Grumblings from the field…

16 Feb

In a bit of a hurry this morning so this’ll just be a cap up of what’s going on.

The Job Market in the Pac Norwest for software development and IT has definitely taken a blow – but there’s still a lot of work out there.  I still receive about 4 or 5 job requests per week (my resume is unusual as I have job skills that are uncommon).  But most of these for the last three weeks are not ones I’d really look into unless the economy is bad.  The practice of sending out contact emails for positions with unrealistically low or unrealistic job requirements (usually both) for the purposes of being able to say, “We couldn’t find anyone here in the USA qualified” is still pretty rampant.  I’ve seen about 6 of those in the last month.  (When was the last time you saw an honest request for a Program Manager with a background as a Sr. Developer with 10 years experience for $25/hr??  Yeah – they seriously want to fill that position.)

It’s insulting and disgusting that companies will go to that length to justify hiring outside the US, and it’s more annoying that the offers come from respected legal and recruiting firms.  I won’t say who I’ve seen use this the most – however you might be surprised their one of the longest and major supporters of Open Source software and similar initiatives.  I’ve said it before that one of my core dislikes of the OSS community is it’s naiveté regarding the fact that their largest supporters exist because they’re too cheap to pay for software and have always felt software had no value.  It becomes pretty obvious when a companies true motivations for greed and being cheap are so thinly veiled behind the cloak of “We’re one of the good guys!”. 

Let’s face it – if you’re not making your money off the development of the software that people use, then you have to be making it off the process of selling it or supporting it.  In a model such as that the guy on the low end of the totem pole will always be the guy who created it in the first place.  They are the ones who’s efforts are not perceived as having value because it’s their efforts they place as having little or no cost associated to them.  (If you’re not charging anyone for the hours it took to develop  product – which is where that model places the cost recoup at – then the developers and creators are effectively valued at ‘zero cost”.)

So where do these companies place value?  They place it on the management end of things and the sales end of things.  The sales of the software, and over a long term the sale of the software support, or the sales of the software as a service.  Bottom line – the jobs they really care about are managers and sales people.  For the people who come up with the software, who spend the hundreds and thousands of man hours to code it to test it and to bring it to life?  Well, they’re a necessary evil – one which if they can find anyone to do it cheaper – they will.  Which is why yes… they do send out emails to people here in the USA looking for jobs, people they’ve often

laid off or let go, giving unrealistically low, or unrealistic job requirements, or in some cases just bizarre job requirements, all so they can be turned down.  They can then go before the US Congress and Senate and say, “We looked for people here in the USA for these jobs – but there aren’t any who meet the qualifications!  Can we go overseas and get them without losing our tax breaks???”. 

The HR departments of these companies can sign up for (and line up for) classes to learn how to do this.  And this doesn’t burn you up – the fact is this is not the “American Job” vs “Overseas Job” issue that drives this, and those probably hardest hit are – as incredible as this may seem – overseas wokers.  Overseas, in places like Hyderabad, Beijing and the former Soviet Republics you’ll find the amount of fraud based job services there is a full blown industry not all that different than Coyote hustlers that tell immigrants they can sneak them through the American border but take their money and leave them, often with no hope of survival.   Now, if you say, “Hey we’re cracking down on these bastards”, I’d like to point out – they busted 11 people and companies.  11 of them is not even a band aid on this gaping wound.  11 busts isn’t even lip service to the literally billions being spent on this.  The fact is that as long as it’s profitable for these companies to treat the people who create products you use like dirt (and for many of us – that person is us) they will continue to do so. 

So – hey – support the open source movement – make software free to everyone.  It is after all, just someone’s idea – it’s not like has value right?  Anyone can do it, and with the right sales model we can recoup the loss by selling maintenance, and services.  While you’re at – you may want to head down to Walmart and buy a nice coat made by children overseas to keep warm in on that unemployment line.  Just some food for thought. 

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Posted by on February 16, 2009 in Work


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