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Why do monks put up with it?

by Ovid (Cardinal)
on Sep 07, 2000 at 21:49 UTC ( #31441=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

This is a commentary that resulted from this response to one of my posts. I am not trying to say that PsycoSpunk was guilty of the attitude that I am about to describe below. Instead, /s?he/ raised an issue that I've noticed has arisen several times before.

PsychoSpunk asked why I used ODBC and not FreeTDS. I have to confess that I have never heard of FreeTDS, but I use ODBC because that is a requirement at my company. I am modifying a rather large Web site for a company that's been around for quite a while and the modules that I am using (which use ODBC) are being reused by quite a number of different sites that they have created (that's why they're modules, huh?), and switching from ODBC to another technology is simply not feasible on the tight time frame that I am under.

Unfortunately, that's a real-world problem that many Monks appear to have missed. PsychoSpunk, I realize that you were just asking a question and weren't trying to start anything, but I see a lot of monks make statements like "Yeah, if I had to work with that, I'd just quit."

Some people have the luxury of jumping ship whenever they want whenever they don't get to work with the technology of their choice, others are in a position to choose the technology they want to work with. There are some, like myself, who find themselves in a job (new, in my case), where they are very happy with the working environment (everyone gets there own duck here. What more could I want?) but realize that not everything is what they want. Surprise, surprise! The world doesn't revolve around me.

I have another friend who's an NT admin who works at a job that he hates. However, the job pays well and they are willing to accomodate a nightmarish visitation schedule for his children that the courts imposed on him and his ex-wife. Unless he finds another job that's willing to jump through some pretty convoluted hoops, he's not going anywhere.

Monks who say "I would just quit" if they couldn't install the module they want, can't use the language they want, or are forced to work on an NT box are perfectly justified in quitting. However, I can hardly believe the scathing attitude they take towards others who are willing to (gasp!) compromise.

If you are one of the monks who has made "I would quit" comments to others here, why do you do it? Are you so good that you can get a job anywhere at the drop of the hat? Do you have no family that is dependant upon your income? DO you value job perfection so highly that you refuse to settle for anything less? Do you refuse to believe that others have different answers/values?

I know the above questions sound rather snide, but I genuinely want to hear what other monks have to say on this subject.


Ovid realizes that many of his posts sound like preaching. Hmm...

Update: Just so there is no misunderstanding, PsychoSpunk did not intend for his question to come across as the "why aren't you doing it my way" type. I had no intention of this coming across as anything negative against /h(?:im|er)/. PsychoSpunk just jogged my memory. That's all.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
RE: Why do monks put up with it?
by chromatic (Archbishop) on Sep 07, 2000 at 22:03 UTC
    I'm no longer the idealist I was in college (a few years ago), but I'm also not so much interested in a big paycheck anymore. What's more important is my peace of mind and my free time. If there are lots of hoops put in my way, keeping me from doing a good job, I get frustrated and that really sours things.

    Being told, for example, that I couldn't install the DBI module because it's untrusted code and "the customer wouldn't allow it" would mean that an hour's worth of work (writing to the DBI interface) would ballon into a week's worth of reinventing a perfectly good wheel. People don't pay me to push buttons like a monkey, they pay me to make decisions on my own and come up with something that works on time.

    If I had to fight just to get the bare essentials necessary to do my job (a free Unix, a handful of Xterms, a web browser, and vim), I wouldn't stick around very long. I'd quadruple my prices, do as much work from home as possible, and show up for about ten minutes to install the software. That's it.

    Granted, I don't have a family to support, and I don't live an extravagant lifestyle. If I had babies to feed, I'd be willing to put up with more. But life is too short to regret developing on NT and having to roll my own They can find some other monkey for that. I'll discuss things and compromise when necessary, but put someone behind me to look over my shoulder and make demands every ten seconds, and he'll find himself doing my job in short order.

