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Fog Creek 9 to 5?

I'll have to admit nothing startled me more about Joel's job listing than the "9 to 5" notation. Is that because it's a customer support position?

Philo

Philo
Monday, June 16, 2003

Philo,

You are on to something here. Even the "work whenever you want" type shops have to have someone picking up the phone during "normal" business hours.

I was at a shop earlier where the programmers started coming in at noon but we still had someone that answered the phone, and told people we were unavailable or whatever.

The programmers there came in late, so the normal hours were around noon-midnight, with a 4:30pm lunchbreak :-)

Patrik
Monday, June 16, 2003

What's startling about it?  Isn't it common for a software shop's customer support number to be only open during normal business hours?

Brent P. Newhall
Monday, June 16, 2003

To me "support engineer" meant "support Fog Creek," not "support our customers" (which I always thought of as "help desk"). I just glanced at the listing, and the 9 to 5 threw me (Joel being such an advocate of "let people work how they work best"). It wasn't until I went back and read the ad carefully that I picked up that it was customer support, but I still had the "Sysadmin" thing stuck in my brain... [shrug]

BTW, at a minimum Joel's client base works from 7am to 8-9pm, EST. Based on this board, he actually has a global client base. And my suggestion for help desk hours (based on experience on both sides of the phone): 10-7.

Philo

Philo
Monday, June 16, 2003

I was surprised by the 9 to 5 listing for the opposite reason: it seems quite generous, especially as it implies that lunch is paid. (Is it?)

8 a.m. sucks.

Martha
Monday, June 16, 2003

Programmers here tend to drift in around 11-12 and work until 7-8. So the programming team is available to answer phone calls for the west coast people who call from 12-8 Eastern. We need someone to be here in the morning to handle east coast AM and so that there's some reasonable overlap with with business day in Europe.

Joel Spolsky
Monday, June 16, 2003

"So the programming team is available to answer phone calls"

Isn't it against flow? Wouldn't programmers' productivity suffer?

...
Monday, June 16, 2003

yes, in fact that's exactly why we're hiring a support engineer.

Joel Spolsky
Monday, June 16, 2003

Yeah, happened here a year or so ago, we had a support line guy who thought he should be entitled to the same flexible hours as the programmers and engineers, some of whom would work from home at times. They could just call or email in that they were working from home and no one doubted it because you could see the results and you could get them on IM or email throughout the day.

So this customer support guy starts the same thing, calling in and saying he's working from home. Only thing is, his job is mostly answering the phone and we could tell he wasn't doing it because, well first of all, he's not here to answer it and second, when we called or emailed him at home he wasn't answering there either. Then when it was explained to him that his job had to be in-situ, he tried to argue the point with the dept. Mgr. Didn't last long after that.

old_timer
Monday, June 16, 2003

There's nothing wrong with that sort of role working from home - you just need a smart phone system to redirect the calls about properly.

It's certainly do-able. And once you've got that, there's no reason why they need to be in the same country...

Katie Lucas
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Not in the country.  Funny you should mention that, as I understand that there are classes that Indian support personnel take to lose their accents.

gml
Thursday, June 19, 2003

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