back to article Why don't the best techies work in the channel?

I'm OK at Firewall One, but any number of people reading this are better, completing the tasks 10 times more quickly and screwing up 10 times less often. But I'm a better employee than you are. Firstly, a consultancy or reseller is going to be selling me by time, methodically setting up firewall rules taking a day is more …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Arrrggghh-otron

    So what you are saying

    is that money grabbing c*nts are the problem?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: So what you are saying

      Well, let's turn that around for a sec. Did you go in to work today because you just love the people you work with, what you do and where, or because they pay you to? I even like some of the people I work with but I wouldn't be doing that commute every morning unless they were crossing my palm with silver in regular and copious quantities. I've been on both sides of the fence (contractor and customer) and it's not that different a view on either side.

      All commercial organisations are in business to make money. Forget all the bullsh*t-ridden corporate messaging, all those company motos and mission statements, the reality is if a company does not take care of the primary task of making money then they will go bust. You can even extend that to charities - they don't collect enough donations then they don't get to be charitable (which explains how we ended up with chugging). Whilst a boss may make you feel better about it with those mission statements and other malarky, they would quite happilly keep you miserable if they thought you had no place to go (which explains all those pay cuts and bens reductions in times of economic crisis - they know you can't risk going jobhunting).

      Since they have a fixation with making profits (it's viewed as a very simple measure of success), many companies will promote and reward those money-grabbing c*nts you mentioned, especially if they can make those profits at a lower cost. So, yes, companies will deliberately enter into what could be consdiered deceptive practices in order to wring a few points more margin out of a customer. But, if a reseller or vendor wants to retain that custoemr for the longterm, they need to at least play nice and hide the deceptive practices.

      But, it also plays the other way. I love it when I get a project manager from a vendor/reseller that hasn't got the sense to peg down the goalposts, as it means I can wring all types of extras out of his company and - if he gets reticent - threaten them with the corporate lawyers (we're a global, so we can bully most companies into coughing up). The ideal for me is a vendor/reseller that stupidly agrees that he only gets paid on completion as that means I can drag out acceptance for ever to put the squeeze on them, as they are running a big, negative P&L until completion, something they will not want their senior management seeing. I have gone into projects knowing that we are going to screw the reseller, the vendor and associated contractors becasue they have not done their due dilligence on the contract, not planned realisticly, failed to set the acceptance terms in concrete, and not thought to make sure they are getting their money either up front or in stages. All is fair in love, war, and IT procurement.

      1. sam 16

        Re: So what you are saying

        That's a perspective, and I can understand it. Personally, I couldn't do a job well with that attitude because I'd spend my day waiting for 5pm, no later.

        There is another perspective, and I think it counts for a good few readers.

        I enjoy working in tech. I'm a programmer, and on my weekends I like to program too.

        Having a job is wonderful, because I get to program, and people pay me. But the pay isn't the foccus - I'd be coding if I were unemployed.

        That isn't to say I don't understand the money part of buisness. It's enjoyable actually - it gives you some measure of your success above nebulous things like how happy your users are (I mean, that one fat stakeholder always complains anyway right?). Making a massive cost saving that increases profit on a job, or landing another project is a great feeling.

        But I don't think your adversarial approach to the above is good. I don't think it will be effective, in the long term. That supplier you screwed over won't want to work with you again. A good supplier is a valuable thing, and getting let down by a new, unreliable one is blooming expensive. As for increasing your cost to a client, I guess if your client is the government they might hire you next time, otherwise not so much.

        I dunno, I guess I'm saying that you don't want to do a good job, although you think you do. You think you are increasing your employers profit, but actually you are gaming your next performance review. But not the one after, when they spot the patern.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Re: So what you are saying

          "....I enjoy working in tech. I'm a programmer...." Congratulations, and I really do mean it when I say I hope you stay happy, 'cos it's my experience that happy coders are simply a lot more productive for a lot longer. I really do envy the few that get genuine pleasure from their jobs on a dialy basis, especially creative jobs like coding. I do get a buzz out of delivering a working solution, it's not quite as creative a process as coding (I started in code a looooooong time ago) but you can still point as something and say "I did that". I did have one contracting gig years ago that was about ripping IT infrastructure out of bankrupt companies and that really was no fun at all.

          "....As for increasing your cost to a client...." In essence, my current role is the opposite of what Dominic is talking about - I'm there to get the best solution out of the vendor/reseller as possible for the SMALLEST amount of money, and I was hired to do it because I used to be on the other side trying to deliver the least amount of resource/product for the LARGEST amount of money. We pit vendors against each other (we always have two tested solutions from different vendors for each layer of the stack, both hardware and software, so we can make them compete on cost). It's not about being nasty, it's about getting the best deal. My employer doesn't care if I do it with a smile, as long as I deliver. The size of the opportunity we represent keeps the vendors coming back, and we take advantage of that. What I meant to say in the original post was that I can actually be a lot more devious (and even less polite) as a customer than I ever was as a contractor/consultant.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Paris Hilton

          Re: So what you are saying

          "I enjoy working in tech. I'm a programmer, and on my weekends I like to program too."