    Update:Just to clarify a few things (I certainly don't want to mislead anyone, and I don't want to put forth a rebellious attitude):

    • I'm not a full-time employee for a single business. I have the freedom to pick and choose what jobs I do anyway. (That's good in some ways, tough in others.)
    • I have worked places that required me to toe certain lines. Sometimes they made sense, sometimes they didn't.
    • I worked hard in a job I hated long enough to get some experience and to pay off my student loans.
    • I'm much more lenient on my volunteer work -- I may not enjoy trying to edit stuff on NT (oh, for a decent shell!) but I've done it recently, for free. There's a big difference between someone offering to pay me money to do what I do and then telling me not to do it, and someone saying "We'd like your help, but we can't pay you." I'm just funny that way.
    • I've never worked on anything that requires extreme levels of security and auditing. That's a different world altogether.
    • I wasn't talking about working as a *maintainer* on an existing project -- options are greatly reduced there, as they should be.
    Caveats in mind, I would recommend that if you're feeling dissatisfied with your job, with the politics, and with management decisions that are at cross purposes to good programming and good technical decisions, take some time (out of your job) to write up a proposal to make the changes you deem necessary. Put it in language your boss can understand -- "This code from the CPAN is written by professional programmers, has been tested by thousands of people already, and would take me a week solid to duplicate half the functionality." Work within the system before running from job to job, looking for the perfect fit. (You won't find one.)

    On the other hand, if your boss makes a habit of not listening to you even when you do that, you'd be in a job I wouldn't keep for long.

      I'm glad you have that option. Not all of us do. I'm newly out of college, newly hired at a local company in a tech-poor area of the US. While I have free reign to use Perl internally (on an NT box), I know that trying to fight to be able to use Perl in the products we ship is a battle that I won't win, due to lack of political clout.

      I can't afford to walk out of this job, not without the experience it'll give me, not without a clear idea of my prospects for the future. I would love to find a local, free-software based Unix or Linux shop that would hire me to hack perl, C, etc. There just aren't any around, and I feel lucky with what I have. As it is, it's a good company to work for.

      My company produces software that is used for mission critical applications involving a significant amount of legally-required confidentiality and attention to privacy. It is perfectly reasonable for the customer to say "we can't trust that code" -- and reasonable for us to say "we won't certify your installation because of x, y, z", when warranted. Some of us have to work in such an environment, and live with the requirements of others who are, quite frankly, just trying to look out for their concerns as much as I am looking out for mine. Walking away because the customer doesn't trust a particular piece of technology you want to use in their mission critical app is a bit extreme. I'm glad you have that option.

        BlaisePascal wrote: I'm glad you have that option. Not all of us do. I'm newly out of college, newly hired at a local company in a tech-poor area of the US. While I have free reign to use Perl internally (on an NT box), I know that trying to fight to be able to use Perl in the products we ship is a battle that I won't win, due to lack of political clout.

        If you never stand up for yourself, and don't even try to use some of your own clout to have things done your way, you'll never have any political clout, and you never will have things done your way.

        `Just Quit' is a simplistic answer, but what it means is `that's an unrealistic imposition imposed by your employer. You'd be better served if you fought it rather than accepting it.'

        (I'm also just out of college; I've been working at a nice place for the last two years or so. Right now my work is fabulous---I enjoy myself, I do things I like, if something I don't like comes along (HTML editing or TCL work, for example) I suck it up and remind myself to milk it a little when I'm vying for a cooler project next time.

        The moment I'm required to write VB apps, or deal with C sharp or other deficient products, or sign over my code to my company or do any of a number of limits I set in my time here, I'll be giving my notice.

        Yes, you're new, you're young, you need experience. But you're also young and thus able to work long hours and probably don't have a lot of commitments. Use this time to find out what sort of work you want to do and make sure you end up doing it. If you fail to do that now and end up doing something you hate for the next twenty years you'll more than likely regret it.

(jcwren) RE: Why do monks put up with it?
by jcwren (Prior) on Sep 07, 2000 at 22:43 UTC
    This is an interesting problem that is bounded by a largish set of variables.

    I'm probably being a fool dating myself, but I've been writing software for over 20 years. I've never done anything else, except some hardware design. Never worked at the local grocery store, never delivered papers, never slung burgers. I got interested in computers when I was in grade school, been lucky enough to stay in the field ever since.

    In that 20+ years, I've worked for a handful of companies, ranging from writing medical software where the office was someones basement, to working in some of the most modern labs at IBM. When I started my first job, and was making about 25K a year, I was pretty happy. I was young, and I put up with some less than ideal situations because the newness of getting paid 'big bucks' was addictive. Since then, as I've moved along, I've increased my salary. I've also increased my expectations of what a company should (and shouldn't) do for me.

