Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Captain Caveman

I've been swimming in a sea of new technologies. Was it Darwin that said use it or lose it? That certainly applies to the brain. I'm in the software development business and I can tell you, complacency is the drooling tongue on the back of food stamps.

We've all lived the great hipocrisy, the self-creating lie. You must have experience to qualify, and yet how do you get it but on-the-job. Companies typically keep you working on the same task ad infinitum, until you could do it blindfolded, wrists bound and mouth gagged. They don't want you to learn something new--that would make you a marketable commodity, increasing your value and bargaining position come review time.

So what do you do? Lie of course.

Q: Do you have any experience with Web Services?
A: Services schmervices. Of course I do.
Q: Can you tell me what a Web Service is?
A: I could, but then I would have to kill you. Ha ha ha.
Q: Wow. Smart and funny. Seriously, what is a Web Service?
A: I know what it is, but do you?
Q: I'm not the one being interviewed.
A: That's what I thought.
Q: What?
A: You don't even know what a web service is.
Q: I was hoping you could tell me.
A: Oh, so you want me to do all your work for you?
Q: You are applying for a job aren't you?
A: Yeah, but I was hoping to learn something new here, to live in the now.

You get the picture.

I'm in a customer-driven business--what the customer wants, the customer gets. Mostly. So when a customer asks for the latest and greatest technology, and several others are chirping about the same, we move to learn and adapt our products. This happens every five years or so.

Our CEO is a typical dinosaur that comes from a time when you clubbed your woman over the head and drug her to the cave for a thirteen second bout of unprotected Zug Zug. He still keeps a stack of punch cards in his desk drawer, and has been known to pull one out and fondle it when reminiscing about the good old days, when programmers didn't suck.

He thought the internet was a passing fad, the buzzword du jour. But customers complained, so our products went online. Now customers want to consume our products as web services, and Captain Caveman is grumbling again.


trinamick said...

I'm very thankful to have gotten the job I did, since I was a green kid with no experience. It would never have been available in a city, where things just aren't done that way.

The old folks in our office are pretty set in their ways as well. Insisting on typewriters instead of computers, carbon paper instead of copies, etc. They've come a long way, but I still find ledger books from 1947 occasionally. I think they hide them to keep me from tossing them out.

mr. schprock said...

I loved that Q&A segment, Scott. Have you ever considered becoming a playwright? Very funny.

It's been a while since I've really upgraded my skills. I'm still in shock over the decline of the telegraph. And don't get me talking about the pony express.

Scott said...

Trina - I'm glad you caught a break. That's how it's really done--you find a person who is willing to give you a chance.

Mr. Schprock - We'll see, maybe someday. I was a little inspired by a series I'm watching, The Office (BBC version). You have to see it; the boss is an unredeemable ass. Pony Express--good one!

Miranda said...

*grin* NOW I know how to handle my next interview.

Thanks, Scott ;)

Tee said...

LOL - That was very Dave Barry. I loved it :)

Eve said...

Very funny Scott - you know how I need laughs right now!

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

I used to have a boss like this. He was ex-military. Low ranking with 'small man' syndrome. He used to go out and have to hour lunches and come back to work drunk. Then he would ring up clients and swear at them. Or swear at his staff.

Lovely man.

Shesawriter said...

Funny, Scott. I can relate. In my previous life (READ: BK--Before kids) I was a software QA consultant and the conversation you described sounded pretty darned familiar! LOL!


The Zombieslayer said...

Sounds like your CEO is a real winner.

Yeah, I've "colored" my resume before, in the beginning. Had to, because everyone else padded their resume and I had no experience. So I had to exaggerate. Like I'd do someone's webpage for free, then make it out like I was running a company that made webpages.

Now the thing is, everyone's overqualified, so we're all told to not say when you graduate, and only list the most recent jobs. Bleh.

Moni said...

"He actually thought the internet was a passing fad." Boy, was he ever so wrong!

You're in the software developement biz...? I must be the only one with a blog that knows absolutely nothing about computers. :)

You're all computer whiz's. lol

Kathleen said...

I hope you have a great Christmas! See you in 2006!

Jada's Gigi said...

Just dropping by to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!