          I enjoy sex, a lot. Since I'm married that means keeping the missus happy. Keeping the missus happy takes money and therefore I work. I also enjoy eating and sleeping in a warm bed when it's bitching cold outside. These too take money and therefore I work. Fortunately I happen to quite enjoy what I do for money but be under no illusions. I would do (and have done in the past) the most soul-destroying jobs imaginable if that's what it took to make money. I need the money because I like sex ..

          Paris, well because ..

      2. Arrrggghh-otron

        Re: So what you are saying

        I work to live. The work can be interesting but life is short and there are far more interesting things to be doing... but this is the world we live in. My point is the money grabbing c*nts seem to be the driving force behind the current and unsustainable greed.

        The question is how much is enough? For the money grabbing c*nts it seems no amount is ever enough. This can only be destructive as there doesn't appear to be a sanity check on the impact of their actions in pursuit of that end.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Re: So what you are saying

          "....The work can be interesting but life is short and there are far more interesting things to be doing...." Exactly! But you still need to work to live.

          ".....My point is the money grabbing c*nts seem to be the driving force behind the current and unsustainable greed....." The unsustainable point it political, nothing to do with greed. Politicians tinker with the financial system, like the Democrats rigging the mortgage market in the States so that more black voters - which vote predominantly Democrat - could get mortgages they couldn't afford, without those same Democrat politicians seeing the unsustainanbility of that tweak. Ironicly, Bush predicted the impact on the market and was ignored, which kinda makes those that bash Bush just look silly.

          But, to look at it in another way, those "money grabbing c*nts" usually don't hoard the cash, they spend it on goods and services, which mean others in the economy get the benefits (it's called trickle-down). No-one making money at the top (which is what so many on the Left scream for) means no trickle-down, so no money for lower down the chain. So you should actually be thankful for the "money grabbing c*nts", because if they all went hippy and wanted nothing but flax shirts and flowers in their hair then there would probably be a lot more starving people in the World.

          1. Arrrggghh-otron

            Re: So what you are saying

            I don't [i]have[/i] to work to live, I could try and game the benefits system, that seems to work for many in the uk.

            On the other hand, if I had enough money to support myself and not have to work I would still be tinkering with technology, but for my own amusement rather than because I have to.

            Aren't politicians (for the most part) a bunch of power hungry self serving c*nts? Same problem, different currency.

            While I'm sure 'trickle down' is a factor in any economy, I don't think it only works when applied to the super rich. I expect us proles collectively spend as much if not more than the very rich few. Surely if they went hippy then they would give away their stacks of cash so they could run unencumbered in fields of green, that cash then being spent elsewhere in the economy and other companies seizing the opportunity to provide the goods or services that the neo-hippys once were?

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: So what you are saying

              ".....I don't think it only works when applied to the super rich....." Well, a simple example is that the top 5% of earners in the States pay roughly 65% of the taxes. People argue over the exact figures for those percentages, but no-one denies that if we were all earning the minimum wage there would be a lot less tax money for the self-serving c*nts to spend.

              1. Arrrggghh-otron

                Re: So what you are saying

                Perhaps your figures are true, but If we were all earning the minimum wage wouldn't prices for goods and services (including those paid for by taxes) have to come down? Otherwise we would all be queuing for our one weekly loaf of bread...

                I wouldn't advocate a fixed wage for all, but I do like the idea of a maximum salary cap fixed at a multiple of the minimum wage. If applied against the minimum wage of a company and the CEO wants more pay, he has to pay his or her lowest paid staff member more... The reality would likely to be lots more jobs being outsourced as a means to circumvent it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice one, Dominic.

    Blaming the guy who does the actual work for managerial malpractice. That shtick is getting a bit long in the tooth. Then again, you're not being paid to be part of the solution here, are you?

    1. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

      Re: Nice one, Dominic.

      I'm not blaming the people who do the work, if you read carefully I'm blaming the clients.

      As for another Anonymous saying "Dominc Connor telling us how he's better than all of us once again", I disclosed that I'm now a City headhunter, hardly a position of moral superiority is it ?

      Jason7 talks about "useless showboating pink shirt ready to take the credit." and given that I wear Thomas Pink shirts, made from 2 fold Egyptian poplin I guess that now applies to me. Not only do I agree with him, but in a recent for the Reg jobs & careers channel I point out how a lack of "visible productivity" is stopping you earning what you should.

      It may be the company's fault for undervaluing your skills, but it is your problem.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "It may be the company's fault for undervaluing your skills, but it is your problem."

        No, it's not. It's your problem if you're not getting paid enough, though a smart company will make it their problem before you do. It very much is their problem if they fail to understand what you're worth, because then you'll sod off and they'll be worse for it. Or not, but that's a different issue. It is very much the company's job to take all their "resources" and put them to work so that it creates (the most) wealth. Which in turn is not quite the same as bringing in the most money or maximising profit.

