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a long, rambling, incomplete rant about

'company time'

see, "company time" is largely a myth. Particularly where programmers and other technically capable (academic) professions are concerned.

In a technical position, you are paid for your expertise, moreso than your throughput. It´s not a factory situation. Any developer who is being honest with you will tell you that he´s only really productive (in the sense that he´s writing lines of code) about 2 hours out of every 8 hour day. The rest of that time is spent on analysis, design (which could be done in your head or on paper), browsing the web for technical (or non technical) information, etc. Much of this "analysis" time is actually spent doing your own thing, while mulling over some complex problem in the back of your mind. When you finally have your ´eureka!´ moment, you open your editor and commit it to code, but you don´t spend all day milling out code.

Employers who allow mostly unrestricted net access during business hours tend to have more productive programmers, in my limitted experience. You have to give creative people freedom in order to fully benefit from that creativity you hired them for. If in the course of working on one of my own personal projects for 30 or 45 minutes in a day, I design a nifty new algorithm or a superior sorting routine, I´ll be likely to apply it to company projects later in that same day/week while it´s fresh in my head. I´m more motivated to be creative on my own things than the company´s things simply because of my personal stake in the former. That´s just life.

Some employers understand this and give their developers free reign, and reap the benefits. Others do not, and, well...

The outdated concept of employer/employee as owner/slave has become more and more conducive to poor productivity as people become more and more disenfranchised with it. There´s no such thing as company loyalty anymore because companies are not loyal to their employees. Once upon a time you went to work for a company, you intended to stay there for life, and the company expected to keep you for life. No longer. A company that serves my interests while I simultaneously serve theirs will be the successful one.

The whole concept that your manager "owns" you (unstated but still very present) is ridiculous. A manager has no authority over you as a person, but rather over the direction of your efforts. This is all a manager should be, a driver to aim your effort at the current company objective. The ridiculous notion that your manager is somehow your superior (and therefore should have better benefits, better pay, etc etc) is just silly. My manager is hired for his particular expertise, and I for mine. If my job is more difficult than managing X number of technical employees, why shouldn´t I make more than my manager does? He´s not my superior, he´s a guy hired to manage my time. It´s not the same thing, but everyone behaves as though it is.

::inhales::

::burns soapbox::

::dies::

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

duh!

sir_flexalot
Monday, August 02, 2004

well yeah, I know.  But I was confronted today by a guy who told me what I should and shouldn't be doing on "company time" and I went a little nuts.

KILL!!

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Well you shouldn't be working on your projects on company time. You entered into a contract with them to spend 40 hours a week working on their projects, not your projects.

Bob
Monday, August 02, 2004

Bob -

Find me a programmer who isn't a slathering workaholic who doesn't work on his own projects at work at least once a week.

Give me a break, guy.

Just like I'm very likely to solve a complex work problem while sitting down to dinner at home, I'm very likely to solve a personal project problem at work.  It all balances out.

People with old outdated ideas like yours are what's stifling innovation and productivity in this country (the US).  No wonder our shit is going overseas.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

No, it doesn't balance out. How much code did you write for your company project yesterday, while sitting at home?
How about last week? Last month?

Don't answer... we all know it's zero.

Bob
Monday, August 02, 2004

"Find me a programmer who isn't a slathering workaholic who doesn't work on his own projects at work at least once a week.

Give me a break, guy.

Just like I'm very likely to solve a complex work problem while sitting down to dinner at home, I'm very likely to solve a personal project problem at work.  It all balances out."

You found him.

I work at work.  I home at home.  I'll occasionally fix something from home if it's an emergency / glaring problem,but that's where it starts and ends.

Sassy
Monday, August 02, 2004

Here I sit, at home, on the BC Day Holiday, fixing issues with a very recent client installation.  Of course, tomorrow, a work day, I'll probably go work on my own stuff.

Almost Anonymous
Monday, August 02, 2004

AA -

Exactly.

And yes, Bob.  I do write code for work at home.  If I solve a work problem at dinner or in the shower or sitting on the can, I'll go sit down in front of a code editor (after drying or flushing, as appropriate, of course) and bang out a quick function or algorithm before saving it to a USB pen and bringing it in the next day.  Ditto if I'm sitting at work and come up with a solution to a personal project.

The fact that you don't have the discipline to maintain this sort of balance does not reflect upon me.  And I shouldn't be shackled down due to the incompetence or malfeasance of others.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Muppet, how old are you? 20? Company time is well, er,  the company's. It means jack squat if you created the next big thing since sliced bread, if your job is to clean ashtrays. Unless you have cleaned all the ashtrays and have filled in your time sheet, including column 23. If you still have spare time, then you are being underused and your manager needs a "talking to". Keep in mind that Einstein did nothing for the Swiss Patent Office with his extra-curricular activties.

When you have 5 consecutive years under your belt as a proffessional and you begin to manage a team 25, make sure you remember that I TOLD YA!

_
Monday, August 02, 2004

muppet,

It would probably be a good idea to draw some lines in your life.  For example, solving a problem whilst grunting out a square brick on the toilet is SOP. Or, if you're into loner sports (running, cycling, swimming, etc.) your imagination will help solve problems. Again, standard procedure.

But, suppose you meet that special someone, and while you're proposing you're like, uh, hang on, we coud refactor that interface into 2 and rethread the object and get better performance.

Its good practice to designate my time and their time. And while lately, I'm a slug occupying my seat at company X waiting for my 2 weeks to expire...  The fact is that I do try to stay focussed for my 8 hours, which probably amounts to 6 real hours by day's end.
And my best hours are the morning hours, 8-12.  After that, the innovation gene turns off and it better be routine work or debugging.

If you don't draw these lines, however contrived and artificial they may seem to you, then you will tend toward one of two things:
1. A geek slave with no life.
2. Someone very unproductive.

Well, I'm getting paid to be here, I best do something useful.  How about a new JoS topic?

hoser
Monday, August 02, 2004

Sorry muppet, nobody believes you, and you don't believe yourself.

Why don't you have the discipline to wait until you get home to work on your personal projects?

Bob
Monday, August 02, 2004

> as people become more and more disenfranchised

"disenfranchised"?

muppet, you may or may not be a competent coder, but you are nowhere near as smart as you think you are.

- really, really sick of muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

And another thing.  Why are programmers at large expected to keep office hours 8 hours a day, 40 hours per week (or more)?

With the exception of planning or status meetings, there is no part of my job I couldn't do from the table by the window at Starbucks; laptop before me, latte in hand.  I'd be mountains more productive in an environment where I could relax, where my co-workers couldn't interrupt me every 15 minutes with "how's it going, what are you working on, what do you think of..." sorts of impromptu "meetings", where my boss would be unable to do the same.  There's no need for "Is it done yet?" drop-by meetings unless I'm past a due date, which I never am.  If I were, then I'd have my cell phone.

