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Half Life of a Tech Worker: 15 Years 473

Posted by timothy
from the logan's-runtime dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Matt Heusser writes that when he went to work for Google all the people he met had a sort of early-twenties look to them. 'Like the characters in Microserfs, these were "firstees," young adults in the middle of the first things like life: First job out of college, first house, first child, first mini-van,' writes Heusser. 'This is what struck me: Where were the old dudes?' and then he realized something very important — you get fifteen years. 'That is to say, your half-life as a worker in corporate America is about age thirty-five. Around that time, interviews get tougher. Your obligations make you less open to relocation, the technologies on your resume seem less-current, and your ability find that next gig begins to decrease.' By thirty-five, half the folks who started in technology have gone on to something else — perhaps management, consulting, on to roles in 'the business' or in operations. 'Yet a few stick it out. Half of the half-life is fifty, and, sure, perhaps 25% of the folks who started as line technologists will still be doing that when they turn fifty,' adds Heusser. 'But by the time you turn thirty-five, you'd better have a plan.'"
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Half Life of a Tech Worker: 15 Years

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  • by iggymanz (596061) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @12:34PM (#38250392)

    be read to improvise and adapt, as at least half of people have had their plans ruined by economy.

  • Growth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hentes (2461350) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @12:41PM (#38250438)

    30 years before IT wasn't big enough for many people to consider working in it, thus there aren't much people from that era.

  • If you actually RTFA, you'll see that the big barrier is that "workers over 50 may concern corporate hiring managers because they might resist change and generally command higher salaries than younger people"

    So, while older workers "might" (or might not) resist change, they definitely are perceived as costing more. And not just in salary, but also in health benefits.

    Now, again FTFA, throw in a dose of sexism:

    Nanci Schimizzi, president of the mentoring and advocacy group Women in Technology, said jobless women 50 or older generally "remain unemployed for years, to the point where many have more or less given up" or changed careers.

    That's pretty blatant misogyny. That it's illegal doesn't make a difference.

  • by mdf356 (774923) <mdf356@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Saturday December 03, 2011 @12:44PM (#38250460) Homepage

    Yes, I've noticed no one is writing operating systems or anything else in C anymore. I better learn the language du jour.

    Except that my experience with multi-threaded systems programming is still useful. Even when everything is virtualized, there will be C code running on the bare metal that someone needs to create and maintain. New hardware products will need drivers written in C, or entire embedded systems written in C.

    Sure, the next social media website won't be done that way, but for some of us writing that high a level of application wasn't that interesting.

    And didn't I just read that Facebook had to highly optimize malloc(3) to support its operations? What's malloc written in? Oh yeah, C.

  • by Vellmont (569020) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @12:46PM (#38250482)

    So this grand theory is all based on one persons experience, at one company, and some aggregate statistic grouping together age related unemployment over a vast category of people, during the worst economic conditions since the depression? It's some interesting anecdotes, but I sure as hell am not going to make any long term career plans based on this.

  • by digsbo (1292334) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @12:47PM (#38250486)
    Why not go on a few interviews and see how it goes? You are not established. That's an attitude that will set you up for major hurt. Get your resume together, and see if you're marketable. If you are, nothing lost but a day or two of paid time off to do the interviews. If not, you can make adjustments.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, 2011 @12:49PM (#38250494)

    I'm 51, and have owned a technology consulting company for 20+ years now. We're small with only 6 employees; four of us are over 50 and one of my full time contractors is 60. Most of the IT directors I work with are fifty or older. Maybe the tech industry spits out older workers after they hit 35, but so what? The real world needs those skills and experience regardless of how many grey hairs are sticking out of your ears. Worry less and be flexible....

  • by Baldrson (78598) * on Saturday December 03, 2011 @12:56PM (#38250546) Homepage Journal
    Hookers have a similar problem. The way they deal with it is to die of AIDS. Seriously (not), the problem with corporate IT hiring is they want young fresh meat but are lousy at animal husbandry. Any farmer will tell you that you breed your top performers. Corporate IT does the opposite. Their attitude seems to be limited to:

    Geek can't get a date or can't afford a house in Silicon Valley and form a family? Boo hoo. Why not get your rocks off with each other? Remember the Castro is just a hop skip and a jump away from Silicon Valley. All the sex you want! We'll pay for the AZT. Homophobic? Here's some free psychological counseling.

