A couple more interesting tidbits to file under "On the Software Business" came in yesterday. One from a friend we'll call "Joe", another from another person we'll call "Mary".
These are their stories...
Joe's an expert in his field. Joe worked for a company last year and received an invitiation to a conference in his area of expertise. He also received free admission. He's that good.
Joe decided to pay his own airfare and hotel out of pocket - and this wasn't cheap. He attended and learned cool stuff, which he planned to implement in a new practice at his place of employ.
But when Joe was attending the conference, all heck broke out back at the office. Crises - some real, others imagined - had folks peppering Joe with all sorts of emails and demands for his immediate response. Joe did the best he could. When one crisis arose, Joe even responded from inside the convention hall from a digitized device using handwriting.
This caused a ruckus at the office. Folks accused him of being unprofessional. It got worse from there. But the gist of the entire matter is Joe found another job and moved on.
Fast forward one year: Joe is speaking at the same conference this year. And not only is his (new) office supporting him, they're actually congratulating him and wishing him well. They're proud to have someone of Joe's caliber working for them. They realize Joe can bring in business on reputation alone, and they're willing to encourage him to attend.
Granted, I am over-simplifying (and obfuscating) the facts to make a point. Two points actually. To be clear my points are: Some businesses don't know how to market industry recognition; and some companies do not understand the return on investment of happy employees - especially if said employees are over-achievers (or experts in their field).
Mary is a supervisor at a technical services company. She's sometimes asked to go above and beyond the call of duty, and regularly complies with these requests.
She's been promised a promotion for months now, but no promotion has materialized. When she asked about it a couple months ago, she was promised she'd be allowed to go to training - something she's applied for in the past.
It's been months and Mary is the only person concerned about the promotion or the training opportunity. When she asks about it, she's told "Yes, yes - we will get to that." But it hasn't happened yet. Mary's beginning to suspect it never will.
She regularly does the work of co-workers / managers who then turn in her work as their own. Mary's getting ticked and looking for another job.
It's likely, when Mary turns in her resignation, that she will be asked "Why are you leaving?" by the people denying her requests, taking her for granted, and taking credit for her work. Why would anyone want to leave that job?
And so I ask you, dear Reader, why do companies treat individuals like this? What possible benefit could managers derive from such petty dictatorship? Perhaps Scott Adams has the answer...