Poll

Are you working or want to work?

Working, full time either FTE, contractor or full-time self-employed
6 (66.7%)
Working, part time, any of the above (< 30 hours a week)
1 (11.1%)
Not working, but want to work and am actively looking (officially unemployed)
0 (0%)
Not working, but want to work, but am not looking (officially not in the workforce)
2 (22.2%)
Fully retired
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 9

Author Topic: Work Status  (Read 369 times)

I D Shukhov

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Re: Work Status
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2017, 06:42:02 am »
@Unix

IMO, MIS departments at small companies have tended to be better places to work than big contract project work.   At least that's what I think now looking back.   If I could do things over I would have stuck with a small financial services company I worked for at one time.

There is one caveat, though, that has been mentioned by JoFrance (lawyers) and in my case at a biotech company (scientists).    If the work you do is not a line function and you are looked upon by some group of demanding professionals who are clueless about IT as being only there to service them,  then that can get demeaning.





David Randolph

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Re: Work Status
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2017, 06:50:48 am »
Let me point out the issues with old people:

1. In general, their ability to learn declines over time. This may be due to lack of use of a talent. A lot of people reach their comfort level and decide to not learn any more. A bit of this is due to cognitive decline which happens from age 40 on but increases after age 60.
2. They are less and less likely to put up with management incompetence. That means that they won't jump when management needs them to pull an all nighter or work 80 hours a week for a month to cover when management has blown it.

There are also benefits of hiring old people:
1. They know what not to do. That means that they are far less likely to make the major structural mistakes that inexperienced people make.
2. They are far more stable. That means that they don't freak out over minor customer issues. They know how to handle them.
3. They can share their wisdom with the younger people. Places that properly integrate older people in often are more productive than those with just young folks.

Can we at least start a discussion on the *possibility* of older people working in IT?   What would it take to do it?   Do some targeted marketing to MIS departments in funeral homes?

Funeral homes don't have MIS departments.
It would take working for or starting a company that valued your skills. The probability is that you would need to start the company as so, so, so many companies do not want to hire old folks. That means identifying what it is that you offer that other people will pay for.

pxsant

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Re: Work Status
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2017, 07:05:48 am »
Can we at least start a discussion on the *possibility* of older people working in IT?   What would it take to do it?   Do some targeted marketing to MIS departments in funeral homes?

I am "older" (probably oldest on this board) and still actively working on consulting assignments at big banks.  The way to do this is to concentrate in areas where the imports don't have the right skills - like speaking and writing proper English.   So I do Project Management and Business Analysis where language and writing skills are important.   I rarely run into Indians or other imports with good enough writing skills to get these jobs.

Programming jobs are not the place to be - far too much foreign competition.   If I were to fall back on programming it would likely be something like Python.  But that would be a last resort move.

The Gorn

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Re: Work Status
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2017, 07:09:49 am »
I D, you need to experience this for yourself.
What makes you think I haven't experienced it?

I was 61 when I left the workforce, so that means 20+ years of dealing with ageism.  I often worked in computer rooms with men much younger than myself, and I think you know how that goes.

I was forced out after coming up to speed and performing on 17 work assignments for 3 major company projects in 2 years.  When they finally saw I wasn't going to quit I was included in a mass layoff.

I interviewed for at least 6 jobs within the company during those two years where the reqs closely matched my skills and couldn't transfer anywhere.  I actually did get a formal offer from one group and it was retracted.

I wasn't disparaging what you've done in your own career, but I was saying that you don't seem to have tried to actively re-enter the workplace by beating the bushes for a job competitively from your current position. Jo's done this quite a bit in the last 2-3 years (more than me) and her last FTE gig was an utterly dysfunctional small biz that didn't know how to utilize her, so she quit.

Which has been my exact experience as a contractor at small places. The only places that it appeared that I could get a foot in the door myself.


You constantly write, as do others on this board, about the 100% impossibility of  working in IT.  It's now dogma on this board.

E.g:
...
Can we at least start a discussion on the *possibility* of older people working in IT?   What would it take to do it?   Do some targeted marketing to MIS departments in funeral homes?

The "dogma" comes from shared experience - because you don't hear success stories on this board because nobody is having those success stories. My impression is that almost everyone who is on the board now who works in IT is some kind of contractor or freelancer.

If it appears that I am undemocratically shouting down possibilities, you are equally free to make a better case for your view point than what I'm making for mine.

But you'll need to do some field research.

Talking about a possibility without consulting actual hiring parties is hollow. We can talk about what it takes to get hired til the cows come home but no business discussion about market demand has any truth without experiments and direct experience.
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The Gorn

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Re: Work Status
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2017, 07:29:22 am »
Let me point out the issues with old people:

1. In general, their ability to learn declines over time. This may be due to lack of use of a talent. A lot of people reach their comfort level and decide to not learn any more. A bit of this is due to cognitive decline which happens from age 40 on but increases after age 60.