    A more enlightened management would supplement the above wise counsel by taking skin cell samples of their highest performers, freezing the samples and then, around age 35, sending all their workers to another jurisdiction where accidents just happen. Meanwhile, use those same jurisdictions to rent-a-womb, clone the highest performers and then re-import the young fresh meat clones once they hit the age where some of the corporate authorities want to establish a Socratic relationship and Mentor them.

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @12:57PM (#38250548)

    Not simply with age, but all the commitments these "firstees" take on cost money - extra money. So the salaries they would have accepted as new entrants into the job market are no longer sufficient to support their lifestyles. While they may have gained some skills during those fifteen years (or not, there's not many ways to distinguish 15 years of experience and 1 year of experience repeated 14 times), employers don't necessarily value those skills - especially as the relevance of a skill has a half-live of somewhere round 2 - 5 years, depending on how "sharp-end"/leading edge your employer is.

    So what's happened is these 35 y/o's have believed their own CVs (resumes) and think they're actually worth the salaries they're asking for - simply because the company they wish to leave, or have been kicked out of, was prepared to pay at that level.

    What they should be doing is asking themselves: what can I do that a 25 year-old couldn't do? What skills do I have that actually make more money for my employer? The answers to those questions are tough and generally not what people want to hear. However there is some good news: at least they're not 50 and in the same situation.

  • by mdf356 (774923) <mdf356@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:00PM (#38250568) Homepage

    The drawback for me is that I'm finding it harder to continue to get energized to learn new technologies. I can still do it, but it's becoming more of a hassle. Not so much the languages, but the specifics of frameworks and technology domains (i.e. web vs. traditional client-server vs. realtime). Probably more a personal limitation, I'm not the smartest guy in the world.

    This. It was a hard enough transition for me leaving all the various little office habits I had from 7 years at IBM. I had to learn new source control system, new way to build and install the OS, etc, in addition to spending several years where I didn't know intimately the details of the code I worked on. After 7 years I was a subject matter expert on a decent sized chunk of the AIX kernel. After two years at the new place, I finally felt like I knew enough code to say something authoritative about it. That was hard and frustrating.

    However, it's also left me feeling sure that the only way to avoid irrelevance is to regularly make myself uncomfortable, so that I don't get too attached to the comfort. At this point my personal feeling is that it takes 5-7 years for me to become saturated on what I'm working on and to need that new thing.

    Having kids taught me the same lesson too. As Kahlil Gubran wrote, "Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning in the funeral."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:16PM (#38250698)

    Every day gives you the opportunity to change your path.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:16PM (#38250700)

    I tried that. Trying to make myself heard from the thousands of other people who might be better liars is very tough. I farmed a contact list, but usually it didn't do much.

    The lesson I learned: My real MS-ITP and RHCE certificate numbers do NOT compare well to someone who says they have a CISSP, RHCA, all the MS certs and all the SANS certs, but don't happen to have any cert IDs.

    Screw the consultation business -- it might be lucrative had we had better times and no good ol' boy contracts. However, the people that do make it as independent consultants are the ones that have very little IT experience compared to the experience of running their mouths like a car salesperson. Their idea of "consulting" is to tell everyone to buy new hardware and slap W2k8R2 on all servers and Windows 7 on the desktops.

    Oh, the gigs when you get them? These are the picked over stuff that nobody wants for as close to minimum wage as possible. Three month contract at $10 an hour in some Podunk place 500 miles away with no relocation? Sure, someone will take it, but I'm sure the MS-ITP they demand is someone with low self esteem, someone who will ditch at the first possibility, or someone just plain old incompetent.

  • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:17PM (#38250706) Journal

    From my experience. I lasted about 17 years. I am currently on a different career track and loving it. My biggest frustration was the inability of people in IT/programming to learn. The same mistakes were made repeatedly. I think that is due to the field not having professional standards or best practices.

    Or its because all the people who made those mistakes last time have moved on to other careers - institutional memory is lost. Remember, experience is simply remembering what you did wrong last time...

