Boy, what a roller coaster! Shortly after opening a position for a Senior Devops engineer, we had a funding “event” and now the opening’s gone. What’s worse, I had to lay off one of my developers, right before before the end-of-year holidays. It was stressful for all involved.
We’re doing some interesting things with name relationships at work, and these present fun development challenges. I’m trying to spend as much time as possible in Emacs, because the less-fun work issues always occur when I’m not coding.
I upgraded our codebase to version 3 of Celery, just to get us off version 2. I’m still hankering to replace Celery, but it must have known it was living on borrowed time because it’s been behaving lately, so I’ve decided to fry some bigger fish. But the moment Celery starts acting up again…
I just turned 55. How the hell did that happen?!?
Yesterday’s “Text Lacks Empathy” talk got me thinking about the times when I’ve put others on the spot.
Sometimes empathy is overrated. Sometimes it’s a waste of time, and sometimes it’s wrong. There’s a time and place to pin someone’s ears back against their head and clean their clock. It can be very productive to employ linguistic judo. And sometimes very cathartic.
In 2006, I had a billing problem with Countryside Pet Supply. They weren’t answering my e-mails, so I escalated the issue by sending a message to multiple countrysidepet.com addresses. A company employee did a reply+all to my mail. He asked another employee to deal with this, and referred to me as a “west coast jerk.” He didn’t realize he had done a reply+all. He thought he was communicating only within his company.
I’ve seen some software developer job descriptions require applications to submit an “online portfolio.”. I.e., don’t bother applying unless you maintain a GitHub or Bitbucket project that demonstrates your coding skills.
This has been common for some time for front-end developers. For them, it means showcasing sites or applications they’ve designed in past jobs. That’s fine. But this new trend asks for software developers to maintain a FOSS project as a way of demonstrating their coding skills and enthusiasm. This is stupid beyond belief.
It used to be sufficient to do great things at work, be a great team player, and work really hard. This is not enough for some companies, who expect you to also work on non-trivial coding projects in your personal time.
I’m not a “5:01 Developer,” but I’m also not one-dimensional. I get into work and punch on the afterburners and don’t stop until I leave. Good grief, it should be OK to go home and do something else. If you want to create and lead a FOSS project in your spare time, that’s super! But to make it an application requirement is 12 miles north of Insane, Alaska.
“5 sure signs that a good startup is going bad” came up in my Zite magazine. It’s a pretty good read, well worth jaunting over there to read it. (Go ahead, I’ll wait until you return.) It’s written for entrepreneurs, and it got me thinking about my list of start-up warning signs for employees.
Sometimes you need to keep your powder dry when you work in a start-up.
My friend Kirk has run his dev team in a mostly Agile system. Code sprints, agreeing on tickets for the sprint, declaring victory at the end of the sprint, etc.
But now Kirk’s boss says:
I need you to commit to achieve certain goals by various dates over the next year. Once you agree to them, you need to commit to delivering them on time.
How is this situation silly? Let me count the ways…
A friend, whom I’ll call “Kirk,” works in a startup. A really good developer, whom I’ll call “Amy,” reports to him.
Kirk lobbied his boss for a big raise for Amy. He thought about this the right way:
I’ve researched the current market rates for developers of Amy’s level and abilities. She’s very good, she’s worked hard for us, and I expect great things from her this year. The plan calls for raising her salary to $X, But I suggest we raise her salary to $(X + n) because that’s the going salary for someone like her in this area.
Kirk’s boss thought about it the wrong way:
A raise to $(X + n/2) would be better. It’ll be a large increase over her current salary.
You’ve got a trip scheduled, say a vacation or technical conference, and you’re looking forward to it.
If the company asks you to cancel it because now’s not a good time to be out of the office, should you?
Is there ever a good time to be out of the office?
When do you bend, vs. drawing a line in the dirt and saying you won’t cross it?
I’m just asking the question.
Personal and professional integrity matter. They’re the most important gifts you can give yourself.
I’m reminded of this by an article I read today about a firm. I know a lot about this particular company. The article was, essentially, a marketing puff-piece, the kind of thing you read in a rag like the Puget Sound Business Journal. The news is always positive, everything’s great, and the future is so bright they have to wear shades. (Companies that go ventral fin up from poor strategy, execution, business models, marketing strategy, malfeasance, or outright stupidity never get written up.)
I expect spin from such articles. It’s OK. There’s a time and place for everything, including positioning a corporate brand or reputation, and spreading news about business opportunities.
But there’s a line you don’t cross. You don’t claim something that is not true. Period. Once you’ve done that, your credibility evaporates. Losing credibility is like losing privacy — once it happens, it’s awfully hard to restore. I have a long memory for negative-credibility moves, as do many (most?) others.
I counted three statements in this article that I know are false. A couple of others were borderline. I also know the company spokespeople interviewed in the article know they were false.
Such behavior is pathetic. Yeah, this is a hot button of mine.
Principles only mean something when you stick to them when it’s inconvenient.
- Laine Hanson, “The Contender”
Here’s a rule: Never lie. Never say something that’s not true. If you’d rather not talk about it, say that and move on.
We still haven’t upgraded our iPhone 3GS to a 4S. We’re now less then two months until the end of that phone’s contract, so I’ll take another run at them this week.
This week, I suddenly got a hankering to dive into GNU Emacs customization. Every 10 years I go berserk with it, like a recurring fever. ::cracks knuckles::
The WIPO patent work in my job hit a speed bump. It was of the, “walk into a dead-end, turn around and back up,” variety. There were some challenges with Kind Codes, but now I’m past them, a little older and wiser for the experience. This next week will see me fold it into the trunk, try the code in a staging system, and perhaps start inventing new name extraction heuristics. Neato.
We have three cats. Two of them are pushing 19 years of age, and one of those, Max, is on the way out. He’s losing nearly 4 oz each week. There’s no specific illness…his intestines have just shut down and he’s not absorbing nutrition anymore.