Scott Maxwell, you just read my mind!

Attracting, Retaining and Motivating. What’s in it for them? [Now what?] Scott Maxwell

An excerpt:

Stretch them (without breaking them). Think of stretching a rubber band as far as you can without breaking it. This is the fastest way for top caliber people to develop…getting their goals met becomes difficult for them, which they like!

Give them hard-hitting, constructive feedback. Everyone loves feedback, especially constructive feedback, and most managers shy away from giving it. Instead of hoping they will do the right thing and ignoring when they get off track, tell them what you observe and how you what you think (note: you can do this without being a micromanager by focusing on the themes rather than the details). High caliber people can and do want to do the right thing, so it is up to you to help define what that means (btw, you might be wrong, so giving them the feedback and being open to theirs is even better. It can get you aligned with you taking on their view of right quite often. It also clears the air really nicely).

Read the article

News round-up

The speaker of the U.S Congress has his own Blog
In this land of rabid polemicsm I can see that right now everyone has decided to side with technology and the benefits it promises. The speaker of the U.S congress has just setup his own blog []. I’ll bet he got a 1000 hits in the first hour itself :-).

Chris Webber is black and proud
I saw Chris Webber [NBA] make an appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO. I was impressed by his pride in his African-American heritage and sense of identity. The discussion was focused on a new NBA directive that requires players to be dressed formally when travelling with their team or when on the sidelines during a game (e.g when they are injured and on the bench). Maher attempted to portray this directive as smacking of racial overtones. Chris Webber effectively retorted by going at the root of the problem – I paraphrase, just because he has been asked to wear a suit does not mean he has to stop being black.

Narayan Murthy shows the Karnataka authorities that he is pissed
There is a massive fallout between the very strong Infosys and the Karnataka govt. where a huge Infosys campus is based. Specifically, the CEO Narayan Murthy is angry that the state government has not addressed the poor infrastructure in the state. I am interested in the outcome. Can powerful corporate lobbies influence the state to do good? Thats a great change from hearing about how powerful pharmaceuticals and oil companies drive the state to do *no good*.

Rediff: Myths and facts about the Indian IT Industry
10 myths & facts about the Indian IT Industry [Rediff]

IT Careers: Evaluating your job

I came across an interesting article on evaluating your current job. I respect the article for the fact that it is based on the experiences of the author. It isn’t just any joe blo writing about what he thinks the industry should be like. However, I think the tone of the article is tremendously harsh.

The article can be found here [].

From i-Technology Viewpoint: When to Leave Your First IT Job:
“The first layoff is tough. After bending over backward, after being a loyal employee, this is the reward? To summarize how I felt: Disillusioned. Only one thing kept me going — pure ego. You know when the schoolyard bully says something about your mom in front of everyone? But, ignoring the size difference and the fact that he’s already shaving daily at age 14, you step forward and say “Oh yeah?”, with a Brock Sampson-like eye twitch the only warning of the impending ownage? That’s the kind of ego that kept me determined to give software engineering a second shot.”

I do agree with the following points highlighted in the article.

  1. Don’t ever work in cubicles.
  2. An over-bearing management or they think that they know too much.
  3. Management that relies on, but disregards your technical advice
  4. Management that bullies you over your schedules
  5. Jobs that stunt your personal growth
  6. Job commitments that you are not happy doing
  7. Jobs that don’t give you the opportunity for career advancement
  8. Jobs that don’t consider overtime alongwith compensation

I don’t agree that any one of them alone, is reasons enough for quitting your job. Perhaps that wasn’t the author’s point. It is obvious that very few employers will score 10 out of 10 by the standards set down in the article. It is also hard to evaluate each of these requirements against any existing job. For example, schedules can often be tight when trying to meet market demands and when taking advantage of available opportunities. However, it may not be necessary to have to deliver all that is promised on time. A reduced set of commitments can be negotiated upon within the available time constraints. If the management were to then turn down the request to restrict the scope to fit the time – the writing is on the wall. Several start-ups offer stock-options that are worth very little in exchange for loyalty and dedication. It is only a promised compensation, one that may not materialize ever. Is it still a good job subject to the possibility that the employee is willing to risk it?