    Fields dominated by young, fresh hires tend to have a lot of rookie mistakes - lack of veterans ensures the mistakes are repeated ad nauseam.

  • by swb (14022) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:18PM (#38250712)

    I'm 45 and work at a consulting company. I'm fortunate enough to have a senior position here, but I'm also married, with a 1st grade son, a house and all the trappings that go with it.

    I feel a lot of competition with the junior guys -- I was talking to one of them and he was griping about making a 4:30 PM help desk appointment but that once he got home about 7 PM he was going to really dive into whatever it was he was also working on. A couple of days later he was yakking about some work he was doing at 11:30 at night.

    I just don't have that kind of free time. For one, there's shit to be done at home in terms of childcare and parenting, the wife doesn't want to work full time and do it all herself.

    I think my advantage, though, is that I work a lot smarter -- I don't brute force solutions, take stupid risks or buy into a lot of technology BS that amounts to lots of work and little payoff. My clients tend to be more stable and have fewer glitches. I get grief from time-to-time for not deploying every gee-whiz feature, but not by the clients, by sales people.

  • Re:Ageism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:21PM (#38250746)

    Right-because as we all know no one under 35 ever has kids.
    Seriously, maybe its time to reevaluate your workplace if you need people working 12 hour days and on call perpetually.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:28PM (#38250798) Journal

    Nanci Schimizzi, president of the mentoring and advocacy group Women in Technology, said jobless women 50 or older generally "remain unemployed for years, to the point where many have more or less given up" or changed careers.
    --------------
    That's pretty blatant misogyny. That it's illegal doesn't make a difference.

    Have you considered that maybe there's a reason jobless women 50 or older generally remain unemployed for years? Or did you just jump to the conclusion that its misogyny? I mean, I can think of three potential explanations for this, and yet you automatically jump to a conclusion. Why would you do that?

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:35PM (#38250866) Journal

    Welcome to realizing that life is complex. You don't go into a field and then stagnate at the "cool underling" stage forever. You get more responsibility, you understand more than just your little field you studied in school. You have the ability to take in the bigger picture. And you get promoted and coach the younglings, or you shift your career to what you're really good at, or what interests you now. Not surprisingly, it's usually not what you were doing when you left school.

    Sure, there are exceptions. But, really, for most of us we are constantly refining who we are, and that rarely is a static job that matches what we were doing when we were 25. Don't worry, if you play your cards right and make careful decisions, you'll end up really liking your new, post thirty-something world.

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:36PM (#38250878) Homepage

    Birds of a feather and all that. I suspect this is one of the many reasons a company fails after a certain time. They don't replenish the ranks with younger people, or, they hire all new graduates that are all fresh and willing to flee to the next gig with a case of ADHD. The retention of knowledge and the ability for it to be passed down from co-worker to co-worker is extremely important.

  • Re:Ageism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrb (1083577) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:37PM (#38250890)

    Your obligations make you less open to relocation, the technologies on your resume seem less-current

    How is this age discrimination? If you are in this situation, then you are less likely to get hired, regardless of age. If you assume that older people are in this situation, and reject them based on their age, then that is age discrimination. But if someone actually is less open to relocation, and hasn't managed to keep up with newer technologies, and you reject them for those reasons, then it isn't age discrimination.

    Just like if you reject someone because they lack skills, and they happen to be from a minority ethnic group, then it isn't racial discrimination, but if you reject them because they are from a minority ethnic group and you assume that means they lack skills, then it is racial discrimination.

    I also would actually challenge the assumption that older people are less willing to relocate. I have known many young people who don't want to leave their families, the areas that they grew up in, their friends etc. It is a too big step for many. There are regions with chronic youth unemployment problems, where young people will complain that they are simply unable to find a job, and yet if you ask them why they don't relocate to an area which doesn't have these problems, they will claim that it is simply not possible. Ask them how it is possible that immigrants relocate hundreds, or even thousands of miles crossing international boundaries in search of work, and yet they are unwilling to relocate within even their own country, and they will justify their position with a sequences of excuses that apply just as readily to the immigrants. "I have family" - immigrants don't have family? "I was born and grew up here" - immigrants weren't born and grew up somewhere? "I have friends" - immigrants don't have friends?

