Re: Employment question

Subject: Re: Employment question
From: "Eric Dunn" <dunn -dot- eric -dot- l -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "m w" <iowa_tech_writer -at- hotmail -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2007 11:02:13 -0400

On 6/27/07, m w <iowa_tech_writer -at- hotmail -dot- com> wrote:
> I don't know if I'm bothered so much by the political differences, as I am by the attitude of
> "Are you good enough to be a part of our snobby clique?".

How on Earth do you go from gets along with the group, to "snobby clique"?

> The tech industry is notorious for being filled with socially inept people. Trying to dismiss
> a highly-qualified candidate because he isn't "cool enough" to be a part of a
> self-important group is troubling, and it only upholds the stereotype of tech
> people being eccentric and difficult to work with.

Nobody mentioned "cool" or "self-important". What was mentioned was
"Like it was a given
that no one could ever disagree with those opinions." IMO, that brings
to mind loud, opinionated, and unbending. Possibly intolerant and/or
condescending towards differing opinion.

Your interpretation actually suggests your own political prejudices
and insecurities. The laughable thing being I don't think anyone can
be certain of the political/religious leaning of either the
established group at Anon's place of employment or those of the
prospective hire.

> If the candidate has strong tech skills, and has good communication skills
> for working with SMEs and other writers, then that person should be given a chance.

Judging by the lunch time incident, the person is lacking in
communication skills. They failed to detect the discomfort and stress
that was present in the conversation. "Socially inept" may be
acceptable for the geeks with uber-knowledge of the product and
development, and may be to an extent acceptable for technical
communicators. But, the level of social dysfunction has to be limited
to a level where the label "works well with others" can apply.

Yes, it is possible to work professionally or live in a close personal
relationship with people who hold certain opposite or polarized views.
But, such relationships depend on both sides having an certain
openness and being aware of the limits and methods of debate. The
engineer that you annoy to the point of anger at lunch is not likely
to be helpful in the afternoon.

That's not to say management cannot control the situation and make all
work dealings professional. But, if there will be a negative or even
hostile undercurrent to the workplace does management want to risk the
possible consequences.

It's not about politics or religion. It's about personalities. What's
needed is a frank discussion and questions of candidates around the
openness to discussion, the tolerance and acceptance levels for
opposing opinion, and an evaluation of how the candidate comports
themselves when faced with such situations. It's something that's
imperative even when on the surface the candidate and group agree on
all current issues. Because one day, there will be something. Some hot
button issue (and it might even be a work related issue) over which
the team will tear themselves apart with the same passion and zeal
they have for the current commonly held beliefs and feelings.

And it's irrelevant in terms of the new hire at this time, IMO,
whether the problem lies with the existing team or the new comer. In
the short term, you need a new employee and need to be sure that
office dynamics aren't negatively affected. In the long term, if the
problem lies with the team the problem should be addressed with a well
thought out plan and guidelines.

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RE: Employment question: From: m w

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