YOU Made the Bed, So Don't Make US Lie in It

I'm gonna go ahead and finish off the topic I started on yesterday but didn't get to finish. And knowing me, I'll probably expand on it a little too, and maybe even go off on a couple tangents. I'm talking about the whole salary and loyalty debate. I've talked before about companies not giving their employees decent raises, and not rewarding them like they do the brass for saving them money. So it's really no wo

I'm gonna go ahead and finish off the topic I started on yesterday but didn't get to finish. And knowing me, I'll probably expand on it a little too, and maybe even go off on a couple tangents.

I'm talking about the whole salary and loyalty debate.

I've talked before about companies not giving their employees decent raises, and not rewarding them like they do the brass for saving them money. So it's really no wonder why we're forced to give ourselves raises every year or 2 by changing jobs. It seems that companies are always willing to court new talent with decent salaries, but they're not willing to use that tactic to keep it.

I was recently called down by a reader who happens to be recruiter for having changed jobs a lot in the past. He was commenting on that big recruiter series I did a while back. Personally, I think that's a pretty high horse that only a select few can afford to be on. The American corporate environment just doesn't support keeping staff for very long. They say they want loyal employees, but they routinely refuse to reward us for excellent work, give sufficient raises, give us good training, etc.

One thing that this reader didn't take into account is that a lot of times, changing jobs isn't our fault. I know most of us always go into a new job wanting to stay there for a long time. A job is like any other relationship. You never go into a personal relationship with someone expecting it to fail. I remember this joke Rita Rudner used to do. She said, whenever she meets a man she always asks herself, is this the man I want my kids to spend their weekends with?

There are a number of things that can contribute to a high turnover at any given company though. For one thing (and this has happened to me), the big reason you were attracted to a position was to get some real experience in an area you've been looking into, and the company kills the project after you come on board. There was no malicious intent involved, they just killed it for misc. reasons. You could also have come on board because you liked the management style of the hiring manager, and something happens to make him leave. Now you don't get along with the new guy nearly as well, and maybe he's even changed a couple important policies and you can't live with them. The company could have also just outright lied to you about their education policies, or projects they have coming up in order to get you to come. They could have also kept some things from you like they have a strict policies on office hours, they don't match 401K, their healthcare costs double what most people pay, etc... the list could go on and on. Then there's the simple no-fault split. People go through different periods in their lives and sometimes a job just stops doing it for you. You move past that part in your life, or your priorities change somehow. Maybe your family situation changes in such a way that it makes you need to change positions. Though I find changes like this tend to stem from companies not being flexible enough with their people.

The point is that for whatever they may be, there are some legitimate reasons why people changes jobs. Some of it stems from DBAs taking themselves and their jobs too seriously, and some of it stems from companies not even pretending to care whether they stay or go. Because in the end, people will do a lot for you if you just appreciate them and show it somehow.

Another interesting point this reader made was that I must be a fool for not kicking these inexperineced recruiters to the curb. And if I were as experienced as I say I am then I would know how to find a good recruiter by now. Apparently I'm the only one of the two of us who knows how this whole thing works. You don't hire a recruiter to go out and find you a job. You reply to specific jobs and you're stuck with the recruiter who's handling it. You can't say, hey, I think this job sounds good, but you're an idiot so could you point me to another firm more experienced at handling someone of my stature. No, you're pretty much stuck with this guy. So the fact that we're forced to work with these recruiters shouldn't be held against us. We want the job itself, not a relationship with the recruiter. And we have to do whatever it takes quite often to make sure we get presented to that company in a good light.

Of course, all this is coming from someone who claims that really good IT folk don't have to actually look for work or apply for jobs. All the really good ones have to do is post their resumes on their personal URL somewhere and the experienced recruiters have this secret ninja search language they can use to ferret out these people and get them jobs without them having to lift a finger. Whatever dude.

You know, all we're usually asking for is the same level of loyalty from our employers as they're asking from us. Currently, companies act like they're doing us a huge favor by lowering themselves to let us work there. And we'd better be loyal and jump through any hoop they like or they'll go get a college kid who's willing to jump higher and more often... and for half the money.

The same goes with vendors. I've had a bit sales VP with a major vendor ask me what it would take for them to gain my loyalty. I told him it would never happen until they started giving me some of theirs. He was trying to get $500,000 out of me in new license fees and I told him I was thinking of going to someone else. He asked why, and I said, because I've got 3 major issues that you guys are refusing to address at all. You want even more money from me when you're not even taking care of me now. Where's MY loyalty? What are you doing for me? Or is it that you lowered yourself to doing business with me and I should just be grateful and shut up? I don't think so.

The point of all this is that companies these days have drawn the line in the sand. They've made it clear to us that we're not important to them. If we have special circumstances, they don't care. If we need a more flexible schedule, too bad. Work your butt off putting together a warehouse that your VP got a $15mill bonus for supervising... oh well. Save the company $500,000 in license fees and setting them up to pass their audits so the CEO stays out of jail... it's your job, why should we give you anything extra?

So don't be surprised or upset when we treat you with the same reckless disregard you have for us.

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