What is important is to be aware that your ideals have been compromised. Is your job just another job, or is it something that you enjoy doing with a great deal of passion. Do you honestly believe that you had to make that compromise because of your current working conditions? When did it stop being a true challenge and a learning experience? Then again, should having to work in a cubicle be enough grounds for disullisionment? Or is it that I am incorrectly adopting a more conciliatory stance than is necessary?

It is hard to evaluate your employer objectively, what with the growing liability of having to provide ‘diplomatic’ feedback to their employees, feedback that will not have the potential to hurt the company. Be careful when you do so. I wouldn’t be surprised if some companies truly are skimping on the quality of work environment they provide.

Some quotes from the article:
At my last job, I constantly felt dejected. “You’re not growing fast enough! You’re barely in the middle of the pack.” was the kind of feedback I was getting from my supervisor. Much later, I realized they were setting employees up for failure, and then blaming the employee, instead of blaming themselves.

Work is not all bad. A lot of employers say they want their employees to think work is fun. Few employers put their money where their mouth is, and difference is something you not only see – you feel it when you start working for those employers.

NYTimes: The Lap of Luxury

An article on some idiot who is suing a strip-club, albeit one-sided. Read on for a psychoanalysis of strippers and strip clubs.

This time it’s an executive from Missouri named Robert McCormick, who, treating himself and friends, ran up a $241,000 bill at Scores on his corporate American Express card two years ago. American Express is now suing him for refusing to pay up. Several other unhappy customers have also sued Scores over large bills.

Among strippers I worked with, the most dreaded customers were not the obese or the lame. Rather, we feared customers who thought they were exceptions to the rule. They were just handsome enough, or successful enough, to foolishly think that their own sex appeal was tip enough.

— “The Lap of Luxury” The New York Times

Excerpts from FEMA officials’ e-mails

Just so that you are aware, I hate inept babus who hold high government posts in India, are corrupt and arrogant… I hate the ones in the U.S just as much. One of the FEMA officials in the Superdome had a BlackBerry and was in constant touch [BlackBerryCool] with FEMA HQ.

Marty Bahamonde a FEMA insider was sent to the New Orleans Superdome as Michael Brown’s “eyes and ears�?. Bahamonde was armed with a Blackberry and tried to sound the alarm numerous times about breaking levees and the growing danger inside the Superdome. In an email directly to his boss Michael Brown,

Also see this article [Seattle PI].

-Bahamonde to FEMA Director Michael Brown, Aug. 31, 11:20 a.m.

“Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical. Here some things you might not know.

Hotels are kicking people out, thousands gathering in the streets with no food or water. Hundreds still being rescued from homes.

The dying patients at the DMAT tent being medivac. Estimates are many will die within hours. Evacuation in process. Plans developing for dome evacuation but hotel situation adding to problem. We are out of food and running out of water at the dome, plans in works to address the critical need.

-Sharon Worthy, Brown’s press secretary, to Cindy Taylor, FEMA deputy director of public affairs, and others, Aug. 31, 2 p.m.

“Also, it is very important that time is allowed for Mr. Brown to eat dinner. Gievn (sic) that Baton Rouge is back to normal, restaurants are getting busy. He needs much more that (sic) 20 or 30 minutes. We now have traffic to encounter to get to and from a location of his choise (sic), followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc.

-Bahamonde to Taylor and Michael Widomski, public affairs, Aug. 31, 2:44 p.m.

“OH MY GOD!!!!!!!! No won’t go any further, too easy of a target. Just tell her that I just ate an MRE and crapped in the hallway of the Superdome along with 30,000 other close friends so I understand her concern about busy restaurants. Maybe tonight I will have time to move my pebbles on the parking garage floor so they don’t stab me in the back while I try to sleep.