  • stay agile (Score:4, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:50PM (#38251000) Journal

    I think part of the problem is that people expect that the inertia will just carry on from their first job, or that whatever line of work they started with out of college will simply continue. That's often not true, unless you're lucky enough to get a government job.

    I've lost track of all the major career shifts I've gone through since college. I started out in communication hardware design, switched to computers in time to ride the dot com boom, first as a designer and then (because there were more jobs) as an administrator, and then a manager of administrators. When IT started to be massively outsourced, rather than live off the crumbs that were left, I got out. I still do some admin on the side (people always need help) but I'm in the business management side now, and business is good. In fact, this is the first recession since the Carter administration that I didn't have to ride out on unemployment and savings. The magic "35" was over 20 years ago for me, and my last career shift was three years ago. Of course, I'm not doing as well as at the peak of boom.dot.bust, but who is? That was a time that we will never see again.

    The point is, you can't assume that your line of work will always be there. IT changes too fast, not only the technology but also the structure and career choices. I would argue that complacency is what limits people's careers.

    What has worked for me over the years is to always step up. If there's a new opportunity, be the first to explore it. This puts you head and shoulders, both in perception and skill set, above the people who just want to keep their heads down and manage machine patching schedules, and you're much more likely to be retained when machine patching duty moves to Mumbai.

  • Nanci Schimizzi, president of the mentoring and advocacy group Women in Technology, said jobless women 50 or older generally "remain unemployed for years, to the point where many have more or less given up" or changed careers.
    --------------
    That's pretty blatant misogyny. That it's illegal doesn't make a difference.

    Have you considered that maybe there's a reason jobless women 50 or older generally remain unemployed for years? Or did you just jump to the conclusion that its misogyny? I mean, I can think of three potential explanations for this, and yet you automatically jump to a conclusion. Why would you do that?

    Really? 3 different explanations?

    For context, the article talks about women who are IT professionals - women who have made their career in IT and now, at 50, the doors are suddenly closed. Not women in general. Women in IT.

    It can't be because we're stuck at home raising the kids ... the kids are gone by then, or at least old enough to have their own door key ...

    It can't be because of "lost years" to child-rearing - the article is clear when it states that, up until ~50, there was no such barrier ...

    It can't be because we all have hubbies who are pulling down the big bux so we don't "need a job as badly as a man does" ...

    It can't be because men the same age are equally affected, when the stats say otherwise ...

    It can't be because of voluntary retirement - the article is dealing with women who are actively seeking to continue their careers ...

    So, I'd really like to hear these "3 reasons", and why any of them should be a more logical reason to "explain away" why women, but not men, are generally excluded by age 50. And while you're at it, you might try to also "explain away" the ongoing gender bias against women of all ages in IT.

    Then ask yourself how you'd feel if a variation of your "reasons" were used to deny you, or one of your children, a parent, a friend or relative, an equal chance to put food on the table and a roof over your head. Would they still seem "reasonable?" Or are they just lame excuses to justify perpetuating something that is fundamentally wrong?

    Or the 3rd alternative - which is the most likely - that it's just so all-pervasive that you're simply blind to it. That it's "normal" to deny IT jobs to women, but not men, beyond a certain age ... and to discount the opinions of equally-qualified and experienced women, when compared to men, whether it's in meetings, the decision-making process, promotions, etc.

  • Silly FUD. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by theNAM666 (179776) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @02:24PM (#38251238)

    This is silly. It's (somewhat) like saying that the half-life of McDonalds workers is 3 years, and you don't see anything but teenagers behind the counter.

    First, I have a lot of friends at Google. Guess what? They went to Google in their twenties, and they're now working at Google in their 30s. Think about it. The OP has said nothing; peoiple in their 20s are more likely to go to a startup like what Google was 10-plus years ago.

    Second, line tech is line tech. It's somewhat the bottom of the pole. People naturally move on, either to supervisory or management positions, or outside. New blood is, as in the example above, naturally younger-- you don't hire old guys like me, because there are fewer of us applying, and our experience (those "old technologies" on our resume) makes us valuable elsewhere.

