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Stories, insights, and tips on how to stay balanced (and get ahead).

 

Software and Web Developers, What's Your Motivational Carrot?

picture of man in carrot suit

In my marketing career I've asked developers to do a great many things. Like a 4 year old pleading for candy, I'm always asking for something. "Please, please can you move that button?", "Can you run just one more report, could ya, could ya?" If I have built up a rapport over time with the person, I'm very likely to get a smile and a "sure, no problem". If I get a growl, it is a sure sign of an unmotivated developer. So, I wanted to find out what motivates a developer...what's your carrot?I found answers by reading Nick Halstead's blog entry on what motivates programmers. Another excellent read is Joel on Software's Field Guide to Developers. Here's a summary of my learning:

Biggest Carrots for Software Developers

  • Better Hardware
    • Computer: hot and fast
    • Monitor: flat and large
    • Tech Gadgets: new and numerous
  • Better Projects
    • More Solving Tasks: automation, computation, perspiration
    • Less Non-Solving Tasks: reports, bugs, and documentation
    • Latest Languages/Frameworks: NOT Cobol or Pascal
    • Meaningful: Many users, lofty goals
  • Better Office Environment
    • Quiet: (ear buds + cube farm) OR (walled office) OR (work from home) = Sweet Serenity
    • Chairs: Aeron if at all possible
  • Better Managers
  • Better Work Culture
    • Meetings: Preferably never
    • Respect: Programmer experts not typing monkeys
    • Colleagues: Really smart not pretending to be
  • Better Pay
    • Seriously

Like other professions, pay becomes less of a concern when the other carrots are being dangled. That's a good thing because I can't give my developer friends a raise every time I want a new screen built. What I can do is send a thank you note to their manager, or bring them a t-shirt from the next conference I attend. That should put a smile on their face. As far as long-term developer retention and motivation is concerned though, their bosses better start growing some carrots.

Photo by grumpstone

 
 
 

The Disgruntled Workforce—Defining Our Generation (and economy) One Complaint at a Time

I Hate My Job placard

The workforce is in trouble. You know this statement is true when one of the defining movies of this generation centers around an unhappy employee, dead-set on getting fired from his job.

Little known fact: That little movie, Office Space, barely recouped production costs back when it was released in theatres in 1999. Yet, now, this same movie is one of the most popular rentals of all time AND nine years later, people are still talking about the "o face". Clearly, this movie has struck a chord with Americans. And yes, I do own a copy.Well, I recently came across the Disgruntled Workforce Blog, and it made me think that there is sort of a "job-hating" epidemic going around. (I'm sure if I did more Google searches, I would find plenty more of these blogs.)

(Disclaimer: While the general population appears to be disgruntled with their jobs, I am proud to say I'm not one of them. I merely see the blog as interesting and entertaining.)

Notice the tagline for the blog: "Because people love to complain about their jobs." Is this true? I'd say so. In fact, I probably hear at least three complaints a day from a friend or family member about his job or her job.

Which brings me to my question: Do you actually like your job? Or are you like most of the general population who just works to pay the bills?

Why do so many Americans dislike their jobs? This is the really important question, because companies are constantly striving to improve their retention rates.  Imagine that someone in HR at Company XYZ found the magical answer to this question! Well, I would think their retention rate would shoot up to 100% . And, a high retention rate not only helps a company save valuable dollars, but also solidifies its reputation to recruit and maintain talent.

I'm not sure why so many more people today are unsatisfied in their jobs. In my opinion, it may be that my generation is a "dreamer generation" and we feel as if we must have an extreme, impossible amount of passion and drive in what we do every day. Perhaps, ten years ago, people were more patient, more content learning to love their jobs. Maybe the dreamer generation just wants to feel that passion right away? Or maybe we just love to complain?

What do you think?

(By the way, I didn't forget about the ever-popular television show, the Office. I don't watch it, so I cannot comment, but, from what I've heard, I think it further proves the job-hating epidemic.)

Photo by Mike Monteiro

 
 
 

Showing Your Face, Personality and Credentials? You Must Be a Vid-iot!

I don't have a favorite IT recruiting blog per se, but decided to check out Old Cheezhead, the online recruiting and SEO blog, and Recruiting.com's #1 ranked technology recruiting blog last year.

Well, what do you know, a podcast interview featuring blog partners Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman that really shocked me.  As you can hear, they are anything but advocates for video resumes, and many of their points make good sense.

But as a senior marketing pro who regularly hires such talent, I would appreciate the opportunity to see and listen to someone I couldn't meet personally to help evaluate them - communication and speaking skills, creativity and "good on one's feet" acumen - in the hiring process.  And irrespective of EEOC laws and regulations, I figured that video resumes would be coming into their own by now in our YouTube society.   

