From: Seebs on
On 2010-02-08, Dirk Bruere at NeoPax <dirk.bruere(a)> wrote:
> Some places you go, however, you never want to return.
> They are real tech sweatshop hellholes with everyone looking for a new
> job. Last place like that I was at the boss said: "This project is
> behind schedule and if it is not on time heads will roll. I am now off
> on holiday". I suspect he returned to an empty office.

I should hope so!

Last time we had a thing behind schedule, the management sent out a request
that we put in extra time to bring it on schedule. They had already cut
product specs in a few key places to try to make things better, and they
told us they'd make it good if we helped them out. We had very close to
24/7 management coverage, and they helped out as much as they could. And
yes, we made the deadline, and they rewarded us suitably.

The primary motivation there wasn't the money, it was the visible
demonstration that the management felt it was their problem more than ours
that the schedule had been wrong. (Note the emphasis; it was not that we
were behind the schedule, it was that the schedule was, empirically, wrong.)

Copyright 2010, all wrongs reversed. Peter Seebach / usenet-nospam(a) <-- lawsuits, religion, and funny pictures <-- get educated!
From: Martin Gregorie on
On Tue, 09 Feb 2010 07:32:01 +1300, Ian Collins wrote:

> In some contexts maybe, but golf and cricket clubs had their
> "professional" long before anyone thought of developing software. It
> isn't the term "professional" that has been bastardised, it's
> "Engineer".
That's easy: anybody who isn't a member of a recognised engineering
society should not be called an engineer and should be laughed out of
town if they call themselves one.

martin@ | Martin Gregorie
gregorie. | Essex, UK
org |
From: James Kanze on
On Feb 8, 12:25 am, "Alf P. Steinbach" <al...(a)> wrote:
> * James Kanze:

> But strangely, one thing that motivates me is apparent peer
> disapproval. For in many social environments (last week or so
> there was a damning report about this kind of environment at
> the University of Oslo, happily I'm not there) the art of
> put-down'ing and dissing is key to personal success. When
> someone else does something really good then put-down'ing
> becomes necessary and the default response. Thus, when I get
> critique that has more emotional impact than technical I
> concentrate on the technical points. Then, interpreting those
> more technical points in a kind of inverse-picture way, I know
> what's good.

Any commercial firm which created that sort of environment would
fail very quickly. And I'll admit that I've never quite seen it
to that point. (I have seen cases where one manager tried to
cause the failure of projects for which another manager was
responsible. But I've never seen anything similar among the
technical personel.)

I've always gotten a great deal of satisfaction from peer (as
opposed to boss') approval. And it's been forthcoming in
practically every firm I've worked in---my collegues have
thought my programs good, and told me so. Even in really poorly
run shops. (Perhaps more so in poorly run shops---in the better
run shops, it was taken for granted that everyone would write
good code, and you needed to do something exceptional to get
special approval.)

> Of course, that's part of the personal satisfaction
> motivation, but I think it's interesting that personal
> satisfaction, knowing that you've created something good, in
> some/many environments can be directly incompatible with peer
> approval.

Don't work in such environments. They're dangerous for your
(mental) health. And as long as you stick to the technical
side, they are very, very rare.

> And for me personal satisfaction weights more.

> Peer approval would in most cases just say that I'm
> conforming, which is not something that I'd be proud of;

No. But it does mean that what you've done that is original can
be understood by others. Which IMHO is good.

> it's something I strive to avoid. But in some cases approval
> is really nice. E.g., a few times you've stated that I'm
> pretty good, or words to that effect, which coming from
> someone that one respects is uplifting in a way; likewise,
> once, many years ago, I had a dispute with one very well-known
> C++ expert over in clc++m and wrote some things that I really
> shouldn't have, the mod apologized for accepting the article
> by saying that he didn't read closely because it was two "C++
> experts" discussing things, and that helped much, otherwise I
> might have stopped posting... :-)

Note that approval can come in many different forms:-). At
times, I've argued strongly with you because IMO, you opinion
counts. You're not just anyone---your knowledge of C++ (and
software engineering in general) is exceptional. So when your
point of view disagrees with mine, it worries me. Which makes
me argumentive.

James Kanze
From: Seebs on
On 2010-02-08, Martin Gregorie <martin(a)address-in-sig.invalid> wrote:
> That's easy: anybody who isn't a member of a recognised engineering
> society should not be called an engineer and should be laughed out of
> town if they call themselves one.

This strikes me as the polar opposite of an engineering mindset, which
would be that a thing is what it is, and isn't what it isn't, regardless
of any labels.

Copyright 2010, all wrongs reversed. Peter Seebach / usenet-nospam(a) <-- lawsuits, religion, and funny pictures <-- get educated!
From: James Kanze on
On Feb 8, 4:06 pm, Lew <no...(a)> wrote:
> MarkusSchaber wrote:
> >> I won't dispute that money is a motivator, but it is not
> >> the most efficient motivator. The more money you pay, the
> >> more you will attract those developers which are purely
> >> after the money, and not the really good ones. For the
> >> latter ones, a certain level on the paycheck is enough to
> >> give attention to fun, excitement, atmosphere and such
> >> factors.

> Dirk Bruere at NeoPax wrote:

> > I once joked with an employer that if he paid me twice as
> > much I would only have to work half as long :-)

> Given that nearly nobody gives a perfect working environment,
> or even close, money is the primary distinguisher. As a
> contract worker, I've seen a few dozen IT workplaces. The
> grass is never greener. Offer me twice as much compensation
> as the other potential employer and my talents are yours to
> exploit.

That's completely wrong. The effect of money depends on a lot
of things: someone who's just coming out of an expensive
divorce, heavily endebted, will doubtlessly put more importance
on it that a young, single person who has no debts and is making
enough to comfortably sustain the lifestyle he likes. But
environments do vary, enormously, and unless I'm under duress,
I'll always go for the position which seems to offer the better
environment. (But of course, at my level, even those positions
offer a comfortable level of life. It's generally a question of
being well off, rather than very well off.)

> It's not that money is the motivator. The question is leading
> and extremely ill cast. I don't depend on anyone else for my
> motivation. Money is the decider; it decides whether and
> where I work. It doesn't determine how.

I'll refuse jobs that aren't sufficiently paid. But I recently
changed jobs more because I was bored than because I make more
in my new job. (Formally, my income is considerably higher.
But so are my expenses---my living standard is basically
unchanged, or even a little lower than it used to be.)

James Kanze