That "ability to learn" phrase is a canard and easy slur that HR and technical managers use as standard practice when rejecting anyone that falls outside the 22-39 age range. They just say that as a put down, like acting like anyone not like you is stupid.

But, regardless, it forms the overall hiring expectations. You go in at a severe disadvantage.

"due to lack of use of a talent." - Or it may be due to OVER USE of a talent, and therefore having no feeling of freshness or discovery in a newer tech area.

Example: I attempted to learn Java in the early 2000s but: I had no current project that used Java; I had no idea what kind of applications I should target to leverage my past experience; Java seemed like a step backward to a slow-running interpreted environment, and technically inferior to C++ and other tools available; and I only found code examples that were very simplified versions of stuff I'd developed in older languages.

In short it didn't feel "right" as in productive. I felt like I was trying to jump on a moving bandwagon and I really wasn't motivated. So I kept doing C++ until I couldn't find a replacement gig, which was 2010.

Can we at least start a discussion on the *possibility* of older people working in IT?   What would it take to do it?   Do some targeted marketing to MIS departments in funeral homes?

Funeral homes don't have MIS departments.
It would take working for or starting a company that valued your skills. The probability is that you would need to start the company as so, so, so many companies do not want to hire old folks. That means identifying what it is that you offer that other people will pay for.

That's exactly what I meant about trying to discuss the marketplace without direct experience with a marketplace. A funeral home will use cloud based leased applications for business management, accounting, and other areas that "MIS" would have dealt with in the past.

The market for technical services has changed. Today IT is outsourced quite cheaply as a purchased service even at the smallest company level. Many of the local jobs have evaporated.
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I D Shukhov

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Re: Work Status
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2017, 08:12:30 am »
Let me point out the issues with old people:

1. In general, their ability to learn declines over time. This may be due to lack of use of a talent. A lot of people reach their comfort level and decide to not learn any more. A bit of this is due to cognitive decline which happens from age 40 on but increases after age 60.
2. They are less and less likely to put up with management incompetence. That means that they won't jump when management needs them to pull an all nighter or work 80 hours a week for a month to cover when management has blown it.

Regarding 1), I'd say energy level might decline, but I feel that I can learn as well now as I ever have.  Making a *decision* not to learn is definitely an issue. 
2) is also definitely true and perhaps a really good reason why older folks are not hired -- we're too ornery.


Quote
There are also benefits of hiring old people:
1. They know what not to do. That means that they are far less likely to make the major structural mistakes that inexperienced people make.
2. They are far more stable. That means that they don't freak out over minor customer issues. They know how to handle them.
3. They can share their wisdom with the younger people. Places that properly integrate older people in often are more productive than those with just young folks.

Regarding 1) OTOH older folks may be too conservative about making structural changes when needed.

3) is definitely not wanted by anyone.  I don't think any company would ever consider that to be an selling point and all younger people scoff at the idea of older people sharing their wisdom.   Although in retrospect they will appreciate it.


Quote
Funeral homes don't have MIS departments.
Try to find the hiring manager at https://www.costco.com/funeral.html  and become a SME (Subject Matter Expert) ?  :-X

Quote
It would take working for or starting a company that valued your skills. The probability is that you would need to start the company as so, so, so many companies do not want to hire old folks. That means identifying what it is that you offer that other people will pay for.
This makes sense.  Sometimes you read articles about older worker friendly companies, but that might mean something like CVS employs senior citizens as stockers and pharmacy techs.

I suspect as longevity continues to increase and Social Security and Medicare get cut back there will be real older worker friendly companies as in companies run by and for older workers.



I D Shukhov

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Re: Work Status
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2017, 08:30:26 am »

I wasn't disparaging what you've done in your own career, but I was saying that you don't seem to have tried to actively re-enter the workplace by beating the bushes for a job competitively from your current position. Jo's done this quite a bit in the last 2-3 years (more than me) and her last FTE gig was an utterly dysfunctional small biz that didn't know how to utilize her, so she quit.

Which has been my exact experience as a contractor at small places. The only places that it appeared that I could get a foot in the door myself.
True, I haven't tried to look for a job.  I think I could have worked immediately after getting laid off, but had developed a mental block about doing more computer programming and didn't like the work environments of companies I'd been used to working in.

That really means that I need to find something I *am* willing to do.

BTW, kudos on the business you have built for yourself.

unix

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Re: Work Status
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2017, 08:38:07 am »
@Unix

IMO, MIS departments at small companies have tended to be better places to work than big contract project work.   At least that's what I think now looking back.   If I could do things over I would have stuck with a small financial services company I worked for at one time.

There is one caveat, though, that has been mentioned by JoFrance (lawyers) and in my case at a biotech company (scientists).    If the work you do is not a line function and you are looked upon by some group of demanding professionals who are clueless about IT as being only there to service them,  then that can get demeaning.

in the DC area, dot gov is the thing..


