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Not hiring coders over age 35 (revisited)

I was giving thought to a debate here from a few weeks back.  It was a discussion over the company that only hires coders under the age of 35.  There was a general uproar here, but I tried to fairly analyze what intentions a firm may have with that type of policy.  I don't condone this practice, and every situation and person is unique, there are always 2 sides to any coin, but I thought I'd try to step in their shoes anyways. 

First, the common rebuttal to this policy was that you can't develop software by hiring people who no experience.  I agree.  Almost everyone juxtaposed the invaluable "senior experienced guru in their 40's and 50's"  to an inept college graduate with little experience.  However, the post said "no one over 35", it did not say "only people with zero experience".  Take note that 25, 30, and 35 year olds can have 5, 10, and FIFTEEN years of valuable work experience, respectively.  That's certainly enough for these "youngsters" to possess all the advantages you people cite that 'older' programmers have (experience, wisdom, thinking outside the box, etc)  You can't generalize, but coders in their early 30's often can be experienced veterans!

There are many factors in determining the value of an IT resource.  For those of you do not understand why a company would prefer not to hire people over the age of 35, you may want to compare the lifestyle constraints (of lack thereof) of the two age groups.  You can't generalize, but someone under 35 may be more likely to be able to work until midnight for months on end, or spend all of his free time boning up his skills.  Without the burdens of a family, he can be more focused.  (And yes, there are ALWAYS exceptions, so refrain from posting the example of someone who is 35 who doesn't work hard, or someone who is 55 and is always in the office.)

One of you veterans cited that he will simply chooses never to work more than 9-5.  At my job, no one on my team is over 35, except the manager.  We all work until 7,8,9,10pm.  We work on weekends when there is a deadline a few months away.  Very few of us are married, and none of us have kids.  We eat dinner at our desks, and never have a little league game to attend, or an aging parent to care for.  Someone with kids and a family would not simply fit into our group.  Anyone who doesn't want to put in the hours can easily be replaced overnight w/o someone who has no problem working 70 hours a week. 

The guy who cited his carpal tunnel, and gave tips on how he'd do it over (refuse to do this,,,refuse to do that,,,demand this or that)  hammered home my point.  He even says he'd refuse to work overtime!!!  This is another example of why I can understand that a firm may be better off, in  some cases, hiring people no older than early 30's (still with 15 years experience)  An older worker who "knows his rights" can only lead to trouble, as that attitude will infect younger members of the team as well. 

I am not conding this practice, but I can see where they may be coming from.  That's all.  For the record, I believe a team is most effective when it has coders of all age ranges.  Recent graduates, mid levels with 5-10 years, and people with 15+ years.  Each age group has its own strengths and weaknesses that round out the team's strengths.

Bella
Sunday, March 24, 2002

A couple a thoughts that went through my head reading your post:

- Poor you.
- There's more in life than programming.
- Getting more work done by making longer hours is a myth.
- Are you gonna fire yourself when you reach 35?

Jan Derk
Sunday, March 24, 2002

More thoughts to add to Jan's:

* Few companies can successfully pull of extended overtime, and only if everyone believes they're creating something great
* Needing everyone in the office for so much time probably means the communications overhead is too great, including meetings
* If people really want self-destructive policies, fine.  At some point, let these ageist, mean-spirited companies burn employees out and fail.  The physicists on the Manhattan Project kept normal hours.

Greg
Sunday, March 24, 2002

There is a fair amount of evidence that longer hours correlates poorly, if at all, with releasing high-quality software quickly. See Peopleware or Mythical Man-Month for starters.

Of course, working overtime does allow coders to indulge themselves in "I must be great, look at all the hours I work" dick-waving contests.

Mike Gunderloy
Sunday, March 24, 2002

I wish I remembered who said this, but it seems so appropriate:

"Heroic effort does not a business plan make."

If you're company's success is predicated on pushing 80 hour weeks out of your people for months on end, YOU WILL FAIL.

