Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Slashdot reply: Young IT Workers Disillusioned, Hard to Retain

So off the Slashdot wire, via Network World comes: Young IT Workers Disillusioned, Hard to Retain

The lead-in quote: Young IT employees pose a challenge to many managers who say the Millennial generation holds employers up to unrealistic expectations and makes unreasonable demands for their services.


It's a good read, it's nice to hear one side reported; but I feel there's a whole other side to this that's not understood. Most "millenials" that I've met have very little concept of business and business finances.

The average worker expects to sit around and do as they are told and basically "be taken care of". The average worker never sits down with their boss and says "I'm making X and I want to be worth X+10%, what do I need to do?". There's an expectation that simply showing up will get you there. Most workers I've met simply let the company decide their next step. I've even met tons of smart and skilled developers who simply don't know the math behind their salary. They can't ask for a pay raise or different benefits or some other employer concession, they don't even know how much they're worth. They don't know what income they generated last year or the typical overhead cost on their time.

Meanwhile, from the other side, most companies I've known are simply terrible at managing workers and projects and growing their #1 assets. They set up win/lose pay structures that heavily reward management instead of the workers. They ask for more work hours instead of more project deliverables. They expect employees to train outside of work instead of accounting for the cost of "in-the-week" training time. They ignore the concept of "apprenticeships" and the time required and just add juniors to the team as a single unit of time (instead of the .2 units of time they actually generate). They fail to build progression plans (including scheduled pay increases for young workers) and then wonder why they get caught with their pants down when the best young workers leave for more money and the bad ones hang around.

It's a two-way street and there are ample examples of failure on both sides. There are tons of "sweatshop" workplaces and tons of workplace Princesses.

Of course, YMMV.

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