    (Aside: find me a COBOL guy with experience in medical systems. I'll kill for as many as you can find. I don't give a damn if they know anything "newer"-- every hospital I know, has chosen to preserve its legacy systems and layer them with APIs, and experienced COBOL guys are gold).

    Third, if you don't plan, you plan to fail. Nothing profound here.

    OP is FUD, bottom line.

  • Re:Ageism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xugumad (39311) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @02:30PM (#38251286)

    > Why would I hire some old guy who's going to miss days and only work 9-5 because he has sick kids, baseball games, piano recitals, etc?

    Because the old guy will see things coming a mile away that your newbies will crash into headfirst, and have to backtrack then re-do? Software development is not an area where you can make up for experience with a few extra hours a here and there; a developer in over their head is likely to never succeed at a project. A struggling development team can easily take an order of magnitude or more, longer, than one who is tackling a problem at their level.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, 2011 @02:42PM (#38251394)

    Most 25 year olds are clueless as to how a business really works and they are clueless about relationships & politics in companies. Companies want 25 year olds for the same reason they want to outsource to India - they can can slave drive you for less pay. Why pay 25 year olds money? Just give them useless stock options and get them to work like slaves and then revoke the options like Zynga did. As you get older, you realize that busting your ass from some company is not what life is all about. Those countless hours spent during nights & weekends are a waste of time. Time with your family and friends is more important and you learn this as you get older. If you work in a company and work over 50 hours a week, then your company is just fuckin' cheap because they should be hiring more people to do the job. Europe has the right idea. Americans work like slaves and barely even get or take vacation.

  • by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @02:43PM (#38251400)
    Yes, but in the real world the PHBs get hired, and you dont.

    The truth is, people generally wont hire anyone older than they are, because theyfeel bad about telling older people what to do. Nothing else is relevant, certainly not skills and abilities.

    If you are over 40, you had better be the boss, or life sucks.

  • Re:Growth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tverbeek (457094) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @02:43PM (#38251404) Homepage

    How old are you? 15? Just because we don't come to your Xbox parties doesn't mean we don't exist.

    IT might not have been as "big" in the 1980s, but "data processing" (as we called it in those days) was already a substantial industry. Every college worth going to had a CS department, and every large corporation had a data processing center that needed to be staffed. Everyone knew that "computers" were the job opportunity of the future, and there was plenty of interest in it as a career. Believe me, kid: there are a lot of us from that era who haven't died off yet... there are even substantial numbers from the punch-card era still alive and kicking. We're just not finding jobs on the playground where you work.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @02:54PM (#38251508) Journal
    Let me tell you something, in my life as a programmer, I have seen nothing but preferential treatment towards women. From the woman who was being recruited as a professor at half a dozen schools before she even graduated, to the time my boss gave nothing but easy interview questions to someone, just because she was female. If anything, I have seen nothing but bias in favor of women. Now, this may not match your personal experience, that's why it's called anecdotal evidence.

    Now, if you'd actually read the article, you'd see that it wasn't just women, it was also men (and it was age 55, not 50). The difference between men and women is 1.6 percentage points. Did you check what the margin of error is? That difference could be noise!

    So here you go, three things:
    1) It could be statistical, meaningless noise.
    2) It could be that women decide, "well I'm married, I'll just let my husband take care of expenses for now" and don't try as hard to find jobs.
    3) It could be that women don't like to keep up-to-date on their skill sets for some reason.

    Could it be misogyny? Possibly, but that goes against my experience, and it could also also be any of the three reasons I mentioned. Unless you have looked at the evidence to figure out which one it is, you are just guessing, probably based on your own internal biases. This is known as a logical fallacy. So stop it and follow good scientific principles.
  • Re:Ageism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, 2011 @03:07PM (#38251630)

    Why would I hire some old guy who's going to miss days and only work 9-5 because he has sick kids, baseball games, piano recitals, etc?

    I am a 40 year old single dad. I had a co-worker post almost this exact same comment on twitter a few years back. The funny thing is he missed more work from getting shit faced at the bar than I ever missed from staying home with sick kids.

    In my experience, single childless people miss more work than married or parents.