Chris Tavares
Sunday, March 24, 2002

I was not debating whether that is a sound policy or not.  60 hour work weeks are commonplace in corporate America, effective or not.  It looks like no one has refuted my original post, which means people must agree that younger workers can put in more hours. 


> At some point, let these ageist, mean-spirited companies burn employees out and fail.

The company will not fail.  When someone burns out, they just find a new body to plug into place.  This is not the company's problem, but the employee's who go into it.

> There is a fair amount of evidence that longer hours correlates poorly, if at all,

The hours are b/c there is round the clock coverage for the systems.  It is not a poorly managed deadline that is looming.  There is no dick-waving, as people are generally unhappy.  The firm will have no trouble finding new people if someone leaves however.

Bella
Sunday, March 24, 2002

younger workers are more like commodities.  they're cheaper.  companies can screw them over easier.  so of course there's often a bias in a lot of businesses for younger workers.  on the other hand, i suspect there's a strong bias for older workers in professions where a large portion are self-employed like medicine or law-and the clients make the decisions.  if you had the same thing in software, the clients would probably pay a little more for older more experienced workers-but they don't hire and fire.

Razib Khan
Sunday, March 24, 2002

If the only purpose of mid level management is to further the career, and you were a mid level manager, then who would you hire, someone who will do anything you ask, including even working through the night, or somebody who may probably more switched on in a wider sense who may be a bit "difficult" when you are being incompetent?

Tony
Sunday, March 24, 2002

Bella, you seem to be boasting about how everyone in your team works late, and how someone who wants to work normal hours just would not fit in.

Now while I wouldn't want to work with an obsessive clock watcher because occasional weird hours and a flexable approach are important, if your team expects to work those kinds of hours as a matter of course there is something wrong with your team, or something wrong with your management, or something wrong with the projects you are undertaking.

When I talk about obsessive clock watchers and flexable approaches, btw, I'm also talking about me being able to leave early or come in late here and there in order to go to the doctors or get an early start on a weekend's vacation or whatever. 

I think this sort of thing is all about give and take, and the employee who stares at the clock all day and will never work a second outside their contracted hours, and the company that routinely expect you to work until 9pm every day, are both missing the point in a big way.

Finally, if you are all working these sorts of hours every day, I don't believe you could possibly be working in a very productive manner or producing quality work for all that time.

robert moir
Sunday, March 24, 2002

Bella wrote:
"[..]people must agree that younger workers can put in more hours."

OK I try once more. The amount of hours put in is just about the most useless commodity you can get from a programmer. It does not get you anywhere. It's productivity what you are looking for.

Programmers working an extravagant amount of hours per week for a prolonged period of time are always less productive than those working regular hours. Please do read The Mythical Man-Month and Peopleware. And even more important: make sure your managers get a few copies too.

Jan Derk
Sunday, March 24, 2002

Hmm, maybe I should modify my assumptions.  In the past, competition was extreme and retaining knowledge was important.  Nowadays many companies have safe near-monopoly (oligopoly?) positions and don't look for particularly high growth.

If things really go as smoothly as you say, maybe it works out.  But if the company ever looks for growth, it probably wasted a lot of institutional experience.

> It looks like no one has refuted my original post, which
> means people must agree that younger workers can put
> in more hours.

I'll tell you when I get older.  But you may be wrong, since young people are known for deviance. ;-)

This sort of situation may spur the development of unions.  It is a classic Prisoner's Dilemma -- if people refuse to do this work (assuming it's skilled) then the company would be forced to hire more people.  But people currently defect and accept these jobs.

Hope this is clear, gotta run...

Greg
Sunday, March 24, 2002

"It looks like no one has refuted my original post, which means people must agree that ..."

Didn't I say something about everyone here reading a book on informal logic?

Sloppy logic like this means to me that you're more concerned with winning the argument than with getting to some sort of understanding or truth.

