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Dot-commers Back to the Dorm 181

securitas writes: "This is an interesting story about how many dot-com workers and CEOs left school, went broke, and are now back to their dorm rooms, studies, and keggers, having been through the modern equivalent of the Holland's tulip mania." Free reg. req. Bleah.
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Dot-commers Back to the Dorm

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  • So what? (Score:2, Funny)

    by jedwards ( 135260 )

    Sorry, but so what?

    They were doing something, did something else for a while, and now they're doing the first thing again.

    There's nothing at all special about that.
    • I agree, a kind of lame story. They didn't even go into things I would be interested in:

      Are these students able to get back into these schools?

      Do they anticipate problems from not being as fresh in their subjects?

      Are the numbers of returning students high enough in some cases that they will compete with current students for resources?

      Maybe _I_ should go back to school and study journalism :)
      • fresh in they're subjects? Hell, I tend to forget half of it over Christmas break. Over summer vacation most of it was totally lost. It's sort of sad, but really true how you tend to only retain about 10% of what you learned in college. Of course then again most of what you learn in college tends to be either garbage, or not even relavent to what you're going to do.
    • Sailor: Kiss me! It's VJ Day! The war is over!!!

      Beautful girl in Times Square: OK... but I don't see what the big fuss is. We were doing something, we did something else for a while, and now we're going to do the first thing again.

  • by Colz Grigor ( 126123 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @07:38PM (#2261219) Homepage

    I returned to school at the peak of the market since I could finally afford to pay for that fifth, six, and seventh year.

    ::Colz Grigor
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Looks like you actually managed to put in the "archive" part, so that people don't have to register to read it. Watch your back, doing a good thing is considered tabboo here ;>
    • Hmmm. Seems Hemos isn't really checking those links!

      Since it was me who submitted the "" link (as it appears on the main page), does that mean that I'm the one who has to watch my back?

      The next thing you know the NY times will be DMCA-ing /. Look out for the Night of the Long Knives!

  • The comment about having to share a dorm room and all that entails when you lived, for some, the life of the CEO must be humbling indeed.

    Those in other countries perhaps can't understand of which we speak - a CEO in the US makes about 500 to 600 times the base pay of the lowest paid employee in the US, not the 30 to 40 times common in Europe or the 20 to 30 times common in Asia.

    So one day they're living the life of Riley, jetting around; the next I'm watching a film with them at the Film Fest, and they have less than my friends who work part time.

    Zam. Icarus, you flew so high ...

  • Free reg required? Not when you supplied the archives link...

  • Free reg. req. Bleah.

    No it isn't. Try checking your own links once in a while, eh? :)


  • Well, you can be assured that Bill Gates won't be returning to the dorms ever again, with an income totaling to billions of dollars, I think he's pretty well off without his college education.
  • by digital_freedom ( 453387 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @07:42PM (#2261254)
    seeing hot girls again , instead of your greasy cubicle mates?
    keggers instead of the watercooler?
    sounds pretty good when you aren't making 6 figures and your stock options are worth less than your used college textbook.
    A lot of my friends who went to dot-coms and e-business pipe dreams are now going back to school for more. I guess you just try to do the last thing that made you happy. For a lot of us who were beaten in the dot com bust that means school. At least we'll have plenty of doctors and lawyers who can code too.
    • hot girls? I haven't seen any of them around my campus... Of course I go to an engineering school, so that may explain that.
    • >seeing hot girls again , instead of your greasy cubicle mates?
      >keggers instead of the watercooler?

      You obviously didn't read the article. Most of these people are going back to STANFORD. As John McEnroe once said "Nine out of ten girls in California are beautiful. The other one goes to Stanford."

      Trust me, I go back there in a week and a half. Damn the wireless startups. Remember when "I work at a dotcom" could get you dates?
    • At least we'll have plenty of doctors and lawyers who can code too

      Maybe it was a hugely cunning way of making the professional population tech-savvy. OR: Maybe it was a hugely-HUGELY cunning way of making the professional population Microsoft haters.


  • maybe these real life students have something to teach. Absolutely no one had a rational grip with what was going on through this huge tech boom. Frankly I do not believe anyone has one now. Watching the news certainly doesn't help, everone has a conflicting opinion. These VETS have been to war and have come back with unique experience that the general public does not have. I give these guys props for holding their heads up and pressing forward. This is a tough world and you got to give credit where credit is due.
    • Hah, I am still working right on through the tech boom.

      I love my job and got offered plenty of those, "80 dollars a hour" jobs. Lets see, offering 80 bucks an hour to someone who is 19 with a year of college and two years of full time work experience as a software developer, Hmmmmmn....

      It was just too good. So, I took the lesser paying job because I knew the company I am working for would be around. Yeah I worked those crazy .com hours. The trick is I still have a job ;)

    • Not really (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FallLine ( 12211 )
      Come now, I'm all for experience, but this is "experience" hardly that.

      Firstly, there is a world of difference between the "get-rich-quick" work ethic and that of someone fighting for a real startup--where they actually have to make things work.

      Secondly, very few DotComemrs took real risk. Sure, many watched their stock options become worthless, but it was virtual money from the get go. It's not as if most of those kids could have gone to other jobs paying equivalent amounts of "real" money.

      Thirdly, relatively few really were sufficiently high in management level positions to take any real responsibility for what happened. Many of those who were in "management" still do not; their attitude is that they had no responsibility for their investors money--it stinks.

      Fourthly, besides the fact that they it was not their own money, by and large, they were living in such an artificial and over-inflated environment that few of them can claim to have any real business experience, other than perhaps to be a little more skeptical of the next fad.

      Lastly, why shouldn't they hold their heads high? You think the DotCommers have it any worse than previous generations of college aged kids that were applying for jobs during full blow recessions? I have far more respect for the earlier generations there, they at least can claim to have seen real struggle.

  • The herd instinct played a large part in the defection of so many students to cyberbusinesses. Before the bubble burst, everybody seemed to be getting in on the action, and no one wanted to be left behind.


