Are You an Iconoclast?

If you do, you may well be the modern version of an iconoclast, tearing away at the "conventional wisdom" that is the religious icon of the business world.

In the computer industry, there is the idea, put forth by marketing, that new is best, and six months ago is "old". This icon of forced obsolescence (exemplified by the rapid revision rates of expensive software and pricey hardware) is expensive and wasteful. The industry would serve its customers far better by putting out half as many revisions, and using the time to write cleaner, more compact, code with fewer "undocumented features", and more thoroughly testing their products. The idea that you have to churn out new features every two week "sprint" is ridiculous, and leads to bloatware with features that users neither want nor need. Yet bug fixes and performance improvements are seldom addressed, because it doesn't look as good on the sprint ending demo. Often developers will take the easy way and rework for the hundredth time the user interface, which then leaves long time and older users at a loss, needing to re-learn how to use the application again, often abandoning it in frustration.

Then there's the "think outside the box" stereotype? You know, the one that says that the only people able to "think outside the box" are young (under 30, preferably under 25), thin, athletic (thus "energetic") and recent college graduates. Horse pucky! Each person is an individual, and very often those who don't fit the mold in various ways have a great deal of ingenuity and inventiveness to offer. After all, surviving in this industry without fitting the healthy young male yuppie stereotype takes a great deal of creativity!

The marked prejudice against older, disabled, minority or "undereducated" high tech workers costs the industry millions annually, as their young prodigies reinvent the wheel daily. By the time they are seasoned enough to be willing to look at what has been done by others, they are on the way out the door to make room for younger whiz kids. How many 40 and 50 year old programmers and engineers does YOUR high tech company have??

There are not enough whiz kids just out of college to meet the demand for punks with shiny new degrees. Instead of retraining older programmers in new languages and techniques, these companies claim "shortage" and pressure Washington to allow them to hire cheaper labor from overseas on H1B visas. These unfortunate people often take the job for what would be a princely sum in their homeland, only to find that they can barely afford a place to live in the US, especially Silicon Valley!! Then they find that if they want to stay, they can't change jobs, or even get a promotion without having to start the green card process all over again! Can you say "Indentured Servants", at best?

With each dot conm bubble burst, the H1b's are being kept (because they are cheaper, after all), and citizens (including former H1b's) get laid off by the thousands! Not that it's easy for H1b holders to change jobs - in fact, layoffs for them are often devastating, and can mess up their residency and citizenship application process!

Now, there's Covid-19. While many intelligent companies discovered that remote work actually works, without loss of productivity, and costs less in real estate that even open plan "benching" setups, some dinosaur companies are trying to force their employees back in to the office full time, even though the pandemic is not over!. This is not going over well with many folks, especially those with children too young to be vaccinated or who live with immune compromised people. This in turn is driving "the great resignation", primarily of people who are tired of being used and abused. The worst of these firms are financial companies, who are dragging their people back into open plan germ pits without even requiring masking. Don't ever believe these execs when they say that they "care about their employees" or that "employees are like family". If my family treated me like some places treat their workers I'd cut off all contact with them.

Page created: March 28, 2000. Page last changed/tweaked on 03/20/2022