A google search turned this up.

http://www.datanation.com/fallacies/index.htm

Personally, I hope everyone here begins quoting "Stephen on Fallacies." Stephen manages also to steer clear of the latin names for things, which is good because I can never remember them anyway.

Mark W
Sunday, March 24, 2002

No one seems  to be addressing the original topic, which is trying to UNDERSTAND WHY a firm MAY want younger staff.  (NOT whether long hours it is a good practice or not)    General statements like "60 hour weeks are bad" carry 0 weight.  It toally depends on the context.  Some businesses, like telecom or global banking or ait traffic control or national defense, REQUIRE 24/7 support of their systems. 

****Ideal Hours worked is not the topic at hand, it is YOUNG VS. OLD...****

Let's take this as a given:  "Job opening XYZ  REQUIRES 12 hours days.  Apply within"  Period.  It doesn't say "Job opening XYZ  REQUIRES 12 hours days.  Please, oh guru, tell us how to reduce this load" 

That said, please reread my initial post, where I TRIED to understand, GIVEN THEIR REQUIREMENT, WHY they may perfer young staff.  No more, no less.

Bella
Sunday, March 24, 2002

> General statements like "60 hour weeks are bad" carry 0
> weight. It toally depends on the context. Some
> businesses, like telecom or global banking or ait traffic
> control or national defense, REQUIRE 24/7 support of
> their systems.

Your argument that 24/7 support require 60 hour weeks is weak. There are 168 hours per week, so your argument would actually require one individual to work 168 hours per week! That is obviously absurd. The real answer is to hire is to hire 4-5 people to work 40 hour weeks..


And to follow the earlier conversation about who will a middle-manager hire, there is a nice saying that: "A's hire A's and B's hire C's".  :)

Banana Fred
Sunday, March 24, 2002

Ok, one last time.

1) you find situations where young people have an advantage over older
2) you want us to argue that young people are not necessarily better suited to these situations

Bella, are you aware you have stacked the deck?

And do you know you've selected such a pathological subset of companies, that none of us here even agree with, that it's hard to see the point?  Please tell me the point of this, as someone who visits to read about "painless software management."

Greg
Sunday, March 24, 2002

Perhaps the answer is nobody wants to discuss this topic in this context and you've shown a pattern of arguing to argue. The over 35 programmer showed genuine concern and we wanted to help him. You're just dumping a theory on us and demanding we refute it.

Mark W
Sunday, March 24, 2002

Sounds like a people mill to me. Another Dumb Policy
perhaps. Anybody would would only hire people under the age of 35 has a lot to learn about both time and people.

I'm glad I will never work for them.

Michael Seberg
Sunday, March 24, 2002

it's not always either  || or type of situation.  there's tendencies.  i suspect that employers expect a rather higher level of competance and productivity from older programmers.  all things being equal-younger programmers probably have an edge.  but all things aren't. 

one thing in favor of higher older more stable individuals-they're less likely to job-hop from place to place.

Razib Khan
Sunday, March 24, 2002

> one thing in favor of higher older more stable individuals-they're less likely to job-hop from place to place.

Good point.  But then again, as in a Dilbert strip I once read, "We have very low turnover.  Our employees are unqualfied to work anywhere else"

Bella
Sunday, March 24, 2002

I am 24 years of age and I have been working in IT as a developer for 2 years now,  so far:

I am yet to learn anything of significance from people younger than me, maybe this is not everyones experience but it is mine.

I have 2 peers on the project that I am working on, they earn slightly more than me, whenever I am stuck I can ask them, they are both older than 35. The bulk of my learning over the last year has come from these two.

In terms of who "carries the can" for the projects I work on I, all are over 35, I sometimes think that I know as much as them, but its amazing that when a pressure/crunch situation occurs all us younger programmers lose our voice suddenly (at least on my team of 20).

This conversation is stupid, take an intelligent 35 year old and an intelligent 24 year old, what is the difference apart from experience?