    Then, in August, went under, and Mr. Douglas was suddenly just another unemployed dot-commer. "There was a great deal of grieving," he said. "It was really comforting to come back to school and throw myself into something more stable -- write papers, study for tests, earn my degree. No one can take those things from me." After graduation, he chose one of the oldest professions around: acting.

    I think I will let this one speak for itself.

  • by Mike Schiraldi ( 18296 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @07:45PM (#2261269) Homepage Journal
    To get to a page where you have to fill out an annoying registration form before you can read the story, just replace "archive" with "www". Here's an example [].

    (I guess i'll call this "karma anti-whoring")
  • First you get to go to a place where you get to drink beer on your parents tab and room with coeds.
    Then you make more money in a day then your parents make there entire life.
    Then you go back and drink have sex again.
    Yah gosh, those dotcommers have it rough...
  • One of my colleagues was recently let go and looked for a job, without much results. So he decided to head on back to school.

    He was involved in "dot coms" for the past couple years after dropping out of college. To be honest he was hired because we NEEDED people - the rapid growth thing led to some crazy hiring decisions. We hired our share of idiots.

    Anyone see this before?

    So it's good he's going back to school, and to be honest, he really needs the education. Maybe he'll go into political science or something. He just wasn't cut out for the technology business.

    So all this isn't about dot-com CEOs going back to school. It's about the uneducated going back to get an education.
    • by Jace of Fuse! ( 72042 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @09:13PM (#2261473) Homepage
      So all this isn't about dot-com CEOs going back to school. It's about the uneducated going back to get an education.

      Too bad not everybody who comes out of school is well educated. In fact, I'd dare say more than half aren't. School isn't about education, and you've been ass-over-minded if you think otherwise. It's a business. A very profitable business, unlike the Dot-Coms. In fact, I'm not predisposed to the idea that the dot-com failures weren't some elaborate conspiracy to make school look even more important than people already think it actually is.

      I'm in college. I'm a double major even. The more time I spend in college the more full of shit I find it actually ends up being. I've taught myself way more than most professors, and the few professors who HAVE taught me something preach that the system is full of shit.

      I know what you're going to say, "Your school sucks, then." Probably. But I'm willing to bet yours does too. I'm quite sure they want your money and just like any other monopoly they will hunt down and destroy any system of teaching which undermines their stronghold on the market. You are a head of cabbage to them. A monthly income. A product being tested for loyalty to be sold off in the end to companies that want lapdogs and throw-rugs.

      Dot-Coms failed for a large number of reasons, but any education that the tech-workers may have lacked was quite probably not a major contributing factor. I know of a few nice sized tech companies that doesn't have very many people with degrees simply because they want free thinkers who are willing to solve problems, not college grads with elitist attitudes. (Yes, I'm saying that most college grads have elitist attitudes. It's true, and deep down you know I'm right. There are exceptions of course, which is why I say most not all, but...) These companies have some bright schooled kids, there, too, to be sure. But most of the people who work for these companies are either still in college or they never started, and not only do they make good money but they have a stable jobs at companies that aren't dot-bombing.

      I think everyone needs to ask themselves just a few simple quesitons...

      1. Do I value a degree because I think I'm worthless without one?
      2. Does my company value a degree as a test of devotion, or out of a requirement for a "well educated" background.
      3. Am I happy working for someone else anyway?


      I'm getting a degree for only one reason. I have a good job that's paying for it entirely. I realize not everyone is so lucky.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Well, what these former CEOs have learned is that education is worth something. But it's only worth something if the student makes something of it.

        Sure, you can go to a good school and get a sucky education. You can get a degree without a lot of learning, and come out not much different than how you went in. Then you can get a mindless job somewhere for the next 45 years, and you're done.

        OR, you can go to an average school, and sign up for good courses. You can study hard. You can pick and choose the best professors. In the end, you have the same piece of paper, but you have a real education.

        The choice is yours (the student's).

        Very few schools actively help people to fail. Perhaps yours is one of them. If you're not getting an education, then just be lazy and squeek by and you get the piece of paper.

        Some schools are for-profit businesses, but look into it ... some are effectively "owned" by an individual or stock holders, and they'll be the ones that are MOST interested in your money.
      • School is what you make it. Yes, there are good profs and bad profs, and good course and bad courses, but at almost any university, you can make the experience worthwhile and educational, or you can make it a worthless waste of money and time.

        I've taught myself way more than most professors.

        Yes, that is a good sign. I would go so far as to say that it is impossible for anyone but yourself to teach you anything. The secret to getting a lot out of an education is to think of it in terms of learning, rather than teaching. Every class you take gives you an opportunity to learn something. You probably could learn it yourself, with appropriate books, and enough time, but nowhere near as fast as if you have a professor and a class full of other students to help you.

        So, you have to approach your schoolwork with the attitude that you are the boss of you. Nobody is going to make you do things the way the professor tells you too, and if you are willing to accept the consequences, don't do things you don't think are beneficial.

        A lot of people, some professors included, probably don't agree with this aproach to learning. They may, in fact, believe that professors are sacred fonts of wisdom that bless students with their presence. But it doesn't matter -- you can learn almost as much from those professors as anyone else, more if you count learning to suffer fools gracefully.

        Finally, I have gone to a lot of schools and had a lot of professors/teachers. Some were brilliant, some were idiots, some were wonderful people, some were complete assholes, some I loved, some I hated. But I have never -- repeat NEVER -- met a teacher who wasn't willing to help a student learn, if that student sincerly asked for it.

        If you get any less than a stellar education, you have primarily yourself to blame.
        • You probably could learn it yourself, with appropriate books, and enough time, but nowhere near as fast as if you have a professor and a class full of other students to help you.

