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Comment Re:Never understood (Score 1) 430

I think "on a shared workstation" means it was an electronic document and not a physical sealed envelope.

Fair point, and that sounds dicier. 'Round these parts (California), that employee might have a case for wrongful termination. But maybe not; snooping around corporate computer systems, even if the door is unlocked, just doesn't look good.

In the other case, though, now that I think about it, even if I had signed a contract that said my salary was confidential, surely that's only an agreement between me and the company? Would I really be violating such a clause if I disclosed my salary to another agent of the same company? It just doesn't seem like there's anything management can really do to prevent this sort of thing.

Seems like the only thing that keeps people from discussing this sort of thing more is the fear that someone's feeling are going to be hurt -- either theirs or yours -- if it turns out there's a big salary discrepancy.

Comment Re:Never understood (Score 1) 430

We recently had someone canned because they opened someone else's offer letter (which was sitting on a shared workstation).

Well if a sealed letter had someone else's name on it I'd agree that's a firing offense.

Me voluntarily telling you how much I make, on the other hand, is our business. Management can cough and sputter all it wants, but unless I signed a contract that stipulates my salary is confidential information, there's nothing they can do about it.

Comment I think these fears are overblown. (Score 5, Insightful) 420

Being afraid that your job will be taken away by "overseas workers," besides its vaguely racists and xenophobic connotations, is just the latest flavor of a very old fear.

Back in the days of the industrial revolution, it was automation that was going to take away the jobs. And in a sense, it did. But the population of (for example) the United States is larger today than at any time in its history, and most people still have jobs. Whahoppen? And yet now some of the people who weren't even alive during the industrial revolution are worried that robots and other machines will take their jobs away. Or foreigners.

The best wait I can explain it is that you should never approach an employers with the idea that you are a consumer asking the employer to give you something, in this case a job. You should think of yourself a a business resource -- which is what you are, and in fact the most valuable one that exists on the planet. When you apply for a job, you are OFFERING an employer something. You are not the consumer. You are a supplier. So as an autonomous resource who has control of your own destiny, how do you increase your own value so that you are more attractive to your current and future employers? It ain't gonna happen by you taking a job and then sitting down at your desk and pretending you're going to do the same job for the rest of your life.

If you're afraid that you've got the kind of job that your employer could just hand to somebody else tomorrow -- somebody you've never met, somebody who's never met anybody on your team, somebody who maybe doesn't even speak the same language as you -- then my first question is, don't you like money? Why are you in that job, when it can't be worth what they pay you for it and you could already be doing a lot better for yourself.

A lot of tech workers seem to get confused and think their value to their employer is in the skills they have. That's true, partly. But I'd say at least half of being successful at any job -- and maybe even 80 percent -- involves interpersonal skills. How well do you work within the team? How able are you to anticipate what the business needs and act on that? In cases where there's a leadership vacuum, can you fill it? And then when it's time to follow directions, can you still do it?

Or how about this one: Do you LIKE your job? Do you show up every morning feeling good and ready for work, because you feel like what you do for a living is something worth doing? I've talked to a lot of people who don't feel that way, and honestly I feel like a lot of that is on THEM. Going back to the idea that you're not a customer, you're a supplier ... you've gotta stick up for yourself. For most of us (hopefully) nobody has stuck a gun to our heads and made us take ANY job. It's true that they wouldn't call it work if it was all fun and games, but many of us spend more of each 24-hour day at work than we do sleeping. And certainly more than we do spending time with our friends and families. My advice is to spend that time on something you think is worth doing -- not something that a 10-year-old could do for you, if that was legal.

Do that, and you're already ahead of the game. When you're in a job where your real value is not to some nebulous economic concept, but to the people who make up your business, then you're in a pretty good spot. You can outsource Worker X but you can't outsource Dave Johnson, because there's only one of him.

So don't be Worker X. Maybe it sounds glib, but that's really the whole game. That's your life.

Comment Re:Don't forget legacy BROWSERS. (Score 3, Insightful) 218

This is tricky. It's tempting to support legacy browsers, but if you do too good a job of supporting them, you don't incentivize your users to ever get their sh*t sorted, and upgrade their browsers. It's a vicious cycle I am eager to avoid.

Yeah, but when your "users" are more properly called "customers" -- or even more important, "potential customers" -- then some web dev's desire to preach the gospel must take a back seat to doing the job the way it needs to be done, rightly or wrongly.

It's fine to push for strict browser standards when the only people who will ever see your web applications are within your own organization. Public-facing sites are a different matter.

Comment Re:OMG america is stupid (Score 1, Insightful) 181

If ever there was a weapon that would be classified as only a weapon of terror with no practical application beyond fear.

Well, fear and burning people to death so they're no longer a threat. Not very efficient, but effective.

And I guess the "practical applications" of your guns, if they don't involve fear, involve gunning people down, right? Don't bother with scaring them off, just kill them.

Between you and me, it seems like the practical application of creating fear is working just great on you, quick-draw.

Comment Not at all surprising (Score 4, Insightful) 187

This will probably come across as a kneejerk response, but the submission makes it sound like Liu's themes are almost entirely derived from PRC propaganda. You hear this sort of stuff all the time if you pay any attention to Chinese state media ... planned economies are best, the individual's primary responsibility is to the family unit, Western ideas have failed, and so on. If anything, these books demonstrate the poverty of a literary scene where everybody has to constantly watch what they say.

Comment Re:No soul (Score 2) 351

Peter Jackson ripped the soul out of Lord of the Rings when he neglected to film The Scouring of the Shire.

But he did film it, kinda. He just didn't put it into the story. It shows up a little bit in the Mirror of Galadriel sequence.

One could argue that that was the correct way to play it, too. I know people who claim to have "walked out of the theater after the first ending and skipped all of the other ones," as it is.

Comment Re:It looks like a friggin video game. (Score 1) 351

You can turn that off, I havent seen a tv yet that didnt have interpolation as an option the user could turn off. Sometimes they give it some gimmicky name though

Yeah, on my set there are two settings that combine to create the effect and I have each set to "most of the way off" because that's the way I like it.

Variables don't; constants aren't.

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