July 5th, 2003


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jimbojones
01:19 am - I am sad, and I am angry.
Last month, Alan Eldridge, one of the core committers of FreeBSD and KDE, took his own life. He had been unable to get a job in nearly a year, which inevitably led to monetary difficulties, which certainly had to have contributed to the mental state necessary to wind up taking your own life.

I am sad that a brilliant programmer and a valued member of the FreeBSD core committee is gone.

I am angry, incredibly fucking angry, that our industry has gotten so ridiculously bogged down with idiotic HR departments and clueless directors that A CORE FREEBSD COMMITTER could not get a job for nearly a year, while everywhere, total fucking wastes of skin with the right combination of meaningless certifications and meaningless degrees and meaningless job titles on their resume sail parasitically right on along, "building a career" that has more to do with possessing the right collection of pieces of paper than it does with amassing the actual skills to actually do useful things.

I want to go on a rampage like something out of Fight Club, but I don't want to take out the credit bureaus - I want to throw a grenade* in every HR department out there. I want to fucking choke* every worthless-ass "manager" and "director" and "department VP" out there that has no idea what the hell his people actually do, or even any real desire to see the work itself get done beyond whatever makes his "managing record" seem to shine.

I want to see the world go back to the days where people got hired for ability - and even for potential ability. When jobs not only had "training periods" lasting a few weeks beyond the hire date, but even had paid training. When somebody with ten years of experience but no goddamn clue could, and often did, get passed over in a job lineup by a manager with a keen eye who spotted a kid that didn't know much yet, but had the talent and the drive to become someone who did.

I want to know why, and how, we who actually do things have let the situation slide to the point that not only do the do-nothings and know-nothings extract just as much from the system as we do, but are actually choking us out of it. And I want to make it better again.

* note to worthless asshats in Department of Homeland Security: I do not actually plan on killing anyone or destroying any property. Piss up a rope.

 
Current Mood: quixotic
Current Music: Tupac Shakur - I Wonder If Heaven Got A Ghetto

(8 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:



 
From: zornog
Date: July 4th, 2003 - 10:32 pm
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[User Picture] From: apotheon
Date: July 5th, 2003 - 12:40 am
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Only if we get rid of the Dems first. We need both gone, really.

Read Atlas Shrugged. We need an Ability Strike, I guess. It's about this very subject.


 
[User Picture] From: discogravy
Date: July 5th, 2003 - 08:11 am
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A meritocracy just isn't going to happen with so many average folks to compete against. And of course, thanks to govmint regs (nafta, the whole tech visa fiasco,) you're not just competing with Joe Sixpack, but also Juan Sixpack, Samir Sixpack and pretty soon Jin-Xo Sixpack too. The best bet is (imo, of course,) to do something like what you're doing: become your own boss and then dictate what your time will be spent doing.


 
[User Picture] From: discogravy
Date: July 5th, 2003 - 08:24 am
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oh and speaking of Big BrotherHomeland Security, check out GIA. Quite amusing.


 
[User Picture] From: handofme
Date: July 5th, 2003 - 10:54 am
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Bows head in sorrow


 
[User Picture] From: lauracroft
Date: July 5th, 2003 - 11:55 am
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"I want to see the world go back to the days where people got hired for ability - and even for potential ability."

So, when were those days, Jimbo?


 
[User Picture] From: ravenword
Date: July 5th, 2003 - 02:21 pm
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Apparently as recently as 30 years ago, at least if you're Edward Fredkin.

"In addition to being a self-made millionaire, Fredkin is a self-made intellectual. Twenty years ago, at the age of thirty-four, without so much as a bachelor's degree to his name, he became a full professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Though hired to teach computer science, and then selected to guide MIT's now eminent computer-science laboratory through some of its formative years, he soon branched out into more-offbeat things." (source: http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/88apr/wright.htm)

Okay, so he's a super genius; perhaps exceptions are made in those cases. I just like the story of a guy who didn't finish high school or college going on to direct LCS and teach at MIT, BU, and CMU. :)


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: July 5th, 2003 - 03:24 pm
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Even as recently as 15 years ago, the job marketplace was VERY freaking different than it is now. There were a LOT of people hired for ability rather than certification, and the industry perception of them was a hell of a lot different.

HR departments have gotten INSANELY larger and more powerful in the last 15 years or so, as has the omnipresence of the "professional manager" - someone whose entire focus in life from the get go was "management", rather than managing a department due first to proven ability in the work of the department itself, then promotion to management of that department or a similar one.


 
[User Picture] From: discogravy
Date: July 5th, 2003 - 03:35 pm
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As an aside to this, I have taken an informal poll amongst my coworkers -- and out of the roughly 10 people I have asked (in a dept of say 30 people,) not a single one wasn't hired because they knew someone. They directly contacted the person within the dept and totally side-stepped HR. I don't konw of a single person in my department that was hired w/ HR's help/intervention. As an aside to the aside, I was recently turned down for a promotion because HR looked at my resume and said "not enough ejumakatshunal degrees" even though everyone directly involved in the actual job was all for giving me a shot at it. HR depts within large corporate entities have become huge entities themselves; they are an actual impediment to getting work done. It reminds me of nothing so much as the Golgafrinchans in Hitch-hiker's Guide To The Galaxy.


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