Re: permalancer

Subject: Re: permalancer
From: "Greg Holmes" <greg -dot- holmes -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2008 12:43:34 -0500

Technical Writer <tekwrytr -at- hotmail -dot- com> wrote:

>It is flattering to the ego to believe one is doing work of such
complexity that
>one is the only person capable of doing it, and that one is, therefore,
>unreplaceable for all practical purposes. It is also seriously misguided. In
>a labor market filled with highly skilled, competent people willing to work
>for modest salaries, the "be-nice-to-me-or-I-will-quit" threat rings hollow.
>In fact, most TWs can be replaced in a flash, and usually by someone as
>(or better) skilled.

Wow, I guess I really want to work for after reading that ...

Andrew Plato, is that you? ;)

>Back in the olden days when waterfalls were considered reasonable software
>development, and months could go by when no one really knew what the IT
>department was doing or why, "star programmers" could hold companies hostage
>because they were the only ones who could understand the programs they
>were writing. Those days are gone forever in all but a handful of dinosaur
>organizations. Outsourcing of IT work is as much to retain (or regain)
>control of the process as to save money.

The truth, of course, is somewhere in between. Systems are only as good
as the people in them. The dream of people as interchangeable cogs
has clearly failed, and everybody outside of the boardroom can see
that in outsourcing (the mindless working to spec without understanding,
the massive language and cultural barriers, etc.).

>From a manager's perspective, any time a specific employee is
>"unreplaceable," it is in the best interest of the organization to resolve
>that situation as soon as possible. Specifically, the "unreplaceable"
>person is a threat to the bottom-line and continuity of the
>organization. Any manager who does not realize that--and take action
>to resolve it--should not be a manager.

Not quite. Good employees *are* irreplaceable in the sense that they
can only be truly replaced with *other good employees* (who needless
to say, are *not* a dime a dozen), and that you shouldn't be replacing
them anyway without a darn good reason.

Greg Holmes

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