicore. 401K is mediorcre. Training is rare though I am getting my first course in about 4 years. I have reached as far as I can go career wise. We are a staff of 4 and they aren't going to offer a managership when they have a director with 3 workers. Though there is hints of becoming the security manager. So a career path is good!

      Hmmm there is a problem hiring people? Might be a regional thing as I am told by HR they get calls and resumes for IT people all the time.

      Yes, most HR departments will get calls and resumes for IT people all the time. The problem is - they're not for good people :-)

      The problem isn't hiring people. The problem is identifying, hiring, keeping, and supporting people that are worth paying for their work. HR departments, hiring managers, and so on, tend to hire people based on the wrong characteristics, and when they luck into a good hire the bosses have a tendency to turn them into bad hires.

      print substr("Just another Perl hacker", 0, -2);
      - apotheon
      CopyWrite Chad Perrin

Re: On Finding, Hiring, Inspiring and Keeping
by bsb (Priest) on Apr 09, 2006 at 21:05 UTC
    What sort of benefits do you currently enjoy? What benefits are most attractive to you? What sort of benefits can smaller, less wealthy companies realistically offer their top developers?

    Smaller companies have the advantage of greater flexibility in their hiring terms. There's no fixed payscales, rigid hierarchies or corporate policies that need to be maintained company-wide. This gives small companies room to out flank the big ones by offering whatever it is that the new hires may want. The desirable perks will vary from person to person so Google's project day and MS's door won't appeal to everyone they would like.

    In my case, I chose to work for a small company that would allow me to work part-time and remotely (even travelling internationally), was supportive of open source, had a nice staff and great coffee.

      Sounds exactly like mine :) In case you plan to move to antipods, come see us :)
Re: On Finding, Hiring, Inspiring and Keeping
by merlyn (Sage) on Apr 10, 2006 at 00:03 UTC
Re: On Finding, Hiring, Inspiring and Keeping
by ciderpunx (Vicar) on Apr 10, 2006 at 10:31 UTC
    > What sort of benefits do you currently enjoy? What benefits are most attractive to you?

    I get to work for an organization that is campaigning on human rights, world poverty and the environment - all things which are much more important to me than a fat pay cheque, a gym or whatever other fancy.

    I think working for an organization that is trying to make the world a better place - the ethical dimension, say - is the major factor in how I choose a job.

    Other things I consider important are :
    • Feeling like your skills and opinions are valued.
    • Participatory decision making.
    • Being able to learn stuff. This is no way like getting sent on training courses. Its about having the space to explore and some support when I get stuck.
    • Going out for a beer now and again.

    Well that's my 1/2d worth.

Re: On Finding, Hiring, Inspiring and Keeping
by ptum (Priest) on Apr 10, 2006 at 14:12 UTC

    Finding:

    • I think that a company must demonstrate that it is a fun, dynamic workplace to attract the best talent. One of the best ways I know to communicate this is to add humor to job postings and ensure that interviewers don't take themselves too seriously. Many qualified developers will think long and hard before joining an organization that is stuffy, caught up in office politics, or otherwise unable to laugh at itself. If I can't find a way to laugh and have fun at work, I'll find another job pretty quickly.
    • Employee referrals continue to be a very good way to find qualified candidates. I've been using LinkedIn to keep track of people with whom I have worked ... much of the time the best people you will find are already known to the good people who work for you (if you have any). I recently attended a 'free' luncheon where the price of the lunch was to bring at least one contact for the recruiter who bought the lunch -- I think she received 48 contacts among the 15 or so attendees. Not bad for the price of a few pizzas.

    Hiring:

    • I'm not a big fan of the "new hires must be better than half our current employees" philosophy. I once worked for a major software company where this philosophy was pursued ... I was part of more than 40 interview loops in which only two people were hired. Many candidates were passed over because no one felt 'passionate' about hiring them, yet there was work to be done and many of the applicants could have done the work. Additionally, many man-hours were wasted in this fruitless quest. I think a company needs to make it possible to hire a qualified candidate and not get too self-congratulatory about how smart its people are compared to the 'peasants' in the rest of the world.
    • Any interview loop needs to have at least one person toward the end of the day whose primary focus is to 'sell' the job to the applicant, rather than judging the applicant's fitness for the job. I think many applicants are turned off by a gruelling interview that does not sufficiently respect that employment is a two-way street.
    • One way (at least in the US) to set yourself apart from your competitors is to offer a generous time-off package to new hires. I have seen many companies who were flexible in terms of salary become intransigent with respect to time off. I recently took a job with a company that offers 24 days off (combined vacation, sick, personal) per year plus 8 holidays for a new hire, accruing immediately. This is about 11 days more per year than my former employer, and was a major factor in my acceptance of their offer.