          I disagree. In my experience it is in fact much faster to learn something by yourself. How often do you actually ask someone for help? The only time I remember asking for help because I genuinely didn't understand the material was in the electronics course I had last semester, and that was because the course notes were very poor. When the information is in high-quality textbook form, I find I never need any assistance. The advantages of studying entirely by yourself are much greater: you can study at your own pace and don't have to waste time in inefficient classes. All classes, to some extent, spend too much time on topics you find easy and skim over those you find difficult. I often skipped physics classes -- to study physics!

          I would argue that the purpose of teachers is not to communicate information but merely to put pressure on students to study. Most people would never learn anything in academic fields unless someone forced them to, and that's exactly what the school environment is for. I don't take courses on things that are sufficiently interesting that I can and do learn about them on my own (e.g. philosophy), but rather on topics that I hate but want to learn about anyway (math).

        • School is what you make of it. Learning is entirely your job. You are the only person that can teach yourself. And so on. I hear this all of the time. Given the above, please tell me exactly why I should drop $80,000 on something I should be able to do entirely by myself?

          In the end, whatever the justification is for 4 years of bullshit (which may well be fun bullshit), employers want to see a stupid piece of paper. Some people probably believe that this piece of paper proves that they're qualified for their job, but a more common view of the piece of paper is "No one will hire me if I don't have it, so I need to get it, and I need to put up with 16 years of crap to do it".

          Granted, this is much more important for some fields like medicine and perhaps law. Unfortunately, as the original poster said, college is big business. You don't have to be a crackpot to believe colleges want to convince every last person on earth to seek "higher education".

          As it stands, the only thing a diploma will prove to me that the person knows how to party (and good for them), and that they can memorize. I'd actually be pretty disappointed to hear that someone spent all of that time and money and studied hard instead of attending some Roman style sex/drug orgies.

          Skipping college makes things somewhat inconvenient, but it's nowhere near life ruining as everyone will tell you it is. I'm paid very well at my current job, run a computer consulting business on the side (which may become fulltime), and life is actually pretty good.

          Another plus is that I don't have huge student loans to pay off.

          This may not work for everyone, but I certainly don't regret my decision yet.

      • Aguably many dot-coms failed because they were just throwing around empty buzzwords. All these companies that did "cooperative content management" and "e-commerce infrastructure coordination for the enterprise." You look at their websites and think "What the heck do they _do_?"
  • maybe then we can have some real inovation in the industry, instead of workers with a bunch of certifications that say they a TRAINED to do tasks, instead of think for themselves.

    techienews network [] help us beta!!!
    • Careful. Just because you have a college education doesn't mean you might not be required to get a cert. from time to time. In fact, a lot of [older] grads that I know are basically required to get them to prove they're /current/ on present day technology.

      Unless you're in some kind of management position, or pigeonholed developing in one specific coding language, a cert. may be your only ticket for receiving a hefty raise, moving within your existing company, or crossing the street for a few extra peanuts.

      That being said, I also don't think cert. training precludes having the ability to innovate.
  • I was offered several high paying and risky jobs at startups but refused them all, preferring to stay in my current gig as a well-paid (not exhorbitantly) consultant in a very vertical market. I figured I didn't want to be one of the layoffs everybody should have seen coming and now I have many friends who got loans based on fictitious stock prices and now owe the banks more then they can probably make in 10 years without the pumped up silliness of their former jobs. So as it stands now I have a great job, many opportunities and in my business work only increases when there are layoffs (downtime!! :-) so I am a happy camper. I used to wish I had taken some of those jobs but got cold feet and now am glad I did. Stability and growth are what its about, not stocks that you HOPE in a year you can sell for what they are worth now.
    • Hell yes. During this whole thing, there were times when I was tempted to leave the small-ish (but quite stable) company I'm with. I had friends who were making 2-3x my salary, often doing less or with more fringe benefits (telecommuting, etc). I put out resumes, got a couple offers, some quite nice, but it just didn't feel right. Now I'm glad I stayed salary is sufficient such that I think I am paid enough for the job I do, and only 2 people were laid off. I have a number of friends that suddenly found themselves jobless in all this, and I almost have to laugh when they act like it really could have lasted indefinitely.

  • by alewando ( 854 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @07:56PM (#2261314)
    Whenever booms like these arise, it's a great opportunity for students to cast down the shackles of academia and strike it out on their own. For years, it was entirely possible for young people to forgo college careers altogether and give of themselves fully in the high-tech industry.

    But now that it's over and they're coming back to academia, the viscious cycle begins anew. These students, once they graduate, will have both classroom experience and real-world experience, and it'll simply raise the bar for everyone else. The choice for students arrived from outside the dotcom market will be between either taking time off and taking significant internships during their student years or simply go for more education (most will choose the latter). It'll be an upward spiral of higher education begetting better qualified workers begetting a need for higher education.

    That's why it's critical, now more than ever, that we abolish universal education. Darwinian sociology tells us that the best will lead no matter what their headstart, so we should do away with unnecessary artificial government intervention in the education markets. Starting from a young age, children should be given strong incentives to go into factory work or indentured servitude, thereby setting a sufficient hurdle that only the truly motivated will enter primary and higher education.

    The dotcom boom and bust was an important economic moment in history, but let's not let ourselves lose track of the bigger picture. Education is, one of the most important determining factors in people's quality of life, but we must not allow ourselves to overvalue its function or be irresponsible in its delivery.

    There will always be a place for young people to go instead of university. The sooner we pull out of this economic slump, the better for these people.
    • Why not take that thought to its logical conclusion? Give incentives to the unmotivated to bulk themselves up (no steroids, please) and line up at the nearest slaughterhouse. Sufficient sterilization and other treatment of the meat should be able to obviate any health risks from eating human flesh.

      (For the clue-impaired: the above said with tongue firmly in cheek, as I hope the parent post was.)
    • I cannot comprehend your vision of society. Education is the best tool against poverty and ignorance. More education is a GOOD thing. It is not a dangerous tool that should be given only to the worthy.

