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The changing culture of jobs

Besides running Geekatplay, Vladimir is a UI geek. He’s a good one too. One of the few that keeps up the art and the programming side of things. The programming sides of things is constantly changing. Technologies improve and grow and the programmers have to follow.

A big indicator of how up to date a programmer or other kind of IT geek is includes how long a they are employed. If they are employed more than five years, there is a good chance they’ve settled. Not only are they not on top of the latest, they didn’t get bored or have “lost their edge” for some other reason. I’ll talk about other reasons later. The point of this is that they can no longer be counted on to bring fast, creative thinking to a project. They probably don’t have the skills asked for and will have a longer adjustment time to a new project.

So this means that good programmers often change jobs every two to three years, maybe four years. This amount of time means several things. It’s about the same amount of time it takes to develop a new project, or become overly familiar with a company’s existing projects. It’s about the amount of time it takes for a new technology to form and become a sought for skill.  A good IT geek is always looking at the latest of what is going on, and they often want to try out these new technologies. Companies can’t be expected to completely revise the project towards the new technology. Now, the skillset that an IT geek is learning doesn’t always have to be cutting edge. It can just be new to them. So another person coming in to pick up the old responsibilities of someone leaving doesn’t mean they are becoming outmoded, while staying to old responsibilities does mean that.

The backlash of this for the IT geek is that not only are they changing projects and what technologies they use (good) they are changing employers. This means that they need to adjust do a different workplace culture, different benefits that usually includes different insurance carriers, and their vacation time is reset to the minimum. They cannot count on retirement pensions.

And all of that is extra stress. Here are reasons other than going flat that an employee might stay. That company could have a short commute, or good benefits, a pleasant environment. The employer might actually give the pay raises they promised when hiring. The employee might want to gain those extra weeks of vacation.

Families are often the other reasons that an employee stays with a company for a long time. All of those extra benefits of staying means even more, because their income is going towards raising the family, not buying the extra luxuries that can reduce stress. And what if someone in the family gets sick? Changing benefits in the middle of an illness is really stressful. It’s worse if one of your providers is no longer in the new company’s network.

Vladimir is always talking about how people are expected to live to work, rather that work to live. He has a big point. This is another symptom of the cancer that corporations are to our society. On every level and with every interaction they competing with humans for time and money. Time given to corporations is time taken away from companionship and relaxing, both important to a healthy life.

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One comment

  1. We kind of face a similar thing with my husband’s job. He is in the military so we frequently have to pack up our lives and move. It is hard to jerk the kids around from place to place and get them settled in a new school only to have to pick up and move in short order. The only reason we put up with it is we get the job security, pension and other goodies that come with having one employer.

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