    I won't work for a company that expects 50 hour weeks (at least, full-time. If you can bill 50 hours a week, that's a little different). As I get older, I value my free time more and more. It was fine to work a lot when I was young, and didn't appreciate that the number of days or hours you get to spend with your wife and/or dogs are ultimately limited (kids, if you're into that sort of thing). Consider this fact: When you negotiate a position with a company, and they offer to pay you $100K a year (it's a round figure). Now, a work year is considered to be 2000 working hours, and 2080 paid hours (2 weeks vacation). That means you're making $50 an hour. OK money, and you usually get benefits, etc. Now, work 50 hours a week. You just cut your salary by 20%! (remember, that's only 2 extra hours a day...)

    Now, there are times when you can and should work some overtime. Sometimes the product needs it, sometimes the fate of the company is tied to your actions, sometimes it's your own damn fault. It's gonna happen, and you should accept that. However, accepting a 20% across the board pay cut by working 50 hours a week is not acceptable.

    Sometimes conditions aren't always acceptable. OSHA does impose certain requirements, but most companies aren't those kind of sweatshops or high risk work areas (avoid working on oil rigs. I'm told it's fun, but it's dangerous as hell, esp if you work around the drill head). But there are other conditions that make working somewhere less than fun. For some, it's not using the O/S of choice. For others, it can be the drive to work (takes me typically 1 hour, one way, and it's only 23 miles). You have to balance what you're willing to accept as work conditions for the money you make. One of the things I DO NOT TOLERATE is not being paid on time. I live paycheck to paycheck. If a company is having hard times, and it's looking bleak, don't ride the ship to the bottom. Jump early, while you can still see the shore. (I will admit that going down with the company is a great time to pick up deals on equipment you might have an eye on...) Carefully evaluate the odds of the company surviving, and what ties you have to it (100,000 shares at $20 a share may be worth saving).

    For the most part, just saying "I'll quit if I have to use NT" is a bit of arrogance on most peoples part. If you're that tied to the specific tools you think you need to make something work, it's my belief that you're not as good as you think. A *real* programmer sees that as a challange. Make something work, in spite of the tools you have. Sure, it's better to have the toolkit you like, but are you gonna walk on a $100K+ job, just because you have to touch an NT machine now and again? Maybe actually have to type 'dir' at a DOS prompt? No, that's just stupid.

    The flip side of that is to maintain the attitude that you are an employable individual, with a desired skill set. The reality (for me) is that if this company goes under, inside of two weeks I can be working somewhere that can keep food on the table, bits in the IDSL pipe, and electrons to the CPU. It may not be a dream job, but the majority of us *are* employable. Always remember that no job *really* owns you. In spite of financial hardships, bad times, whatever, you CAN walk away from a job that's intolerable. Too many work hours, unreasonable expectations, sexual harrassment (oh, how I've longed for that at work!), whatever.

    Summary? (Yea, I've rambled, I know that). Quitting because you don't get your favorite toys is probably unreasonable. Walking because of intolerable work conditions is another. And you can always find another job. Even if you have to borrow money to get through the bad times. It sucks, sure, but it's *your* life. Live it for yourself, and the people you care for, not some corporate entity that will forget your name 10 minutes after you're out the door.

    What are my qualifactions to say this? Most of the companies I've worked for have been small companies (this means full-time or contracting). I've had to leave two companies because they couldn't pay me. I've left 2 companies because the drive time was occupying more than 3 hours a day (I used to drive from Atlanta to Raleigh, and back, once a week. 5-6 hour drive each way. Great company, but it was wreaking havoc on the home life). I've had 3 companies go out of business under me (no, it wasn't my fault!). And a 4 times I've left to pursue larger paychecks.

    I've worked on lots of projects. Some were fun as anything. Working on the first tablet computers that went in J.B.Hunt trucks (you know those little Qualcomm dishes you see on top? J.B. Hunt started that trend). I've also worked on projects that I thought would *never* end. I've also never walked out in the middle of a project simple because I found the project not to my liking (personal pride). I have left in the middle of projects with ample notice and documentation for it to continue without me. Working on a few good projects can also temper the bad times. Not every project is gonna be a glamour project. Some are just going to be a living hell. Just be ready for them.

