EppsNet Archive: Work

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

Colleagues whose most conspicuous contribution to the workplace is to laugh irrepressibly at the boss’s jokes . . . Read more →

Every Form of Harassment is Okay — Except One

How did we decide that sexual harassment is the one category of workplace abuse, incidences of which require national outrage and loss of employment? Ideally, we would all have the prudence and restraint not to make sexual advances toward people over whose career we hold sway, but it happens. And yet we’ve all been harassed and ill-used in the workplace in other ways by someone more powerful, someone who negatively impacted our career by embarrassing us, intimidating us, undermining us, lying to us, lying about us, stealing the credit for our work . . . it goes on and on. Rarely do negative consequences accrue to the harasser. Steve Jobs, for example, was known for being abrasive, dismissive, shouting down colleagues, blaming others when things didn’t work out and occasionally wrapping himself in glory that rightly belonged elsewhere. Did this torpedo his career? Hardly. He’s an American icon. (In other… Read more →

Our Most Valuable Asset

The annual “People First” awards were given out at the office today. I don’t mean to be cynical but I was reminded of an old Dilbert comic . . . Read more →

Tech Gender Bias: Men Not as Concerned

According to LinkedIn: Despite a string of revelations that women in tech face considerable headwinds — from persistent gender-based pay gaps (per Bloomberg), to limited VC funding for female-led startups (per Fortune), to sexual harassment (per The New York Times) — just 29% of men say that discrimination is a major problem in the industry, according to data from Pew. In fact, some 32% of men claim that it’s not a problem at all. Everything I read about gender discrimination in tech starts out by assuming it’s a real problem and that all reasonable people agree that it’s a real problem. Even the supposedly objective LinkedIn blurb above tells us that 29% of men “say” that discrimination is a major problem, while 32% of men “claim” that it’s not a problem at all, “despite a string of revelations blah blah blah . . .” I’ve worked in tech for 30… Read more →

What Does a Programmer Do?

I was asked to give a talk last week to a high school computer science class on “What Does a Programmer Do?” (I’m indebted to Jim McCarthy for the “lords and ladies of logic” section.)   Programming is problem solving. At the highest level, the problem that programmers solve is that people want to be able to do things with computers that they can’t do. And by computers, I don’t mean just the kind of computers you have on the desks here, I mean phones, watches, cars . . . more and more different kinds of devices are running software. So one good thing about being a programmer is that pretty much every field of endeavor now uses software and data. You can work at a tech company like Microsoft or Google or Twitter or Facebook, but you can also work in healthcare, finance, education, sports . . . you… Read more →

We’re Dreamers Too

There are lots of people who went to school, worked hard, provided for our families, raised our kids, tried to do the right things . . . no one lionizes us but we’re dreamers too . . . Read more →

To Young Women Considering a Career in Technology

You’ve probably read a lot of articles about how sexist and awful the culture is for women in technology. I think if anything deters young women from technology careers, it’s this glut of articles saying how sexist and awful the culture is. I’ve worked in software development for 30 years. In my experience — and feel free to discount this because I’m not a woman — the culture is not tough for women. If anything, men give women the benefit of the doubt because they’d like to have more women around. As Holden Caulfield used to say, “I like to be somewhere at least where you can see a few girls around once in a while, even if they’re only scratching their arms or blowing their noses or even just giggling or something.” Yes, I have seen bad things happen to women in tech, but I’ve seen bad things happen… Read more →

American Workplace: Grueling, Stressful and Surprisingly Hostile?

Washington (AP) — The American workplace is grueling, stressful and surprisingly hostile. So concludes an in-depth study of 3,066 U.S. workers by the Rand Corp., Harvard Medical School and the University of California, Los Angeles. Among the findings: — Nearly one in five workers — a share the study calls “disturbingly high” — say they face a hostile or threatening environment at work . . . — “One-Fifth of Americans Find Workplace Hostile or Threatening” If nearly one in five US workers finds their workplace hostile or threatening, that means more than 4 in 5 workers do not find their workplace hostile or threatening. Assuming these two groups are not in completely separate workplaces, does this finding say something about the workplace or about the people who perceive a hostility that a large majority of their colleagues do not perceive? Another finding: — Telecommuting is rare: 78 percent say they… Read more →