      You seem to have some kind of ideals but it is not clear. A system you are suggesting provides education only to those who can afford it. Why should a poor family struggle to provide education to their children, when I rich family can do it without problems. How could this possible be of benefit to society. Education should be available to all people who are capable of being educated, be they rich or poor. This is what will lead to a better society.

      Of course I am talking about true education, teaching people to think criticaly, to analyse, to solve problems, to think for themselves. and providing the resources to help them expand their knowledge. I am not talking about a piece of paper that guarentees them a better job than someone else. Perhaps this is what you are talking about.

    • real-world experience Huh? What that a typo? I'd hardly call what happenened with the thing "real world." Well, perhaps the one thing that they have walked away with is the notion that often, there are no shortcuts. That, and get what you deserve when you waste other peoples' money.
    • Viscious? Is that like, "wickedly thick" or something? Hmm.. Wickedly Thick. Sounds like a name for a band. Or maybe a horse.
  • Umm... is it just me, or was this story already posted a few days ago? I seem to remember reading it on /.
  • From the article: "You're sitting in class, and meanwhile, you're hearing about people your age making millions and millions of dollars,"

    Well, this is like seeing a news report on how *someone* wone $M's in the lottery and than everyone jumps on and goes crazy beliving they are *the-one* going to win next no matter what.

    Lets face it, the number of the DOT-COM'ers that made a $M+ are propotional to the number of people win the lottery to those who don't. The irony is that news media loves to give you news on such unique situations (and we love to hear them) -- so it ends up sounding as if *every* DOT-COM company is a $M winner where the reality is it's only 1 out of a M just like in a lottery.

    Lets regulate the news-media -- maybe /. ;-).
    • I know one of the people in the article. He lives the next entryway over. My freshman year suitemate was providing funding. You have no idea how fucking hilarious this all is.

      I agree with your point, but when these people were still hot shit, the media- especially, of course, the campus media- couldn't wait to get down on their knees in front of these guys. They had a launching party for their incubator at a nightclub. They were on cellphones all the time. They were quoted as saying that people like me were wasting their time with student jobs.

      This was the attitude then, as published by an obnoxious grad student in our student paper:

      Have you registered a domain name? Do you participate in online chats or bulletin boards? Do you shop online? Does your cellular phone browse web pages? You can no longer afford to be a step behind the technological bandwagon.

      All I can say is, "Eat me." Most of these people are back among us mere mortals, often after burning through massive amounts of cash. Meanwhile, I've learned four programming languages, gotten my name on scientific articles, and been promoted to positions that at least pay enough to keep the fiendish coffe habit going. I haven't missed any semesters, either.

      These guys were full of crap up to their ears, and the only people who realized this were the tech people like me who didn't see the value in sabotaging our educations to buy Aerons and Sun servers. All most of these people had was flair, connections, and Dreamweaver 4, and I couldn't be more delighted to see them get burned.

      [ not posting my name, thank you, but if you go to the same school you'll know where I'm from ]

      PS. Want a dorm-room dotcom that works? Create an e-commerce site to sell weed to fellow undergrads. Can't fail.
  • heck i've worked and now am back in school (not forced but on my free will)... i find working too restraining .. you gotta code what you are told to code .. i find research more interesting (you get paid to do what you want) .. so this isn't a bad deal for thee dot-commers .. well they had their fun (and $$) now time to get down and get some serious work done besides making web pages ( not that its not a serious one .. but not for some coding guru )
  • I'm in the same boat, but I never left school, and my dot-com actually worked. Well, maybe I'm not in the same boat...
  • With a $40,000 salary and a trove of stock options, he also took his girlfriend to fine restaurants, gave lavish wine parties and booked a two-week vacation to England.

    They must be some very good stock options because, I don't know about were this guy lives, but $40,000 is not enough to do all the stuff he is doing were I live ....
    • I agree with ya - I make $42k at my day job before any overtime or bonuses. I live almost dead center of the US where the cost of living is fairly cheap (except for gas at the moment.) My idea of vacation (the first REAL non-working vacation in years) was to go to Colorado, and I could barely afford it. And I've got a second income from my game company!

      He lived it up and partied on the idea that the stock options were going to be worth a fortune, or that somehow he was going to end up with an even higher salary. Well, I'm sure he's learned his lesson well enough now :-)

  • Here's a smart idea. Let's give millions and millions of VC dollars to a some 20 year old CEO and see how quickly he can spend it. Great idea. Why didn't I think of it?

    Next thing you know they'll be throwing millions at the kid down the street with the lemonade stand. I better go talk to the little pip sqeak to see if I can get in on some pre-IPO shares.

  • Hmm. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by under_score ( 65824 ) <<mishkin> <at> <>> on Thursday September 06, 2001 @08:45PM (#2261362) Homepage
    Well, I was in a dot-com that crashed. I invested in it (foolishly, fully aware that I would likely never see the substantial sum of money ever again). Luckily I picked up a contract just before things really started to go south in 2000. But the contract has ended and now I'm pounding the keyboard searching for work. Sucks.

    But, I managed some really cool stuff in the last several months - I started [] which is a pretty cool educational concept. The idea is to "open" education: anyone can be a learner and an educator and an accreditor using a sophisticated (some might say complicated) moderation system.

    So if any of you out there are thinking about education instead of work, please check out It is set up so that you might even make a little money for your contributions to the system. Check out the following links for more info:

    The Philosophy of Oomind []
    Introduction to Oomind []
    Thanks for taking the time to read my little blatant self-promotion. If anyone has suggestions about the Oomind system, I would love to hear them.

    • Re:Hmm. (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If you were so "fully aware I would never see a substantial chunk of the money again" why the fuck did you invest in the money? Are you some sort of a masochist?

      that doesn't make sense. Thank you
  • I may just have to go postal...
  • but I'm making less money than ever and I'm happier than ever.
    • So you are saying that money != happiness? What's going on here? Ahhhh!

