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Work - Personality or technology ?

  1. Jun 16, 2006 #1
    It seems to me that in the last decade or more technical know how is no longer so important for companies. I have the impression that personality modes, human networks, who you know, AND ESPECIALLY HOW YOU BEHAVE is much more important. Now this may have always been true to some degree but it seems like companies today don't even know how to judge people or judge by quirks or gut feelings. They ask for alot of knowledge (at least in software, the field I think I know) but in the end it seems that what really counts is AGE, HOW MUCH OVERTIME YOU ARE WILLING TO DO, HOW MUCH YOU LICK ASS etc.

    I mean even the relationship between work and time at work or working hours is not at all clear or demonstrated. You can achieve alot in 5 hours of work, but then companies think you worked too little, rarely looking at the real results of the work. Whereas if you stay to 10 pm every night and not get anything done you give the impression that you are working. Like in Japan the "salaryman" has to wait until his boss leaves at midnight even if he does nothing because behavior and ritual are of the upmost importance. Then again companies just hand out insane deadlines so you are forced to work 80 hours a week.

    All this could be the result of technology's efficiency because the basic mechanisms work, production is relatively easy and basic needs are more or less easy to satisfy. So you have companies that just like to play around with people, I know many good people who were fired or let go or laid off etc because the companies don't even know what they want, or just to express a PURE STATEMENT OF POWER AND CONTROL.

    Any ideas, am I dead wrong, or are there logical reasons behind this ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 16, 2006 #2


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    You have discovered my secret, whatever you do do not lick ass, do not blame others, work untill the job is done, do not respect your employers,
    if you have to tell them what you think of them, (in a diplomatic way)
    do so if it means getting the job done, and they will pay you oodles of cash.:rofl:
  4. Jun 16, 2006 #3


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    You know, I've never licked anyone's ass around here, nor worked 80 hour workweeks. (In fact, I often work from home, goof off with coworkers, take two hours lunches, show up pretty late when I ride my bicycle, etc.) I take pride in my work, and all my yearly reviews are strongly positive. I also would not be able to do my job at all if I didn't have a wealth of very technical knowledge.

    Sounds to me like you have a really crappy job and outlook on life, and are in need of a new career, a rewarding hobby, and a supportive companion.

    - Warren
  5. Jun 16, 2006 #4
    Thanks for the insight. It seems the repiles above come from some fortunate people. By reading various blogs or forums in the tech area, the work environment seems to have gotten alot worse. I can see myself that there are many situations where the companies have ample choice of tech people, can pay what they want, can be as selective as ever to hire etc. It is not as easy as it was.

    Of course every person will tell of the personal experience and every company and person is completely different so no general rules really apply. But it seems harder now then ever. I find it interesting and telling that the office buildings are now worth alot more then the people who work in them. In Japan workers are considered trash but the real estate is gold - this means what workers do is irrelevant. The same can be found in London and many high end areas of New York.

    Empty boxes are worth alot more than people. Why ????
  6. Jun 17, 2006 #5
    Well economy is really not a science, but from replies I got from other forums it seems that it is better to improve personality and learn to OBEY companies no matter what they want. Some of the replies that I got are more pessimistic:

    from other forums:

    "Corporate companies drain you (I went corporate for a while, left pretty freakinig quickly), you work Mad hours, and work with people who are just worried about Covering their own ARSES. They like to emphasize team work, but you can't have team work when everyone is CYA. There is no "I" in team..yeah right. Doesn't work.

    As far as technology, it has not been good for the Cogs/Sheeps who hold a coporate job. Everything operates in real-time now, what you thought was due today was due 5 days ago, and assigned 2 days ago. Not only that, everything is operating 24/7 because chances are you have your colleagues in India doing work while you're sleeping at night. You wake up the next morning and there's 50 emails on your blackberry. So even when you leave your job, you're still working.

    What's worse is that some of these companies are BRAINWASHING you to think that working long hours is a great thing to do, that if you don't work long hours you're worthless. "

    "i think personality is more important, however u should know the technology other wise they won't hire u, but keeping the job depends more on yr personality. Besides, a person can improve his/her tech know how over time, so i think the companies would prefer a better personality person, some one who "obeys" them. It's thier company so it's thier rules, personality can take u much farther than tech know how. One of my teachers, who used to be an engineer, told us that the largest coorparations r run by B students, not the A students, since B students generally hav better social skills n a personality which is preferred."
  7. Jun 17, 2006 #6
    The point is what is being produced today in most companies ? My idea is that since most basic needs and products are available and can easily be produced, most companies now just produce fluff. I mean what sense does it make for managers to have endless meetings talking about vague ideas etc ? Why is most work simply information ? What seems to be produced at the end of the day is practically hot air, nothing or pseudo projects that are all thrown away the next day and the cycle goes on forever.

