Re: Re: RE: interviews and ethics

Subject: Re: Re: RE: interviews and ethics
From: "Chuck Martin" <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
To: techwr-l
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2003 14:38:12 -0700

"Sean Brierley" <seanb_us -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote in message
news:210593 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> As an employee, not a manager, here's the thing:
> 1) A minimum amount of money is critical. Below that
> sum, all the happiness in the world doesn't help.

Well, according to my current budget, after plenty of cuts, I calculate I'm
operating at a defecit. A small one, but a deficit to be sure. Still, it's
better then what I was getting for Unemployment Compensation. I'll find a
way to make the money work, somehow, because I like a lot about what I'm
doing here. Good challenges (including having to use RoboHelp), good people,
I'm seeing regular progress that both I and my boss are happy with, and I'm
taking part in the design review meetings (with not a little input on my
part). The once-a-week 8:30 project meetings are killers though....

> 2) After that, I'd like to include my family in my
> life; kids and wife. So, mandatory unpaid overtime
> should be kept down.

In my industry--computers--I expect that overtime will be cyclical: more
needed near the end of the product cycle, less (even the occasional short
days) in the early stages (although it's a lot of work when planning and
pre-programming design are done right).

Commitments I've made outside of work are as important as commitments at
work. (I just think commitments are important, period.) Even in the overtime
times, if I have a commitment, I hope you'll work with me to make sure i
dont' ahve to break it. I've been known to work *very* late and even on
weekends to make up for it.

> 3) Next, a little flex time would be valued. I'd like
> to drop off my daughter at the bus or school in the
> morning and work 9-6 instead of 8:30 to 5:30. Can that
> be done? Pushing it further, how about leaving two
> hours early on Wednesday to coach fourth-grade soccer
> . . . and making up by staying late on Tuesdays?

I'm not a morning person. I've valued the places where engineering culture
is strong. That is, rare is it that engineers wander in before 9:30, 10, or
later. But then, it's also rare to see empty engineering cubicles before

I've left "early," like at 5 or 6, more often to go to evening classes--that
I pay for, that improve my work skills--than for any other reason.

> 4) Then, perhaps, a warm and supportive workplace
> environment, with supportive continuous management and
> carrots as well as sticks.

Carrots? Chocolate! And Donuts. And Coke (Cherry Coke is a welcome bonus).

> 5) Training is cool. Here's how cool, I pay for it
> myself if I don't get it, and it pays off. For
> example, last year I was turned down for training,
> this year my employer turned me down for one but met
> me halfway for another training event. I paid my own
> way for two training events this year, both of which
> have saved me time and made me more accurate on the
> job in measurable ways. It'd be cool for an employer
> to support training once a year . . . or twice?

I've never been at any company, large or small, that has paid the cost of
off-site conferences or training. I also go to the Online Help Conference
every year, where I work as well as attend, and also sometimes present.
Partly because I work there (and sometiems speak), I don't pay the
conference fees. But hotel, travel, etc. still cost money. I tend to find
the cheapest airfare and inexpensive hotel rooms (about $40-45/night at a
nice suite hotel the past 2 years, 2 blocks from the conference site and the
rooms had free high-speed Internet access). Most of the time I have gotten
my employers to pay for this, as well as the time not counting against my

In the more than 10 years since I've graduated, most fall, winter, and
spring quarters/semesters I've taken at least one evening class, typically
related in some way to my trade. Even with commuity college tuition at
$11/credit (now $18 thank to the California legislature's shortsightedness),
I've never had a company pay.

Only larger companies where I've worked (IBM, Oracle) have offered in-house
training and classes, but all that was free.

Training is one of the first things to go when budgets are slashed (before
the first people: tech writers). It's penny-wise, but pound-foolish.

> 6) Extra money or a tad more vacation would be next--I
> can do without the aluminium crankshaft pulley and
> titanium exhaust, but being able to afford those
> things would be nice.

If I'm getting paid reasonably well, then don't skimp on the company

PTO is one of the most insidious concepts ever invented ny the HR
profession. It (a) creates incentive to go onto the office when you're sick
(potentially infecting others) jus to save the meager stock of PTO hours,
and (b) takes from vacation time--especially major, long-planned
vacations--when unexpected catastrophies occur that keep you from work. Keep
the sick time separate from vacation time separate from personal time.

> 7) In return, I'll be more productive than you ever
> could imagine, doing the job of a manager plus two
> employees! I'll be accurate and on-time in my
> deliveray and you'll be pleased with my work.

If you make sure I'm invited to all the meetings for the project you've
assigned me to, then that's a huge step to happiness. Don't keep me out of
the loop until everthing's almost finished. You're not (likely) a
preofessional in my field, you really dont' know how much information (and
interaction) I need to do my job right.

Chuck Martin

> > Mon, 25 Aug 2003 11:52:29 -0700 Chuck Martin?wrote:
> >
> >
> > >Wouldn't paying employees who may be otherwise
> > happy
> > >working for you closer to the going rate be far
> > less
> > >expensive in the long term than the high cost of
> > hiring
> > >somone new? (In both monetary and non-monetary
> > costs.)
> >

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