  • by CptNerd (455084) <adiseker@lexonia.net> on Saturday December 03, 2011 @04:34PM (#38252296) Homepage

    Not a slam, just curious. How old are you? Because I've experience blatant age discrimination, and that was after being told I had exactly the skills they were looking for, but that I was "too old."

    What you said is great, and logical, and would be appropriate if all HR staff thought like that. Unfortunately most aren't interested in placing someone, they're interested in weeding out people that don't fit their perceptions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, 2011 @05:13PM (#38252522)

    You and I started at the same place but that's about all we have in common.

    Being (almost) young and fresh in the 80s and 1/2 the 90s got me pretty far. Unfortunately my inability to control the rolling of my eyes when management announced 60 hour work weeks closed the door on my career, permanently.

    I wish you all the luck in the world, but I have come to the conclusion that People Were Not Meant To Live Like This. To me it looks like a mild form of slavery with all the bells and whistles.

  • by toolo (142169) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @05:19PM (#38252572) Homepage

    I hired a 60+ year old and I turned 30 this year. I even got approval to hire him on the same level as I since he was a contractor. I think age-ism is definitely out there, but true professionals look at the facts.

  • by Jookey (604878) <Jookey16@hotmail.com> on Saturday December 03, 2011 @05:42PM (#38252698)

    "It is not easy, but who said it should be?"

    I say It should be.
    You might call me a whiner and complainer. I call myself someone with dignity and self respect.

    This is why America is screwed. This country [usa] is filled with simpletons like parent that have no self respect. They say at least its not as bad as the third world shitholes. Well I say it could be a lot better too. We could have a country with universal healthcare, more vacation time, more job security and higher employment rate. This isn't some utopian ideal It happens in the socialist countries of Europe.

    For Christ sake we put a man on the moon and the only point of pride you hear is: "[At least] I'm not melting solder off trashed PCBs in China."

    The reason that your not melting solder in a shanty town is not because of the grace of the business elites allowed it to be so. It is because in the past labor organized and demanded better working conditions, weekends and an 8 hour work day.

  • by Rob Y. (110975) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @06:21PM (#38252952)

    At 59, I'm still going (realatively) strong. I too still like 'mucking about', but I must admit that the sheer number of 'latest things' out there makes it near impossible to keep up with them all. Thankfully, I don't have to, but somehow I doubt having dabbled in Android development to keep my skills up would serve me well should I need to interview again.

    In the meantime, I'm still employed based on a ton of knowledge specific to my employer. And you'd think that'd be okay, but they still tried to outsource me. It was a disaster, and now I'm technically a consultant to the outsourcing firm and doing the lion's share of the 'outsourced' work to make that project read as a success. So, in addition to ageism, anyone starting out in IT had better realize that they want you to be expendable. I'm sure that my employers think their big mistake wasn't trying to outsource a small group of long-time employees. No, they think the mistake was keeping those employees around long enough for them to become critical resources. Don't count on the next generation of corporate whizzes making that same 'mistake' twice.

  • by sirwired (27582) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @06:28PM (#38253002)

    Independent IT consulting/programming is a difficult, thankless task with high risk and few rewards. I know what you are thinking: my employer pays independent consultants/programmers $150/hour! I could be making that kind of coin!

    A rule of thumb is that even a successful IT consultant (which most aren't) need to charge approx. three times what an employer would pay them for the exact same job to cover overhead, downtime, and benefits. You, and you alone, are responsible for all the stuff your employer handles now: sales, legal, marketing, sales, accounting, benefits, and did I mention sales? You need contacts, superior networking skills (of the people type, not the computing kind), and enough of a financial cushion to prepare yourself to be earning peanuts until you get enough business volume to make it off the ground, if you ever do. And don't forget that ALL vacation is unpaid vacation when you work for yourself.

    And entrepreneurs trying to sell a product have it even tougher; most new products fail because the creator over-estimated the market for them and/or didn't know the right way to sell them. The quality of the product itself has very little to do with selling it. You could bust your balls for a year working like a madman to recover the equivalent of half of what you'd get flipping burgers.

    When a new business works, it works. But even then, self-employment has a way of taking over the life of the entrepreneur; any of them will tell you that any notion of work-life balance goes out the window when you work for yourself.