        And yes you are more or less blaming the clients (except that one sentence...) though wilfully supplying the wrong thing is ethically questionable at best, especially in high technology. In medicine for example it can get you kicked out of your profession or worse; here it's portrayed as "good business", which it isn't even though many many people are making a good living out of it, thereby prolonging, even perpetuating the problem. And gathering well-earned scorn from the rest of us.

        Most techies really don't want to go there, so they largely don't. Most techies really don't care all that much about lots of pay either. A job well done is its own reward, or at least it would be if only all those pesky bills would pay themselves. But then, you're in the quanting corner, aren't you? That bunch of code grinders that get paid so much, they literally cannot afford to write decent, nevermind good code.

        I've gone cynic enough that I wouldn't mind such a job for a while, but on the other hand my CV is now such that no recruiter will ever consider me, nor any HR drone. Something to do with coasting (forcibly...) for a goodly long time after burning out due to working the equivalent of two full time jobs for a couple years. This under the inspired leadership of a cee-row that came in from a business consultancy, and went full best practices on the company.

        Yes, there's lots of suckers for clients. And yes, if you've told them, you at least tried to sell them, what they need instead and they've refused, you can fleece them. But if you're not even trying? If you make it your business to deliberately upsell them the wrong thing and keep them happily ignorant. milking them for all their worth? That, dear Dominic, is not something you can blame on the client.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "It may be the company's fault for undervaluing your skills, but it is your problem."

          I'm a techy and I really care about lots of pay - why would you not want to maximise your income within your boundary constraints (location, hours etc)? That'd just be stoopid.

      2. Charles Manning

        Are you cost or value?

        I agree with this article. People might not like what he says, and the implications thereof, but he is correct.

        And blaming is pointless. It's not MY fault. Waah, waah, waah! What is important is what you do about it to correct the action. If you are not prepared to accept that this is your problem, then how are you going to fix it?

        There are basically two ways to be viewed: cost or value. Companies want value, but they don't want cost.

        If you just present yourself as a skill set, then you're going to end up being treated as a cost. ie. "What is the least we can pay to get skillset x?". Just like shopping for any commodity, the companies are drawn to the lowest cost programmers etc.

        If you present yourself as a value generator, then the thinking is completely different. Wow, we pay $x and we will get $y, where y is much greater than x. If you can clearly articulate how you generated $5M in savings last year, or increased revenue by $7M, then your $150k (or whatever) remuneration sounds paltry.

        Sales people and business unit managers can easily tie their performance to numbers by looking at their revenue or profits. It is way harder for people down the line doing work, but there are ways. For example, if you single handedly improved a part of the system that caused the most grief and reduced tech support calls by 10%, then you can look up the cost of tech support and show how much you saved the company.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          All those companies are wrong.

          If you choose to focus on sales because they bring in the dosh and forget about the coders because they're finnicky like cats and are, after all, "only costs", well, let's just fire them all and be done with it. Yes, why not run a company on marketeering alone? Gotta be good for the bottom line!

          Oh dear how now do we obtain product to sell? Oh I know, from offshore, like India or something, because people who spent ten+ years mastering deep technical skills are fungible, amirite or amirite?

          Well, isn't that cute.

          The only thing inside companies are costs, for the simple reason that the only place where you can see whether the company is doing well is outside the company. This is not a figment of my imagination, but of a well-respected and now late management thinker's imagination (who left as an exercise). The value is in the whole, as it's supposed to be more than all the parts summed together.

          Unlocking this value is management's job. Of course you can try and help that along a bit, but it's not the worker's job, it's not sales', it's management's. That is why we put up with the pains in the neck. It's them that need to ask the right questions and see they get usable answers, use them to decide what to do, then act on it.

          If you don't understand that, and lots of companies don't understand that, then your reasoning makes perfect sense. If you do, however, you start to sound like another cargo cult's high priest right quick. "Me no want no cost! Me want all value!" (cue rain dance). You don't treat your workers like your sales, much like you don't treat your sales like your workers. You can't expect either to make up for dysfunctional management. Why? Because it's fscking stupid to even try. Sheesh.

          Management is supposed to understand this. That too many don't, well, gives rise to the title of this post.

          1. thecakeis(not)alie

            Re: All those companies are wrong.

            Obligatory XKCD: https://xkcd.com/1060/

  3. Mondo the Magnificent
    Meh

    Ah, but you forgot the "sell by date"

    As a pre sales professional with over 20 years of being the voice of reason between the Sales bod and the customer, I've recently taken a career break. Why?

    The reason being is that in the current UK Channel, youth seems to be the key factor. We're dealing with younger IT Managers who came straight of our college or uni with "certifications" better suited to today's Microsoft centric IT environment.

    Therefore Channel resellers and vendors are seeking younger (and more dynamic[?]) team members to fill their ranks. They're cheaper to employ, have a better overall skills set and have a level of expertise in almost every aspect of today's IT world, i.e. VMware, Citrix, Wintel architecture, LINUX, MS .NET, SQL, networking, firewalls, storage and in come cases VB and C++ too!