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I D Shukhov

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Re: Work Status
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2017, 08:43:40 am »
Can we at least start a discussion on the *possibility* of older people working in IT?   What would it take to do it?   Do some targeted marketing to MIS departments in funeral homes?

I am "older" (probably oldest on this board) and still actively working on consulting assignments at big banks.  The way to do this is to concentrate in areas where the imports don't have the right skills - like speaking and writing proper English.   So I do Project Management and Business Analysis where language and writing skills are important.   I rarely run into Indians or other imports with good enough writing skills to get these jobs.

Yes, this is good advice:  find work where one has more of a competitive advantage.



I D Shukhov

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Re: Work Status
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2017, 08:47:17 am »
in the DC area, dot gov is the thing..

Right, it's a big company town.


JoFrance

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Re: Work Status
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2017, 03:00:53 pm »
ID, one thing I found out with my last job search is that the companies wanted someone younger to do the job.  I'm talking about a job being a network manager.  Its a fireman's job and though I did it for 20 years or so, they would prefer a young guy over me.  He's cheaper too.  I get it.

My skills were up to date with virtual networking, email, and everything else and it didn't matter once I was out of work for over 6 months.  I worked briefly for a small business that managed other small businesses that had no IT staff.  What a nightmare scene.  One small business they supported had their wifi router in the false ceiling and you had to climb a ladder to access it.  I got my limits.  Gorn, you are so right about small business in your previous posts.  Every place I went into was a nightmare hanging by a thread, network wise.  Who needs that crap?

That's why I decided that a tech career isn't right for me anymore.  Maybe you have more options as an older programmer than I did as a net tech, but you do get slower with age.  That's a given and companies know that, so you're less desirable to hire in positions where you're a first responder or have to meet stringent deadlines.

Older people can work in tech roles, but the work is less desirable, IMO.  You get whatever's left to choose from but its all crap work. 


I D Shukhov

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Re: Work Status
« Reply #26 on: January 17, 2017, 05:41:23 pm »

Older people can work in tech roles, but the work is less desirable, IMO.  You get whatever's left to choose from but its all crap work.

One of the sad things I used to see were sixty-something guys who were now relegated to testing and/or documentation.  I remember a guy of this type who really seemed unhappy and out of place.  He announced one day he had scored a COBOL job at the IRS and was gone.  I was happy for him.  Probably had decades of COBOL experience.

I suppose David Randolph is right about older people needing to start their own companies to get past stereotyping and being relegated to shit work.


David Randolph

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Re: Work Status
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2017, 07:15:14 am »
I suppose David Randolph is right about older people needing to start their own companies to get past stereotyping and being relegated to shit work.

It means figuring out what you want to do - and then, figure out how to express that to CEO's instead of "hiring managers". In my case, I am doing some marketing right now that doesn't mention any technical terms. It is all about business processes and making more profit.

joeb

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Re: Work Status
« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2017, 11:57:06 pm »
I am sorry I missed this thread...it was a great one.

Let me first say that I am blessed in that I have BOTH a "day job" at Comcast as well as 2 clients who pay me thru my LLC.
At Comcast, my pay rate is sh*t thanks to the hordes of foreigners that I have to compete with.
There are more foreigners than americans at Comcast in their IT department !!! I am in the enterprise business intelligence department. I am surrounding by a lot of really talented IT developers.

What is the advantage of older IT workers ? For me, it is the ability to "think outside the box".....because of all of the experience.

Just recently I developed a whole new metric for Comcast by which to measure their customer's sentiment about the company.
This was done in a "lab week" whereby several groups of IT workers get together to come up with a new application or process.
It was a cool experience.

What was incredible about it: it was ME who came up with the metric.
No one else on the 6 person team could "see" what I saw in the data.
There were 3 Indians and 3 Americans on the "team".
At the final presentation, our Labweek project got the most acknowledgement from the senior leadership team....they loved it !!
My team leader was American, but he never acknowledged my find.
Of course not, because he didn't come up with it !!! Natch, he was 20 years younger than me.

However, I am using this "find" as the basis for a raise with the Indian consulting company I am contracted with.
Naturally, Comcast never gives any kudos to any of their consultants....but I am going to leverage this "find" to-the-max.
Actually, I am asking for a $10/hr increase in pay.
Why ? BecauseI deserve it. This is something that doesn't happen very often and in the eyes of the senior leadership team, it is significant.

« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 12:33:24 am by joeb »

I D Shukhov

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Re: Work Status
« Reply #29 on: March 04, 2018, 05:45:49 am »

Just recently I developed a whole new metric for Comcast by which to measure their customer's sentiment about the company.
This was done in a "lab week" whereby several groups of IT workers get together to come up with a new application or process.
It was a cool experience.
...
At the final presentation, our Labweek project got the most acknowledgement from the senior leadership team....they loved it !!

Too bad joeb is long gone, I'd like to find out what lab week was all about.  If Comcast can do it internally, why can't we do it here?