    And never say quit... (always say 'to pursue other interests' It sounds better on a resume!)


    e-mail jcwren
RE (tilly) 1: Why do monks put up with it?
by tilly (Archbishop) on Sep 07, 2000 at 22:50 UTC
    I have made such comments and supported others who have made such comments.

    Here is why.

    While I know that there are circumstances that can make it hard to impossible to get another job, I also know what it is like to feel trapped in a job you hate. Frequently people in that position (particularly capable ones) are not actually trapped, it just feels that way.

    The times that I make that comment (and I don't think I do it very often) tend to follow a specific pattern. The pattern is one where you have to live with and fight bad technical directions from above without having input. Why do I make it then? Because in my experience and in the experience of friends that is very stressful. In fact so much so that Scott Adams makes a fortune lampooning it in Dilbert.

    Now is that advice right for everyone? No. So I say what I would do, leave it up to you to make your choices. My situation is not everyone else's. I am married, I have some obligations. OTOH I also have good credit, a small cushion and I believe myself to be very employable. YMMV. It also depends what you want out of life.

    But that advice really is right for a lot of people who feel scared to change. I know that because I have friends who have passed that breaking point and done something about it, with very good results. So if you are really unhappy with your job, are capable, and specific things are being pointed out that ring true to you, that is a sign. Stop and think about whether looking for another job might be a good idea.

    But for Pete's sake. Just because another monk says, "I would quit!" does not mean that you should!!! (And does not mean that that monk would in your position either.)

(jeffa) RE: Why do monks put up with it?
by jeffa (Bishop) on Sep 07, 2000 at 22:38 UTC
    I concur - for the most part, I have managed to avoid the 'real world' for 12 years after I graduated high school. But now I can stay in college no more (well, maybe some day I will get a masters and teach). I am guessing that most people who say 'Just Quit' aren't really in the real world - but there are exceptions.

    I always wondered why my father came home every night completely exhausted. Working for the man. Those that can avoid it are lucky, those that can't must endure endless bad decisions (with little or no justification) from their bosses.

    My question to the lucky ones is 'How do you manage to avoid working for these people?'

    My first job was for a sweat shop that said they were a web pub house - I was hired to program CGI, when they MADE me do some data entry - I quit, gave 'em a one week notice and went my way. BUT, I was only able to do so because I was still living with my parents - I didn't have any real bills.

    Now that I am on my own, I can't just quit my job. The most I can do is express my disconcern, and spend what little free time I have looking for another job. A lot easier than it sounds, believe me.

    So do me a favor, please stop saying 'just quit' - believe me, we would if we could. Instead, say something like - 'Hey, come work for me - we'll double your salary and give you 100,000 stock options!!!' But then again, N stock options * 0 = 0. ;)


RE: Why do monks put up with it?
by swiftone (Curate) on Sep 07, 2000 at 22:02 UTC
    This may be little more than a glorified "me, too", but here it is:

    I haven't made comments like that, but I've certainly seen a lot of them. They have often annoyed me...not all of us have merlyn's expertise, and we don't all live in a major job center.

    Some comments make a lot of sense. jcwren recently said something about whacking someone with a large stick that didn't bother me. In this case it was a statement about how the person in question was following very bad practices (Worse than use NT!)

    Monks that make statements like: "You should try to convince them otherwise because of (blah)" are better than just "You should quit". "quit" statements are little more than "Sucks to be you".

    Monks that say "You should change that as soon as possible, but in the _meantime_, here's an answer: (blah) don't bother me at all.

RE: Why do monks put up with it?
by Fastolfe (Vicar) on Sep 07, 2000 at 23:42 UTC
    I think a lot of it has to do with how flexible a person feels he wants to be in a certain job. It has to do with arrogance a bit too. I would never walk into a job and demand that things be done my way or I'd walk. I would expect to adapt to the requirements of the position and the needs of the projects. If I felt an established piece of technology could be done better a different way, I might mention it, but face it: the company's already spent X dollars building the technology that way in the first place, and it works. They're not going to be receptive to rebuilding it just because I have an itch to see it work differently, even if the new way might be better. It's not worth it.

    It also has a lot to do with what the developer wants out of a job. If their ideal job is working 100% with the tools they like with free reign to do things how they think things should be done, the only way that's going to happen is if they get into a small company as The Man for that type of work. In large companies with a large amount of existing staffing, he'd better adapt to the way that company does things or find another job. Not every job is desirable to every person.