Why shouldn't I be able to work from Starbucks or BORDERs or my den 30 hours out of the week, coming into the office for planning or status meetings, and maybe keeping office hours from 8-12 on Wednesdays, and 12-4 on Thursdays, or something?  What would be the major problem with that?  Coworkers could schedule their "meetings" with me on an informal basis, "Hey Mark, can I talk to you on Thursday about..." or fire up an IM program and have at it.  If I'm in the middle of a complex algorithm, I'll set my away message.  When I'm working on things more lightweight, I'll be ready to answer whatever questions people have.

Why can't this work?  I'll tell you why.  It's because business people and managers can't get this deal.  Their job functions require that they keep ordinary business hours, since 99% of their job IS meetings, etc.  Therefore, you can't have it either.  Nevermind if it would double your productivity, nevermind that the company could save a bundle by leasing space for 2 or 3 cubes instead of 10 for their development staff.

It's just silly.  The whole industry is silly.  Outsourcing?  How about telecommuting?  I'd be willing to bet that the cost savings would be similiar, after all TRUE costs are taken into account.

It all comes down to office politics and petty jealousy.  I can udnerstand why project managers need 9-5 hours.  They need to be available for their team on a face-to-face basis, but maybe THIS isn't even truly necessary.  If you have some issue, why not schedule time with Bob the PM, and he'll come in for the meeting, or schedule time during his office hours on Friday, or whatever.  If it's an emergency, then Bob has a Nextel phone and you can page him.

Productivity and efficiency are being sacrificed for office politics and jealousy and the notion that "That just isn't how we do things."

People need to drop dead.



*sick of muppet* - you, too.  Did you miss where I said the rant was "rambling and incomplete" ?  Maybe you inferred that to mean "well thought out and thoroughly editted."

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

disillusioned, fed up, sick of.. what have you.  God forbid that in 6 pages of free-form ranting, I mistakenly use one word in place of another.  If the best retort you can come up with is on semantics, then I think I come out on top.

loser.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Actually, "personal projects" can be a boon to a company that is a technical innovator.  Allowing time for employees to explore fringe topics leads to an enhanced skill set. It sure beats wasting time on JoS or slashdot.

The only caveat is that extracirricular projects need to have a specific priority level. Like, not during crunch time.

I find my work interesting enough that my "extra" projects are very similar to work projects - they just aren't on anyone's project plan.  Then you demo something cool, and whadya know, the following week its a must-have feature. We do this stuff fairly often, and not just in developer mode. There is this groupware thing that someone thought was cool and configured it. We wound up using it for a while until the corporate people figured we better pay big bucks for something less useful.

hoser
Monday, August 02, 2004

*Vindicator mode*

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=disenfranchised

What do you think the odds are it's the same guy?

Flasher T
Monday, August 02, 2004

Bob -

You seem to have some personal problems which you are projecting into this discussion.  If your argument is that people simply DO NOT EVER work on work problems at home, then you are seriously mistaken.

Hoser-

You're right, solving work problems while pinching off a loaf is SOP for a good many programmers.  So then it follows that if I solve a personal project problem while reading the memos I receive in my inbox at work daily, shouldn't it be SOP for me to jot down a few quick lines of code and email them home?  What exactly is wrong with this?

Let me clarify and state for the record (since maybe some people have the wrong idea, here) that I'm not talking about working on my own projects 8 hours (or even 4 or 2) per day at work.  I'm talking about whipping open an editor and banging out some code as things occur to me.  What harm in this?  Are you all so trained by HR-policy-riddled management that you actually /believe/ that this is unethical?

That's very sad, if so.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Flasher T -

as I've already stated, I mistakenly used the wrong word.  You're a bit late to the party.  Again, the two of you are harping on semantics and not the argument.  Incredibly juvenile to debate an issue that way.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

***
The only caveat is that extracirricular projects need to have a specific priority level. Like, not during crunch time.***

And here you've hit it on the head.  Discipline is needed.  Ditto to what you said about demo'ing something that ends up being useful to your entire department.  What exactly is wrong or unethical in this?

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004


"The ridiculous notion that your manager is somehow your superior (and therefore should have better benefits, better pay, etc etc) is just silly"

No, it isn't.

Some people, even programmers, need management. Left to themselves, they will never ship a product but rather will goldplate the thing to death until the entire market opportunity is missed.

Managing programmers isn't for the faint of heart. They are a surly, obnoxious arrogant lot who have to be managed with care. This takes skill.  And companies value that skill because developing a product doesn't make money. Launching and selling it do.

Anecdotal evidence of Dilbert experiences notwithstanding, managers who fail to deliver wind up unemployed. So that manager accepts a much larger risk to his career than you do. That's another reason he gets paid more.

It's pretty easy to sit back and say "That idiot manager doesn't do anything. I could do his job better." And yet, when these same people end up in management, their subordinates say the exact same thing about them. Funny, huh?

Huh?
Monday, August 02, 2004

Huh?  -

You're arguing with somebody, I guess, but it isn't me.  I didn't say managers were unnecessary, I said they're not our superiors.  They do not have some divine, innate right to higher pay, better benefits, and higher consideration.  They are people hired for their expertise, their expertise being resource management.

It is a manger's job to direct my effort and to coordinate my effort with that of others.  It is also his/her job to help me do mine, in the form of advocation, resource procurement, etc.  It is NOT their job to preside over me like a parent, checking every few hours to see if module X is "done yet" or whether it will be "done soon".

Managers are not a higher class of people.  They are charged with directing the efforts of those who report to them but far too many people see their higher position on the org chart and interpret it to mean some sort of fiefdom.  I owe no fealty to any manager.  I am not beneath him.  He is not above me.  He is hired for his expertise in managing me, and I am hired for my expertise in software development.  We are equals with our own role in the organization for which we work.

The attitude that programmers (or any other professionals) are (or should be) subservient to management is nonsense.  The attitude that one should not (or CANNOT) earn a higher salary than their manager because they have to be beneath them is nonsense.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Sounds like you ought to start your own company and run it the right way.

If you take the king's gold, you're gonna be expected to be the king's man.  Ranting won't change this.

Matt Conrad
Monday, August 02, 2004

Muppet,

"I didn't say managers were unnecessary"

I didn't say you did. I merely explainned why they get paid more

"They do not have some divine, innate right to higher pay, better benefits, and higher consideration. "

I agree the right isn't divine or innate, not any more than you can claim a higher salary than a lower paid worker. However, they will earn more than you because, in general terms, they contribute more than you.  Directing the work of many people is more valuable to a company than the work of a single person. It's not some evil bourgeouise conspiracy to enslave people; it's just a fact of life.

Huh?
Monday, August 02, 2004

"I was confronted today by a guy who told me what I should and shouldn't be doing"

If this "guy" happened to be your manager, then it's his job to tell you what you should and shouldn't be doing.

