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Comment Re:Never understood (Score 1) 429 429

I'd say that leverage in negotiations sort of comes into play, but consider that I may have hired a person for 100K and I was told that I can hire someone else, but I only get 80K this time because that's all that can be justified with the number of accounts we have. So, I hire someone at 80K.

If Ms. 100K and Mr. 80K start talking, there are all sorts of possible problems, but in the end, though, I was only given 80K to hire someone. If you didn't accept that, I can't hire you. Would you prefer to have not gotten the job? That will depend on if you were in demand, I suppose, but I'd usually say that if 80K was acceptable to you, then you're not losing out.

That's why you probably shouldn't talk to other people. You might well be convinced you should be making 100K, but if you'd insisted on that number, I couldn't hire you, so you'd probably not have a job. Also, Ms. 100K may have been hired while the company was doing very well and was able to be generous. Instead of dropping her salary or laying her off in a slump, we kept her on. We can't afford 100K people anymore, but we want to be fair to her and maintain our word when it comes to what she makes. Should we have instead laid her off or knocked 20K off her salary so that you could feel better about yours?

You need to find a number that works for you, and you need to insist on it. If you get it, you should be able to do everything you wanted to do with that salary. Don't worry what other people make, someone is always going to make more than you. Understand what you are happy with and get that. If you need to adjust, then it should come from your own needs and not a comparison between you and someone else except in the most basic of fashion (such as salary research for your job description) to get a basis for what is reasonable.

At a previous workplace the opposite happened. They tried to hire an inexperienced new guy for a secret, higher salary than the experienced veterans were making, because they needed more capacity quickly. The experienced people found out, it destroyed their trust in the company, and most of them left within days. They had been working knowingly under their value because they knew and trusted the company, and liked the work. Squandering trust can be very expensive.

And that's what irks me most about your post. It's a bit arrogant for the salary-setting entity to believe they are smarter than the people working for them, that they know best, and that it is in everyone elses best interest not to know what's going on. The implication is not to trust people.
Me, I'd rather work with people I trust. I've worked at a really good place that was very open about money and why we weren't making that much of it. I still do contract work for these guys and I know exactly why they pay me what they do. They have a very good set of very skilled developers who are all knowingly making less than they might make elsewhere, but simply happy where they are. The access to all this information doesn't make them unhappy. It makes them smart, informed people making the correct work/life balance decisions for themselves. I love working with them.

In your particular example I'd much rather you'd come out and say "normally we'd pay 100.000 but we're very low on budget so we have only 80.000", to which I could then reply "I can accept 80k for a 1 year trial period by which time we can both assume either your strategy and my work will have brought the company profits up so that you can start paying me 100k, or I am free to pursue other options". I'm sure an arrangment like that open and above board makes everyone happier.

Submission + - Adblock Plus Reduces University Network Bandwidth Use By 40 Percent

Mickeycaskill writes: Simon Fraser University in British Colombia, Canada claims it saved between 25 and 40 percent of its network bandwidth by deploying Adblock Plus across its internal network.

The study tested the ability of the Adblock Plus browser extension in reducing IP traffic when installed in a large enterprise network environment, and found that huge amounts of bandwidth was saved by blocking web-based advertisements and video trailers.

The experiment carried out over a period of six week, and involved 100 volunteers in an active enterprise computing environment at the university. The study’s main conclusions were that Adblock Plus was not only effective in blocking online advertisements, but that it “significantly” reduced network data usage.

Although the university admits there are some limitations of the study, it suggests that the reduced network data demand would lead to lower infrastructure costs than a comparable network without Adblock Plus.

Comment Re:Almost (Score 1) 263 263

I have written significant Python code used and maintained in a cross-platform environment by multiple people. I was absolutely fine with the whitespace requirement until that point, but tabs and spaces became mixed and line endings became confused and perfectly valid-looking Python suddenly stopped working correctly.

Now, those are all solvable problems, and we did actually solve them in various ways, but Python's the only language where the usually invisible difference between tabs and spaces can actually make your code do different things. Python requires a non-Python safety net to get you to write predictable code in a heterogeneous text editing environment. That's not a good thing, even if it can be mitigated.

Comment Re:Negotiating when desperate (Score 1) 583 583

Most people are terrible at salary negotiation. Based on various studies with some degree of variance, overall they suggest about 55% of men do not negotiate their wages, and about 70% of women do not negotiate their wages. That is NO NEGOTIATION AT ALL.

Bear in mind that a lot of people are pretty desperate to get a paycheck. You can pretty easily take yourself out of the running for a lot of jobs by trying to negotiate salary (or by doing so clumsily) particularly when there are multiple qualified candidates for the job. Not saying that more folks shouldn't negotiate their salary but many times they are not negotiating from a position of strength. It's one thing if you have a nice pad of savings and can afford to say no to an offer. Not everyone is so lucky. I've been in both circumstances myself at different times so I understand how hard it can be to negotiate when not getting the job at all is a worse outcome than getting paid a sub-optimal amount.

That said I agree completely with what you said. Negotiation is a very valuable life skill. The sooner you get good at it the better.

