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Are you guys generally pretty happy at work (all around satisfied)? ...I think I find myself on the other end of the spectrum more often than not, so I'm wondering if it's time to move on. Although, being satisfied in the work place is no easy task, so I'm wondering if I'm just taking on the "grass is greener on the other side" way of thinking.
I've been at this particular company for about 3 years but working on the same projects for about 8 (company has gone through a handful of owners). I love what I do, but the company... not so sure. Seems like quite a handful of disgruntled employees too, it's not just me, so I'm wondering if it's just the work environment.
I'm pretty happy. As I said in the thread earlier today, you can't expect everything to be peaches and cream, but you can expect the people you work with to be pleasant and fun, the company not to impose annoying bureaucracy or unreasonable management pressures, to treat people fairly and for the working environment to be good. If that's not the case in your company then it's perhaps time to think about moving on.
Experienced developers are still in demand so unlike most of the population we still have that choice.
You've got to figure out what the problem is. Sounds simple. But I spent more than 20 years running from jobs I didn't like, never QUITE being able to put my finger on what I didn't like about them. (With a couple easy exceptions.)
I'm definitely not "satisfied in my current position." But I've got a good grasp on what part of that is my own egomaniacal foolishness and what part is actually environmental.
Knowing where I want to get and figuring out how I'm going to get there, how long I have to suffer my current environment and make the best of it and what I'm going to get out of it makes ALL the difference in making a bad situation bearable.
"If they'd just leave me alone so I could do what I DO." was one of my big ones.
Stated with callous honesty: "I'd get so much more work done if it weren't for the damn users."
That was something the big banks always had over the small shops. We had project managers and business analysts to keep the developers left alone. BUT that was at the cost of some world class institutionalized crazy.
"Can't you just..." no. "This should be easy" then you do it.
The peculiar reversal of easy things seeming impossible and impossible things seeming trivial to customers continues to blow my mind.
I had a big fight to finally get to the point where I could tell A that I was working on something for B and if A's project was really more important, that they'd have to get someone to decide that and get back to me.
They can't demand you take the responsibility for prioritizing (much less owning) what you do and don't do without giving you the authority to make the decision and dictate the priority. Otherwise that job is someone else's, like it is in my case.
"Give me the authority to tell people no and I'll sort ALL of this out in about 20 minutes." "I can't do that." "That's fine. Here's my task list with estimates. Sort it for me. I'll give everyone the bad news." "but..." "but what?" *manager nods with resignation*
Sir Edward Grey, the Foreign Secretary of England during World War I, wrote in his memoirs that "Happiness consists of having all that one wants and none of what one does not want." This applies to one's work environment as well as anywhere else. Accordingly, the key to happiness at work has three components:
Work at something you enjoy for its own sake;
Establish adequately comfortable conditions in which to do it;
Contrive to screen out irrelevancies, distractions, and intrusions.
In a corporate-employment setting, items 2 and 3 can be a challenge. Item 2 can sometimes be partially covered out of one's own pocket, but there are limits; few of us are willing (or able) to purchase our own cubicle furniture or computers. Item 3 is the toughest of the nuts by far.
Most dissatisfaction among software people arises from managerial and supervisory sources. It's not just schedule and deadline pressure, either. Managers and supervisors sometimes seem incapable of letting an engineer do his work without sticking all their appendages into it. They're "above" the lowly practitioner, they "think," and therefore have a right and a duty to perform frequent layings-on of their sacred hands to "ensure quality." That can drive just about anyone to despair, drink, or on occasion, violence.
I've come to regard the front-line supervisor -- i.e., he who directly supervises working engineers, and might well still be technically hands-on himself -- as the optimal spot for the solution to this problem. If he can be persuaded to fulfill three functions:
Give his people clear and specific tasks to perform;
Stay away from them as much as possible while they're working;
Rigidly exclude all "higher-level" management from their work environment, except for "ceremonial" occasions scheduled well in advance;
...his engineers' working conditions can be brought as near to optimal as capital budgets permit.
Finding such a supervisor is not easy. He must be smart, humane, results-oriented, and very tough. For his engineers to retrain one who possesses the "raw material" but is not yet enlightened can be just as hard. But the alternatives are all unsatisfactory.
I try to be such a supervisor. It often demands more humility than I naturally possess. That highly unappreciated and increasingly rare virtue might well be the critical factor -- and can anyone sincerely say he's sufficiently humble?
Don't all answer -- or laugh -- at once, now.
(This message is programming you in ways you cannot detect. Be afraid.)
I used to be humble. But it's not realistic. Or practical. Many managers are like wolves. They won't respect you if you're humble.
But let's get to some important aspects of the problem that hasn't been discussed yet:
1. Most managers are technically illiterate and thus not really competent to manage technical people.
2. Many (some?) developers are technically gifted and/or brilliant and managers have no clue on how to handle them nicely and use them effectively and productively.
- The heart of this matter could be said to really be: "How can a person much less intelligent than you adequately manage you?" Or..."Life is hard when you work for people that are much less intelligent and creative than yourself."
3. Corporate work environments stink.
I could elaborate on each...But let's see if any of these strike a resonance with any of you first.
Cary Grant "Swimming with Cinderblocks" Anderson
Last Visit: 31-Dec-99 19:00 Last Update: 26-Mar-17 5:04