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Comment: Re:Amazing and dreadful, simultaneously (Score 2) 380 380

by JeffOwl (#49976159) Attached to: Who Owns Your Overtime?

I wholeheartedly agree. As an S-Corp I negotiate a contract to perform a specific body of work. This does include attending and presenting at reviews so I don't get to work from home 100%, only ~98%. I do bill by the hour at a rate significantly higher than I pay myself, in fact I try to minimize my salary (more on that in a minute). This is to cover all the normal expenses for both employer and employee, such as maxing out my 401K, interesting that the employer can contribute more than the employee above a certain salary range. Also, anything I don't pay out in taxes or salary I keep as a profit distribution (or there are a couple other ways to do it) that I get at the end of the year. Sure I pay income tax on it, but not payroll tax which is a significant chunk if doing both employee and employer sides.

Of course none of this matters if you don't have skills that are in demand relative to availability, or don't have the luxury of passing on the first offer that comes by. Or just don't know how to negotiate. Don't take that as being dismissive, negotiation can be a difficult skill to obtain for those that are used to being straight employees. But even there it can help during the hiring process or annual reviews. So if you don't feel confident with it, go find a class to take. Seriously, that isn't snark.

Comment: We haven't done enough? (Score 1) 185 185

by JeffOwl (#49904891) Attached to: Tech Jobs and Apple: Every Bit As "Fun" As Pleasure Island?

JFC. All we have done in the last 15 year, and probably before that, is try to encourage women and minorities to enter the field. Everywhere I've worked since college has had targeted recruiting for women and minorities. One company would spend a lot of money on recruiting trips to HBCUs and HWCUs and the only other university they visit is the local state school because it's only a day trip. We have had outreach programs at all levels of education, even driving down into elementary schools, to make STEM look "cool" particularly for women and minorities, whatever that means. My current company even set up a program for several of the local elementary schools that was girl only. It went on for two years until the local school board said they couldn't exclude students based on gender.

IF there is a problem, and I stress IF, then it isn't that we aren't doing enough.

Comment: Re:No options. (Score 1) 229 229

by JeffOwl (#49848499) Attached to: Why Americans Loathe Cable Companies

We have a ton of monopolies in place: the electric company, the gas, the water. No one complains about any of those. But those services are regulated much better and are much easier to deal with. I've found that the power company does a great job getting stuff fixed as soon as they can.

Now consider the cable company. You want to add service? No problem--you can do that by yourself online. Want to cancel something or downgrade it?

Actually, where I live the electric company is NOT a monopoly. Once company maintains the infrastructure, but several companies compete on rates and features (free nights or weekends, fixed monthly rates, etc...) to be your actual provider. It is much the way DSL used to be when the phone companies had to allow third party providers. I can pick the plan that's best for my usage patterns and we get great customer service. Where I lived before the garbage company was NOT a monopoly and they were falling all over themselves to pick up customers. The water company in both places was municipal so not much to be done there. I'd take real competition over over-regulation any day. Unfortunately I don't think we will get to make that choice.

Comment: Re:Chinese Hyper-competitiveness (Score 4, Interesting) 94 94

by JeffOwl (#49839093) Attached to: Baidu Forced To Withdraw Last Month's ImageNet Test Results

You need the buyers to stand up to that kind of crap. These guys screwed (sorry) you once, black list them. I had a frustrated guy in procurement say "You could make tons of money in x business by just doing what you say you are going to do." When it came down to it, he was not always allowed to make the smart decision and go with a reliable company's bid if it wasn't close to the bottom.

Part of the problem we see in China is that they spawn new companies like rabbits. One will eventually go under doing shady stuff only for the same people to come back, selling the exact same crap under a different name. We had this happen and you could look at the product and see that they were using the exact same molds, same defects.

Comment: Don't push a bad situation, get out (Score 1) 583 583

Don't act impulsively, but when things start turning bad, just move on. I was placed under a manager that was trying to build an empire. Unfortunately he wasn't a good leader, or a good engineer, or good at cost and schedule management, or good with suppliers. He had 45 minute "stand up meetings." It became the running joke that the only reason he remained is that he had compromising photos of someone high up. My blood pressure would start to increase as soon as he came into the room. But I had good work to do, so I let it ride. He had asked me to do some business development work to generate some leads. I did the work and found, in particular, one great lead that would be perfect for us. I put the package together and tried to get approval to continue the pursuit... crickets. Several months later and I'm in a meeting regarding staffing new business and this comes up and everyone is saying how great it is and how my boss is so good at this sort of thing. No attribution for me at all, and no recognition at annual review time. I worked for him for two years. I should have bailed much sooner.

Comment: Re:Interesting but... (Score 1) 234 234

by JeffOwl (#49777023) Attached to: Elon Musk Establishes a Grade School

It is an interesting idea but I fear it will work with a group of students that would do well anyway. I really would rather see him dump money into an inner city school or even offering scholarships or loan forgiveness for teachers.

Lets not change too many variables at once. Work the kinks out with low risk students and then bring in the high risk students.

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