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Comment Other things to interview for (Score 4, Insightful) 1001

Technical expertise is only one part of the whole picture. But it may be the part people thrust into the interviewer chair are most familiar with. Sometimes the interviews feel like a final exam and I wonder if they interviewer had final exams pretty recently.

I have been known to point out these annoying little things to my colleagues when we are hunting to fill positions:

Do the candidates' personalities mesh well with yours? Do you think you can stand being around them and working with them day after day?
Will they be reliable?
Do they seem easy to train? They will need to learn how this group does business and works together after all.
Do they express curiosity when they don't know the real answer?
Do they make things up to fake an answer? Or do they say "I don't know the answer, but based on my experience I would guess this..."?
Do they communicate well? Do they listen well?

Comment Re:Several conflict resolution strategies (Score 1) 433

In order to build a healthy career, you have to learn how to manage these situations productively. People who master the skill get promoted.

It is healthy for your career. Making sure your manager knows how well you are handling it is an important part of the getting a promotion.

Comment Advice other than changing jobs (Score 1) 433

I don't know any "unofficial" ways to deal with this that you have not heard. I have wondered if a group "intervention" might work, but I have never seen it tried in a workplace. I have tried talking bluntly to some difficult people. The results have varied. I think the times when I got some good results, I had kept their point of view in mind. Be prepared to have more than one such conversation.

Getting anyone to change behavior may be very difficult if the behavior has been allowed for a long time. If unofficial ways don't work, then you will need the help of someone above the gaslighter. (But that is an "official" way to do something, which was not your question.)

So below this point is a compromise of some "unofficial" ways to get "official" help.

You might discuss your concerns with managers or directors who are not involved, but are in nearby or related departments which share upper management. Pick one that has been in the company long enough to know upper managers. They can tell you which person up the chain will probably listen.

If there is a group that goes out for food and drinks after work occasionally, go with them. You may get more open advice away from the company's office. You may find that they start the conversation by asking you about the gaslighter.

Do all of this respectfully. If you come across as just bashing the gaslighter and your own boss, you may hurt yourself. Try to remember that you may want a job reference in the future.

When you find the right person to approach for "official" help, keep the company's interests in mind while making your case.

Comment He Who Pays the Piper (Score 1) 550

Too many people forget the liability is about the possible consequences. The consequences in your analogy just don't compare.
- If a bridge collapses, there are real damages such as deaths, injuries needing long-term care, injuries needing short-term care.
- If software fails, information gets copied.
These are not the same.

You say its time to demand professional behavior. Then do it. Buy your software from the better behaved company even if it costs more.

Comment Revenge of Peopleware (Score 1) 405

Sad to say that we have headphones because we work in cheap space that does not shield us from noise or each other. If you had a better way to control noise, you would not need them.

Relate this to the recent article about productivity boosts due to working at home and think about it from a noise perspective. You have more ability to control noise in your own home.

You might say the headphones allow us to guard the quality of the hours we are working, so we don't have to increase their quantity.

Comment PeopleWare Strikes Back (Score 1) 117

What? People more productive?

Why? They are only:
- away from noisy cubes.
- away from hallway meetings.
- saving time from a commute.
- saving aggravation from a commute.
- a few feet from their private bathrooms and break-rooms. (Not several hundred feet down a long, busy hall.)

BellSouth (now AT&T) also discovered a productivity boost among employees allowed to telecommute during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Comment Holding a Tiger Family by the Tails (Score 1) 515

(Arguments always seem weaker to me when started with "IF"...)

The largest numbers of customers will consistently choose a flat-rate plan over a metered plan for very simple family reasons as well as economic reasons.

People buy data services for the whole family or household to use. If Dad has to start yelling at family members about using too much, then Dad will shut it off or quickly switch to a flat-rate plan. (Anyone else pay more for flat-rate texting for kids' cell phones?)

Surprise bills put stress on relationships as well as wallets. People don't like them. And in uncertain times, they will be a hard sell.

Comment The Exploiter's Dilemma (Score 1) 515

A big problem for us is that there are usually just 2 players with the ability to deliver "the last mile" of connectivity for broadband. And data is NOT their main line of business.

The cable company main business is delivering video. Data was an add-on they could do because they have wires to the home. Now they want it to make money the same way as the main business.
The phone company main business is delivering voice communications. Data was an add-on because they have wires to the home. Now they want it to make money the same way as the main business.

What we really need is a company whose main purpose is data services with wires to the home.

Comment Wag the Dog (again) (Score 5, Insightful) 515

Over and over we go through this.

Metering has the eternal problem that ends with a enraged customer calling customer support over the shocking bill at the end of the month. AOL used metered services for years. When they finally went flat-rate, their business exploded with more customers than they could handle. When AT&T shifted from metered and offered flat-rate data for iPhone, they got more customers than they could handle.

Metered services can be good alternatives or add-ons to a flat-rate service, but they will be filling specific needs. A serious gamer may want low-latency. A serious file sender may want high-bandwidth on-demand. (I need to get this huge file sent to the office NOW.)

Metered services also have one big sore-spot: the meter itself.
      - when do you get to see the meter? Just once per month at billing time?
      - who verifies the meter is accurate?
      - how are ISPs prevented from abusing the meter? Recall that long ago, laws had to be written to stop phone companies from charging for calls before they were actually answered.
      - how are bytes being counted? Bytes are not counted like phone minutes. Packets are re-transmitted out of necessity. Do they count twice?

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