Re: How not to attract staff!

Subject: Re: How not to attract staff!
From: Chris Hamilton <chamilton -at- GR -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 1997 08:13:50 -0600

Lisa Higgins wrote:
> It's all well and good to want employees who'll do whatever it takes
> to get the job done well; but if a company's way of expressing that
> is to say that you must be working long hours under a lot of stress,
> I'd venture to guess that maybe they're approaching the issue the
> wrong way.

Lisa and all, please don't think this is flaming. It's just something I
care passionately about. I say this with the utmost of respect and care
for people who are often abused by the craziness of this industry. I
also recognize that the second part of the paragraph tempers the first
part, but...

<SOAPBOX> I absolutely, emphatically disagree. "Whatever it takes to get
the job done" was a phrase being thrown around loosely at my current job
about four months ago. It was just part of the lingo, until finally, in
a meeting to plan how to work yet another weekend and more nights, I
called someone on it. In a meeting where this phase was used a few
times, I finally couldn't take it anymore. "Would you work if your
parents died?" I asked the person who used the phrase most. "No." "Would
you cancel or postpone wedding plans for work?" "No." "Would you work
instead of going to your kid's birthday?" "No." "Well, then, you aren't
willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, and since you don't
mean it, don't say it." Remarkably, I didn't get thrashed for this.

I know this may sound really anal-retentive, but in the many pockets of
the computer industry, corporate cultures often creep up to and
sometimes cross that line. And for what? I'm all for deadlines and
trying to get good work out the door in a timely fashion, but will the
world end if we don't meet our latest unreasonable deadline? Will the
fabric of the universe rip inviting the dark overlords of the
netherworld into our dimension? Will the company go out of business?

I'm willing to put in reasonable amounts of overtime on a limited basis,
but I'm through putting my life on hold for weeks or months at a time to
meet arbitrary deadlines. And I will absolutely not kill myself for
people whose attitude is, "hey, they're salaried; it's free to have them
in here on the weekends, so get them in here." If you want me to work
the overtime, then put in a good-faith effort to avoid it. If it's a
last resort and something very important, I'm willing to stay. If it's
just convenience, not so much.

I work to have money to do other things, not because it defines who I
am. To paraphrase Dr. Laura, I am my kid's (soon to be kids') father. I
am my wife's husband. I am also a technical writer. If that makes me
unprofessional or anything, then so be it.</SOAPBOX>
Chris Hamilton, Technical Writer
Greenbrier & Russel

"Try? Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try." -- Yoda

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