Just imagine showing up to some hipster gathering in a suit and tie and watch yourself be ostracized in the exact same way.
That would be wrong too.
The bottom line, in the TFA and other comments, is that some engineers / hipsters / <insert demographic> are behaving according to different social norms than their employers / middle managers / <insert some other demographic> and thus feel misunderstood and disrespected.
I've been trying to point out how stupid the rift is between these two groups of people, when really it has nothing to do with just getting the job done.
I know as well as anyone else that these problems aren't going to go away for the people concerned overnight. Either of the groups must just put up with it, or change their attitude. I just wish that people like you could see these misunderstandings from both sides, instead of siding with the establishment by default.
> Preconceptions about business attire are based on social conventions that are utterly arbitrary!
Of course they are. They cannot be otherwise. But the point doesn't support your conclusion. The language you speak daily is also "based on social conventions that are utterly arbitrary." But try speaking a different language in a business meeting than whichever one is expected, and see what it gets you. Conventions, social and otherwise, are shorthands which enable work to progress more quickly and with less overhead. If you don't understand that, you can scarcely expect to be taken seriously.
Speaking a different language doesn't work as an example to support your conclusion either. That's because verbal communication is vital part of getting the job done. Dressing up in a suit and tie is absolutely not a vital part of getting the job done and being preoccupied with dress codes and the physical appearance of those you deal with can blind you to their true talents. A shorthand? Maybe it works as a shorthand for some people some of the time, but it's not reliable universally as there are plenty of incompetent idiots in suits that aren't good team players and plenty of extremely talented engineers in jeans and a t shirt that are good team players.
Think about the bowl of M&Ms (with all brown M&Ms removed) that Van Halen required to be backstage for each of their shows. It didn't even rise to the level of indulging a prejudice: it was a completely arbitrary requirement. But if the bowl wasn't there or had the wrong stuff in it the band knew the venue wasn't taking the specs of the contract seriously and so they would be on guard for further deviations.
The bowl of M&Ms was arguably a part of the customer requirements for the service they were buying from the venue. That's exactly what I was saying professionalism should be about - getting the job done - providing the product or service to a high standard. That's what makes the business money. It shouldn't matter what the person who ordered the M&Ms, or even who placed them backstage the night before, was wearing - unless the customer paid for that to be part of the act.
Its not about preconceptions based on attire. Its about perceptions based on the wisdom of choosing ones attire that puts the business environment ahead of one's personal need to express himself through dress. That is a statement in itself. Some get it, others don't. The accepted dress in most companies today is much more casual and varied than it was even 10 years ago. It will continue to evolve. Having the capacity to know where the standards of the day are, and what may be pushing the limits, is one that you can demonstrate through your choice of dress. Trying to prove something is fine, just don't blame others for the result it brings. Business leaders don't like complainers.
The point I was trying to make was that the conventions that make up accepted dress in the business environment (to use your words) are arbitrary and based only on social conditioning. I accept that almost everyone has been subjected to that conditioning - not just the managers but also the customers. TFA is about engineers not being respected. The AC points out their clothing can cause them not to be respected.
For respect to be regained someone must make changes. That could be the engineers capitulating and dressing according to the social norms of the traditionalists. The respect could also be regained by the traditionalists waking up and realising that all of these cultural rituals are a waste of time that complicate the process of buying and selling high quality products and services.
Sure, if someone turns up to a series of job interviews today in a t shirt and flip flops they shouldn't be shocked if no-one calls them back and they need to seriously rethink their strategy. The same could be true when trying to clinch that sale - but then how many engineers are sales people?
The AC was attacking the stereotypical "hipster", calling them childish and speaking with much disdain about them. My point was that you can just as justifiably pour disdain on the traditionalist business folk. They are also the ones who are trying to impose their standards on other people. Standards that really should not be relevant, in an ideal world, to doing good business. I accept we do not live in an ideal world, and the hipsters of the AC's comment should know better. It's just that they're not the only ones that would benefit from an improved attitude.
You wouldn't ever catch me in a fedora (it seems little more than a uniform for them much like a suit is to your so called "businesspeople") but people who judge someone's professional competency based on that attire and equate professionalism with collars and suits are being as stupid and bigoted as the hipsters that you are describing.
Professionalism shouldn't be about clothing choices or buzz words or even about following arbitrary procedures. It should be about getting the job done, efficiently and to a high standard and that's *all* that it should be about! A professional is someone you can trust to meet your specified product (or service) requirements to a high standard.
Yes I know that in trying to win customers a business needs to consider the fact that more often than not a lot of these potential customers will have many of these arbitrary, illogical preconceptions, so I do understand that making compromises to please their sensibilities is important for the success of a business. It doesn't change the fact that these preconceptions are arbitrary and could make life simpler if over time they were phased out. I actually think in some places that's already begun to happen.
It doesn't have to just beat the fallibility ratings of most humans though. It really needs to make less mistakes than, say, the top 1% of advanced defensive drivers to be acceptable.
If you believe you are a skilled driver and you make a mistake, I'm willing to bet you'll still come to terms with the mistake (and you can learn from it) much better than if you bought a self driving car and it makes a mistake that you know you wouldn't have.
Any mistakes a self driving car makes will cause media outrage anyway.
Also there are some driving Kobyashi Marus where whichever choice the algorithm takes, the driver is going to think it took the wrong one.
Also driving style is a very personal thing and there are arguably driving ethics. For example it's often taught not to brake or swerve for small animals but I'm sure millions of drivers will be disgusted if the self driving cars are coded to splatter the poor creatures on an empty road with clear visibilty at 30mph. Has this issue ever been addressed by the way? I've not heard it mentioned before.
Shouldn't the phrasing rather be something like "You can ask the frog one question, but every second day it lies, and every second day it tells the truth."
Now it is possible, but non-trivial, to formulate a question that tells you which door to use. (But not if the Frog is dead, though.)
I'd ask the frog "If yesterday I had asked you behind which door are the Riches and Power, what would you have said?" and then go through the opposite door.
Fuck beta as well.
Less bandwidth intensive images.
The old comment system.
P.S. Beta sucks!
Thanks very much for responding, Soulskill. I'm pleasantly surprised.
The one thing I can't get my head round is this obsession with increasing whitespace on new sites. I'm assuming it's connected with wanting to space out things people want to click on with their fat fingers on a small touch screen, but just increasing the size of buttons and links should do that.
I noticed even the current (classic) Slashdot site got its whitespace cranked up a lot a little while back, (I think it was sometime last year) around when the icons got redesigned, and people bitched about that even then.
Yes, I'm aware I'm not submitting this feedback through the proper channels. I guess you can put that down to a combination of cynicism, laziness and rebellious protest. I really feel it's something of a lost cause. This is the way the whole web is going.
FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A firefly is not a fly, but a beetle.