This is the wrong way to approach the problem of being (reasonably) desperate to get a paycheck. You are either worth the higher salary or you are not. Being worth the higher salary means (by definition) that given time you *will* be able to find a job that pays that much. This is a negotiation position you can take up. If you don't feel too aggressive, agree to an "evaluation period" (say 6 months) for the lowball offer after which they will either bump you to a decent salary or you will find another job that will pay better. You will have been looking for 6 months by that point. If you are feeling aggressive just say up-front that they either offer you a decent salary or they'll end up with someone who's not very good ando/or not very confident, and they'll have missed out on a great new person in their team. You might find them suddenly very interested in you, because now you've expressed openness and confidence.

If *you* don't believe in yourself, why would you expect them to?

Now, if you're actually desperate for a paycheck, to the point of not having a roof over your head, then you just don't have negotiation room. Just negotiate for the actual job, and use the job as a springboard for your future. You still don't accept a job that doesn't actually pay enough to get you out of the danger zone though, because that just ties you down without providing a solution. As the saying goes, if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

Comment Re:I don't watch black & white movies anymore, (Score 1) 175 175

Because it's not a technology, but an art-form?

It's like saying that painting is old-hat and only digital-photography can be done from now on - why would anyone "paint" or "sketch" or "draw"? God, what heathens!

No, it's like saying that digital photography with the first wave of digital cameras is more artful than digital photography with the most recent professional cameras. What the author actually means to say is that his "art" in working within unnecessary limitations to produce a very artful result is not appreciated by people who mostly think "that picture would have been much better at a higher resolution".
I read TFA (I know, I know) and the whole thing basically boils down to "good art is better than bad art, but most people don't recognize bad art". It has always been that way. Even more, most people these days will have trouble appreciating even the classic black-and-white movies, even though they know a-priori that it is art. Past a certain point it's very difficult to see past the outdated technological limitations.

Comment Re:I would pay $1 a month (Score 1) 167 167

And that's the problem with services like this. You don't really need that much music. 50 years ago people heard songs on the radio from time to time and were happy. I have enough good music stored on my HDD (most of it ripped off of CDs I bought) that I don't really need more.

Just because you personally don't need that much music doesn't mean there aren't plenty of people who do. I'm one of them, and that's why I'm a Spotify Premium user. It is a very useful service for me, especially because my taste varies from melodic rock over technical death metal to classical, and I can find 90% of the kind of stuff I like right there, right then, add it to a playlist, and download it to a device that I can then listen to offline. I have it on close to 8 hours a day.
And I really like the "discover" feature that allows you to check out music that is considered similar and/or liked by the same people. I have found some great things that way that I'd have been unlikely to hear of any other way.

Comment Re:Simple question (Score 1) 425 425

how many developers does a 10x programmer have to drive away before it is a wash?"

By definition, 10. Perhaps being able to figure things like that out is what separates 10x programmers.

As long as the 10x programmer is making less than 10x the salary of a 1x then ceteris paribus it is financially impossible to become "a wash". You can never match the productivity per cost of the 10x with "level 1" programmers. That is scary, because it means that no sensible company with a serious productivity need should hire 1xers unless they really had no other choice.
Say a 10xer commands triple the salary of a 1xer, then the 10xer is still less than a third of the cost of 10 1xers for the same productivity, or you could have triple the productivity for the same money (and still give yourself a single 1x salary as a bonus for being so clever).

Comment Re: News? (Score 1) 425 425

When it comes to programming, nearly all problems seem simple at first.

I think this is one of the most important things to hammer into software engineers - never assume anything is simple. There are a great many things that seem extremely simple to humans but turn out to be much less simple when trying to get a computer to do it. The example I tend to use is shoelaces - e.g. do you know how you tie your shoelaces?.

I've long lost count of the number of times a customer has said something along the lines of "but you can just see how it's done!" when describing a difficult problem, often involving parsing of vision and heuristics to find a probable solution.

Comment Re:We warned France not to follow our mistakes (Score 3, Insightful) 195 195

These actions are being taken in response to real threats that really killed real people.

Real threats by people they already knew were potential terrorists and yet they failed to stop them from carrying them out. In other words, they had all the intel they could have wished for and it didn't help. This push for more intel/less privacy has bugger all to do with stopping terrorists.

Comment Re:"culturally incompatible" (Score 1) 553 553

And we get the job done where those young whippersnappers just give up and throw their toys out of the pram.

The converse was true were I've worked. I've seen more older people walk out on jobs than young people. The young people kept throwing themselves at practically impossible tasks until they burned themselves out. The older people warned three or four times and then quit when their warnings went unheeded.
The interesting thing is that both approaches have their place: in nearly all cases the older engineers were right in the long-term and the project they left ended up being a very expensive failure. In some of the young people's cases they ended up against all odds finding a solution to the problem. I'd estimate that 9/10 times the old guys were right, 1/10 times the young ones were right, but the company got blinded by the success of that 1/10, ignoring the many people that had been lost along the way.

Comment Re:"culturally incompatible" (Score 1) 553 553

These companies are missing the flip side of the coin, that the over-50s are highly motivated (saving for retirement!,) often highly skilled, and generally have done that before, several times.

I'll add one: I've always enjoyed working with the few "older" engineers in the places I've worked. They were never stingy with advice or stories and generally had less "me against the world" attitude - they knew their value and were past their own insecurities.

Though they do command the big salaries.

And that's wrong. The job and how good a person is at it should dictate the salary, not the person's age or "years of experience". As we get older we MUST let go of the idea that our income evolution can only be in one direction.

The longer the title, the less important the job.

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