Three terrible tech trends


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/27/three-terrible-tech-trends.html


#2

Third is marketing workaholic poverty to the young as a way of life.

This has also been self-perpetuating within the tech industry since at least the 1990s. When bad management necessitates a company operating on eternal crunch time and endless sprints it makes sense for that company to promote a Randian culture of workaholic machismo. That culture also distracts younger employees from the fact that a salary/options compensation package that looked great with a 40-hour work week doesn’t look so good with an 80-hour one.

The lucky few who win the unicorn lottery and start or fund their own companies insist on bringing along that ironman techbro style with them, and the cycle repeats until you get Uber (or worse – it can always get worse).


#3

I still thank the fates I ended up with a job at Boeing as the dotcom boom happened. Hearing from my spouses friends about wow this is my first real weekend over thanksgiving was all I needed to go nope to the extra $$$ of switching jobs. I very much had my weekends off, went home at 5pm every day, only had on call once every 2 months. I realized the extra money wasn’t worth the stress of working all the time.


#4

Are you a sucker who enjoys being exploited? If so - this job may be for you!


#6

I was in startup management and consulting during that period. However, I’d come into it from a different work culture, had been introduced to books like Fred Brooks’ [The Mythical Man Month] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mythical_Man-Month), and was focused on building long-term stability in “boring” niches rather than quick hype-driven pump-and-dumps. Fortunately, I was able to secure a group of clients and investors who agreed with those goals before the fever took hold and enjoyed a very good boom before things collapsed.

As a result of that approach, any manager proposing crunch time or weekend work had to make a very good case to me that the benefits would outweigh the diminishing returns. I also lost track of the number of times I had to tell an employee “it’s awesome that you’re in the zone and loving what you do, but one more hour and then I’m kicking you out and locking the doors.”


#7

I have to say that unfortunately big companies in Europe are discovering this work model. I and most of my collegues are freelancers. When people say things like, " it must be great to set your own hours" you laugh your ass off. The reality of freelancing in Europ is that you ever, ever turn down a contract because there is the constant fear that there won’t be a new one next month. Work isn’t regular but bills are. Not only that but it makes it damn near impossible to get a loan for a car, a house or even, oftentimes, a rental contract. Not having a rental contract and a steady job jeopardizes your visa. Obviously, this system is an excellent way to exploit people and avoid all those things that companies hate paying for, like social taxes, unemployment taxes and the pesky issue of having to get rid of unproductive dead weight like older and pregnant workers.


#8

I overheard one of my CSC managers who was actually local and in the little office we had ( I would go there once a week mostly to get out of the house ) chewing out a coworker for being online and working a ticket as he had been up for several hours the night before and had passed off the problem at 6am to regular shift. For all my other gripes about CSC my managers understood that if we were tired we made mistakes and that was a bigger productivity problem for the team than being down a member for a day or two.


#9

Yeah, I’ll pull weekend hours if needed. And I don’t need an ROI calculation, spreadsheet, or hard analysis to justify it. Predictable results are important, sometimes that requires odd hours or odd requirements. The irony of that isn’t lost of me :slight_smile:

Ask me nice, and I’ll move mountains. Yell at me and y’all will see the true face of stubborn. :sunglasses:


#10

*squints at tiny image in article* “You might be a door? What does that mean? Must be a metaphor. Door to the future maybe? Or maybe it’s the emergency exit that lets you escape the raging inferno of – oh…doer.”


#11

I never get those Fiver add. They all seem very abusive.

But let me add it seems to me that after more than ten years of stagnation, wages for designers are finally going up.


#12

“If needed” was always the key – my shops had crunch time like all tech shops do, but it was the exception rather than the rule. And yeah, if someone worked better and more predictably nights or weekends I’d find a way to accommodate him. But if it meant burnout it wasn’t happening: “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”


#13

This isn’t mentioned but I find gameification of certain things insidious. While it can do wonders for keeping high engagement this has been abused in the last few years to encourage people to spent more time and money within apps and websites.


Few sad as About.com closure announced
#14

“Free market” interpreted as: I’m free to create a market, choose who participates in or is forced into my market, and levy taxes on my market.

Feudal fiefdoms are just around the corner.


#15

A few years ago I was at a dinner with a client after an insane week-long push for their product launch. I was absolutely flabbergasted when she said with a straight-face, “But, you love it right? Staying up all night to hit the deadline?” She assumed everyone was the same kind of adrenaline junkie she was- fucking blew my mind. In the same conversation she expressed distain for an employee who had the temerity to ask for a two-week vacation. What is wrong with this country? Gift of capitalism my ass.


#16

#17

Bosses love these people because no matter how many people say, “That’s too many hours” you’ve always got one jackass who the boss can point at and say, “They like it, why are you complaining?”


#18

“They ‘like’ it because they have no self-respect.”


#19

“You don’t sound like a team player, you’re fired.” (repeat a dozen times, wonder why there is no company loyalty anymore)


#20

Studies have repeatedly shown that every hour over 40 per week gives not just diminishing returns, but negative returns. In other words, people accomplish less in 41 than they would in 40. Might have something to do with sleep deprivation being your drug of choice.


#21

I used to freelance, and holy shit, yeah, it was an exhausting and never ending roller coaster. I ended up in a full time job at a non-profit where I’ve been for almost 10 yeas now, and the funny thing is we go through the same thing as an organization. Our Executive Director is constantly chasing grants and funding from a mixture of government and private sources which are never grants to cover or expand existing work, always to cover new work (but really finding a way to fund/expand the core work) and sometimes no money at all.

Funders, especially the government agencies pay late, sometimes an entire fiscal year late, and squabble over every penny. They are always trying to get more work for free, just like some asshole ordering up designs in exchange for “exposure.” And this is to do work, that, often times, the agencies should be doing themselves, but they don’t have the flexibility to be innovative or quality-oriented.

My boss is incredibly savvy and gifted with an ability to sell our vision and get work. She often turns that ability on us, but the cracks show occasionally. In leadership meetings, she usually announces new and potential grants with “funders love us because we do good, smart, innovative work that no one else can do, and because we have such a great, brilliant team” Recently, in a small meeting she had an “accidentally candid” moment and said “They like our low overhead and that we never say no no matter what they ask for.”