By taking the salary you have agreed to do what they ask of you. If you don't like being told what to do, don't take the paycheck. Sorry, but that's the way the world is.

Tom H
Monday, August 02, 2004

My only caveat is that I've had the experience that while I'm tracing out some weird/bizarre/no-repro bug in the field, one of my cohorts is reading kernel mailing list "really cool things I'd like to do" or contributing to an open source project.  Meanwhile, I'm fixing *his* bugs. Needless to say our current administration is rather oblivious and doesn't quite get software development.

Often work can be a real pain in the neck (as someone else said, that why its called work).  And given the human tendency to enjoy somethng more interesting and less hassling than work (we used to call these home projects "government jobs"; as in "its a G-Job") during work time, all I am saying is that "are you objectively sure that you're doing your master's bidding?"

The coolest G-Job I ever saw was when a former manager of mine designed a microwave camera survellance system to help with security at the PanAm games back in the late 80's - I think it was. He got to ride around in a cop helicopter during the games running the equipment.

3M's sticky notes started as a G-Job.

hoser
Monday, August 02, 2004

Matt Conrad  -

right you are.

Huh? -

I don't believe for a minute that resource balancing and people-managing is any more difficult than complex software development.  It employs a wholly different skillset, but is not generally harder, and the relative skill has nothing to do with the fact that managers are paid more.  Managers are paid more because they are considered superior by virtue of being managers, and you and I both know it.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Tom H -

No, he wasn't my manager.  And you're right, if I take the salary, I take it on their terms.  However, that does not preclude my commenting on it or even ranting about it.  Or are you one of those folks who believe that there's nothing wrong with the government reading your mail, since you haven't got to worry so long as you're doing nothing wrong?

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

I'm sick of coderz thinking they are special.  Welcome to the real world.

sysadmin
Monday, August 02, 2004


"Managers are paid more because they are considered superior by virtue of being managers, and you and I both know it. "

No, I don't know it. Sorry, but you're wrong. You want to view it as some kind of old-fashioned "Boys Club" where admittance means a life of ease. That probably makes you feel better, but it's not realistic.

I don't disagree for a second that software development is more intellectually challenging that managing people. But all that intellect means nothing if it can't be directed to achieve a business goal.

The manager has that ability. And that ability is most frequently missing from developers. While a company values your intellect, they value the business, administrative and even political skill that a manager brings to the table. Someone who can motivate people, move them and get them to deliver. Again, that skillset is remarkably in short supply and good managers will always be able to claim high salaries.

Huh?
Monday, August 02, 2004


During my days of managing, I learned first-hand why managers frequently got paid more.

I had assigned a group of great developers to build a system for a client. It was a fixed bid project and we had a budget. When I reviewed their design, they had added several unnecessary, and un-scoped, features because they felt they "were cool". Had no one been there to reign them in, and in a way that didn't crush their spirts, the project would have been big time money loser to the company. And mind you...these were good developers. They just weren't business minded.

I also had to defuse problems arising out of personality differences. John was irritated at Jane because of this or that and was affecting his work. Being able to keep the team together without having them kill each other was something I had to work at.

Keeping upper management from abusing them. Many, (too many) times I had to fight upper management over conditions, timelines, etc. This is where good political skills come in handy. And as someone mentioned, something most developers don't have.

Anyway, there is a lot more to managing people than just asking them what they are working on every 10 minutes....

Mark Hoffman
Monday, August 02, 2004

Huh? -

You must work in some gilded cage where all highly-paid managers are worth their salaries.  I've seen a good share of managers who can't find their ass with both hands, but still pull down six figures and stock options.  And yes I know you'll say that ALL underlings find their management wanting, but I'd say that if the manager is unable to inspire the people he's charged with directing, then he's failed.

I'll also give you a hint:  Truly competent programmers are in short supply, too.  As much, dare I say, as truly competent managers.  I don't think your supply/demand argument holds up for why managers are paid more.  I don't buy it.

Management and software development are comparable, but different, skills.  There's no reason one should demand a higher rate than the other.  Actually, I could argue many reasons that the latter should be the more highly paid position.  I'm guessing from your remarks that you manage people, as you seem to be taking the whole thing a bit personally.

I suggest 9 holes of golf.  It generally helps people like you relax.  ;)

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Mark Hoffman-

undoubtedly, and I'm not refuting ANY of that.

Similiarly, there is much more to writing good, tight code than sitting down in front of a keyboard and banging out if/then statements.  Management of difficult situations is no more difficult than resolution of project-killer development issues.

Certainly the manager has a role, and that is to keep the developers focused.  This is not more difficult than the actual development of the software, and shouldn't demand a premium.  The reason it does is social norms.  Plain and simple.

Everyone seems to keep refuting my "managers are not a special class of people" argument with explanations of why managers are necessary.  I haven't argued that they're not.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

sysadmin  -

not special.  We simply fill a different role than people who are not programmers.  Why should we be expected to fit cookie cutter into the same office/workweek arrangement?  This goes for anyone who could complete their work offsite.

If, for example, you were a competent sysadmin; why couldn't you monitor your systems from your laptop on the town green wherever it is you live?  What would be wrong with that?  You could still go into the office for meetings, get paged if there was downtime, etc.

If your particular responsibilities prevent such an arrangement, that's too bad, but why should I be restricted as well as a result?

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

I would think that a first-rate programmer who is unhappy with the management culture and specific managers should be happy starting his OWN company.  New companies and products come from SOMEWHERE...

Barry Sperling
Monday, August 02, 2004

Barry -

An excellent (if redundant in this thread) comment!  Tell me how many programmers with a history of very expensive medical problems, sick children, and horrifying divorces (and the resulting horrible credit) have received business loans and I'll get right on it!

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

"Management and software development are comparable, but different, skills.  There's no reason one should demand a higher rate than the other. "

By your logic then, bus drivers should make the same as you, right? Or gasp! You shouldn't earn any more than them, right?

Your making the mistake of equating your salary with your personal worth. It's clear by your hostility that you are personally affronted by someone who earns more than you. Conveniently, you don't mind making more than someone else, but you don't want anyone else making more.

Huh?
Monday, August 02, 2004

"By your logic then, bus drivers should make the same as you, right? Or gasp! You shouldn't earn any more than them, right?"

To be fair, he did say "comparable skills". Bus driving and programming aren't comparable skills.

However, I wonder how he feels about programmers in India making 1/10 of what he makes. Why should he be paid more? He is intrinsically worth more?

My question to muppet is simple:

Are you adequately paid for your job?
If so, what does it matter what your boss is paid? Are you not being adequately paid? What business of your is it what he makes?

You sound a bit young, idealistic and bitter. Worrying about what other people make will only make the bitterness worse. Do your job, get paid for it and go home.

Stalin
Monday, August 02, 2004

Muppet - grab your coat or grab your ankles...