Jack
Sunday, March 24, 2002

Supply and demand, Bella.  Supply and demand.  If a programmers' skills and strengths are in short supply, they can get away with charging a premium price, demanding limited hours, and/or generally being a pain in the ass.  If, on the other hand, they are easily replaced, they cannot do those things.  As it turns out, young programmers - even those who started early and already have well over a decade of experience - are almost always easy to replace.  Older programmers, on the other hand, are more likely to have those hard-to-find skills, not to mention a strong work ethic (eight hours of *work* trumps five hours of work, four of web-surfing and three of Unreal Tournament) and human skills like leadership and communication.  That can be harder to replace, hence the premium.

IMO hiring a mix of young and old programmers is better than hiring either alone.  The older folks can "borrow" the younger folks' energy while the younger ones can learn from the older folks' more focused work styles.  It's also beneficial in general to have variety just so that everyone doesn't look at the same thing from the same angle and come to the same wrong conclusion about it.  Nonetheless, the most important thing is to evaluate people *individually*.  One of the dumbest mistakes anyone can make is assuming that they need someone of a specific age or temperament and refusing even to consider someone who differs from their flawed vision.

Jeff Darcy
Monday, March 25, 2002

The more senior people I know are mainframe veterans, self-employed, consultants, as well as PC-using employees.

> Without the burdens of a family, he can be more focused.

That's illegal too, to discriminate on marital status. Maybe you want people who are unmarried, childless, *and* friendless?

> One of you veterans cited that he will simply chooses never to work more than 9-5. At my job, no one on my team is over 35,

except the manager. We all work until 7,8,9,10pm.

So do we; for nine months at a time; for years, in the past. And my manager works longer hours than anyone though he's a

relative elder as well as married. You can do it, if you have the motive.

> Anyone who doesn't want to put in the hours can easily be replaced overnight w/o someone who has no problem working 70 hours

a week.

We have low staff turn-over. One of boss' performance metrics (on which he's judged) is his ability to retain staff. We too can

cut out pieces of work to give to newly-hired, experienced people; we don't expect them to work 70 hours, we don't pay them for

that.

> For the record, I believe a team is most effective when it has coders of all age ranges.

Ever heard the expression "gelled team"? Is it a crime that a team can finish its work in 40 instead of 70?

Ageism is baloney.

> Some businesses, like telecom or global banking or ait traffic control or national defense, REQUIRE 24/7 support of their systems.

If and when I work all night, my boss knows it and I don't work all the next day as well. It's that simple.

From the sound of it I'd have to be *desperate* to accept work at your company (and if I weren't desperate before I started, I might find myself desparate afterwards).

Christopher Wells
Monday, March 25, 2002

Let me turn 180 deg and take the other side.

It is a matter of resources.  The limited resource is NOT the young programmers, but good management.  Most companies know that good management is key to good work, but they have less good managers than money.  They put good managers in places where the company can really grow.

And probably the experienced programmers there too.  It's a matter of concentrating resources at your strongest and most critical areas.

I don't necessarily agree with this, but it's coming closer to a sensible strategy.

Greg
Monday, March 25, 2002

Bella -

The question, "Are there reasons why a company would avoid hiring programmers over 35?" pretty much answers itself.  If some companies follow such a policy, they must have reasons.

The more pertinent and interesting question is, "Are there GOOD reasons?"

You've put on the table the hypothesis that some companies hire the under-35ers because they will work long hours without (much) complaint.  Agreed.  Some companies do this.  But is this a good reason?  Is there evidence to suggest that the 60-hour-a-week people produce more than the 40-hour-a-week people?  Kelly Johnson, head of the Lockheed Skunk Works, perhaps the most outrageously efficient and productive aircraft design outfit in history, didn't think so.  He asked his people to work normal hours, then go home and have a life.

I remember working 7-day weeks early in my career.  After 2 or 3 weeks at this pace, my mind told my body, "You can work 7 days a week if you want; I'm working 5."  My productivity would slowly revert back to that of a 40-hour week, no matter how many hours I put in.  I suspect I wasn't alone in this.