    This leaves us older boys looking a little dated, even though our core knowledge of storage or .NET is a lot more in depth due to us being involved in the evolution of technologies as well as having an understanding and accreditation in the key technologies employed by most IT departments

    So, reading this, I find myself harder to employ as I creep towards 50 years of age, even though I've held 3 long term, high ranking positions in my 20+ years in the Channel trenches with a fairly shiny track record.

    In almost every interview I went for, the only people my age were the retired policemen doing security at the reception area of the building.

    Most large resellers and vendors contain the fountain of youth and it seems that 20+ years of experience combined with a decent track record just didn't seem to pay off for me any more... so that's why this "techie" is no longer employed within the Channel...

    It's not just about skills sets any more... sadly

    1. jason 7
      Happy

      The trouble with the younger guys...

      ...is they are all hyped up and ready to go...but for just two weeks.

      Then they get bored and want to do something else so are looking for the next 'fun thing' rather than finishing the work or project from a month ago.

      I worked in a 'Innovation dept' a few years ago. I was about 35 at the time and about the oldest in the dept. I think over a year the number of projects and products actually delivered numbered around 8. Those were mostly mine, the rest of the team never got anywhere with anything other than a few tech toys delivered to the exec that just widened the reality gap between staff and the top.

      So yes you can have the young guns full of confidence and can do nature but when it comes to actually delivering stuff it doesn't hurt to have a few 'safe pairs of hands' around when it really counts.

    2. Bob Vistakin
      Pint

      Re: Ah, but you forgot the "sell by date"

      Spot on - it's Logans Run in tech these days - you either have to run your own business (for real, not just a pretend one like these contractor "disguised employees" think they are) or be a journalist. Seems the grey haired old crumbly fuddy duddy coffin dodger who wrote this article is both :-)

    3. AdamWill

      Re: Ah, but you forgot the "sell by date"

      Well, your post seems rather self-contradictory. You say:

      "They're cheaper to employ, have a better overall skills set and have a level of expertise in almost every aspect of today's IT world, i.e. VMware, Citrix, Wintel architecture, LINUX, MS .NET, SQL, networking, firewalls, storage and in come cases VB and C++ too!"

      Then you say:

      "it seems that 20+ years of experience combined with a decent track record just didn't seem to pay off for me any more... It's not just about skills sets any more... sadly"

      Well, which is it? Are you admitting that younger staff have a wider skill set than you do, or are you not? And if you are, then why isn't the answer for older techies not to bellyache about how no-one cares about their highly-developed VB and .NET skills any more, but to _learn some new ones_?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Shambles
    Thumb Up

    Truly inspiring read

    A well written and thoroughly enjoyable read, in particular...

    "In consultancy and resale, that sort of thing can get you a stiff.."

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh look

    It's Dominc Connor telling us how he's better than all of us once again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh look

      You're quite insecure, aren't you? You should talk to someone about that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh look

        I'm not at all insecure, thanks for asking. I have a great, well paid, interesting job that I love, working for an employer that values me and the work I do. Perhaps you're the insecure one.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh look

          stop pretending to be me! My job is horrible actually and makes me feel really insecure so I don't need articles like this making it worse...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Oh look

            Who are you talking to?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Oh look

              Ha - fooled you all! This conversation was actually all me pretending to be other people....

  6. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Another problem is the collective Kruger-Dunning Effect

    Typically it's quite bad to be competent in a typical commercial company. The main problem is that many companies suffer from something I'd call the collective Kruger-Dunning Effect. Essentially you have people being incompetent enough to not understand they are incompetent. If in such a situation you become a little bit more competent, you will not only recognize that you yourself are incompetent, but also how incompetent your peers are.

    1. Dave 62
      Pint

      Re: Another problem is the collective Kruger-Dunning Effect

      How about the theory of competence relativity?

      Everyone is incompitent, by being or appearing to be a bit less incompitent you are (relatively) competent to the point that even the incompetent will think you're good, although not better than them of course.

      There's also the old translational competence trick, the skill of aqquiring a slither of knowledge in, say, I.T. and applying that knowledge in your own (non-I.T.) field and looking like a pro (e.g. flashy macros in excel)

      Essentially, it's easy to look good, even if it does take you all day to follow the simple step-by-step guide to configuring My First Firewall™

      1. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: Another problem is the collective Kruger-Dunning Effect

        What's the point of looking good in such a company? You will still suffer every day from seeing projects around you fail, or having to work around the problems of other failed projects.

        There's no use in seeming competent.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    channel is as channel does

    I did my stint in the channel and was poached by a client who got swallowed by a larger company, I then got redundantified and found a similar sized company that got swallowed by an even bigger globocorp. So there I was once a wet behind the ears field monkey looking after single server clients who spent money like it was their own precious life force (which I guess it was) and now I am master of all I survey in a company you've all heard of and would all kill to work for.

    The moral of the story here is that good people float to the top and the mucky sediment is still down there installing Microshaft Shit Business Server.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Channel?

      Why am I seeing this word 'Channel' everywhere all of a sudden? Have I missed a buzzword release?

      1. Semaj
        Thumb Down

        Re: Channel?