Chris Peacock
Monday, August 02, 2004

Actually, frankly (and I do mean this sincerely), I couldn't give half a shit what my manager makes, or whether it's more than me.  My only argument (or statement, really) is that managers should not be paid more simply by virtue of being managers, with the larger issue being that I am not a serf of my immediate supervisor, and should not be treated as such.  We are both professionals with our own roles in the company.  The omnipresent attitude in American (and other) society is that Managers can (and should) hold sway over my professional, and indirectly my personal life, and this is just bollocks.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004


Muppet,

Are you suggesting that companies adopt a flat structure with nobody reporting to anyone, nor anyone else earning more than anyone else? So the CEO would earn just as much as the mail guy, right? I mean, how else could you do it? Everyone reports to someone who eventually reports to the CEO. Under your analogy, mangers wouldn't earn more so it would be impossible to have anything other than a single salary.

Sounds like you've been reading Karl Marx. I'll save you the time: It didn't work out too well.

Huh?
Monday, August 02, 2004

Huh? -

why do you insist on putting up ridiculous straw men that have nothing to do with my argument?  How about you stop putting words in my mouth, and argue what I'm actually saying?  Probably because you can't.

I'm not saying that no position is worth more than another.  I'm saying that managers (in general) are not worth more than senior software developers (in general).  There is nothing wrong with an employee who receives compensation equal to or greater than his manager's.  What is your phobia here?

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

> I'm saying that managers (in general) are not worth
> more than senior software developers (in general).

And as several people on this thread have tried (unsuccessfully) to point out to you, the job market (as measured by salaries, perquisites, etc) says otherwise.  Plain and simple, end of story.

Other people have learned to live with this.  You should too.

.
Monday, August 02, 2004

It has nothing to do with the job market and everything to do with politics and ingrained culture.

managers are seen as the superior officers, and of course superior officers should be paid more.  It none of it has anything to do with talent.

"That's just how it is, accept it."

Spoken like a German during the Nazi administration.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

>Spoken like a German during the Nazi administration

... while eating salad cream, presumably.

Michael Eisenberg
Monday, August 02, 2004

Wow, I didn't think I'd say this, but I'm with muppet on this one.  I was in management at a previous job, and I had people reporting to me who made more than me as a result of their specialized skills or, in one case, his willingness to take a lousy job in exchange for high pay.

The idea that "X supervises Y, and therefore X should earn more than Y" doesn't always hold up.  Sure, it's usually a matter of "X supervises Y because X has more experience than Y, and as a result of that experience X also gets paid more than Y", but that's not always the case.

What muppet's rant boils down to, I think, is this:
1. When possible, employers should concern themselves with whether an employee completes assigned tasks, and not with how and when that employee does so.  Joel has written about this in several places, and he did a better job than muppet or I have.

2. Supervisors should treat their subordinates with respect.  Anything else is detrimental to morale and performance.  This is particularly true when the subordinate possesses unique skills.

While muppets unique way of saying things lends itself to argument, are either of these points really in disagreement?

Kevin
Monday, August 02, 2004

"I'm not saying that no position is worth more than another.  I'm saying that managers (in general) are not worth more than senior software developers (in general)."

The problem is that you can't organize a society around compensating people based on some abstract conception of what their work is worth.  Who makes that decision?  Do you really think there's a practical, objective way to do this, human nature being what it is?  The results of the attempts to do this up until now have not been pretty.

So the objection is that your argument is pointlessly academic.  Whether you are right or wrong, it's difficult to see how anything productive can result from discussing it.

The practical suggestions have been "If you do not like the terms of your current employment agreement, try to find a better one."  I believe many people, have, in fact, managed to find a way to work from a non-office location.  Why don't you ask how they managed it?  That would be a far more productive discussion.

Jim Rankin
Monday, August 02, 2004

what many people missed in this thread was that it was labelled a "rant" to begin with.

Unclench, people.  Damn.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

"I believe many people, have, in fact, managed to find a way to work from a non-office location.  Why don't you ask how they managed it?  That would be a far more productive discussion."

And behold:

http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=169983&ixReplies=13

:)

Jim Rankin
Monday, August 02, 2004

Muppet, I think you hit the nail right on the head, but because of your political "rank" on the boards you're getting a bad rap. Fuck these assholes. They're just trolling you man.

anon-y-mous cow-ard
Monday, August 02, 2004

It is funny how everyone that slacks off at work considers themselves a workaholic.

Also funny how if you tell these "workaholics" that they are supposed to be doing company work while at work and not goofing off/working complex problems for other jobs/complex issues regarding opposite gender/etc/etc/etc, then you are considered old fashioned and outdated.

Yep, putting in 40 hours of work for the company that you work for is so old fashioned. Slackers are supposed to get comp time and browny points and lamb stickers for their foreheads when they bother to put ANY time into their job otherwise it is an outrage and temper tantrum time!

Seriously though, you were paid to work 40 hours at your job, not 2 hours a day working and 6 playing  / multitasking / inspirational daydreaming. Your reviews will probably reflect your work style. And your coworkers that do put in a solid 40+ hours probably have reviews that reflect their work-ethic as well.

Brian Tracy and Napolean Hill both have sayings about doing more than you are paid to do because when you do more than expected, you get rewarded accordingly. A lot of kids want the reward without the hard work. Sorry, it doesnt work that way and why should it?

dmart
Monday, August 02, 2004

"a long, rambling, incomplete rant about muppet"

Maybe it's just me, but the way this thread showed up on the main list amused me no end.  :)


Monday, August 02, 2004

Managers getting paid more than their suboardinates is a stereotype evolved in areas where it was obviously justified (not in software development).

Saying that low/middle managers contribute more than lower-paid senior developers, or their skills are harder to find or develop, is utter bullshit, in my opinion.

Egor
Monday, August 02, 2004

Thank you Egor

and  dmart, I'd never call myself a workaholic, quite the opposite in fact.  You haven't been paying attention.

AC - Thanks!

and dmart, one more thing - if you think that ANY developer does more than 2 hours of real work a day, then I've a bridge to sell you.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

oh and just to irk you, dmart, let me also mention that my management thinks I'm a freaking star, and I have a bigger "done" pile than any of my coworkers.  I am being 100% truthful about this, but I'm sure you won't believe it, because it'll blow your mind.

Reconcile that with your nonsense, sucker.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

> An excellent (if redundant in this thread) comment!  Tell me how many programmers with a history of very expensive medical problems, sick children, and horrifying divorces (and the resulting horrible credit) have received business loans and I'll get right on it!

Since when did you have to get a business loan to get a business going in the software industry?

_
Monday, August 02, 2004

Just because you cannot fathom working more than 2 hours a day does not mean no one can.

