Jobs & employment

Articles and posts about jobs, particularly technology jobs, and trends in employment

Want to own the future? Build rich relationships

Posted by on Dec 20, 2011 in Computerworld Columns, Jobs & employment, Managing self | 0 comments

For more than 20 years, I’ve been hearing complaints, concerns and panicked hysteria about the end of the IT career as we know it. Just below the surface, we all seem to think that we’re about to get the ax. And that’s because we persistently misunderstand what our business partners want most from us. We think they just need the best technician, but they don’t. What they need most, now and in the future, are technical people who can communicate and collaborate with nontechnical people. Regardless of their specialty, individuals who can work across the cultural divide...

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So, now you’re a consultant

Posted by on Sep 13, 2010 in Jobs & employment | 0 comments

Over the years, I’ve noticed that when the economy turns sour, the number of people calling themselves consultants grows dramatically. Sometimes it seems the definition of consultant has been changed to “person between jobs.” If you want to thrive in this next phase of your career, you need to be clear about a few things. As you consider these issues, be completely honest with yourself. And recognize that honesty can be exceedingly difficult at a time when you feel vulnerable and out of control. First, think about what you really want. Why are you becoming a consultant? Is...

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What is a Job, Anyway?

Posted by on Sep 13, 2010 in Jobs & employment | 0 comments

With the economy ailing, the U.S. presidential election in full swing and surveys showing cuts in next year’s IT budgets, get ready to hear more and more about jobs. People will lose jobs. Evil corporations will export jobs. We will need more jobs. We will need better jobs. Not McJobs. People will become unemployed and underemployed, and they will drop out of the workforce. They will go back to school with the hopes of obtaining better jobs. The government will try to “create” jobs using tax policy, environmental policy, fiscal policy, trade policy, labor policy, research...

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How Indispensable Should You Be?

Posted by on Sep 13, 2010 in Jobs & employment | 0 comments

After World War II, the vacuum cleaner began its meteoric rise as an American household appliance. It was sold as an amazing labor-saving device to liberate women from the dreary chore of rug beating. And with that promise, it quickly became a fixture in the homes of the rapidly growing middle class. For years afterward, it was assumed that vacuum cleaners did just what we expected: saved labor. But more recently, scholars have reinterpreted their true effects. It seems that rather than saving time for other pursuits, vacuum cleaners merely raised the standards for home cleanliness. Women...

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Facing a no-win situation

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Jobs & employment | 0 comments

The Alamo Dilemma Sometimes work is a joy. Sometimes we get to work with people we love. Sometimes projects are engaging, exciting and meaningful. Progress seems effortless. Sometimes we even wonder how we got so lucky as to get paid to do something this fun. But then, sometimes work is a struggle, and we are confronted by intractable problems that can’t be solved or even managed. Since most of us trained as engineers, we’re steeped in the disciplines of problem solving, and we like to think that every problem has a solution. Given infinite time and money, we think we can solve...

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What do we owe our bosses?

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Jobs & employment, Managing teams | 0 comments

Workplace Obligations (This article originally appeared in Computerworld USA and Computerworld Australia.) Wouldn’t it be nice if every boss came with a standard API? It would be so easy to look at the interface specifications and know exactly what he expected, in what format he expected it, when you should deliver it, what predictable events would result from your input and how you should handle error conditions. All the politics would go away. Those pesky emotions would become a nonissue. Success would become deterministic. Sadly, it will never be so simple. Every boss-subordinate...

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Fear the Fear of Offshoring

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Jobs & employment | 0 comments

Lately I’ve had a troubling sense that there is a cancer growing in IT departments these days. No, I’m not talking about constrained budgets, poor alignment, hiring freezes or project failures. I’m not even talking about the growth of outsourcing and offshoring. While these issues are all real, there seems to be something even more toxic eating away at our indust ry. What could possibly be more threatening to IT staffs than offshoring? Fear of offshoring. This faceless, nameless dark terror seems to be gnawing away at the morale of IT professionals everywhere. They are...

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