  • by MechaStreisand (585905) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @06:52PM (#38253156)
    I don't understand this. Killing yourself because you can't find a job, and NOT taking out the evil motherfucker who put you in that position? Before shooting himself, why didn't he go to the manager who did this and shoot him point blank in his kneecaps and elbows? Use a powerful gun so they can never fix it and he's a cripple for life. THEN kill yourself. That manager will never, ever forget that day, and he's gotten what he deserves.
  • Let's try again, shall we?

    You don't have more than half of all nurses quitting their field entirely after a decade. That's the quantitative difference. In IT, it's not just the money (and the discriminatory lower pay for more work) and it's not just the sexism and it's not just the isolation - it's the whole ball of wax all rolled into one. That's the qualitative one. Nurses have mentors, nurses have other nurses on the job rather than being the "odd woman out", female nurses have a union so they can have any complaints about lower pay than male co-workers addressed or favoritism in promotions.

    How would you like it if you learned that the guy working under you, who you are supervising as well as coding the same project, is being paid 50% more than you? Fifty percent! And that when he quit they offered him, on the spot, $10k more to stay? I'm sure you wouldn't be too happy. How would you like to be sitting in a meeting with 2 other women and 4-5 men, and the men are just making assertions, without any facts to back them up, and any time one of you points out a flaw and suggests a better way, you're just talked over like none of you have anything of value to offer, even though you've been around longer than the new guys and have more experience ...?

    This is what is known as a hostile work environment, and it's the reality, more so in IT than anywhere else.

    The "small percentage difference" that you cite is not based on the general population - it's based on those of both sexes still in the industry. That's your mathematical oversight. If a million women (way too small a number, btw) dropped out because of sexist practices, you now have a much smaller sample of women to draw your "small percentage difference" from.

    So, let's make up some numbers, based somewhat loosely on the article, for illustrative purposes. If women make up 25% of the initial group going into IT, then for every 1,000,000 men, there are 333,333 women. Taken over 10 years, that's 10,000,000 men and 3,333,333 women. Now let's have 52% of the women drop out during that time because of the sexist practices, as per the article. Rounding, we have ~ 1.6 million women. It's from that already-depleted sample that you have your "minor difference".

    This is relevant because you don't see a similar percentage of men dropping out for sexist practices.

    In other words, you've already eliminated the majority of women who entered the field (never mind those who were discouraged from entering it in the first place) - the true unemployment rate is over 50% if you include those who wanted to work in the field but were forced out by its' hostile work environment, lower pay for women, and blocked career paths.

    Yes, men have a hard time staying in the field after 50 - but if half of them dropped out within 10 years, you wouldn't be saying the same thing you're saying now. There would be all sorts of demands for things to change.

    In other words, utter logic fail by you, babe. Now, you might think I am being anti-woman by calling you babe, but you are wrong. I am showing favoritism. If you were a man I would have called you a brain-dead retard. It's just another example of the favoritism women get in the industry: you get a compliment instead of an insult.

    No, that's your paternalistic behaviour and bias showing through. I'm not trying to pick a fight here - I *am* trying to highlight an ongoing problem in the industry. Women have a shorter career arc in IT because of sexism. There's no getting around it. Being better isn't good enough.

  • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @12:01AM (#38254840)
    You misunderstand. Indispensable to executives means profit making. Any position which merely provides support to the money making arm of the business is an expense and they will go to hell and back to minimize any expense, many times to the detriment of the core business. Unfortunately most executives don't see the true value of their IT staff since they can't pull up a spreadsheet with a metric to show them how much money was saved/made because the IT staff was doing their job.
  • Re:Ageism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stewbacca (1033764) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @10:15AM (#38256744)

    No, the definition of ageism is acting up on that value assessment.

    You don't have to act on any strongly held bigoted belief to be a bigot, outside of opening one's bigoted mouth and sharing those bigoted ideas with others. Just because somebody isn't in the position to deny a job to somebody doesn't mean they aren't bigoted.

    I'll give you an example. Saying the older guy is less valuable than the younger guy, without providing any empirical evidence to support that notion, is ageism without "acting up on that value assessment". Just stating it on an Internet forum is bigoted enough.

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