Thursday, July 15, 2010

Now hiring

My employers US operation recently lost two engineers to the "jobless" recovery of the US manufacturing sector. Which leaves me to ask who are they going to find to fill those jobs?

The two engineers each had more than 6 years with the company and were among the first hires made by the current General Manager and Technical manager (back when our team was only 6 people in the US.

They were young (very) and green (straight off the post grad turnip truck). Each having their first real job. Now we are faced with replacing the assets we spent 14 man years developing.

What will they do?

Hire an experienced user? Apparently they have started courting a former customer

Hire a 'noob' to fill their shoes? They tried this when I moved to another team with disastrous results. Had to fire the 'noob' after he didn't fit in one year. This also lead to some of the dismay that puts them in their current shortage.

Hire two bright new shiny kids like we did 6 years ago, and develop new assets and grow from within? That would require faith in the engineers who are left.

Beg my boss to let me help them build up their existing team and break in the 'noob' whether bright and shiny or old and crusty? That would require the humility they lacked 2 years ago when I left and most recently when these nest two went 'native'.

They have forgotten how to obtain, gain, retain talent; while they benefited from atypical stability in their engineering team 10 years + with only two previous departures from a team of 10 applications engineers.

They need to now remember that technical people are not easily replaced and we need to nurture them, and protect our investments greedily. Even when that means spending more, giving greater autonomy, and providing purpose in what they do. They will not be able to just find a replacement for these guys. We will have to build them.
Eric Kam, broadcasting from an undisclosed location via BlackBerry

Thursday, July 1, 2010

engineers: the Cory Doctorow definition

Engineers are all basically high-functioning autistics who have no idea how normal people do stuff.

Art Eastern Standard Tribe
a Novel by Cory Doctorow

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