    When I started at my current position, all I did was Perl stuff. I've had my share of projects, and I learned a lot with each one. In some projects I had carte blanche to design and implement. With others, I came in mid-project or with a very fixed design, so I had to work with what I had and adapt. I had no problem with this. Others might. I recently transferred out of that group and my current position involves no Perl whatsoever, since this is more of a systems/operation group and any maintainence scripts I write would be unmaintainable by the rest of the staff. I'm still learning a lot and I code Perl in my free time. I like what I do and have no problem working under the constraints imposed by the position, by the existing staff, by the organization or by the systems and architecture we support.

    Even if I were in a management position, where I could dictate how things would be built, what technologies we would use, I would certainly not go out there and demand that everything be re-written to my specifications. I might suggest that developers move towards certain technologies and standards for future projects, but there are all kinds of additional things to consider here, and they all boil down to one: money. It is not cost-effective to re-build all of our applications just because I think module A is better than module B (even though it may be, perhaps it wasn't when this stuff was built).

    If you find yourself with a job where all of your desires can be met as far as the development environment goes, consider yourself lucky, and if you really are this rigid, for God's sake don't quit!


RE: Why do monks put up with it?
by xjar (Pilgrim) on Sep 09, 2000 at 00:35 UTC
    Just throwing in my own experience, but...

    I used to work for a small web development company of around 15 people. Starting there was fun, I was able to work with Perl, PHP, and some other things that I really enjoyed, including almost 100% of my work being done on a Unix platform of some kind. However, as time wore on, things started building up that I just could not live with. For one, my boss had originally described to me his "vision" of a network setup that I thought would be really great to implement. Unfortunately, he ended up changing his mind, and went pretty much from pro-Unix to pro-NT (something I am not). The plan then became to move as much away from the Sun servers we had to NT servers with Exchange for our customers. We'd be going from PHP and Perl to ASP. That coupled with the fact that a client thought me to be incompetent due to mistakes that my boss made BEFORE I even started working there pretty much made up my mind.

    I now see where people who say "Just quit" are coming from, but I believe that when they say that, there is more to it, like "Start looking for another job now" or "Make job satisfaction how you can". After all that, I found another job making more than twice what I was making before, and I am definitely doing more that I enjoy here. It was hard to take the job though because it involved moving away from a LOT, but it's a year contract, and I'm young so that year's experience will be worth a heck of a lot in the long run.

    Bottom line I guess is if you are unhappy then don't just sit there... brush off your resume and go looking. You don't have to quit without any opportunities in front of you, just don't whine about how bad it is, and then do nothing about it. :-)

      Oh, great... I go of to work for a week and an interesting discussion pops up. I'm respoding to post that is actually the thing to do. It is never "just quit". My first week in a non-Perl, non-Linux enviroment is actually enjoyable for me. I would care less if they ever migrate to it.

      Why because I get an interesting job on Visual C++ and NT platform. If ever I get boored with the desicions I will go out and look for another job. But not just quit... why? I actually figure that I have to give my employer a chance because they gave me a chance out of University (polytech, college... whatever)...

      The experienced people (like jcwren and tilly) here have points that say... The work enviroment is more important than the OS-enviroment. This is my ++ to all post that say that!


RE: Why do monks put up with it?
by KM (Priest) on Sep 08, 2000 at 20:57 UTC
    I've been in various positions and situations over the years where I wanted to just quit. What did I do? I quit. Not over something petty like not using a free Unix, or having a 17" screen instead of a 21" screen. But, when you do have a lot of those sort of things, and other things, which makes going to work a living hell, then I figure ya may as well quit!

    My philosophy is that since you spend the majority of your adult (awake) life working, that you may as well enjoy it. So, if you don't enjoy working at Company A, go try Company B.

    Easier said than done, right? Well, that depends on you. I have yet to leave a job and be unemployed for longer than I want to, and getting paid what I want. Willing to relocate? There are then thousands of opportunities for you. Not willing? There may be less opportunities, but you could surely find something.. if you can't, it is your choice to not move elsewhere.

