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Comment Re:Where do I begin (Score 1) 582

What are the other reasons? Maybe you could enlighten the rest of us, because I've never been able to figure it out.

Not sure if this is a serious question or rhetorical, but I'll assume the former in my reply (yes, I know this is slashdot).

First, it's not uncommon for an employee who has little or no managerial experience to "not get" what managers do so in my jobs where I've had a significant managerial role (e.g. dept head or VP), I try to make some specific information available for staff. For example, if you reported into me at any level and you came to me with this this question, I would pull out your job description and the one for your manager (assuming you had the same job family) and I would review them side by side with you and answer any questions you had.

But speaking generally (I've had everything from IT to Medical Affairs report into me at various times), some of the things I expect from first line managers (different from their direct reports) are as follows:

  • Managers are expected to perform at a "role model" level in their specific technical area. As such, they can perform QC/QA activities as needed (especially for junior or recently promoted staff) and are themselves accountable for technical screw ups.
  • Managers are expected to model business competencies for their group. For example, I expect them to be able to communicate well with customers and colleagues, which I don't necessarily expect from an individual contributor, depending on role.
  • Managers are personally financially accountable for the success of projects their staff support, and they are "graded" not just on their personal contributions but those of their staff (usually I weight this more to group contribution as a team grows). As such, I instruct new managers that they are not expected to do the job of (e.g.) three people, but to make sure that three people can get their jobs done. This does not mean that they get to use a stick often to whip their employees into longer hours or crazy commitments, because that sort of management is counter productive long-term, but it does mean that managers have to identify and solve problems that limit productivity. I.e., they must continually think "one step ahead" ...
  • Managers are responsible for hiring, training, remediating, and terminating their employees. All of these are time consuming when approached correctly. If you've never been involved in remediation efforts, then I will simply note that that they can take anywhere from 3 months to a year to go through a full process of performance evaluation and documentation, depending on the procedural rules of your organization. Termination for performance is and should be relatively rare, and a manager that decides to go this route better know that their own competency as a manager is called into question. What I've unfortunately had to call upon my own line managers for this year is down-sizing support. And it's really easy to be cavalier about this sort of activity if you haven't been through it before, but it can be a soul sucking experience to have to dismiss your employees for whatever reason. (I don't have or keep managers who don't care about their staff.)
  • Managers support the company. I'm not saying that you can't like your employees or fight for them (you better if for no other reason than it's your job to retain them), but when something like a strategic business decision is made, you either get behind it or you find a new job.

Granted, there are radically different philosophies about management so ask someone else and you may get a very different answer. That said, I don't think there is anything in my response above that is novel or uncommon.

Comment Re:Where do I begin (Score 4, Interesting) 582

I always found it very weird, that a manager with a specific competence level gets more than a specialist of the same level in any other job. They just assume to deserve more. "For the responsibility." While in reality, you're the one who is going to get blamed and dumped, as soon as something goes wrong. While he gets a raise for dumping you!

In the US, pay in companies is pretty much determined by pay reference points (PRP) -- i.e. "average" salary statistics for job families and positions in the same locale, industry, company size, etc. These numbers are obtained by HR departments from different companies sharing amongst themselves. While you can reconstruct rules from surveying PRP (e.g. first line managers in my company typically average 4-5k over their direct reports), the pay values are not actually based on any parametric model (such as the one you describe).

As for small group managers and their salaries, I couldn't disagree more. Their average day may not differ much from that of their direct reports, but they get the salary bump for other reasons, which you will figure out if you are in one of these positions for long. And FWIW if I have a manager fire a staff member it pretty much reflects back on them. Hiring staff, retaining good employees, and remediating the less productive ones is all part of what they are "graded" on.

Comment Re:I guess this could make sense (Score 1) 539

Do you honestly think that the company (any company, not just Apple) would charge you less if people did not do this? The difference is going to boost their profit margin, and since people already have no problems overpaying for a product, they will see no need to lower the price at all.

Are you suggesting that a company will not decrease their profit margin even when it allows them to maximize profit (by increasing sales)?

Comment Re:How about some nice menus instead? (Score 1) 617

if the majority of business users don't reject it ... it's a change for the better.

Most people in business who use Office 2007 use it because the decision was imposed from above, and there were a lot of reasons for the change beyond the "improvements" in the interface. That it wasn't rejected just tells you that it doesn't suck abysmally.

Is the ribbon better? For a new user, sure. For those of us who knew Word inside and out before, I can't think of a benefit.

Comment Re:How about some nice menus instead? (Score 1) 617

Even MS doesn't claim that all hotkeys and key combos work the same as for Office 2003 (because they don't).

But as per a previous poster, it's not about the advanced users (those of us who have had to put up with the various incarnations of Office for 15+ years), because they weren't going to lose us anyway. It's about the new crowd and getting them onboard.

Personally, I hate the ribbon. It's a waste of screen real estate (although MS has never been reluctant to consume as much of my screen as they could get), and after using it now for more than a year I find that I am still not as proficient as I was with Office 2003.

I keep it minimized and try to ignore it.

Comment Re:Decent text editor still not included right? (Score 1) 367

Understood, and I'm partial to using of Emacs as an IDE (and for statistical analyses using ESS, and LaTeX). I'm not questioning Emacs utility. I am, however, constantly surprised by Emacs advocates and their inability to see the world from any other perspective. I mean, for heaven's sake, three posts back I have someone responding by citing their own use of emacs for graphics editing. Ok, yes of course you can do that, and yes that may even make sense from time to time, but is Emacs really the best tool you can think of for all of your graphics needs (from a time or ease-of-use perspective)?