Bob Perlman
Monday, March 25, 2002

This is just a theory, but perhaps the people in charge of hiring are all 23 years old and are intimidated by or "don't understand" anyone older than them. "Like, dude, we don't hire anyone that isn't into, like, extreme sports."

Mark W
Monday, March 25, 2002

Hmmm, I am now 36 and have been programming (for money) for 15 years. As the years have passed by I can see myself getting grumpier and more crotchety as I see the 'kids' ignoring my wisdom and making the same mistakes again and again .....

But what the heck, that's the only way you learn. I have tried adopting the 'crafstman apprentice ' relationship with the young un's, and its great. We can spend hours arguing about whether or not you need to understand how a half-adder works.

Actually I think the reason it gets more difficult to get hired is that your manager cant bear to be earning less that the programmer he hires, so they'll usually take 2 at £30 an hour, rather than 1 at £50 an hour.

Chris McEvoy
Monday, March 25, 2002


  I think that, if all companies start acting like this, coders over 35 should open their own companies, write better software ( easy with their experience and without taking 12-hours jorneys to produce buggy code ), and take all of  them out of businness. :)

 

Ricardo Antunes da Costa
Monday, March 25, 2002

Just a thought.

If the assumption is that older worker's value lies in their knowledge of the business, rather than raw tech skills, can older workers sometimes be pigeonholed to one particular company or sector?

What if he then gets laid off?  Could he have trouble finding work b/c he is basically an insurance expert, as opposed to an up to date technologist?  Does this tie in with the IT age discrimination undercurrent that is getting media attention ?

Bella
Monday, March 25, 2002

> can older workers sometimes be pigeonholed to one particular company or sector?

I expect so, and certainly 'sometimes'. When I was weeding resumes, for me domain experience has 'counted' as well as technology experience. So for example when I worked for an ISV, I (and certainly my boss/CEO) preferred people with ISV experience over 'just academics' or people who had developed only 'in-house' software; or I would prefer someone with real-time/network experience over someone with 'just' banking experience.

I would also guess that contractors get pigeon-holed more than employees (you hire a contractor to do what they know already, and not to learn new stuff on your dime); but on the other hand, consultants tell me that their customers hire them to do 'anything', just like my employer is willing to give me 'anything'.

Then again, once you get into management that might be a whole new career track in itself.

Christopher Wells
Monday, March 25, 2002

The manager Bella is taking about feels that maximizing programmer hours per dollar is the right way to manage. To get max(hours/dollar), the manager hires younger developers. Sure, that makes sense.
Why not hire H1-B employees instead. The H1-B employees would have a much harder time leaving. Plus, (somewhere there is a link a study, sorry, I’m in a rush) foreign workers are generally paid less. It is a great way to maximize the management equations.
We’re talking about money, not morality, right?
I hope Bella’s boss doesn't see this ;)

Doug Withau
Monday, March 25, 2002

Interesting point.  H1's are often w/o familes, so they can sometimes be the best of both worlds.  You can hire a 40 year old with 20 years exp. yet he has no family (in this country) and can work 80 hour weeks.,

Bella
Monday, March 25, 2002

I think these are some of the reasons:

* Most young programmers have trained themselves on how to program (self-taught hackers).  They often have huge amounts of experience in esoteric areas of programming and can make computers dance on command. 

* As a hacker, they most likely subscribe to the meritocracy approach to programming -- your program has to be the best so you can get cred (credibility).

* Hackers tend to work very long hours to make sure the program is just right.

* Oftentimes, hackers can be hired before getting a degree.

* Hackers are often introverts (there are exceptions) and tend to not complain.

* They have little to no experiece in the corporate world and never even think to ask about "benefits" or "raises" since their sucess is measured in the eyes of other programmers, not in the bank account.  They're just happy to get paid to do what they like.

So, to sum up, they are cheap, work long hours, provide their own drive to finish the product and never complain.  Plus, once you've burned one out, there's always more coming up the ranks that can replace them.

