Monday, April 11, 2016

Watching the Watchers: Unbalanced Reciprocity

I read a thread on either proggit or Hacker News, which I naturally can't find again, wherein recruiters and hiring managers espoused about how a programmer needs to change jobs at least every five years, and really every two is better. I find this rather appalling, and the reasons for it more so. Why would one change jobs so quickly? Well, if you want more money, you have to, because raises are in the low single digit percentages, but you can negotiate 8-10% or better raises if you change. If you want to be perceived as "current" you must change jobs to get exposure to new ways of doing things. Because obviously technology moves so quickly that depth of experience means you have become comfortable and lazy. Think about that for a minute.

Then there is this from the New York Times:

"Treating workers as if they are widgets to be used up and discarded is a central part of the revised relationship between employers and employees that techies proclaim is an innovation as important as chips and software."

"Tech workers have no job security. You’re serving a “tour of duty” that might last a year or two, according to the founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman..."

"Netflix views itself as a sports team, always looking to have “stars in every position.” In this new model of work, employees are expected to feel complete devotion and loyalty to their companies, even while the boss feels no such obligation in return."
Loyalty, it seems, has no place in business anymore (save as a pretty term for tracking, analyzing, and manipulating customers). The company isn't loyal to their employees, for obvious monetary reasons. If the employees are loyal to their company, that is seen as a sign of weakness. There are no more pensions, and your 401k depends on some set of companies doing well. The company owes you nothing save the salary you have already been paid. "Right to work" actually means you can be fired for any reason or no reason at all, but at least you can walk away too.

I have some hope that this poisonous nonsense is merely a result of the uber-capitalist, investor-class echo chamber centered around San Francisco. Hacker News in particular is a great place to go to find people implying that working for someone else to make money makes you a chump. Then again, maybe nowadays it does.

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