      Do what you are happy doing, not what makes you money. You have the right idea, and all the fucks in my CS classes didn't.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    BTW, offtopic I know, but last time a discussion came up about degrees and career paths, boatloads of you hosers were spouting off on how you were l33t and knew you sh1t and made the bux, and how everybody was your bitches. I work in technical HR and I got flamed for posting the real reality of the situation. Well its a different day and just last Sunday there was an advert for a job fair in the DFW area for several dozen companies. Firstly the ad said "all positions require 3+ years and most require a degree". The fun part was actually at the fair. After it was over and a bunch of us HR folks went out for drinks (HR has lots of good loking chicks BTW) we had a good laugh about hot so many of your types are walking around with their tails between their legs trying to get jobs that pay 60% of what they were making when they got laid of 6-9 months before.

    Also alot of laughs were had about what qualifies for instant filing in the old circular file. For example: no suit, TRASH CAN; visible tattos or piercing, TRASH IT; any sort of attitude, BYE BYE; no degree at all or incompleted degrees SEE-YA (yes even for IT positions); H1-B, sorry but upper management will not let us even look at the extra legal cost involved; wierd hair, THANK YOU HAVE A NICE DAY! You know how many folks out there have certification of one sort or another? Every single one who came by. Moved jobs around alot, more jobs then years of experience? NOPE not a chance in HELL!

    Do you folks have any idea of the wonderful house cleaning that we did? Any lippy or attitude blasting employees, GONE. Not keeping regular hours (in at 9 don't care when you leave), BUHBYE. Making more then we think you should (mmmm, like more then 50k), HISTORY! Ya know they managed to trim over half a mil off the old payroll? Do you also know that as your salaries rose, so did ours? Especially those if us in technical recruiting? Did you also know that as yours has dropped by 10-30%, ours has remained steady? No more palm pilots, no more areon chairs for your fat asses, no more telecommuting (accounting tells me that I would be suprised how much that cut costs).

    Do you know how I am making my rep as a kickass tech recruiter? I get well educated, well groomed, punctual, regular, hardworking, loyal, reasonable, candidates and weed from there. We have a long term plan too. If those candidates get hired and work out and prove themselves, they will be back up at their old rates in 2-4 years. If they dont work out, plenty more where they came from.

    • In short, you only hire idiots, no wonder the tech industry is going down.
    • All I can say to the writer of this (I know the poster wasn't!).

      I hope your not composing letters to present these employees, your spelling and grammer leave alot to be desired.
    • Also alot of laughs were had about what qualifies for instant filing in the old circular file. For example: no suit, TRASH CAN; visible tattos or piercing, TRASH IT; any sort of attitude, BYE BYE; no degree at all or incompleted degrees SEE-YA (yes even for IT positions); H1-B, sorry but upper management will not let us even look at the extra legal cost involved; wierd hair, THANK YOU HAVE A NICE DAY! You know how many folks out there have certification of one sort or another? Every single one who came by. Moved jobs around alot, more jobs then years of experience? NOPE not a chance in HELL!

      You just threw away the resume of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Wozniac, Linus Torvalds, Alan Cox, etc...

      Great move asshole. Suits and degrees don't give you skills.

      • by Zeio ( 325157 ) on Friday September 07, 2001 @03:23AM (#2262366)
        Exactly. There is a mix to be had, certainly the poindexter depart of defense employee from 1960 isn't precluded from being the next hero, but the next is more than likely not to be this type of human.

        Jobs should be based on merit, not quotas.

        You work for the group of who are in essence communist-socialist. The potential to generate revenue is first and foremost; at best a tertiary concern could be the ability of that individual to conform to the pointy headed boss' work schedule.

        My former IT boss/director was a lamer and inept as his job; but because he was punctual, wore a suit, fit the mold and talked the talk. He just couldn't walk the walk to save his ass. I turned down an offer for his jobs for something in California that paid $20,000 more than his job. Last I heard he was still dressed up in his little suit looking for a job.

        I can go either way, California style or NYC Stock market style. Shorts or suit. I want a job to pay the bills. But to not look at me because I don't feel like dressing up for your (recruiter) lame-ass self is real swift. I have always gotten my own jobs, recruiters usually turn up shit jobs. All the recruiters I have ever talked to don't have a f-ing clue what I do for my job - and they clearly suck and finding me jobs because I managed to find myself one here during the .bust in the middle of Si-Valley. In fact, when I mentioned once I had Novell experience, an OS which I like but not nearly as much as the *nix varietals, he said that that was passé - and that Active Ditectory was the new thing. I remember getting my MCSE certification a long time ago so I could tell the PHBs with certainty that running an "All Microsoft Shop" was a -bad- idea. I also remember reading that while Novell has been in better shape, there are a significant number of people going from ADS to NDS (good decision). The "recruiters" knew a buzzword, sure they heard of XML, but they don't know anything about XML, have never seen XML code, and they don't know why the people who want XML people want and XML person, etc.

        Most of the recruiters called me back a few times, but they failed to turn up any real leads. I feel bad for the guys washing the floors in the mailroom when they could have probably found something better without a recruiter.

        I'll stick to work that I cultivate myself. Sure, I'll give bonehead recruiters a chance, but you guys suck at it (always seem to be well groomed, kempt, ex-jock losers who fail to realize taxi-drivers turn a better dime than they do), and you don't make the loot we make because your work is secondary to this business.

        Just like the travel agent, your job is contingent on someone actually going out and doing something. When you contribute nothing to the advancement of humanity, you should serve the ones you do without being mealy mouthed cocky pricks.

      • by Tetsujin28 ( 156148 ) on Friday September 07, 2001 @11:55AM (#2263732) Homepage

        You just threw away the resume of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Wozniac, Linus Torvalds, Alan Cox, etc...

        Right. But he's looking for EMPLOYEES, not wizards or entrepreneurs. These call for very different skills sets and personalities.

        If I owned a company, and was looking for employees, the last thing I would want is a Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs.