    Retaining

    • One of the stupidest things I have seen is companies who hire external candidates and promote them over existing qualified employees. This will often create a situation wherein the existing employee may feel that they must leave to retain any self-respect. I prefer to work for companies that are not afraid to grow leaders internally and show a strong bias for internal transfers and promotions.

    No good deed goes unpunished. -- (attributed to) Oscar Wilde
    • One way... to set yourself apart from your competitors is to offer a generous time-off package to new hires.

    • ...a situation wherein the existing employee may feel that they must leave to retain any self-respect. I prefer to work for companies that are not afraid to grow leaders internally and show a strong bias for internal transfers and promotions.
    • One of the things that really gets my goat (substitute other metaphor as appropriate) is when employers treat new hires much better than their existing employees. It's one thing if a new hire is an experienced person coming from another company and negotiates some extraordinary benefits for himself. But when the company institutes an across-the-board hiring incentive program that gives the new folks better computers, better offices, more time off, etc. than what the old folks are getting, that's a real morale killer.

      We're building the house of the future together.
Re: On Finding, Hiring, Inspiring and Keeping
by SamCG (Hermit) on Apr 10, 2006 at 17:49 UTC


    My best job was eventually ruined by various circumstances. The company, however, was excellent.

    • Free lunches
    • Free drinks
    • Profit-sharing plan
    • Bonuses twice yearly
    • Relatively flat hierarchy; within Compliance limits you could talk to anyone in the company
    • up-to-date hardware
    • Health care paid by company, not employee
    • Excellent parties


    The company was employee-owned, which may have had something to do with it. People were not fired frequently, and left very infrequently.

    My second-best job wasn't in IT. It was at a movie theater. It offered:
    • Free movies
    • Free popcorn
    • Young ladies who were very open and affectionate and wore short skirts
    • leading to excellent parties


    This leads me to believe it's either the free food, or the parties, that make or break a workplace. However, "get the right people" has a strong ring of authenticity.


    -----------------
    s''limp';@p=split '!','n!h!p!';s,m,s,;$s=y;$c=slice @p1;so brutally;d;$n=reverse;$c=$s**$#p;print(''.$c^chop($n))while($c/=$#p)>=1;

      That is an excellent comparison! Kudos! It really points out some of the finer details of why the first example was a good one. In general, it's more important to know why some strategies work than to have a laundry-list of previously successful strategies. Don't ask yourself what workplace characteristics are conducive to good workers: ask yourself why those characteristics work. The details can change, but the underlying reasons those details were good at one time remain the same. While you didn't specifically point out the underlying reasons per se, you certainly pointed out that the underlying reasons aren't dependent upon the form they take.

      print substr("Just another Perl hacker", 0, -2);
      - apotheon
      CopyWrite Chad Perrin

Re: On Finding, Hiring, Inspiring and Keeping
by freddo411 (Chaplain) on Apr 10, 2006 at 18:24 UTC
    What sort of benefits do you currently enjoy? What benefits are most attractive to you? What sort of benefits can smaller, less wealthy companies realistically offer their top developers?

    The good

    • 4 weeks vacation (Very, very enticing for me)
    • Flexible hours
    • 40 hours weeks
    • Excellent supporting services (phone/data/furniture/etc)
    • Good salary

    The Bad

    • Absurd bureaucratic rules. (4 asset numbers for each computer!)
    • Managers incentives are to burn out employees and over promise on projects. No manager accountability
    • Culture of impossible to meet schedules imposed from outside.
    • Too many cooks on each project
    • Very poor career advancement
    • Very poor correlation between performance and reward

      -------------------------------------
      Nothing is too wonderful to be true
      -- Michael Faraday

      4 weeks vacation (Very, very enticing for me)

      Here in France, legal vacation time is 5 weeks, good companies offer 6 to 8 :) Oh, did I mention legal week duration is 35 hours ? Unfortunately salaries are somewhat lower but you can't get everything.