On the other hand, hackers like these tend not to produce maintainable code, don't communicate well and so perform lousy in team environments, never document code, have weird hours that make meetings and status reports impossible, and, in general, make other programmer's work that much harder.

There are other programmers (like those damned MBAs who taught themselves Visual Basic in 24 hours and think they are programmers) who menace good programmers with the worst code imaginable.  I refuse to work with these people.  Quite frankly, I refuse to even learn Visual Basic so I don't have to associate with them.  But that's another story...

I think the reason that this type of hiring practice continues is because people don't expect good software.  It's okay to ship with bugs because customers don't care.  Look at how buggy Microsoft's stuff was (I'll admit, however, that Windows 2K has been the best Windows experience I've had to date!), yet look how widely it has spread!

Ethan Frolich
Monday, March 25, 2002

> H1's ... can work 80 hour weeks.

I'm sure you're not kidding. The last time I worked hours like that was when I was overseas at a customer site... partly because I wanted to finish and go home, nice though it was. If I needed to, I might even work again for C$35K/yr as I used to. I still don't think it's a good way to retain staff, that individuals and teams who know what they're doing can accomplish things in 40 hours/week, and that ageism is ... outside my experience.

Christopher Wells
Monday, March 25, 2002

I wonder whether in some cases firms prefer to hire younger people not because they believe them to be more productive but because they have a very low opinion of the skills required to be a programmer, and will therefore hire the cheapest staff they can get. This attitude was quite explicit in one project manager I had dealings with, from a very large British software house - he assured me that the real skill in software development was in the project management of the team of "donkey programmers" under his command. Needless to say, the first version of the software his team delivered was a total embarrassment, and should never have been let out of the door.

Andrew Simmons
Monday, March 25, 2002

Ethan:
"[young programmers] often have huge amounts of experience in esoteric areas of programming"

In my experience, it's the older programmers who are more likely to have knowledge of the more esoteric areas like kernel hacking, compilers, or (most of all) AI.  It's the younger ones whose resumes keep giving me deja vu, with the same mix of web-centric fluff and graphics/games minor-league with occasionally a dash of crypto to seem "edgy".


"they most likely subscribe to the meritocracy approach to programming -- your program has to be the best so you can get cred (credibility)"

Most of the young programmers I see wouldn't even know how their code measures up because they don't have a large enough sample.  You're lucky if they've done more than poked around the CVS trees of a couple of projects - themselves exemplary of apprentice-level skillsets - on Sourceforge.  The "cred" they look for is notoriety, not quality - which usually means the biggest mouth rather than the biggest brain.

"Hackers tend to work very long hours to make sure the program is just right."

Again in my experience, it's the young programmers who are absolutely the worst at finishing code.  The tendency to get it half working, with no design and no documentation and no error checking and no unit tests, before moving on to the next "cool" thing, is something that has to be trained out of them over a period of years.


Young programmers have their strengths, but let's not put them on pedestals just yet.  Hiring a bunch of punks to reinforce each other's bad habits is pretty much the surest route to failure and always has been.

JD
Tuesday, March 26, 2002

JD, I absolutely agree with you. We've had arguments about documentation in my department. Not how to do it, but whether or not to have it! ("I comment my code, and that's good enough.") Meanwhile I bet his comments are meaningless to anyone but him, or he doesn't really comment his code, he's just looking at getting out of creating documentation.

I'm afraid to put any of their code into production because we have no real or realistic testing protocols, and being young programmers, they probably don't have much experience with good code. They just get it to the point where it works, and that's what they've been doing their whole careers.

Then again, I'm not sure things are any better anywhere else...

Ah well. I'd take a 30 something coder with real experience over a 20 something coder with some college and personal experience any day.

Mark W
Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Just to stay on track, again, I was referring to hiring 35 year old veterans, with 15 years experience....not 21 year old "punks" with 1/2 a degree. 

This seems to be a big mental block here.