        I thought that too.

        Also am I the only one who finds the new font hard on the eyes?

      2. Joefish
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Chanel?

        Yeah, something smells funny...

  8. jason 7

    For every good hard working techie...

    ...there is a useless showboating pink shirt ready to take the credit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So let's get more women in tech...

      ... and make sure that showboating pink shirt is your wife.

      Coat? In this weather?

  9. Jorba

    Dom - always a pleasure

    I'm a died in the wool techie, but with aspirations to not be completely antisocial ;o) Your articles are always a joy to read. However you miss one important point, as people who have followed the money always do. The diametric here is doing a good job (most techies) vs making more money and bugger what it actually means/costs (everybody else). How do you bridge the gap so you can make money by doing a good job. In the larger world look at amazon - better prices and service - vs any large consulting outfit - there's more money to be made prolonging a problem than fixing it. There is a way - amazon, oreilly, dell (but not for the past 10 years) etc. What is it?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He's only saying what we all say.

    Consultancies stiff companies, and as a consultant your job is to make the job bigger, not solve the problem. On consultancy I know sold Siebel licences to public sector outfit to do nothing but handle sign on for another application, (at an ongoing cost of millions to their client,) just to keep their Siebel practice fully employed.

    This is why I hate working for anyone other than end clients. It depresses the shtt out of me, not to be able to

    a. Tell the truth and b. Solve the problem.

    I've a flawless record, I've never failed, nothing I've ever taken on, has ever not been solved.

    Yet who earns more? Me, or some guy who never did a day's work in his life, and manages upwards. I know several. It's a game I choose not to participate in even though I know I will be laid off when I finish early.

    I know, absolutely that I will be laid off, when I solve the job in a fortnight, but I do it anyway. I do not criticise Dominic for just pointing out reality. I just view project managers who sack the guy who finishes first as useless.

  11. amanfromearth

    Why don't the best techies work in the channel?

    Because it's full of water, and they would drown

  12. Ben Norris
    Thumb Down

    This kind of greedy scumbag is why the country is in such problems at the moment. If you have no morals to tell you that this shouldn't be encouraged then look back at history and see the consequences. You only get away with it for so long before the public notice and people start getting beheaded.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    outsourcing scum - it will all backfire

    The problem with this whole outsouring malarky is that we ALL know it's going to go pear shaped. If you have everything run by an internal department, even if the skill sets were the same level, the internal department cares about the company. An outsourcer doesnt. Hell they don't even care about their own staff. I have worked for a couple and everyone bar the sales guys got treated like shit at both of them. YOu get hired, given the schpiel, dumped onto a customer site and forgotten except for your 6 monthly review where some dick from head office comes down, has a go at you for not being good enough, just so that they can avoid giving you a pay rise. Don't even ask for any sort of training.

    I just point blankly refuse to work for the bastards now.

    I agree with Dominic, in that it IS the customers fault. Accountants deigning that somehow outsourcing will be cheaper on paper, even though the staff turn over goes through the roof, the guys who end up doing your IT are demotivated as hell beause of how badly they are treated and they know they are being charged out at £1000/day while getting under £200 and having to fight for every expense receipt before they inevitably get shifted to another client 50 miles from where they were promised to be based permanantly .

    With the shift of outsourcing to India, it's just getting worse. Either the incompetant undertrained monkeys on the end of the phone or doing the coding (no wonder software these days is getting worse and worse) to the shipping in of staff on less than 1/2 what a UK contractor or employee earns.

    The ONLY think that makes me feel better about it are the outages. The public outages frmo the banks and other outsourced companies being blamed on their systems are getting more and more frequent. They will start losing more and more money and hopefully if we can get to a situation where outsourcers screwing stuff up ends up with major weekly outages in a variety of sectors hammering the public, either ATM's not working, traffic lights screwed up, ISPs dying, etc maybe quality will come back in.

    Luckily my last couple of jobs have been basically going in and fixing screw ups by outsourcers, so as long as the channel suppliers stay as shit as they ALL are, those of us who actually know what we are doing will still get working fixing their fuck ups.

  14. Graeme Sutherland
    Holmes

    Business versus Technical

    The common theme in Dominic's articles is that if you want to earn decent money then you've got to stop thinking purely along the lines of a technical career, and consider the wider business case.

    I work as a contractor, and short of getting a banking gig (which is difficult without prior experience in the sector), I can't see any way of significantly improving my lot without radically rethinking my approach. The options that appear to be open to me are either moving into project management, and climbing the greasy pole, or trying to start my own venture with its attendant risk.

    Sure, Dominic's being mildly inflammatory, but he's trying to get us to think.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spot on!

    Dominic is right on the money. I realised years ago that just being good at your job wasn't enough and it became less enough as the size of the company increased (never mind out-sourcing) so I stopped playing the game. I decided that a smaller pay cheque with a smaller organisation/company was insufficient downside to outweigh less stress (not quite clinical-level, Dominic), more job satisfaction and at least some sense of being valued by your employer.

    YMMV.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop shooting the messenger!