I have worked 12 hours straight and I also have goofed off reading boards and dilbert and stock pages. I can attest to the fact that the former is more beneficial to the company and to myself. When I goof off, I feel like I wasted the day. When I work hard and finally accomplish a difficult task, I feel good about myself.

Before the internet, you were not allowed to read comics at your desk, nor write personal letters, nor chat about politics or ethics or anything else. You were supposed to be working. You had breaks and lunch to read comics and talk politics and ethics. There was no blurred distinction between what was work and what was non-work.

Now with the internet, people try to rationalize that the non-work is somehow work because it involves the computer. And that is wrong. Plain and simple. You are paid to work while you are at your desk. Anything other than work is goofing off. Goofing off is not working even if you feel bad about it.

dmart
Monday, August 02, 2004

it has nothing to do with "goofing off is not work because it uses the computer"  You are clearly an idiot.

It has to do with how work gets done TODAY, and how to motivate your work force TODAY.

It used to be company loyalty, bonuses, picnics, etc.  Now it's allowing your employees basic human freedoms.

Get with the parade, dmart.  You are a loser.  A manure raker.  You will be miserable your whole life.  Have a blast.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Are you sure you are a freaking star performer and not one of those touchy programmers that need to be handled with kid gloves and called a star every now and then to coax an honest days work out of him? Also known as a difficult employee.

The dotcom days showed the world that if you give employees the freedom to play foos ball all day long, they will play foosball all day long. The software doesnt get written when you are playing foosball, no matter how much you think you are thinking about it.

Likewise, if it takes 8 hours to write a piece of code and you play for 6 hours a day, it takes you 4 days to accomplish what it takes someone else (like say in india or russia) to do in 1 day. I wouldnt qualify that as star performance although it does appear to be the norm these days.

dmart
Monday, August 02, 2004

+++Are you sure you are a freaking star performer and not one of those touchy programmers that need to be handled with kid gloves and called a star every now and then to coax an honest days work out of him? Also known as a difficult employee.+++

quite sure.

I'm sorry d-man, but all your points are invalid.  I work with very capable, competent programmers, but I still manage to complete more tasks than any of them in any given month.  Since I often do production support, EVERYTHING I do is tracked on two redundant systems, so this is easy to quantify.

Yep, I'm very sure.  I get plenty done.  Probably more than you.

I'm sorry that you, like Bob, have no discipline and can't handle a freely structured work environment, and therefore can't fathom anyone who can.  How sad for you.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

dmart:

"I have worked 12 hours straight..."

its a shame your employer does not hold the sanctity of your time as highly as you hold the sanctity of "Company Time", isn't it? Why feign your allegiance to an obviously exploitative situation?

"Before the internet, you were not allowed to read comics at your desk, nor write personal letters..."

Technology and progress is a great thing.  It enables us to be more efficient, and to do our jobs better, faster, and yes- take some slack in our lives. Whats the point in progress as a society if nothing improves at the personal level?

Seems like you're just content running on that hamster wheel for the rest of your life. You go and do whatever suits you.

But if technological innovations (google searches, code generators, etc) let me do my job faster, more reliably, and at a more relaxed pace then thats exactly what I'm going to do - work at a more relaxed pace!!!

PopCulture
Monday, August 02, 2004

excellent points, PC.  Particularly the sanctity of "your time".

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Well, now I see where you are coming from muppet. You appear to be having a tantrum complete with name calling just because I said something disagreeable to your small frame of reference.

Perhaps you could explain how this new way of coddling employees generates more productivity? By your own admission you work 2 hours a day. How could you possibly be more productive than someone who works 8 hours a day?

Let me guess. If you are happy, then you will do 4 times as much work in a given period than if you are sad? But, you dont seem to be happy now - even with your 6 hours of playtime. So I dont believe that your theory works for you.

There is plenty of time for you and every other programmer to do non-work at home. So do it at home. Do your work at work. Or start your own company where everyone plays at work. And then report back. My guess is once you see employees playing on YOUR dime, you may have a different opinion on the subject.

dmart
Monday, August 02, 2004

> I'm saying that managers (in general) are not worth
> more than senior software developers (in general).

I agree, and in many cases they are not.  Most of my skilled technical friends make at least 90k, which is more than many managers at the same companies.  My wife has a guy who works for her who makes more than she does. 

I'm a consultant, and I'm fairly sure I cost my clients more than they pay my manager (fully loaded).

Hockey Player
Monday, August 02, 2004

***How could you possibly be more productive than someone who works 8 hours a day? ***

because a coder who actually tries to work 8 hours a day eventually ends up staring at the screen like a mental patient, trying to focus on the -> operators, clicking the mouse randomly in convulsive little jerks.

Your idyllic picture of the 8 hour coding marathon simply doesn't exist.  Sorry Nancy.  This is reality.  If you're such a superstar, why are you spending so much time posting here?  Shouldn't you be working?  If you work 12 hour days doing nothing but "work" work, you must have LOTS of chores to get done by now at home.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

"its a shame your employer does not hold the sanctity of your time as highly as you hold the sanctity of "Company Time", isn't it? Why feign your allegiance to an obviously exploitative situation?"

I would not consider working for eight hours exploitive. I do consider working for 2 hours when you are getting paid to work 8 exploitive of the company's time.

You signed a contract to work for the company. You didnt sign a contract for day-care. Work isnt about playing and quality time or any other day care attributes. It is about doing what you are paid to do and hopefully doing it better than anyone else.

My employer and I do see eye to eye every time I look in the mirror. Why? Because people that work hard have an edge over the majority that dont.

dmart
Monday, August 02, 2004

keep thinking that bashing your head against a task 12 hours a day is "working hard".  We'll keep working intelligently and efficiently, and smoking your ass on reviews, like I do now.

You mentioned 12 hour days, not 8.  I would certainly call 12 hour days exploitative.  Don't change your story now you're losing.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Hey Muppet...

Nobody really gives a shit. You sound like a spoiled little child who is crying because he isn't getting his way. Rather than argue with people, you've insulted and mischaracterized them. I just read this thread and noted that most people were polite and civil with you up until the point you started screaming like a spoiled brat.

And you're little line about Nazi Germany requires the invoking of Godwin's Law.

No
Monday, August 02, 2004

Muppet, my guess is that if you were able to convince your boss to let you work just the two "productive" hours each day, it woudn't be long before you'd be back here complaining that no programmer in the universe can be productive for any more than thirty minutes each day, and that you have every right to read forums for the other hour and a half without some overpaid bossman telling you off.

.
Monday, August 02, 2004

In other words, stop throwing your toys out of the pram every time the real world impinges on your precious little daydreams.

.
Monday, August 02, 2004

actually.. if you actually read the entire thread (it seems like you didn't), dmart is the one who made it personal.  Until then, I was only responding to what people had to say, point/counterpoint.  But hey, if you feel threatened by somebody who doesn't agree with you and is vocal about it, maybe you ought to not read my threads.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Are you winning, muppet? You dont sound like it.