    I have recently been on a job hunt since I am moving to another state. I used various websites like Monster, HotJobs,, etc... and was constantly flooded with emails and phone calls about jobs (some I was a match for, some I wasn't). I had a few phone interviews, a few in-person interviews, and was offered a job (3 months before the day I would be starting) by the company I start for next month. The moral of this story is that if you want to quit, think of what you want to be doing, the type of company you want to work for, and use the tools available to make that a reality. IMO, there is little reason to work somewhere you are unhappy at. If you choose to leave because you don't want to use ODBC, it may seem like a petty reason but if it makes you miserable, do what you need to so you can be a happy person during the 8+ hours a day you are Working For the (Wo)Man!


RE: Why do monks put up with it?
by PsychoSpunk (Hermit) on Sep 08, 2000 at 20:39 UTC
    Just to clear something up, I have never implied that if you are forced to use something that you don't want to use, that it is imperative that you quit. I was curious if you had tried FreeTDS, not to say that's the best solution. I did try FreeTDS in a similar situation, and I had no luck with it. So I chose to use ODBC.

    I was looking for similarities between my own case and yours. I was not intending to piss you off in any manner. It's been my experience that PerlMonks is a place where I can ask a question to my problem and get an almost immediate response, often involving things I don't know about. I welcome these since sometimes while TMTOWTDI, my WTDI is not as good as what I get in response. But, I also understand that when my boss' WTDI is the only WTDI, I have to just put what I get as responses into my learning experience and throw it aside.

    I'm going to end up agreeing with you, Ovid. A response that says "Why don't you just quit?" or "I would quit" doesn't aid the discussion. If I don't think I can aid in discussion, then I generally won't post. I felt that my post yesterday would either aid you, or me, by the results you possibly might have had with FreeTDS.

    Thanks for broaching the topic. It is important that we keep PM up to an expected level of etiquette. That way, later if I post something similar to what spurred this, it will at least be given the benefit of a doubt that I am not saying "There's Only One Way To Do It." It can actually be read as why did you do X? What were your experiences with Y that led you to choose X instead? And it won't be considered hostile.

    If I had prefaced my statement with the fact that you are among the monks I respect here, I wouldn't have been the straw to break the camel's back (sorry, the pun was inevitable) but we would have missed out on some important commentary.

    I hope that I've fully cleared the air now.


      Actually, you didn't piss me off in the slightest. I think I understood your intent, but my sincerest apologies if this thread came across wrong. I was just using your comments as a springboard for discussion.

      On another note: I'm reading about so many people harping about bad technical decisions companies make. While this is often the case, I have found that many computer people refuse to acknowledge business decisions are at least as important as the technical ones. While we so often whine about management that doesn't understand what we do, management so often whines about computer weenies who can't understand simple concepts such as TCO, variance reporting, or opportunity costs. How are the two sides going to meet?

      I remember one company I worked for was choosing budget software. It came down to two candidates. One software package was very flexible, extensible, and suited our corporate architecture very well.

      The other software package was inflexible, limited in functionality, and had a proprietary database that no one knew anything about. On technical merits, it was unanimously voted down, yet it was the software package that management chose. Despite an uproar amongst the techies, it was the right decision (I was the techie who implemented and supported the software, so I was intimately familiar with what was happening). But why was it the right decision?

      Because we were an insurance company, we had very tight regulations governing what we could and could not do. As a result, when it came to budget variance reporting, we had a deadline that was mandated by law (and it's a hell of a lot tougher than most think). Because we had just consolidated four companies into one and had to choose a new budget package, the one that we chose (despite its poor technical merits) was the ONLY package that we could get up and running on time. Hence, all of the techies thought management was stupid, and management moaned about computer people who refused to acknowledge that business forces often override technical considerations. Guess what, folks? It ain't a perfect world.


        A minor point perhaps, but in response to:
        >"computer weenies who can't understand simple concepts such as TCO, variance reporting, or opportunity costs."
        I've often found that I (as a techie) have a much better understanding of the true TCO on a particular technology than our accountants and/or management. There are costs beyond purchase price and deployment, such as long-term support, ease of integration, training time, etc... that the accounting staff is in no position to judge.
        It's the techies who can often provide the best estimate of the 'total' in TCO. We just have to learn enough of 'their' language to make our point clearly.

        understand simple concepts such as TCO, variance reporting, or opportunity costs

        Don't forget the new cover sheets for the TPS reports!
        </Office Space reference>


