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Heroics vs. Consistancy (was: Initiative....)

by clintp (Curate)
on Jul 08, 2002 at 01:54 UTC ( #180058=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: Re: Initiative or otherwise?
in thread Initiative or otherwise?

Amen.

I think as I get older I appreciate B's more than A's, only as far as his attitude of putting it off till Monday. Very few "demos" -- or jobs for that matter -- are worth a missed weekend with family in the great scheme of things.

Personally, my reaction on Friday at 4pm would have been to spend 30 minutes, even staying a wee bit late, doing a rough guesstimate of how long the task would take. (Any 1 or 2 day job can be first-approximated in half an hour by a skilled programmer.) If it would have taken *well* more than a day, I would have immediately stated such and told whoever ^* scheduled the "demo" to reschedule or get creative in their approach (mock-ups, artwork, flip-charts, handwaving, etc...) and offer to assist in scaling down the problem on Monday or other suggestions.

If it could be done in a day or so -- went home and enjoyed the weekend.

I may be jaded but wherever possible I advise against A-type heroics on the part of programmers, and strictly forbid the expectation of it from more senior management. It does extensive harm to the company, project, and the programmer in the long run. I've got a long lecture on the topic, but that'd be preaching to the choir here I think.


<salesrant> ^* The word "demo" implies "sales" of some kind. The pressure to give up one's weekends and engage in super-human efforts for the company's sales survival are tremendous indeed. Still I refuse, and comfort myself in the notions that 1. Poor planning on his part does not constitute an emergency on mine; 2. Sales is a high-turnover position in the first place their *personal* investment in the customer (or the company) often stops when the commission check is cashed; 3. The salesperson (or by his proxy) expressing the dire need to the software department is an expert in sales, this is just a different kind of pitch (work late!) to a different customer (you!); 4. If a salesperson *did* plan and allocated time for the demo to be crafted and yet either grossly misunderstood the nature of the problem or failed to consult those that did to the point that his sales demo was jeopardized should probably be allowed to fail and this performance noted to other management as an indication of incompetance as a salesman, inconsiderateness as a "team member", and possibly not understanding the product he's selling nearly well enough to hold the job he does...but might not for long. </salesrant>


Comment on Heroics vs. Consistancy (was: Initiative....)
Re: Heroics vs. Consistancy (was: Initiative....)
by rattusillegitimus (Friar) on Jul 08, 2002 at 03:07 UTC

    Another Amen from me, brother.

    I spend far too long working 16-24 hour days 7 days a week in the mistaken belief that my efforts could save a company doomed to the dot-com graveyard. 20-20 hindsight tells me there was nothing I could to do; all I was doing was giving up too much of my all-important family time. Now that I'm employed again, I've found a nice position where the lower salary is more than made up by the fact that I've yet to even be asked to stay past 5pm.

    Slightly more on topic, I believe it's best to strive for a good mix of Programmer B and Student A. When I approach a project for work, I first try and find someone who's already done something similar and grab what I can use from it. But I also try to keep in mind that if I can understand how something works (as opposed to just knowing it does in a particular circumstance) I am a better asset for my employers and I am more marketable when it's time to revise the resume and hit the jobsearch trenches again. So I'll occasionally take some problem home and research it after the family has gone to bed, as much for my own personal/professional development as for the sake of my job.

    And gods, don't get me started on the sales "team"... ;)

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