Brian Tracy has an analogy about success being like an airplane at take off. You need to work REALLY hard to get off the ground and then you can throttle back and cruise. But you have to reach cruising altitude before you can relax. Relax before you reach altitude and you will never get off the ground.

You are relaxing on the runway and complaining about it.

dmart
Monday, August 02, 2004

I'm not complaining about my situation at all.  You've been telling me what a jerk I am for enjoying what I've got.  I've been defending it.  Where do you see me complaining?

I only had a rant about company time.  I'm not currently having a problem with it.  I pretty much work at the pace I please.  When someone had a derogatory comment today, I wrote my little rant.  On the company's time.  Imagine that.

Now why don't you go take your medicine or something?

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

muppet,
I think its you that needs to unclench.  In some areas you have valid points.  Of course, I think that your valid points are also very obvious points, so you don't really get any originality credit.  However, your constant tooting of your own horn ("management thinks I'm a superstar", "I will keep smoking your ass on reviews" etc.) definitely clouds your arguments.  Also, you chided a couple people for arguing semantics as a fallacy of logical debate.  Yet, you commit an even more common debate error over and over when you result to throwing personal insults all over the place (subconciously trying to discredit your opponent in the eyes of the public).  You also use a disclaimer (this is just an incomplete rant) so that if someone challenges the sensibility of your statements, you can just fall back on the incomplete status of the rant.  Regardless of the validity of your position, these things make you a very poor debater.

Most of your points about schedules and managerial roles are stated ten times more gracefully by Lister and DeMarco in Peopleware.  Like I said, you get no points for originality.  But maybe the bigger point is what do we do about it once we realize that the system we are in is wrong?  Apparently you have decided to take the bosses money and give him an effort that is "good enough".  Perhaps that effort ends up being more than your coworkers give because you're such a superstar, but can you really be satisfied with "good enough"?  "Here's my 2 hours boss.  Sure, If I gave a crap, I could really do something spectacular, but I've already produced more than Gary and Ted combined today, so screw it.  I've got personal stuff to do and websites to surf."

It sounds to me like you just need to discover the superior fulfillment of an *honest* days work.

Clay Whipkey
Monday, August 02, 2004

++Apparently you have decided to take the bosses money and give him an effort that is "good enough".  Perhaps that effort ends up being more than your coworkers give because you're such a superstar, but can you really be satisfied with "good enough"?  "Here's my 2 hours boss.  Sure, If I gave a crap, I could really do something spectacular, but I've already produced more than Gary and Ted combined today, so screw it.  I've got personal stuff to do and websites to surf."++

Hell yes.  It's fine for employers to give us a working environment that's "good enough", so that's the level of commitment they get from me in return.  If I work my ass off, it won't be recognized or rewarded anyway.  Not in any tangible way.  If all of you are satisfied with working your asses off for a pat on the head from whoever your currently designated "superior" is, then more power to you.

You're right, I threw some insults around in response to the tone of a few people.  My failing, but it still doesn't invalidate my argument.  And I never claimed I was espousing anything revolutionary, just proclaiming frustration with the numbnuts who maintain the status quo.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

muppet, You are one of the "numbnuts" who maintain  the status quo. Vote with your feet.

_
Monday, August 02, 2004

Two points. First, people that hustle do get rewarded. They are the ones that are trusted. Trusted to do what is right for the company, trusted to do their best, trusted with more responsibility.

Who would you trust more, the guy that does enough to get by and makes sure you know it, or the one who does his job and when he has more bandwidth asks for more?

Second, your brain is like the rest of your body. Exercise it and it grows stronger. Leave it idle and it gets weaker. People that are not physically active may claim that 8 hours of manual labor is impossible, even destructive. And they would be right -- for themselves. They would be wrong for all the athletes and laborers that can and do perform 8 hours of intense physical labor every day.

A well trained body can do a lot more than 8 hours of physical labor and a well trained mind can do a lot more than 8 hours of mental labor. Try it, you may surprise yourself.

It is the choice of each individual whether they want to work hard and enjoy the fruits of their labor or whether they want to rationalize why they are doing second best.

dmart
Monday, August 02, 2004

+++Who would you trust more, the guy that does enough to get by and makes sure you know it, or the one who does his job and when he has more bandwidth asks for more?+++

but see, you're missing something here.  I don't let anybody know it, and I'm the ONLY guy on my team who regularly asks for more work to do.  I'm getting stuff done.  That's what you can't fathom.  I'm getting more done than people who (pretend to) toil for 8 hours a day at it.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

dmart, I don't know what magical fairy land you're working in where hard work is actually, reliably recognized with anything but more work, but good for you, dude.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Yeah, muppet is such a fucking superstar and wonderboy but he still can't figure a way to dig himself out of his shithole.

People that are smart *and* hardworkers are amazingly adept at working themselves into the job they want.

People that are smart *and* lazy simple settle for their crap job while telling everyone else around them how fucking smart they are.

Get a grip, dude. You got a shit job and your solution is to sit on your ass thereby insuring your status will never change. That makes you a tool.

Successful people are clever enough to figure out that their managers are twits and come up with a way to advance their career away from the twit. You just sit here and brag about how smart you are all the while asking for another serving of shit from your boss.

Clueless.

Glad it ain't me
Monday, August 02, 2004

Muppet-

Keep fighting the man!  I don't always agree with you but here you are right on. 

Master of the Obvious
Monday, August 02, 2004

It is called america, where you can succeed if you work at it. And for everyone that doesnt want to work at it, you can complain and blame others for not succeeding. What makes it so wonderful (and fairyland like) is that there are a lot more complainers than workers, so there are a lot of opportunities for those that aren't afraid of hard work and arent afraid of putting out even when there are no reliable guarantees.

dmart
Monday, August 02, 2004

+++Yeah, muppet is such a fucking superstar and wonderboy but he still can't figure a way to dig himself out of his shithole.+++

Wait, where did I say I was in a shithole?  I must have missed it?  I'm actually in a pretty ok place.  My boss can be a dick sometimes (whose can't?), but he generally gives me all the latitude I want to work as I will.  I only ranted here in response to somebody criticizing my use of "company time", which I stated.

Where, anywhere, did you get the impression that I was the least bit unhappy with where I'm working?

You pull 'facts' out of thin air, lacking any context or source other than your own jealousy-addled head and I'M the idiot?

Welcome to Crazy World!!