    Every time I read one of Dominic's posts I am astonished at the angry responses of some posters. As far as I can see Dominic is not making value judgements on this. He is just elucidating the way things the are. The things that you see all around you as a fresh young employee that don't make sense. The things that you eventually realise over time.

    I don't think Dominic is applauding the state of affairs jut pointing out that if money is your thingthen stop concentrating on 'just' doing a good job. If 'doing a good job' is your thing (and I believe it is mine) then don't get bent out of shape when 'the other guy' makes more money. Your stress makes no difference to anyone but you.

    Just set your priorities and act accordingly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stop shooting the messenger!

      Some people don't like the facts or the reality being pointed out as it spoils their little delusions about the World they think they live in.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stop shooting the messenger!

      Nice try but he isn't just stating the way things are, he is stating the way he wants you to see them in order to generate dissent and mercenary behavior so that he can headhunt and line his own pockets more easily.

      In reality you CAN make more money by doing a good job, being valued and not stepping on people. You might get a short term gain by taking advantage, but only other greedy people fall for that for very long.

  17. Colin Millar
    Thumb Up

    Don't shoot the messenger

    If there is more money to be made in ripping clients off because they are clueless twonks who get hypnotised by buzzwords and who consider that financial strategy means looking at price tags and always picking the lowest one then guess what - that's where the salesmen and consultants will go.

    If you want someone to sell you three world famous bridges before breakfast then they probably will.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can I see a new role taking place,...

    for someone who businesses can hire to analyse their requirements and act as a go-between for other companies to bid for the cost and function? Didn't we have this discussion last week about whoever built the requirement, not being permitted to bid for the actual job?

    Personally, its down to analysis and communications. I think most CIOs either don't know enough about how IT works to ask pertinent questions or can't make a strong enough case to their management for certain decisions, like extra money to reduce a risk that may not seem tangible.

    I have experience of 2 chief "architects" (for want of a better word) in 2 different companies, who were technically capable, and had very forceful personalities. They asked the right questions, exposed the vendors mis-informatiom and were able to get buy-in from management for certain awkward decisions. It made my life as a technician a lot easier working on kit that was sized correctly and fit for purpose and free of clutter and crud.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perspective

    "The honesty is in the pay structure, which is basically of the form: Business Development : OTE £150K + car + wealth creation package; Pre Sales Support: up to £75K (including bonus); Post Sales Support : up to 40K + bens."

    It's probably worth noting that even if you are the undervalued post-sales support earning 40k, your income is still higher than 95% of the UK's population, according to the Institute for Financial Studies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Perspective

      Oh, that's alright then. Call me selfish but, personally, I only give a shit about the pay the 1 receives (not the 1% or even the 5%). Judging by some of what I've witnessed over the years, a lot of the 95% really should have paid more attention in school or have developed a smidgeon of ambition.

  20. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

    Is there a better way ?

    I've tried to explain the way things are, no one seems to disagree with that part of the piece, but is it inevitably so ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is there a better way ?

      As long as there's perverse incentives goading people to make money doing entirely the wrong thing, they'll keep on doing exactly that. And in computing it goes pretty deep, starting with the idea that software ought to be "intuitive", and vendors promising that their software doesn't require people to get trained, honest, eventually helping give rise to, among other things, the proverbial wilfully ignorant customer demanding the wrong thing. Also a management angle, bad examples of which abound. I could draw a couple more lines between some more dots but it's too hot to properly pick the whole thing apart and fsck it, I'm not getting paid to be part of the solution, either. Properly identifying the incentives and fixing them to be less perverse thus left as an exercise. Whether this can be done without overhauling the entire thing? I haven't the faintest.

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Happy

    But I actually ENJOY the game!

    OK, so the vendors all stretch the truth, FUD each other, and the resellers are often not complteley honest about either their skills, the product or their ability to deliver. Thing is, if they all told the gospel truth, I wouldn't have a job! I'm employed to weed out the FUD, sift through the male-bovine-manure for the real info, anticipate where the insultants will "unexpectedly" fall short, and translate the sales-speak into something my bosses can make a decision based upon. TBH, if they all actually did work on the basis of "what's best for the customer" rather than "what's best for my bottomline" I wouldn't be needed.

  23. Hollow
    Flame

    Channel? Which one? 5?

    I've worked there, but never called it 'The Channel', I'm guessing it's a sales buzzword? Either way, I ended up leaving the resellers and outsourcers I worked for, because I got sick and tired of being treated like shit, paid naff all and getting constantly stressed out that I wasn't actually helping anyone, except my director to make more money, which is very much NOT what I got into this game for!

    I even ran my own little outsourcing outfit for a while, but I went bust, because I couldn't lie to customers and did a good job, priced honestly and only provided what was actually needed. Some might say I should have hired a sales guy to do the selling and then just get on with it, but I would have felt far too dirty!

