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Re: (OT) On starting a new job

by dragonchild (Archbishop)
on Dec 01, 2004 at 18:46 UTC ( #411532=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to (OT) On starting a new job

For all those younger programmers - all you have to do is remember one thing:

No-one cares how good at programming you are.

Once you learn that, then you can start to realize how to excel in the corporate world.

Being right, does not endow the right to be rude; politeness costs nothing.
Being unknowing, is not the same as being stupid.
Expressing a contrary opinion, whether to the individual or the group, is more often a sign of deeper thought than of cantankerous belligerence.
Do not mistake your goals as the only goals; your opinion as the only opinion; your confidence as correctness. Saying you know better is not the same as explaining you know better.

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Re^2: (OT) On starting a new job
by stvn (Monsignor) on Dec 01, 2004 at 20:56 UTC

    In many places I have worked, one's programming skill was measured (by non-programmers) simply by how quickly and how often you say "no". Their thought process went something like this:

    You clearly are not a good programmer because if you were, you could do what I am asking you to do.

    And no, it did not matter if what they were asking you to defy the Laws of Math/Nature/Physics/etc.

    Over time though I found the antidote to stupidity such as this is to say "yes", then explain to them (in great depth) the many ridiculous steps you would have to take to accomplish it. And then if they are a paying client, tell them how much it will cost them. If delivered calmly and clearly without sarcasm or bitterness (always best to keep those things to yourself) this would usually result in you looking good, and not having to accomplish said ridiculous request.

    Of course it does backfire sometimes, but then you just look at it as a challange ;-)

Re^2: (OT) On starting a new job
by cLive ;-) (Prior) on Dec 02, 2004 at 01:52 UTC
    Are you sure you shouldn't be looking for another job, dragonchild? Taking on board your comment and Anonymonks corollary...

    Maybe I was lucky - my current employer was my first US one, and first "real" one ever (before that I set up a web design business and then wrote some e-commerce software). Consequently, I came to my current job with no ideas on the etiquette of US companies. It had both good and bad consequences. To some, I was an irritation, to others, I was an honest opinion. Fortunately, my opinions mattered. And my approach seems to have paid off. Whenever I see a problem that I think needs fixing, I start planning a solution, and I am encouraged to do so!. A year ago, I decided our CRM solution was utter crap. And Windows only - not much good for escalating issues to sysadmins or development :) I'm currently writing our own from scratch and having great fun. I also had some good ideas about helping some people survive a slashdotting (well, I half saved the last one, but when his book comes out we can (hopefully) test my theory :), and will ask someone else to code it up when I've finalized the specs.

    Wow. Maybe we just have a good culture that encourages this? I don't know - not having worked for any other US employers.

    Admittedly, we're not a huge corporate, but we all work to keep the culture healthy. Politics is discouraged, and often people do work outside of their job description because they see it needs doing.

    Basically, I would disagree with your statement, unless it's amended to, "No-one wants you to tell them how good at programming you are."

    I'm excited about the work we're going to be doing this year, and am encouraging other team members to take over responsibility for existing projects and create new ones themselves. I honestly believe that the whole dev team have fun and feel that their opinions and skills count.

    Just my little rant - no conclusions really :)

    Am I just lucky. Is a healthy work environment really that rare?

    cLive ;-)

Re^2: (OT) On starting a new job
by Anonymous Monk on Dec 01, 2004 at 19:02 UTC
    Corollary to "No-one cares how good at programming you are." is "no one cares if you have good ideas".

    Dilbert said recently that stress is caused by thinking people care about you. Very true. No one does unless you've made actual friends. It's all about advancement and your ideas are usually a threat or make someone else have to fix their stuff. Ugh, I hate it.

      "no one cares if you have good ideas"

      It's not that I don't care if you have good ideas. No! Really! I do want to hear them. ... Just not right now. Not when you are supposed to be fixing a defect. No, really! Fix the defects you have assigned, then we can discuss your ideas to make the applications more "efficient".

      Make the application work before you try to optimize it!

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