Something like an automaton

Robot hand
(Image: Stockfresh)

Print

PrintPrint
Blogs

Read More:

23 October 2015 | 0

Paul HearnsAt the recent .Next Computing Forum, Adrian Weckler, technology editor, Independent Newspapers, spoke about an increasing trend among Silicon Valley companies regarding the work/life balance issue.

Weckler said that start-ups and rapidly developing market disruptors expect employees to work long hours, be almost always available and to do all this while performing at the highest levels.

He reported spoking to individuals who pursued desirable positions with these rapidly developing, exciting companies, but often found that they spent even more time working than in structured, corporate environments. While most admitted that they were enjoying what they were doing, they also admitted they had lost certain quality of life elements as result of working more and being more available.

“A driven and focused young worker is a very good human resource, but we are also reminded that when we ourselves were such resources, we were also naïve. Being highly specialised often means being very unaware of wider issues and context even in our own field, let alone those related and indeed, complementary, fields.”

The insidious thing is, Weckler reported, that this is not a policy, but rather that if one is not seen to be giving it all, then preferment does not come. No one will ask you to do these things but consequently, when the opportunities arise, one may not be on top of the list.

This ties in with what other commentators in the area have observed regarding developers in particular, with security guru Paul C Dwyer highlighting the fact that at the highest levels, developers in particular are so focused and narrow in their outlook and practice as to be near Asperger’s-like, and so require an entirely different management and HR infrastructure if they are to be developed to their fullest potential and not become a liability.

While some might say, in the tech industry, such as it ever was, this is all most worrying.

Those of us who can count in decades the anniversary of our twenty-first birthday realise that a driven and focused young worker is a very good human resource, but we are also reminded that when we ourselves were such resources, we were also naïve. Being highly specialised often means being very unaware of wider issues and context even in our own field, let alone those related and indeed, complementary, fields.

I would greatly fear that these combined trends will produce a whole generation of people with such narrow vision as to be unable to connect the dots within their own sectors, let alone understand where they fit in the broader scheme.

The tech world is littered with great ideas, poorly developed and managed even worse — not just in small companies either.

I would contend that much of this poor record can be attributed to narrowly focused, ill-advised programmes that were ill or uniformed, formulated by people in bubbles who did not have the broader vision to understand how to express the value proposition to a wider audience.

Technology as discipline is all too often caught up in its own bubble, contained in an echo chamber, that leads to poor decisions when dealing with the real world — and make no mistake, the technology sector is not the real world.

When I worked in the aerospace industry, there was a designation for a certain type of stupidity: PoG or pilot on ground. This meant a normally high-functioning individual being a bit daft when they are outside of their rarefied natural element.

Whereas we also used to laugh at developers in the middle of a long coding run being outwitted by the control panel of a microwave oven, the analogy carries. If an individual is facilitated in becoming so tied to a role that they are blinkered to everything else, including knowledge of the wider business and more critically, the wider world, don’t expect them to represent your company well, understand the economics of what they are doing, or spot opportunities beyond their end of their nose.

People who are going down such paths need guidance and support to occasionally take that head-up view, scan the horizon and develop wider skills to have a broader understanding. Or in the case of DB admins, stare at someone else’s shoes.

 

 

Read More:



Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