Of course, I don't care personally what you or anyone else use -- hey, if it makes you happy, great -- but I am bemused by the logic I'm seeing in this thread (i.e. "Emacs is a text editor. And guess what: a calendar consists of text ..."). For heaven's sake, everything either consists of text or can be represented by text. Follow that logic very far and the only tool you ever need is Emacs.

Anyway, I can tell from your post that you don't just use Emacs, but I swear I think some Emacs users went back for one too many cups of the Kool-aid.

Comment Re:Decent text editor still not included right? (Score 1) 367

Actually, it might.

But usually it does not.

FWIW, I use emacs and prefer to work in a text environment for many tasks. That said, I recognize that there are some tasks better performed outside of a text editor.

Out of curiosity, can anyone else replying concede that point, or is it just emacs all the way down for y'all?

Comment Re:science? (Score 1) 216

Also, I'm having a hard time understanding your statistics/psychology analogy. Are you suggesting one or both of these are not sciences?

He's just saying that significant points of convergence (or overlap) isn't the same thing as identity. I.e. that mathematics isn't science just because of the overlap or reliance of upper-level physics (whatever that is) with mathematics. Differences matter too.

Comment Re:Culture of Secrecy (Score 1) 514

The conditions under which the goods we buy are prepared ... is ultimately the responsibility of the individuals who are purchasing those goods.

I've never been comfortable with this imputation of moral burden entirely to the buyer. Corporations are complex and no one, least of all your average buyer, has a clue as to all of the financial and commercial entanglements that ultimately deliver a buy-able product.

Also, trying to choose amongst companies is similarly non-trivial, and as their size increases I suspect the more similar they become, if for no other reason than simple stochastics. Or do you really think that large corporations can be pidgeon-holed into "good" and "bad" categories?

Comment Re:I thought they.. (Score 1) 635

Testing is difficult. Having a well-understood tool with a wide body of reference material is important. Intentionally screwing up an important test by publishing the details about that test is unethical.

You assume motive (the purpose of publishing is to screw up the test), but even if we allow motive, it doesn't necessarily follow that the motive is unethical -- e.g. perhaps the publisher believes the test is invalid or harmful and wishes to obsolete it, or perhaps the publisher has considered pros and cons and even though they acknowledge possible harm still considers it overall beneficial to publish

Aside, criticisms of publishing the test seem most sensible if we treat the Rorschach test as irreplaceable. But then I wonder, if it is truly irreplaceable, how does one analyze a psychiatrist or psychologist who has already been exposed to the test?

Comment Re:Becoming obese (Score 1) 620

Your analysis is somewhat misleading.

On several levels -- it's difficult to be both concise and accurate. But, while I'd agree about the importance of thermal maintenance on overall caloric needs, I don't think how calories are burned is at issue in obesity so much as the simple fact of caloric imbalance. I mean, you could be lean whatever your physical activity is, so long as your caloric intake is sufficiently low, and you could be obese with a very broad range of physical activity, so long as consumption is in excess of total caloric needs. (This is not to equate leanness with health, btw.)

I'm currently testing this theory by deliberately dressing a bit cooler than I normally would, and seeing if I lose weight faster

Yes, your caloric burn will go up. However, this typically stimulates increased appetite and consumption. So, to do this correctly you'd need to measure calorie intake before and hold constant, however hunger you are, throughout the experiment. Or, if you don't mind being hungry to lose weight, you could just stay warm and reduce your intake -- i.e. diet :)

Comment Re:Becoming obese (Score 1) 620

Just a few brief comments and then I'll bow out:

Of course this is not a constant model for human weight because of complicating factors like digestion efficiency and metabolic rate.

Digestion efficiency and metabolic rate have very little to do with weight variation in humans. It would take me a few minutes to dig up the numbers, but most human are close enough that I wouldn't consider these to be terribly important factors.

You're claiming that I'm attempting to establish truth as based on my own personal experiences.

Given that you started out by agreeing that you were generalizing from personal experience, I'm not sure why you choose to disagree here. Indeed, in this most recent post you invoke statistical data only to substantiate your claim of normalcy and presumably to bolster the weight of your personal opinion.

When you look at the numbers though, just how intellectually honest are you being?

I'm being a bit lazy in not bothering to cite references, but I'm not being intentionally dishonest. Please understand I am (among other things) a scientific researcher who spent roughly a decade studying the genetics of metabolism in mice and humans in both an academic and industry biotech setting. If I'm cutting corners in this conversation, it's mainly because this is slashdot and not a scientific forum.

Perhaps it's not so unreasonable for me to conclude that I am an average American in this context?

Unreasonable, no. But useful in the context of this discussion? I don't see how. You seem to be simply arguing that "most people are not obese, and I'm not obese, ergo I'm like most people metabolically; and if I'm right, then you must be wrong, etc.

To the extent that this is your intended argument, then you are still arguing from personal experience, only you are more elaborately using data not to support your claim but your personal authority. I hope you understand that this isn't how science operates.

But even if we were to allow argument from personal experience in a scientific discussion, bear in mind that we are talking about the role of appetite/satiety on obesity, and the most relevant comparison would be whether or not you have an appetite comparable to that of obese people. You may believe this to be the case, and that may even be true, but I don't see any basis for the claim.

The only thing I'm selling is personal responsibility.

My criticism is not in what you are selling but about how you are selling it. In fact, you are selling a product (personal responsibility) that I believe in -- you just use the fallacious methods (e.g. personal testimonial) to peddle it.

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