    A few years ago I got out of it all, went to work for an insurance company as their IT manager and now I work in cloud, for a medium - large international startup, doing back line support of all things. I'm treated considerably better, I get great pay, great benefits, work from home, plenty of time off, sick pay, it's kinda wicked really, but the problem now, as someone else said, is what next? I'm being approached recently for CIO roles, CTO roles, Technical Directorships, but do I really want to go back to working in an office, with a bunch of idiots I don't want to be around, trussed up in a suit and tie, licking the arse of the guy above me and sweet talking suppliers I know are going to rip me off? FUCK NO!

    Problem is of course, I don't really want to go out on my own again either, as it was cold out there, because I'm too nice, too honest and too good at what I do for my own good. I could stay where I am in cloud, wait for my annual pay review, which is likely to follow inflation, but not much more, as I'm a massively under-used resource these days. My other option of course, is to go contractor, but in development again, instead of systems. I'm being approached recently, for PHP and Perl roles of all things, worth over £90k if you're contracting. Then of course the downside comes, you have to run it as a Ltd VAT registered company, any time off you take, you lose all your pay, no healthcare benefits, or extra time off to stop you from burning out.

    To sum up? Why don't the best techies work in the channel? Because we've already been there, got the FUCK OUT and are not going back, in any capacity, for all the money, magic beans, coffee, mountain dew and stupid bonus reward schemes that make us feel like sales pricks, in the world! You can keep your channel, you can keep your stupid rewards schemes, your pink shirts, your frilly, smilie talk and just get bent! The decent techies do the real work, that you lot who choose to stay in the channel and play the game, are not capable of!

  24. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Youth

    Seeing the opposite out here. Older people are in such high demand (due to the flood of under-40s,) that they command a stiff premium over the 20 and 30 somethings. Doesn't matter what your credentials are here, there is strict ageism in place.

    Young folks are viewed as "reckless," "volatile," "lazy" and "too entitled." They complain about working 16 hours a day for $16/hr and keep asking for raises, better working conditions etc.

    The old folks just ask for the high salaries up front, put up with far more miserable working conditions and don't come back pestering management every 6-18 months looking for more money.

    ‘course, all the companies around here are owned by folks 50-80, none of whom have any intention of retiring any time soon. They just don’t understand “these arrogant kids these days.” Want people they can relate to. Etc.

    It's why I started my own consultancy. They're far happier to pay you by the hour some rediculous rate than they are to pay you a decent salary as a permie. Just bizzare.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think you're generalizing...

    Being one of those smaller consultancy players I think you're setting a wrong example.

    "Firstly, a consultancy or reseller is going to be selling me by time, methodically setting up firewall rules taking a day is more profitable than someone who knows the trick to doing it in an hour."

    That's where you're wrong, and your own article even supports this. Because this approach will only upset your client in the longer run. And no matter what age we live in: the customer is /always/ the customer. Aka; the one who hopefully will help pay for your salary.

    Yes, my firm also sells by time. But we make very sure that the customer realizes what he gets for that time. If you ask us to check up your firewall and "enhance it" then obviously it takes time. We'd need to study your environment and know how it has been setup /before/ we apply any changes. That has NOTHING to do with "increasing sale time", but /everything/ with doing a job best as possible. Unless of course you'd rather see that we quickly implement the changes you requested without even fully knowing ourselves that it won't clash with other stuff.

    Needless to say... Would you have asked us to provision your server and then ask us to implement a specific change then guess what? Because we will at that time be fully familiar with your environment - up front - the changes will probably only take... 5 minutes ?

    IMO you're drawing the wrong conclusions.

    Because in the end a customer who will stick with us for the upcoming years to come is MUCH more profitable to us than merely trying to cash in extra time and get a few extra bucks. Just read your own article; obviously you only met parties which did went after the extra cash and from what I'm reading you're not very fond of their services anymore.

    How is that "more profitable" ?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A story for you.

    I worked for the Department of Education as a sysadmin and general IT support/trainer. I'm good at what I do and so I would stamp out fires and get things working in short time. I worked really hard for 3 months redesigning everything and was a very busy little beaver. After the setup period was over, I would often sit around in my office with nothing much to do because everything was working perfectly.

    The boss saw me doing a lot of serious work for 3 months, then saw me shift to "non-core" work (I was redesigning IT training manuals for the teachers, not fiddling with cables and computers anymore) and so he sacked me on the assumption that I had become lazy and that a cheaper replacement could carry on the work because I had created a good foundation.

    My replacement was a PFY with about 1 year's IT education and everything has gone to shit. He even stopped the weekly backup because the hard disk got full. My old work colleagues ring me about 3 times a week with the latest stories of incompetence and how they had to hire contractors to fix issues that any decent IT guy should be able to fix. So far, they have spent 3 years worth of my old wages on contractors.

    TL;DR?

    In an effort to save money, they hired a crap worker and ended up costing themselves triple. Sometimes, the best IT techies shoot themselves in the foot by being too good.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't know if I'd blame you for your ex-boss his poor decisions.

      After all, it's your boss his job to understand what he's hiring. It also gives the lie to the idea that underlings are nary but "person boxes" to management, ie they're all human and the rest is equally homogenous in unimportance, in turn giving rise to the idea that an MBA is all you need for bossing people around. He really should've understood what you were doing; lacking that he should've obtained that understanding somehow, like by asking.