Well, I quickly learned why they are AND are not.

I ventured to YouTube and viewed a few dozen of the more than 22,000 video resume posts.  As reality TV has taught us, there is very little that is broadcast which is truly "real".  And that's exactly why I don't think they work very well.  They're a show, a production - a pre-meditated presentation.  Sometimes done very amateurishly; other times done quite slickly.  Even others start out okay, but end up making you scratch your head about what the individual's ultimate career aspirations really are.

In any case, there are key elements always missing from a more authentic face-to-face meeting.  Sure, candidates can put on a bit of an act during an interview, but I have much greater control over evaluating their personality, perspective, drive and energy by unprompted questions and topics.

I think those seeking a position in the entertainment industry are one steady exception to my video resume rules and reactions.  If you effectively entertain, sometimes it just may work!

What do you think?

photo fromIndian Business Blog

 
 
 

Intuition and the Web – No Sure Bet, But Worth the Fret

Okay, I won’t try to beat around the bush with this inaugural entry. I’m a marketer, yes, but a big proponent of the “no BS” rule. Hudson is firmly committed to finding new and better ways to connect with targeted, tough-to-find IT talent (project managers, business analysts, architects and web developers) for our clients in the business services sector – hell, it’s what we do. So, it would seem that effectively trolling in the social and professional networking corners of the fast-evolving Web 2.0 world – at least from this baby-boom Facebooker’s perspective (that just may disqualify my view from the get-go!) – should land us a few more specially skilled technology pros than we would have discovered otherwise.

That is why, among other experiments, we are sponsoring this blog. Mind you, we have not entered this realm with our eyes completely closed. We clearly recognize that formulating a credible ROI model for this investment is hogwash, at least today, so we haven’t bet the farm. That said, we have been thoughtful about pulling together a group of our existing IT talent experts who already blog to contribute their points of view in this forum, and establishing an environment for candid exchange about IT industry trends, new technologies, and career advice.

On the very short list of things I do know is that I don’t know exactly where this blog initiative will take us. However, in whatever direction it heads, the forum will change rapidly as (if) we begin to establish dialogue with our target audience. And frankly, I think an ability to listen and promptly react as we go – our nimbleness, if you will – will most influence our relative success and ultimate fate with this endeavor.

During some recent Web trolling, I happened upon My So-Called Digital Life by starrydynamo. This is the personal AND career blog of a social networking technology professional, whose musings caught my attention. Starrydynamo shares favorite destinations for tech updates and other relevant topics, a host of blogging/networking friends whose profiles are showcased, and some personal hobby discourse. All of that is to be expected. What I did not expect was the genuine self awareness and ability to articulate questions about career relevance, purpose and direction, and to so seamlessly blend with after-work-hours experiences. For this individual, the work/life experience seems truly as one – a refreshing, collective whole of self expression.

In this environment, that expression will vary with each and every individual. That’s what’s so scary, that’s what’s so exciting. And so the Hudson blog begins. Let us know what you think.

 
 
 

Me, Myself and IT

What’s “IT” about
Science was fun till high school, by then I was done with the charm of it and wanted to move on and explore what “business” and “computers” meant - that people were always talking about. I had learned in school that 8 bits make a byte, and I thought it was all about writing code and programming. Programming what, I had no clue – it took me a while to put it all together, but I think “IT” has been worth my time. I started out my career in sales and marketing, got my “business” pieces together for a few years and then one day I decided “That’s it! - I want to take things to the next level”.

I can do IT
So I trained on MS-DOS (yeah I know) and COBOL and Oracle and Visual Basic and SAP – the content was all technical and fancy. I entered a whole new world of databases “sitting” on operating systems (or “boxes”) with applications “talking” to them. I got to a point where if someone in a store came up and asked “Can I help find anything”, I replied “just browsing – thank you”. A couple of years and a few thousand dollars later - I was out in the market in a suit and tie looking for that position called SAP consultant. I thought I was ready for “IT” but the job market took a nosedive and after a few months of wait and watch (…and can’t afford to wait any more…) I figured the best thing was to put it all together and enter the world of IT Sales and Recruiting.

Good Call
I’ve enjoyed my experience in the Industry, although I often wonder where I would be today had I continued down the “SAP Consultant” path; I am excited about talking to people, clients, candidates, asking questions, listening to stories, challenging myself in the process and try to do my best to make a difference – to my wallet too of course. I believe this is where I can take my IT experience to the next level and I can look back and say "Good call"!

 
 
 
 
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