Re: New slant: professionalism (long)

Subject: Re: New slant: professionalism (long)
From: Nancy Hickman <nhickman -at- GVI -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 15:09:45 -0500

I agree with a lot of what's being said, and I'm glad that people have
articulated their concerns.

As I've written before, I think that we can't go the route of stating
that technical careers are only a young or new person's game. There are
plenty of people in midlife who can and want to switch careers and have
an equity of experience that can contribute a lot.

On the other hand, what I hear frequently out in the field is that
people essentially want two sets of "rules."

The first set is in play when they start, and they want high salary,
status, and responsibility from the get-go, arguing that whatever they
did before is essentially the same. I think that evaluations should be
performance based, and if you can do the work, cool, claim your reward
which should be as good as other excellent performers. After people take
a chance on you and you do well, you ought to see better rewards come
your way.

The second set of "rules" comes into play when they have been in the
field a while and now want the respect and compensation of an
experienced person. They now argue that they are different from the new
or run-of-the-mill person.

It's really funny to watch the transformation sometimes.

The same applies to management positions. Although we ought to demand a
search for the best and the brightest in leadership positions, it
doesn't always happen in our field. Some people get into management by
happenstance or tenure. Then, in a few cases, all of a sudden they have
a laundry list of qualifications for anyone they hire. Sometimes, it's a
funny thing, the most vocal people on qualifications are from those who
got their leadership position by default.

They are also going by the "two sets of rules" game plan.

Isn't it ironic?

If you have a vision beyond a couple of years for yourself in this
profession, it's in your interest to demand career ladders that are
equivalent to the career ladders in other development areas in your
company. You also ought to support your company in seeing the management
of your group as serious and as well compensated as any other management
position. Not to mention seeing to it that the time a manager spends
doing development work should be equivalent to the time other managers
spend doing development work, as well as the training a manager may get
at a company. Management is as much of a skill as any other. Not better,
not higher, but different. Not just anybody can do it well. We haven't
spoken much about managers, but they are as important to the perception
of our profession's work as any other. A good manager is a gem, and the
good ones out there are often fighting the battle alone and could stand
a little support.

-- Nancy Hickman

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