      Of course you could've tried and helped, but you know, there's a point where going above and beyond the call of duty gets ridiculous, and it can also get you your feet shot off. Knowing where and when to stop is a skill, too. So I'd say he got what he deserved, except of course that his management won't let him go for his poor judgement, and his charges are worse off for it. A set that no longer includes you, of course.

      No upvote because TL;DR, which I hate with a passion. If you feel the need to include it you've done a poor job writing, or you've misunderstood your audience.

  27. (AMPC) Anonymous and mostly paranoid coward
    Flame

    What people lack now is vision

    The kind of work environments described by Dominic are the logical outcome of a world that is being increasingly run by mediocre HR drones, clueless execs, accountants and banks. No risk taking, no entrepreneurship, no balls left on anyone really. Success is measured by how many dollars are (or appear to be) wrung out of customers and staff.

    This will not change until all of the talented people walk out, provide a better service and let cr*p consultancies and companies wither on the vine. If anything, today's world is full of opportunities for talented and skilled people. One of these is to locate these same customers who are busily getting reamed by their suppliers and propose and deliver something better.

    I've also felt the sting of being too good at my job. Worked happily for years with people I knew and trusted, did great things and made the company a lot of money. I then watched a new CIO (I stood for Idiotic) come in, over-staff the pace with his cronies and kick out everyone else who had built him this lucrative money pit. Pretty soon, my services were no longer needed. To be fair, the new implementation I put into place no longer needed me to run it. But a company run by sentient human beings would have said great.. thanks, here's another challenge, get on with it.

    Unfortunately, companies are often run by people who provide little or no inspiration to their work force. Eventually, tech people and customers will see through this deception and move on. If you are smart, experienced and skilled, you might be one of those people who will help fix things and get them back on track. In the process, you might as well charge what the market will bear even if it doesn't feel good.

    Until people go back to first principles and start to value honesty, hard work, knowledge values and performance again it will only get worse.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's another reason I don't work in the channel...

    Even though I read this section quite a lot, I still don't know what the channel actually is. I've tried a bunch of dictionaries, including urban dictionary and that idiotic princeton one. Please send help.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There's another reason I don't work in the channel...

      Hang on, it just means "sales" doesn't it?

      You get a salesman to do the install which looks all professional until your client suddenly thinks, "Hang on, I've never met a decent techie who could sell." And, indeed, vice versa.

      This makes much more sense to me but it does reduce Dominic's article to, "The reason techies don't work in the channel is that the good ones are no good at sales."

      1. Zack Mollusc
        Facepalm

        Re: There's another reason I don't work in the channel...

        Of course Techies are useless at Sales. Salesmen need to lie, and if you know nothing, you can lie more easily and with deniability.

  29. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter
    WTF?

    Squeezing not Sucking

    AMPC talks of a "lack of vision", I'd rephrase that as deciding that there is more money to be made from squeezing existing customers rather than sucking in new ones.

    That's why firms like Oracle behave the way they do, they believe that nearly everyone who will ever buy into the Oracle product line has already done so. Yes they can squabble over some MS SQL accounts and maybe Sybase, but realistically it's bloody hard to change your main DB.

    That's why Oracle squeezes its customers and is so arrogant when dealing with them, it knows they can't easily move. Even is MS SQL, DB2 or Sybase were free the cost of moving would be vastly more than their latest antics.

    Fact is that is the way most corporate IT is now only edge cases and new front ends get changed much.

    So again I come back to the point that the cause of vendor behaviour is their clients, that's not so much "blame" as causality.

  30. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

    Sales != Technical Skills

    Although many ITPRos don't want to do sales, I think that the best person to sell "complex" goods is someone who understands it. The politics of most sales teams stops that from working properly, they fixate on "closing" and tech skills are slagged, but "trustworthy" has two meanings, not only honesty but reliability and I don't believe anything beats talking to a guy who has made they thing you're buying do the job you're paying real money to happen.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Sales != Technical Skills

      "I think that the best person to sell "complex" goods is someone who understands it. "

      Speaking as someone who occasionally *buys* stuff, the person I'm most likely to buy from is someone who looks like they could make their product solve my problem. In my experience, that usually requires *some* technical competence, if only because *I* am a techie and therefore bother to think about what the words mean. If you are just spouting buzzwords, I'm going to spot it.

      Now, if you are selling to someone who hasn't a clue what their own problem is, you don't need technical skills at all. You need to be able to make the buyer think that their own failure to understand their own problem is not an issue because your product will not only solve the problem but also teach them what it was. The whole exercise becomes purely an exercise in make-believe.

      I suspect that the reality of most sales pitches lies somewhere in between.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The unfortunate reality is that when it takes one person (a master) 1 hour to do something and another person (a journeyman) takes 4, and the client is willing to pay for up to 4 hours of work, then it doesn't make business sense to send the master to fix it.

    There is even a double dis-incentive: the journeyman is more likely to produce a fix that will require further fixes and further billing.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019