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

+++It is called america, where you can succeed if you work at it. And for everyone that doesnt want to work at it, you can complain and blame others for not succeeding. What makes it so wonderful (and fairyland like) is that there are a lot more complainers than workers, so there are a lot of opportunities for those that aren't afraid of hard work and arent afraid of putting out even when there are no reliable guarantees.+++

I'm sorry.. I...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAAAAAA

::wheeze::

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Let's see. On one hand there is a disgruntled employee that makes a long. rambling rant about how his boss reprimanded him for inappropriate use of company time. His view is that programmers can only get 2 hours work done, so... they should only be asked to work for 2 hours and not be bothered when they are caught not working at work. His belief is that you shouldnt work hard at work because companies dont work hard at rewarding you or guaranteeing your rewards in advance. This employee belittles and berates anyone that disagrees with his views.

Then on the other hand, there is a superstar employee that everyone loves and respects because he has a positive attitude, volunteers for extra work and outperforms all his coworkers. He is happy and content. He gets the best performance reviews, and [presumably] is well rewarded for his outstanding efforts. To paraphrase this star performer, he will smoke your ass with his exemplary performance reviews!

Is it just me, or is there a slight contradiction in there?

dmart
Monday, August 02, 2004

+++Let's see. On one hand there is a disgruntled employee that makes a long. rambling rant about how his boss reprimanded him for inappropriate use of company time.+++

You do like to argue based upon false assumptions and silly straw men, don't you?

Where in this thread (or any other) have I *EVER* said that I was reprimanded by my boss for use of company time?!  Go find it, and then come back and try to argue with me when you have your facts straight.

It's no wonder you're so loyal and devoted to your employer.  It's a wonder you don't drown in the shower every morning.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

And I know I've stated this already, and you keep glossing it over because your small, reptilian brain can't handle it... but I DO volunteer for additional work, I DO ask for more projects to work on, and I DO get exemplary reviews.

I know that's hard for you to swallow since I'm not busting my ass at work.  I guess I'm just smarter and more efficient than you can fathom with your meager skillset.  Otherwise maybe you'd have addressed these points by now in your relentless (and boring) arguments.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

muppet asks this:
"Where in this thread (or any other) have I *EVER* said that I was reprimanded by my boss for use of company time?! "

just a few posts after stating this:
"I only ranted here in response to somebody criticizing my use of "company time", which I stated."

Do you need any more help, muppet?

dmart
Monday, August 02, 2004

___just a few posts after stating this:
"I only ranted here in response to somebody criticizing my use of "company time", which I stated."____

in your dictionary, is the word "somebody" defined as "boss" ??


.....keep digging, dmart, you're bound to strike oil sooner or later.

or not.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

well okay, muppet. I guess you figured out your problems with company time to your satisfaction.

You keep plugging your good two hours and I'll stick with my self made fairyland.

dmart
Monday, August 02, 2004

sounds good.

Don't forget to grab your ankles, otherwise you might reflexively jerk upright when you're getting "rewarded" and that could make for some awkward moments in the E.R.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004


"in your dictionary, is the word "somebody" defined as "boss" ??"

Are you FUCKING kidding me?! You're entire thread has been about how your boss shouldn't make more, blah, blah, your boss this, blah blah blah, your boss that, blah blah.

And now you are conveniently saying that "somebody" wasn't your boss? Whatever. You're talking out of both sides of your mouth.

Oh
Monday, August 02, 2004

Oh -

hardly.  I said my rant was triggered by somebody bitching at me about my use of company time.  I started by ranting about my use of company time, and then went on to this whole deal about my boss being above me, my superior, because debates about company time inevitably comes down to what your boss tells you to do, what he thinks about your use of time, blah blah blah.

I never once connected the two.  I didn't even imply it.  If you made that connection, you projected it from your own silly head.  Don't blame me for your lack of reading comprehension, blame the school system wherever you hail from.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Gentlemen,

Don't you know that:

http://www.fohguild.org/forums/showthread.php?s=5be553d272f5d91037b4b170c376ea0f&threadid=6733

Courtesy of The STFU Foundation
Monday, August 02, 2004

what a horribly insensitive and very uneducated graphic.

Not to mention that it's about 6 years old.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Hey muppet, what were your SAT scores?  Please tell us again, we're waiting to be dazzled by your fucking genius.

What a fucking self-centered asshole. Your greatest talent is turning food into shit.

.
Monday, August 02, 2004

I never claimed to be a genius, either.  My SAT was a lowly 1250, since you asked.

My claim is that I don't need to bust my ass eight hours per day to provide what seems to be a great deal of perceived value to my employer, and so why the hell should I?  If I were compensated with stellar pay, a stellar work environment, and stellar, progressive policies; then yeah, I'd bust my stones to provide the best damned service I could muster, but I'm not and so I don't.  I have to ask yet again, what's the issue here?  Where is the problem?

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

My employer regularly thanks me for my work, tells me that the other project managers on the team are very happy with my throughput, and everyone is impressed with how quickly I've scaled the learning curve and become productive since joining the organization.

The point of all this information is not to toot my own horn, though I can see how a very shallow person would read it that way, only that way, and stop processing it at that point.

No, the point is that I'm not busting my stones, really not working all that hard (though as hard as I feel I'm compensated for), and my employer is MORE THAN HAPPY with the value he is getting for his dollar (my salary).  So again:  WHAT.  IS.  THE PROBLEM?

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Ah I get it now. It was a hypothetical rant.

_
Monday, August 02, 2004

.  -

I also do a fair job exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide.  Let's not forget that.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

You know Muppet, you have some good points. However, you so quickly get involved in a flame war that your arguments become hard to take seriously. But the worst thing is you start to attack ad-hominen.

I'm sorry, but in a heated debate suggesting to someone that working hard or for 8 hours a day is analogous to being anally violated is clearly a personal attack. And it is offensive, period.

But the worst isn't that you are suggesting anal rape (that's pretty bad though), its that you are attacking him because he says he works a hard 8 hours. Why? I guess you can't deal with the idea that it might work for him. I'm with you mostly, I find it quite beneficial to take many breaks throughout out the day. I've taken whole days off just because I didn't want to work, and that was one of the most productive periods of my life. And I've always been super productive. So, on that point I agree.

However,  maybe he works somewhere where the coding issues aren't mindbogglers, where continuous concentration isn't required so much. Maybe he has brain where he doesn't have bursts of mental energy, but instead he has a steady stream of average power. In those cases, who cares?  He's probably not as good as you say you are, right?

Or maybe, just maybe, he's one of those people who never seem to get tired.  Who work like madmen, always, everyday. Yet they always produce great code and designs. Those guys are rare. Those guys will out-produce others by a large margin. Those guys do exist and they are amazing*.

You ignore any other possibility except for the one where he is too clueless to realize how shitty he has it.  And to make your point as crassly as possible, you compare it to being anally raped. Do you see how it is hard to take you seriously?

--

* I worked with one guy who absolutely blew me away with how much he could produce. To watch him work was amazing, he used some weird text mode editor from way back, his fingers moved so fast it was blur and they never left the keyboard, all navigation was keyboard shortcuts and menu picks. He seemed to speed read code, and could recite all sorts of minute details about large swaths of code that he didn't write. He was like that always, everyday. And the guy was very senior for his age, and very, very well respected by every developer.  I honestly didn't think it was possible to work that fast at all, let alone with a very high degree of quality.