        In the United States, it is not uncommon for a software developer to move from job to job every two-to-three years. Many companies use accrued vacation seniority as an incentive for staying with a company (since company pensions are largely replaced by individual 401(k) plans) and will not negotiate on vacation time for new hires. While an employee who has been with a company for more than 10 years may enjoy as much as 5 weeks of vacation, it is not unusual for a new employee to have to make do with two weeks of vacation annually. Some people never get beyond that miserly allowance if they move around a lot between jobs, and some employers also won't let a new employee use vacation for the first three or six months, until they are 'vested'.

        The new job law in France (and the law's apparent demise) has been much in the news lately -- the whole thing is a little foreign (pun intended) to those of us used to an 'at-will' employment model. How do people more established in their careers in France view this law, that would have allowed employers to 'try before they buy' prospective younger employees?

        It seems to me, sitting here (fairly ignorantly) in the US, that the 'entitlement mentality' evidenced by the protests and demonstrations against what appears to be a reasonable law will end up being very destructive to job growth. Won't many companies simply relocate to find a more flexible workforce (perhaps with a lower price tag), leaving the youth of France with even fewer jobs? Am I missing something in this equation?

Re: On Finding, Hiring, Inspiring and Keeping
by jdporter (Canon) on Apr 11, 2006 at 18:22 UTC

    It looks like Google is one company for whom the dot-com bubble never burst. Unfortunately, they're in a pretty unusual situation. What works for them is not necessary going to work for most companies. Just because we're all IT folks doesn't mean we work for Sili Valley start-ups. (And just because we all program in Perl doesn't mean we're IT folks. And just because we're reading this doesn't mean we're Perl programmers. ;-)

    Google has a business model for web services that works. That's great. Most companies aren't web services companies, and of those that are, most don't have Google's business model. In short, the economics and market forces are not comparable to Google's. Company profiles are very different. Some companies are huge, multinational. So with regard to

    All hiring at the company level, not the project level.

    some folks (like me) are going to find it risible.

    No offense, but I also find this ridiculous:

    • Get the right people.
    • Make them happy so they don't want to leave.
    • Turn them loose.
    That formula only works by a very careful definition of "right". The "right" people are the ones who already perfectly understand the problem space and all the applicable technologies (or can learn them in time to get started on the project with plenty of time left to complete it on schedule). If we were not talking about this in the context of hiring, I'd grant that "right" people are grown in house. For example: management. Is the "right" manager someone you should expect to have to hire, or is it someone who has come up through the ranks of your organization and understands it inside and out? Your IT business is no different. In short: retaining is an antecedent to having the "right people". Of course, you could say that the right people to hire are the ones who will be the right people to have in ten years' time. Like I said, it's all in how you define "right".

    We're building the house of the future together.
Re: On Finding, Hiring, Inspiring and Keeping
by MidLifeXis (Prior) on Apr 11, 2006 at 18:53 UTC

    Under Team Harmony...

    One of my jobs was a two person security team at a bank. 5 days / week suit and tie was the dress code. We both were slim, and needed to wear suspenders (a belt would not work well -- so much for the security "belt and suspenders" :). No-one else in the division did, so it became a team identity. After the team expanded a little bit, the new team members even adopted the suspenders :).

    --MidLifeXis

      MidLifeXis,
      This reminds me of bow-tie Wednesday. We had a group that wore bow-ties on Wednesday. I am not sure how or why it got started and I never learned to tie one properly (used a clip-on). It was fun though.

      Cheers - L~R

      I once worked on a mainframe project that had a tight deadline and required a lot of late-night work. This was before 'casual day' became popular and we all wore suits and ties. Whenever we would stay late, we would take off our ties and wear them as headbands, turning up the local Oldies station on the radio and doing the Limbo with a piece of masking tape between cubicles. We called ourselves COBOL Ninja Warriors -- upper management learned to avoid our area after 5pm.


      No good deed goes unpunished. -- (attributed to) Oscar Wilde
Re: On Finding, Hiring, Inspiring and Keeping
by Anonymous Monk on Apr 13, 2006 at 14:58 UTC
    They give me money. In exchange, I do what I'm told.

    Very simple, really.
    --
    Ytrew

      They give me money. In exchange, I do what I'm told.
      Very simple, until they tell you to build a system that does X, and you do, but they didn't tell you about features X1, X2, and X3, and you point this out and they say "but any idiot would have known those features are necessary", and you say "but it isn't in the spec I wrote and you approved", and they say "yes it is, it's right here in the bit that says '...all necessary functions...'". So you beg some more time to get it right, and this time you give them a daily build to ensure implementation details are clear, and all goes well until your contract is terminated for reasons only known to those resident in the adminisphere.

       

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