    • Your God? Talk about low standards.
    • A skill that is as vital to finding a job as being a good technician is the ability to talk the bullshit that the agency scum and HR pricks talk.

      When a 24 y.o. agency bimbo asks you what version of MS-VC you have worked with, be sure to mention the *latest* version and to say that you've used it for 2 years even. Don't worry about the truth, just make sure they hear the numbers they want to hear. If you fail to do so : "4.5 ? Oh that's too bad, my customer wants someone with 4.6". Above all, don't even try to point out that 4.6 is 3 weeks old, just lie.

      This is just one example among many, the list is too long.

      I've sometimes asked an agency who at the employer's firm had written the job spec. It is often the employers' HR dept (who have about as much of a clue as the agency fools) who do that. Great.

      Along with the dumb numbers games you also get despicable tactics to get some kind of psychological reading from you. Yeah, sorry, I'm not a fucking super-cool dude, when I go into an interview I'm very slightly on edge. If you deliberately put me in an interview that's rigged to put me at a disadvantage you'll just end up pissing me off.

      Check this out : interviewer sits on a design office chair at the usual height off the floor. I'm told to sit on some design sofa with my ass 6 inches off the ground, your knees touch your chin, your smart pants ride up and your hairy shins are on display for all to see.

      I hate those recruiter shits with a passion. The only difference now is that I've learned all their stupid tactics. It still doesn't calm my hate for those parasites.

      Phew, that was a good rant.

  • by Gorobei ( 127755 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @09:07PM (#2261438)
    It's sad, but I've seen a lot of ex-dotcommers looking for jobs recently.

    The good ones just sit down and show their skills. We talk about a real job versus returning to school, etc.

    The bad ones explain that they were a CEO/CTO, whatever, and want an equivalent job at our "real" company. We try to keep to a straight face while we explain that, if they are hired, they will have the title of "ultra-junior hire," and will be reporting to a person that left school a year or two before them (but who actually put the effort into learning about a real business.)

    The real entrepeneurs aren't returning to school... they're getting decent jobs with good advancement possibilites right now. It's the poseurs that took a flier on cheap VC capital who are slinking back to an education on their parents' money.
    • Actually I've seen quite a few people (coders) leave their jobs now that they've either a: cashed out, or b: given up on cashing out to return to college for their masters or doctorates until the dark clouds roll through. They will then return to work with a new degree, and a bright economy ahead holding similar jobs if not better than the ones they left.
  • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @09:09PM (#2261453) Homepage Journal
    We have to turn people fresh from college away from our open posititions at work. They dont have any pratical experience in troubleshooting, teamwork, and physical experience with tcp/ip, unix, networking, networked applications, etc. We have hired alot of'rs, they have more experience than people with BA in computer science. Some people even started at ISP's as teenagers and worked thier way up to being an engineer. Only recently has colleges started giving courses that apply to the real world.

    On the subject of no jobs for peeps, we have 7 openings in my group (growth), and almost 30 for our department. We cant even find the right people to fill the jobs, it seems hard to find any unix/dba/network specialist or someone with a little experience who would pick it up. We hired one person who started 2 ISP's from scratch and sold them off before the boom, a very rare find. The local head hunters run out of people with any marketable skills quickly.

    This is in Seattle Washington, so people in BFE like Spokane Washington would still be out of work.
    • You are naturally speaking from what you want as employee material in the post you are seeking to fill. If you want someone that can maintain a Unix/Win box, knows the main driver conflicts, and doesn't mind spending a lot of time under a desk then a BSc CompSci isn't going to be as useful. However if you want a programmer, or db guru, then it's pretty essential. The boom sucked many people into the industry that call themselves 'programmers' who don't know basic algorithms (yes, I've seen bubble-sort used in live code). I'm currently rewriting the backend for a retailer, cutting down their stock update time from over 12 hours to just over 5 minutes. All it took was some database knowledge and some simple routines (eg binary searches and trees). Most of it 1st year CompSci stuff. It is stuff however that needs to be *taught*. Of all the dot-commers that are going back to school, or unemployed, I bet virtually none of them are programmers with BSc in CompSci.

      • That brings up a good point. I was looking for a new job the other day, and saw all sorts of jobs I could fill experience-wise, but they required a BS in Computer Science. I've got an Associate's in PC Networking. These jobs are things like supporting users in Windows, PC troubleshooting, etc. Not stuff that requires programming knowledge other than basic programming comprehension. I'm not sure the people who write up the job requirements know what it is that is being taught in CS classes.
      • You make a point, but please, let the sort algorithms be. There is a lot more to algorithms than efficient sorting and searching. Show me for example a BSCS who really understands the effect of fixed point rounding in DSP algorithms and knows how to deal with it. Or maybe one who can use programming as a tool to research the behaviour of a fire inside a building.

    • by ananke ( 8417 )
      I know this is not the right place to ask, but where can I find information about these job openings? I'm a recent college graduate [comp-sci], with 5 years of working experience working for the comp dept at the college. I'm unemployed and looking for a job as a linux/net admin prefferably.
    • Classes are not the only way to learn in college. I managed to get hired last year to do tech support work for a decently sized university []. I worked all year last year, and am working there again this year. What have I learned from this job? Teamwork, troubleshooting, lots of experience with TCP/IP problems, networking problems, and even some stuff about how to run wires (they normally don't let the Student Consultants do anything with wiring). All the skills that you say you're looking for, but not finding in people fresh from college. All this and I'm still only a sophomore. (even though I've still got more time to go, not too early to start looking for a job ... if you're interested in hiring me, drop me a line)

    • On the subject of no jobs for peeps, we have 7 openings in my group (growth), and almost 30 for our department. We cant even find the right people to fill the jobs, it seems hard to find any unix/dba/network specialist or someone with a little experience who would pick it up. We hired one person who started 2 ISP's from scratch and sold them off before the boom, a very rare find. The local head hunters run out of people with any marketable skills quickly

      If you can't find people, you're probably not offering enough money.
    • Here's a bizarre idea. How about having a few cheap "ENTRY LEVEL" positions? That way you can fill them with smart capable people who don't have the experience for cheap. Then when you're experienced person leaves/dies/explodes you're not left in a lurch.