Remote Work on the Decline

According to LinkedIn: IBM, Aetna, Reddit, and Bank of America are among a growing list of companies slashing remote work policies. It’s not because employees working from home are less productive; rather, many companies think in-person collaboration just can’t be beat. I get that. It’s easier to work with people in the same room than with people at some distant point in time and space. But I can’t help noticing that there are more companies willing to hire hordes of itinerant trainees in a foreign land to write important software (i.e., “outsourcing”), than to let employees write software 15 minutes from the office in their own home. Read more →

How to Tell If You’re Too Busy

A colleague shared this on Slack: It’s a slide from a presentation given by somebody somewhere . . . it’s hard to read but the gist of it is: In the past, I’ve worked every holiday, on my birthday, my spouse’s birthday, and even on the day my son was born. I asked the guy who shared it, “How do the birthdays fit in there? I don’t even remember when my spouse’s birthday is, but I certainly didn’t work on the day my son was born.” “I think he meant on the nights of the birthdays,” was the reply. “Was he working on the night his son was conceived? I bet he was. He seems like a very busy guy.” Read more →

Who Does Amazon Fresh?

Our office uses Amazon Fresh to get food delivered, so when a colleague posts “Who does Amazon Fresh again?” on the messaging system, what he means is “Remind me who is responsible for placing the Amazon Fresh orders.” Here is the actual answer: “I think it’s a company started by Amazon the online retailer.” Read more →

Is Tech Addiction Making Us Far More Stressed at Work?

I like this juxtaposition of links on themuse.com. “Is Tech Addiction Making Us Far More Stressed at Work?” sandwiched in-between links to 25 Chrome extensions and 10 apps that you must have in your life right now> Read more →

Apple Employee Found Dead at Company Headquarters

Apple employee found dead at company headquarters — CNN Money I have never known anyone who died at work, although I’ve seen a couple of close calls. My dad died of a heart attack at home on a Monday morning when he normally would have gone to work. If he’d been able to hang in there a few more hours, he could have died at the office. I also worked with a fellow quite a few years ago who was in the office on Friday and died over the weekend. We heard about it on Monday. It wasn’t super shocking because he was an older man and not in the peak of health. He looked like John Huston with one day to live. That was a terrible company. I remember thinking, “Well, at least he doesn’t have to come to work today.” Embed from Getty Images Read more →

Dad vs. Stupidity

I overheard one of my colleagues saying to another, “My dad is really opposed to any kind of stupidity.” I passed that along to my own son: “If you want to describe me in that way — ‘My dad is opposed to stupidity in all forms’ — it’s okay with me. I mean, you don’t have to if you’re not feeling it but I can think of worse ways to be remembered.” Read more →

Overheard (Slack Version)

Employee X [8:55 AM] I bumped the HVAC up one degree for the entire office. Got a few comments about it being too cold yesterday. Let me know how today is y’all. Employee Y [9:18 AM] half a degree too warm Read more →

You Look Like an OAF

A colleague shows up in the office today with dark glasses and a toothpick in his mouth. “It’s my OAF look,” he explains. “Is that an acronym or are you spelling the word ‘oaf’”? Read more →

Programmer or Parolee?

Our office building is next door to a probation field office . . . I have a game I play in the parking lot each morning: Programmer or Parolee. I spot someone, guess if he’s here for a programming challenge or a meeting with his parole officer, then wait to see if he shows up in our office. If a methed-out skinhead comes in for a programming challenge, I lose today’s game. Read more →

Chuck and Chip

I’d like to work with a guy named Chuck because I like the word “upchuck,” as in “What’s up Chuck?” That’s something I would say a lot. It’s also a dream of mine to work with someone named Chip so every day when one of us went home I could say “Goodbye Mr. Chip.” Read more →

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Second-Guessers

I spent my lunch hour listening to co-workers second guess the Panthers offensive play-calling in yesterday’s Super Bowl. I don’t like second-guessers, for a couple of reasons. Once a game is over, it’s easy to say the team that lost should have done something different. Feel free to advance any theory you want since there’s no way to wind back the clock and falsify it. It’s like taking a test when you already know the answers. It gives you an opportunity to make yourself sound smarter than the people who had to take the test without knowing the answers. What are the odds that someone with his fat ass parked on a sofa watching the game really came up with a better play-calling strategy than the coaching staff of a team with 17 wins and 1 loss? Read more →

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