    For those items that must really be produced and are produced, there is no need to talk about it forever, there is no need for a traditional company structure in most cases, it can be done quickly and at a very low cost. Why rent out offices in high cost cities ? Because the dominating culture is one of status quo, don't really change anything. Why do people have to drive to offices in silicon valley when most work there is just thoughts ? Because companies want to make a STRONG STATEMENT OF PURE POWER AND CONTROL.
  8. Jun 17, 2006 #7


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    I worked for an italian company once, the idea was to set up another branch, they employed a german guy to head the project (karl) so there was him me and another guy, we had no manurfacturing on site every thing was sent from the mother company, the problem was that all they sent us was thier rejects, karl was all ways in a tutonic rage, but at the end of the day we had to make a machine that worked, i can add that the mother company
    gave each of us a bicycle to get work,a two mile trek that one was greatful to survive, i could not put in the hours i worked then now, but i have fond memories of how we three built a machine that worked well from reject parts, as for karl i hope he has recovered since i told to **** to up his
    *** because the whole idea was nuts
  9. Jun 17, 2006 #8


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    I do believe technical knowhow, or perhaps more appropriately technical competence is quite important. Nevertheless, it is important to be able to work within an organization.

    I have been fortunate to work for small companies. On the other hand, I have to hustle work for such organizations, and the success of that is largely dependent on technical competence, and the fact that I provide solutions to problems that other's do not or cannot. Clients contact me directly or ask for me specifically. :biggrin:

    I'll put in overtime as necessary, but being on a salary usually means working more than 40 hrs anyway. I'll do work related research on my own time (i.e. after business hours).

    I have heard that some of the large companies (some of my clients) work their employees pretty hard. I heard recently about one engineer I know who left one company for another. About 4 weeks on the new job, he had quadruple bypass (cardiac) surgery!

    I think one problem with large organizations is the poor quality of management. Often high level managers do not understand the technology used by the company, and therefore have unrealisitc expectations that the technology should perform flawlessly, just like people flick a light switch and expect the lights to come one without failure.

    As for management, I don't like top down management styles (i.e. I don't like bossy types). My approach to management is to maintain a collegial style and to provide resources and proper support so others can do their work. I prefer people to work with me rather than for me.
  10. Jun 17, 2006 #9
    The range of most salaries in the US is between 1,000 dollars to 3,000 dollars a month. How much was this guy making to get a heart attack ?

    It is truly a bunch of bull that techies make alot of money, most don't even hit 2,000 dollars a month.
  11. Jun 17, 2006 #10


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    For unskilled kids working in stores or a clerk. That's what you earn with nothing but a high school education. Real jobs pay MUCH more than that. Have you looked at salaries recently?

    I don't know where you've been looking for a job, but most "real" tech jobs start in the fifties (annually) and up.

    Sure, if you're going to be the "tech" guy at som mom & pop business, you can't expect to get paid. You need to work for a real company, doing real IT work to make money.
  12. Jun 17, 2006 #11


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    I suspect his salary is probably on the order of $100K/yr. He was a supervisor.
  13. Jun 17, 2006 #12
    The real companies are the ones that won't hire you or the ones that will keep you for 6 months or a year then kick you out because of the insane work load they hand you. Who can find a job in a "real company" anymore ? If you walk on water and have a hundred "networked" people within, maybe. These "real comapines" can choose who they want and very few normal humans can get in.

    I know alot of techs that are 35 years or older and can't find any 50k jobs anymore. Are you living in a fairy land ? Tell me where in the US they will hire an average good tech that isn't willing to be burned out by stress !
  14. Jun 17, 2006 #13


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    Since I am a data consultant working at a Fortune 50 company, IT techs are about the only people I deal with. They make a LOT of money, many have been with the same company for years and they don't work that many hours, although some do have to be on call after hours in case something goes wrong.
  15. Jun 19, 2006 #14
    How important is it to be able to sell yourself to other people through your personality or the people you know ? I ask this because many times I offered to work for companies on my own for their technical problems but they kind of just laughed making me feel as if the problems are not technical or knowledge or making that program, but behavioral, personality related.

    I mean it seems like the real message today is "anyone can read a book on a given technology, learn it and create that program or technical solution so there is no great demand for this or no need to pay much for this anymore, what we really need is good salesmen, good personality types, good people willing to network with others finding markets and holding lots of meetings, especially people who are willing to stay late nights in the office giving the impression of great effort, sense of urgency, etc."

    At least this is my impression, if you think I am wrong explain. Thanks.
  16. Jun 19, 2006 #15


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    I'm a programmer / engineer. Although there are some politics / personalities involved in any business, most of the programming / engineering jobs and environments I'm aware of rely more on techincal skills.

    As far as management goes, it's hit or miss. I've gone through a fairly long period where upper management was replaced every 6 to 12 months, and experienced both good and bad. At the near high levels, company peformance, rather than actual personal peformance, seems to determine their fate, whether or not the individuals were responsible for success or failure, or it was an inevitable path created by previous management.
  17. Jun 23, 2006 #16
    Companies hire on credentials, but PRESUME you will be obedient servants. BTW, it's the same in education, even community college teaching (not research). It matters more how well you brown nose the Dean than your knowledge of Physics, students who learn from you and enjoy your teaching.
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