They're out there, and they're better than you can imagine. Be afraid.

Ronk!
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

I think muppet just lacks the writing ability to convey a fairly mundane point without drawing fire from all quarters. Beyond that he seems also to lack the ability to cope maturely with the flak he gets. Neither would be a problem on slashdot, but on here it's like a red rag to a bull.

.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Apparently, they're not such mundane points, or there wouldn't be so much fire and brimstone over them.  Your statement amounts to "Muppet is such a poor writer with so little eloquence that he could write that people should come in out of the rain and draw fire from all quarters."

This is of course, nonsense.

muppet
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

OK, ok, ok, ok... stop.

Greg Hurlman
Tuesday, August 03, 2004


Muppet said > "Your statement amounts to "Muppet is such a poor writer with so little eloquence that he could write that people should come in out of the rain and draw fire from all quarters." "

Ummmm, yes, that's exactly his point.

A reasonable person would write 'You should come in out of the rain.'

Muppet would write 'Hey a**hole, you're obviously much more incompetent than me because you carry that f**king umbrella instead of coming in here and letting me tell you how dry I am.  You're getting it up the a** from the weather gods."

Muppet, I may or may not agree with you on some of the points you've raised, but I find it very difficult to credit you for any good arguments you make because you resort to personal insults the moment someone disagrees with you.

Craig
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

No, not the moment someone disagrees with me.  The moment someone takes on a condescending/insulting "tone" (for lack of a better word).    Posts with the overall feel of "look here skippy..." get my hackles up.  Sue me.

muppet
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Managers are a band-aid in the software creating world.

They are very necessary within the average organization, because the average organization attempts to skate by using low-grade talent.  The shabbier your programmers (and your company overall) the more they need supervision.  Conversely, with top talent (Google, for instance, Joel's "smart and get things done" piece) you don't need any nonproducers who perform herding activities.  Arguments to the contrary start from a failure to discriminate on talent, and so fall into a fallacy of "look around, what do you see".  Surprise, surprise.

Is the high-performing team without managers common?  No.  Nor is the stellar-performer common among the ranks of the corporate world.

If you have a day-to-day manager and don't need one, find a way to demonstrate that.  (Hint: deliver something without prodding.)  The folks above your manager, if competent, would be thrilled to dispense with that superfluous expense, in cases where it is superfluous.  The working class chart their own fate in these things.  If you're not at a place where that works, you need to leave.  Right now.

Managers don't always make more than those they manage.  I'd be comfortable with a bet that the programmer Dave Cutler made more than his managers at MS and DEC, assuming he didn't report directly into the exec wings.  (Dave who?  Statistically, you're almost assured of reading this via Dave's work.)  He was also a manager of many himself, but not of the pure paper-shuffling, meeting inducing sort.  Look to the world of professional sports, coaches and players, for further insight into salary.

Muppet is impetuous, to be sure.  But I prefer by far working with impetuous youngsters to pale grey drones selling the status quo.  When he gets off the JOS, and dispenses with the rants, he'll probably do well, and perhaps manage to get out from under the thumb of The Man.  But self pity is addictive, and the dehumanization of corporate life coupled with the faux socialization and rapid gratification of web self publication is a hard nut to crack.

To the folks talking about market forces above... the topic post is a fine example of market forces in action.  Solid talent brings better than average value without furious effort.  If the top performers made 10x salaries, then you might be right to expect 1x effort from them, compared to the meager middle.  When someone does 10x work at a .1x rate, he's supplying as much as the pack.

Somebody who needs to study history closer mentioned Marx above.  Without claiming Marx was dead-on, I must alert you that his stuff has never been tried.  (The Soviet system was Stalinist state dictatorship.  But that's OK.  It's a common delusion among rabid capitalists to believe their favored system recently buried Marx under a wall of rubble in Berlin.)

Mystery Driver
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Oh, Muppet...

Brother, it's out of nothing but love that I offer these vague words to you:  Dale Carnegie and good ale at lunch.

Mystery Driver
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Thanks MD, for your eloquent post.

I've no idea what's up with the Dale Carnegie business, however.  :)

I'm off to spend the evening with google.

muppet
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Marx has never been tried. Muahahahaha. What, you mean just because we got deathly ill from eating half the meal, it doesn't count because we didn't finish it?

.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

So, if a half-assed, half-hearted attempt doesn't work, that's clear evidence that a full implementation would have failed as well.

You'll go far in IT ".", I have no doubt.

muppet
Tuesday, August 03, 2004


Go Muppet! I consider the time from when I wake until I sleep and also the dreams my time. mine mine mine mine.  how could it be other? 

I happen to spend some of them in an office banging code for THE MAN. He cuts me a check.  I want bigger checks , so sometimes I write his code. 

Sometimes I write my code or look out the window. Sometimes I said "kind things" because I think it will make the next check bigger. Sometime I curse and swear because I'm feeling ornery. The man has some strategies to get me to work harder. Some carrot, some stick.  I don't mind that's his life to live.  He tries, I try. 

It's not a moral world.  He tries to get me to work more for less pay, I try to work whatever for more pay.  He can fire me.  I can quit. Everyday is war.  Why wish it other? 

Dude next to me is feeling guilty about stealing company time, so he holds his urine all day. Left-side guy is a smelly artist who can only code in 15 minute orgasmic bursts. 

go muppet.

Zane
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Zane, you're either trolling or you simply don't get my point at all.

muppet
Tuesday, August 03, 2004


I guess I don't get your point at all.

My point is there is no reason to work at work.

Why?

If you don't THE MAN can fire you.
If you do THE MAN can pay you more.
THE MAN can arrange some system to make HIMSELF rich from your labor.

And you can fight it.

All the time is mine.  There is no such thing as "company time."  I work all day and night on my own projects.  I do company work, plus some politics and psychological operations, only enough to keep management's impression of me above average.  Occasionally, there is some lucky overlap between something cool and something company. A lucky conincidence.

The man has some tricks.  Email monitoring, Web blocking, Hours of operation, Performance reviews, Project plans.  I have some too. 

The man pays me on his perception of what I've done.  Fine.

Zane
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Zane may be trolling, but it's just an exaggeration of what you were saying.

\
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

no, not really.  I'm not talking about taking advantage of an employer, I'm talking about more realistic and mutually beneficial working arrangements.  I'm still looking to put in the same number of hours each week, just not necessarily from 9-5 consecutively every day ad nauseum.

muppet
Wednesday, August 04, 2004


Who's saying anything about taking advantage?  I work for the employer, she gets some value.  I get a check.  I'm quite certain my employer thinks the code is worth more than the check.  Don't you people play politics?

Zane
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

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