RE: Why do monks put up with it?
by d4vis (Chaplain) on Sep 08, 2000 at 04:28 UTC
    Everyone has something that they would leave an otherwise enjoyable/comfortable/paying job for if asked to do. I think the question is not whether you can use a particular module or not, but what reasoning process (if any) is behind that decision. I wouldn't accept arbitrary denial. There should be solid reason for going against my recommendation or judgement in any particular situation, just as I should have a logical argument behind that recommendation in the first place. After all, they hired me to make the technical decisions (I'm pretty sure it wasn't my stunning personality). Generally, if I want to use a tool that nobody else here uses (like, oh....perl for instance), it's for a good reason, and I can argue for it on it's technical merits, but I'm perfectly comfortable in not getting what I want if there's a good counter-argument against it.
    Similarly, I'll often use an inferior tool to get the job done just because that's what my coworkers are most comfortable with. Win95 and AppleScript both come immediately to mind.
RE: Why do monks put up with it?
by elwarren (Curate) on Sep 08, 2000 at 00:18 UTC
    Anybody that says they would just quit doesn't actually do the job. They'll learn when they start working in the real world.
      Looking at the content here I would say that chromatic, jcwren and tilly seem to have some work experience between them. In fact I learned Perl on the job, for the job. I cannot speak for them, but I certainly do not feel poorly paid. And from the sounds of it all three of us have been in jobs that we decided were not worthwhile, and all three of us did indeed leave.

      That doesn't mean we walked in and threw temper tantrums. We got other jobs then told our old job we were leaving. And did.

      Indeed rather than lacking "real world" experience, what we seem to have in common is enough skills and ability to have confidence that we could find another job...

        Actually, I left my last job in somewhat awkward circumstances. The day after they upped my pay, they sat down with me and gave the good old cost cutting speech -- "you do good work blah blah hate to do this blah blah might find something elsewhere blah blah can't tell you when, but soon blah blah".

        That's the kind of speech you get when someone a few layers above your boss looks at what it costs to hire good people, can't understand what a Technology Consultant does, and decides the world will go on without them.

        I liked the place, I liked the people, and I was good at my job. After they decided to get rid of my program, they faced the dilemma of having work that needed to be done without the ability to pay for it. They also couldn't keep me in the same building as the group I worked with, and they weren't allowed to call me anymore, even though I still needed to work with them. They were supposed to call someone else who would call me, and then I would walk to the other building and talk to the person in my group.

        To top it off, they knew they wanted to get rid of me and the other people like me at some point in the future, but they didn't know when. So they decided to run a competition between all of us, based on a very narrow set of criteria. Basically, we'd all be competing to see who would turn off the lights for the last time.

        I live modestly and had accumulated a good cushion up until that point, so I told my boss that instead of moving to a different building when they had me scheduled to do so, I would simplify things and leave altogether. Then I took a trip halfway across the world, came back, read a few books here and there, and that's it.

        Yes, I was lucky in that I had the financial and emotional wherewithal to walk out of that job and get on a plane... but there are enough opportunities for smart people with good skills who are willing to work, that I don't see any reason to put up with the Byzantine policies of that last job.

        Indeed, put a couple of things you know like "Perl" and "HTML" and "Linux" on your resume, and you'll have to fight off headhunters.

        During one job where I was expected to cut/paste or open an app and make trivial edits repeatedly, I took it as an opportunity to learn ksh, sed, awk, and perl (OK, at the time I didn't learn much perl, so I mostly used sed & awk). I did almost all my work nearly instantly with shell scripts, had the rest of the day to learn other things, but when they took ksh off the systems because csh was the standard there, I started looking for other work. Not just because of the ksh/csh thing, but because the work was so boring, and learning sed & awk could only keep me interested for so long.
        Anything below $250,000 a year is poverty level.

        Luckily, the food stamps help me get by...


        e-mail jcwren

        My statement was a general statement based on similar xp in my travels, it was not aimed at anybody.

        In my real world I wear sweat pants to all of my job interviews.

      the "real world" is a pernicious sham.

      don't you believe it, fellow Monks.

      amen brother
RE: Why do monks put up with it?
by elusion (Curate) on Sep 08, 2000 at 05:57 UTC
    "Life is pain, anyone who tells you differently is selling something." -The Dread Pirate Roberts The Princess Bride

    - p u n k k i d

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