      Sheesh. You're treating people like machines (Find person with skill X, insert into tab B) instead of biological systems that can grow into a worthwhile employee.

      It's amazing how almost all other career fields have something like this, and IT doesn't.

      Just graduated, very frustrated,
      Erik Z
  • I did the dot com thing for a while and I still hold out some hope for the stock I own. I then saw that tech company was progressing from a developer to a service provider (online trading) and since I much prefer development work to tech support I made my escape and went to work for a ski hill for the winter.

    I've since landed a job teaching a Webmaster program for a private post-secondary institution in BC. In a way I'm much happier doing this than I was coding. I get to apply my technology knowledge and also use my social skills and interact with real people every day.

    The whole idea of more tech workers being needed is at least partialy because there are not enough really good thorough focused training programs out there. If you found out during the dot com rush that you have a talent in technology and you've always been a good explainer and information sharer. Then perhaps one possible career move would be to go into teaching in a technology program.
    • Same exact thing happened to me. Now I spend my days teaching college kids about technology, and I'm loving most of it. Perhaps the low pay may get to me after a few years, but I certainly don't miss the insane deadlines, messed up technical explanations, the greed and being tied to the NASDAQ for my daily sanity.

      Yours Truly, Dot Com Lead Programmer
  • good timing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by archen ( 447353 )
    personally I think it's a pretty good time to go to college. Me? I did it the wrong way. I went through college all throughout the boom, and just recently graduated. And a college graduate has a tough time, in a market where a lot of people with good experience are roaming in droves looking for work. I guess I got lucky and got a decent job, but I know more than a couple of my friends whom I graduated with aren't so lucky. Then again I'm not exactly doing what I went to college for either...

    Make the money while it's good, then go back to college when you probably wouldn't be able to get a job anyway? Sounds like a plan. And what is the big deal with the money anyhow? I mean sure making a decent money is important, but this article basically stressed that THAT is what the tech industry is all about (okay, and yeah it is to some extent). Thinking of my college experience, I saw more than a couple people who were CS type students who didn't even like programming much: they just wanted a high salary. To me, if you're really into tech stuff, the quality of your work will show through. If you're just in it for the money, then chances are you'll probably get the job done and nothing else (if that much), and that's what I think was wrong with the "dot com's" in the first place.
    • is it really that hard to get into a tech related job today?
      i recently came to the us to look for a tech related job (bad timing huh). i have 3 yrs c/c++ coding experience with scsi and tcp/ip. explored the unix/linux system files a lot, done some net administration and i know my way around the computer. i'm not an expert in anything but i know where to look for the answers. i'd love to work on embedded linux devices or software development in *nix. (actually, any tech-related job will be fine)
      i have been to a lot of job sites but recruiters aren't interested in hiring someone that doesn't exactly match what they're looking for.
      would you hire someone who managed to convince your recruiter that he/she is an expert in (e.g. kernel programming)?
      when can you call yourself an expert in %insert_specialized_field_here ?
  • Crappy code (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aldjiblah ( 312163 )
    I can just barely imagine the piles of crappy code these people have been churning out while working dotcom. Fast business and time-to-market was the keyword, so one can't really blame them I guess, but just thinking about these mountains of absolutely useless crap that powered the sites makes me ill.

    Back to school, hopefully they'll learn something this time.

    (yes, my company has worked with a couple of "new economy" startups, so I know what I'm talking about).
  • Get used to it. You've had it too easy if you think you can get it all for nothing.
  • I dropped out of highschool to get into the dot-com craze. I did work at a dot-com that failed and then moved on about a year ago to a traditional company, luckily I got in because the market was strapped. I probably wouldn't be able to get a job without a high school diploma making as much as I do now.

    Forget returning to school, if I can keep this job long enough, my plan is to purchase a franchise of some sort with the money i've been saving from this job so hopefully I dont have to worry about getting laid off anymore.
  • One that teaches: To stay in business, your company needs to make more than you spend. And also: It is nearly impossible to grow a large, successful company without years of effort.

    Some of these companies had some good ideas (though most of them didn't), but managed their money so poorly that it shocked me. Everyone was in too much of a rush to get filthy rich that they didn't take it slowly and make sacrifices.

    I think the next time around, people should become wise to the following:
    -$700 is $700... you don't need that Aeron anyway.
    -If you want your company to grow, you're going to have to make some initial sacrifices. That means CEOs of .coms don't need to hog all the payroll.
    -If you need to "bend over" for the VCs... you've already lost.

  • Seriously - these people aren't cut out for work (speaking from experience).

    And - when they drop out of college more high tech jobs for those of us that did graduate!
  • The main problem I found with computer/technology students. Is that a lot of them have an Ego that they are the best there is. I dont need to learn this stuff, I can program anything I want. Then they leave college (sometimes due to poor grades) and write Bad code. I was a computer Wizz in high school and at college. But I look at my code that I did my freshman year (I was working part time in a software house then too) and I think to myself "My God this code is aufull!" My code after formal Computer Science Training has become much smaller and more elegant. And I realize now that I can probably still impove on it. But a lot of the Dot Com dropouts never put them selfs in a position where they were challanged and in a position where there is so many computer eliterates out there that they are praised like gods. While at school you are just the normal joe. Techs need to be humbled it pushes them to go further and the drop of the Dot Com is buisness evelution where the best Dot Coms will survive while all the little guys who never did anything will die out.
  • by dangermouse ( 2242 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @11:31PM (#2262051) Homepage
    I was going to post anonymously because the company I worked for has sort of regrouped and seems to be doing well, and I don't want my post to reflect negatively on the people involved in any way... but I changed my mind. If you heard the full story about parent companies and mergers and whatnot, you'd understand, but I don't want to go into that. Suffice it to say that the people I considered the "real" company, those I considered my "real" employers and co-workers, I have a great deal of respect for and gratitude toward.

