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- Posted on
- on looking for work
January 22, 2009, 1:29 pm
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subject, as many of you probably do.
This is prompted by TM's statement in a recent thread that he needed
employment. I found his resume online, and it looked like a good,
solid resume to me. He appears to have a history of working for
substantial people doing responsible stuff ... and he is searching for
a job. Obviously, there can be many reasons for this, and I'm not in a
position to speculate, but I've been thinking about this for the last
couple of days, and I have some basic questions.
As for myself, I have a decent job and while I'm always looking, it's
only because I'm looking for a better opportunity, not because I need
work. I'm just wondering in general.
(1) How is it that a person with good skills has trouble finding work?
(2) Why do employers often seem to pass over people with good skills?
(3) What about self-employment or contract work for skilled
(4) How does one position himself to minimize the necessity of looking
My take on this, from very limited exposure to the problem, is not
lack of work in general, but a disconnect between the consumers of
skilled labor and the producers of skilled labor. I've seen more often
than not (in the situations that I know personally) that the hirer,
which mostly is not the person who needs to hire, looks at the wrong
things, for example, a requisition that specifies C# may hire a person
with limited C# skill and pass over a person with extensive OO skills
in a number of other languages. Or a requisition that specifies MySQL
and PHP may hire a person with very limited experience in this area
while passing over a person with good Oracle and MSSQL experience
coupled with JSP and ASP.
I know this is OT and not specifically related to Perl, so please
excuse this if you think this is posted to the wrong group.
Re: on looking for work
cc> (1) How is it that a person with good skills has trouble finding
It's like a great big dance. You have good companies to work for, and
bad companies to work for. Over time, the good companies accumulate all
the good employees they need. The bad companies hire people and lose
the good people, increasing their badness.
Eventually a person with good skills determines that he will only work
for good companies, and finds himself in a position where he is waiting
for a good company to have an opening.
cc> (2) Why do employers often seem to pass over people with
cc> good skills?
Because the employer wants objectively demonstrated skills. Many
programmers can't show a portfolio or code samples, and it's very
difficult for soft-skilled HR types to tell the difference between a
competent programmer and a competent scam artist. When in doubt, the
employer errs on the side of caution.
Because the employer wants a personality type that fits with the manager
of the open position. A brilliant programmer who's abrasive won't get
hired to work in a group where the manager is promoting a more collegial
Because the employer may also want other skills: really good software
engineers often get paid more because they can explain the problem in
English and then deliver a solution to meet a deadline rather than
because they understand all the ramifications of closures.
cc> (3) What about self-employment or contract work for skilled
Self-employment requires a different skillset. If you have marketing
and accounting skills, and are very good at networking, you might have a
shot at it.
cc> (4) How does one position himself to minimize the necessity of
cc> looking for work?
Win the lottery or own the company.
Re: on looking for work
Two brief war stories:
I interviewed for a sys admin position. During the course of the
interview, I told the interviewer (HR type) that I cut my sys admin
teeth on BSD. She had never heard of BSD, and when I told my bad BSD
joke ('Do you think it's a coincidence that BSD and LSD came from the
same place?') she thought I was making fun at her, which in fact I
I interviewed for a Java position with an IT manager (EE background)
and went to considerable effort detailing a number of classes I had
developed for an application that I had written. When I finished, he
looked at me and asked me when I had taken the classes. This isn't a
joke, it really happened.
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