Bella
Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Bella, a "no over 35" policy (which is clearly the topic here) is the same as an "all under 35" policy.  Pretty obvious, if you ask me.  I was pointing out from a different perspective some of the problems that might arise from such a policy.  Your "mental block" wisecrack is, as usual, an unwarranted attack in lieu of trying to engage people in productive dialogue.  Grow up.

Jeff Darcy
Tuesday, March 26, 2002

I've been reading these boards for a few months now and I've seen them deteriorate rapidly in the last couple of weeks.

Bella appears to be the first troll.  I've seen him take a swipe at the Delphi guys.  I've seen him take a swipe at Chunks back in that "Lucrative" thread.  His posts are always laced with barbs and ad hominen attacks.  He's either a troll or a very arrogant individual.

Bella, you started this thread but it appears that you're trying to steer the natural progression of discussion.  Clearly there is something you're waiting to hear.  Why don't you just tell us what you want to hear so someone can say it and you can go back to basking in your own misinformed glory?

Oh no, I'm One Of Them!
Tuesday, March 26, 2002

> steer the natural progression of discussion

Limited experience with with free discussions.

If someone says "This seems to be a big mental block here" I don't parse that as talking about me, ad hominem: they're talking about (of, from) their own experience.

> Why don't you just tell us what you want to hear

It wouldn't be a mental block if he could! Instead, perhaps a reply like "<confirmation of the person's emotion, if you know it>" and then if more analysis seems called for "Well, I wonder what it would take to remove that block."

Christopher Wells
Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Several things are being confused in this discussion. First, working long hours doesn't necessarily mean serious work. Young guys with no family often like staying late for the company, and the chance to play games and surf the web after hours.

Second, senior programmers ( over 35 ) often scream through stuff that younger guys have to spend days on. They've seen the same principles appear before.

Third, well managed projects shouldn't require lots of late working. One thing senior programmers are good at is interacting with inexperienced managers who try to set foolish deadlines. This leads to better software.

Fourth, anyone who's done lots of late nights knows that productivity declines after a while, and the best sustainable approach is to go home and get a good sleep then work hard the next day.

Hugh Wells
Tuesday, March 26, 2002

All I meant was that all the cited detracting factors of "young" programmers do not always apply to 35 year olds, some of whom may be 15 year industry veterans.  It seems like we're having 2 different discussions.
a)  hiring veterans vs. kids with no experience
b) hiring veterans vs. 30-35 year olds (with say 10 years exp.)

It seems I have really ruffled some feathers on this topic, so either its a sensitive subject, or I am offending people with my disposition, or both....  I will refrain from posting on this topic..  My apologies, chaps!

Bella
Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Sorry Bella, but you really are making no sense.

You say that your not talking about young punks but rather the benefits of a 35 year old veteran.

35 year old veteran with 15 years experience = hire.

36 year old veteran with 16 years experience = no hire.

If you have a policy of nobody over 35, then you are setting this very unreliastic line.

You argue that its a good policy because you can have somebody without family ties.

Somebody in there early 30s is more likely to have a YOUNG family.  Highly dependant children that require child minders and keep there parent awake at night.

Somebody in their 40s is more likely to have older children, who pose less of a burden.

Of course, there are plenty of exceptions, which is why any blanket rule is so stupid.

If you want to avoid the family burdons, then a policy based on sexuality (ie no hetrosexuals) is much more sensible than one based on age.

Ged Byrne
Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Perhaps this just shows how deep ageism goes - we're all equating age with experience. =)

Mark W
Tuesday, March 26, 2002

No mention yet, but isn't this _illegal_?(*)  A 36-39 year old may not have legal standing to sue since the law only protects those 40 and older, but as soon as someone 40+ is turned down you could have a lawyer on your back.

Especially if employees are publicly posting / boasting about the policy, it'd be a fairly clear violation.

(*) US law, at least.  I don't know about elsewhere.

Dave Scocca
Tuesday, March 26, 2002

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