    Let me further preface this comment by saying that I do realize the overinflated tech sector actually collapsed (duh), that I understand that jobs are pretty hard to come by at the moment, and that I'm fairly afraid of what would happen if I lost mine somehow.

    But (here comes the comment) I had the same fear back before the collapse. I came in at the tail end of the boom, and I was employed at what everyone around me considered an absurdly low wage (and which, really, was pretty low). I took the job because I believed the work was worthwhile and something I could be proud to have participated in (it was, it is). But despite my relatively low wages, I managed to save nearly half of what I made, simply by living within my means. I simply wasn't comfortable with debt or with living on the edge of my bank account.

    Sure enough, I lost that job, through no fault of my own. When it happened, I had enough money to live for just under half a year, but I was still scared sick, because there wasn't more coming.

    Didn't take long, fortunately, for me to find a new job. I now make twice as much as I was making before... and I'm saving money at about two and a half times the rate, because I haven't increased my expenses much over what they had been (I lost two roommates, so the rent tripled). It will probably be years before I do, and you can be sure I'll have at least one significant raise under my belt beforehand.

    I guess my point is that I don't understand how people can suddenly find themselves making twice what they should be making (often more) and respond by spending it all. Think about how much money some of those people could have in the bank, right now... And it's not for the sake of the money itself, it's the security and peace of mind that having something to fall back on -- or someday build a future on -- gives you. I'd rather have that than a Porsche any day.

    • Think about how much money some of those people could have in the bank, right now[...]I'd rather have that than a Porsche any day.

      Hey, some of us wish to reproduce.


    • Didn't take long, fortunately, for me to find a new job. I now make twice as much as I was making before... and I'm saving money at about two and a half times the rate, because I haven't increased my expenses much over what they had been (I lost two roommates, so the rent tripled). It will probably be years before I do, and you can be sure I'll have at least one significant raise under my belt beforehand.

      You, my friend, are doomed to become a millionaire like me. We are the invisible ones, who don't spend all our money on fancy clothes and cars, who max out our retirement plans, overpay our mortgages (into principal, natch), and end up with more wealth than all the high flyers.

      Yes, it is hubris, the majority of execs spend more than they make, and have little to show for it. You can live quite well on a moderate salary, still afford to go on vacations, and educate your kids quite well - but your attitude must be different.

      As an example, my dad and I went on a two-week vacation in France this year. We got cheap seats, flew economy, used Paris La Visite passes and Museum passes, took the TGV, and stayed in one or two star hotels. And we ate in the moderate parts of town.

      So, for what it cost some of the people we saw on the rich island in center Paris to live for one day, we had two weeks of travel and fun. And we didn't wait in the lines they did, and got to see the real Paris.

      The problem for the ex-CEOs is expectations. They expect to live that way as a CEO. If they were true geek CEOs, they would still live in a shared house, ride the bike to work, and keep their suits at work for when they needed to do the VC rounds. And, like Paul Allen, they would have diversified their investments so that their tech investments were only some of their holdings.

      My dad got out of the markets back in February 1999 and went bonds, t-bills, and money market. He's done quite well. I stayed in and rode some IPOs, but cashed out half of most holdings when they got nuts. We're both better off than everyone else is, but we don't live high on the hog, so our natural saving nature keeps us investing for the future and only spending on what we truly care about.

      And that, in short, is what makes the difference between a paper millionaire who's in debt for more than he's worth, and a real millionaire who doesn't do debt unless it's a very good idea.

  • I'm probably not supposed to talk about this (NDA's and such), but this story hits pretty close to home. Dunno if anybody remembers Aimster (which technically, I guess, is still around and trying to figure out a way to survive). Four of the original developers (me and three of my friends) were RPI [] students that were persuaded away from our Junior/Senior years to devote all of our time to the company. Since then, quite a few more developers have been brought on, almost all from RPI.

    Well, classes started two weeks ago, and Aimster's in an awful lot of trouble. On top of the financial woes stereotypical of most startups, its full-time development staff has been reduced from about 12-15 down to one or two. Why? My personal reason for leaving: after a year away, I realized just how much fun going to school really is, when compared to the "real world," and also how important it is to finish school now, while I'm still motivated enough -- the longer you're away, the harder it is to go back. Several developers are continuing in fairly limited part-time positions while taking classes, but classes are the priority.

    The missight that I feel I made when I decided to leave school was this: I chose to believe that a company that hadn't even existed a month yet would be able to give me everything it said it would; also, I leapt at an opportunity for "quick-and-easy" gains without thinking about long-term effects.

    This isn't to say that I think working at Aimster was a bad experience, or a waste of time -- I even got more than half of what they said they'd give me(!). But if another company approached me and promised me the world if I would just leave school, they'd have to deliver it up front -- and even then I might not take their offer :)

    By the way: I bear no animosity toward anyone at Aimster, at least no more than you bear toward the rollercoaster after you get off at the end of the ride.
    • What is Aimster? []
      "Aimster allows you to Find New Buddies and Share With Buddies."
      Now there's a mission statement worth leaving a great school like RPI to pursue. Still, if you hadn't done it, you would have missed the experience. It would be like missing out on Woodstock. It may have been muddy and crowded and inconvenient, and there was bad purple acid and stuff, but those who went could brag about it for the rest of their lives. Have fun in school and pay attention in economics class.

      Beware of enterprises that require new software - Didn't Benjamin Franklin say that?
  • Anyone know what happened to this guy []? The web site is still there, but is Geoff Cook still involved?

  • having been through the modern equivalent of the Holland's tulip mania
    I've been a Dutch citizen all my life, and attended all history-classes -awake- up to highschool, but I never heard of that "tulip mania".
    Isn't this some sort of urban legend floating around?

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?