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Re: [vox] Slashdot lay-offs
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Re: [vox] Slashdot lay-offs

On Fri, 19 Jul 2002, Micah Cowan wrote:
> Isn't it illegal to discriminate based on citizenship, unless
> warranted by the job? If not, I think it ought to be. When the economy
> becomes uncertain, I think a lot of people consider themselves to show
> patriotism by rejecting foreign employees. I think that's ridiculous -
> I understand that in our home country, it makes sense that if I get
> two prospects with equivalent skill, I should perhaps favor my
> compatriot - but I will not refuse to consider hiring foreigners,
> especially if the other candidates are less highly skilled. It's kinda
> like "best tools for the job", only for people :)

A common way for HB1 Visa status to be found is if a corp is willing to
support an sponsor and employee. There are some legal expenses involved in
this and it is one route towards a green card. (I dont really know too
much about this, so I may be completely off base here. none from my own
research, only what my friends have told me.)

I *think* it works kind of like this. The company files a paper saying
that they cannot get anyone locally to do this job, and the single person
they found (non-citizen) is who they need for the job. Then if the papers
are okayed, the employee must work for 3 years with the same company
before they can move to the next step in applying for a green card. if
they move to another job, or quit, or are fired, or the business dies,
they have X number of days to find another job or they get deported. If
they find another job, then the 3 years starts all over again. This allows
businesses to hire these people and abuse them and offer less than ideal
pay raises. Many businesses practic(ed) this and hire foreign employees
for 50%-90% of what american citizens get for the same job. Some argue the
difference goes to legal expenses, but in many cases the difference is not
sufficient to meet "legal expenses." This also does little to explain the
lack of pay raises and worse treatment of these employees.

Though I know American citizens who are very hard workers who have strong
work ethics, *most* of the people "out there" seem to be lazy and are only
into working, "when the boss is looking." :-/ Most of the foreign people I
know who have moved to the US for education etc. seem to be more like the
industrious Americans I know. When I visit countries these foreigners call
home, I find a breakdown of people that closely matches the US - they have
their share of lazy people too. I guess, it is just the people who are
motivated to move to the US more commonly have that "Strong work ethic"
than those who stay home. (free thinking here...)

Anyway, when I run a business, I can see no disadvantage to hiring
foreigners to do the work.

> > Meant to say, "What kinds of limits do you have when you look for jobs
> > beyond the simple "pay"? Examples, relocation - how far?, career changes
> > - how much?, place to work, "no gov?" (you said you did not see yourself
> > woprking at a gov job.) Others?
> It's not that I'm against government work - it's that I place very high
> value on the work atmosphere, and don't believe that I can find that
> atmosphere in a gov't job. Too stuffy, I expect. But perhaps you can
> convince me otherwise, as I really don't have much info to go by on
> that assumption.

After working both sides, let me try to break down the differences:
No money to buy kewl projects and then a bunch all at once that must be
 spent or lost.
Great job security encourages sharing of information / help
Low wages
People are allowed to make decisions that are completely STUPID
 (because it is not run as a business with profit in mind)
No profit sharing.
Little direct incentive as raises are often not determined person by
 person, but instead everyone gets the same thing.(Not all agencies are
 like this.)
Above leads to people being trained to become skilled in some cases. Those
 who are skilled find employment in the realworld making more money.
Above leads to lame people sticking around because nobody else would pay
 so much for so little.
Low turnover rate.

Private business (tech)
less stable. (measures in years, not decades or centuries)
Almost all decisions made are profit oriented though "pet projects" can
 come up.
Money exists to buy profitable projects.
Less job security
Higher wages
If someone does something STUPID they can be fired rigt away. If a person
 iis not liked, they can be fired. Actually, a person can be fired at any
 time for any reason
Profit shareing/IPO etc. possible
Mostly raises are determined by actions to date in review. More productive
 employees can get higher raises than less productive employees.
Takes skilled people, "uses them up" and tosses them out to be replaced
 with the next generation. Some businesses actually invest education
 back into their employees, but most are not flexible anymore.
Skilled employees feel wanted and may stick around.
Poorly paid employees leave, trying to find a place where they fit in
High turnover rates.

There are things they have in common of course.

> Relocation - how far isn't a huge issue if the other factors check
> out; but I would definitely be checking to see how the area would fit
> my family's needs.
> Career changes - don't care, as long as I love what I do. That is the
> single most important factor to me - and it is likely to make my job
> search much, much harder - but it's worth it to me. However, I have
> found that I love software development and related things, when I am
> working on projects that I am interested in - but I am often
> undermotivated if I am working on a project which I have little
> interest in, only because I'm being paid to do it.

I agree. Enjoying work is what it is all about. This is why I am so
picky. I can afford to be so picky because I am employed.

> In the job I have just left, the only projects I ever was truly happy
> doing were some intelligent OO implementations of Base64 and MD5 in
> C++. They were planning on GPL'ing those before the Great Axing - I
> intend to find out what the plan is now. They were a "group effort" -
> however, the other folks on the team merely provided input - I wrote
> the requirements and design documents, and implemented it in the code,
> entirely myself. So I consider it mine, and would like to be able to
> display the work on my website.

Good luck. :-) It would be a good resume.

> But I believe I would have enjoyed the other projects much more, if I
> had agreed more frequently with the design decisions made by
> management - and the (IMO) overly restrictive coding standards. It's
> not much fun to work on a project where I strongly disagree with most
> of the design decisions. Next time maybe I'll scope out the
> development philosophies a little more carefully.

Luckily, I am able to have a lot of control in direction for
computing services. For 3 years I managed ~500+ nodes and many users.Now
my focus is on servers, and programming.

>  > > I am a Software Engineer, and was also a sysadmin for about a year. I
>  > > haven't started looking for a job yet - I need some time to sit down
>  > > and think about what I really want to do next.
>  > > 
>  > > I am highly skilled in C, C++, Perl, HTML, XHTML, CSS2, XML, XSLT,
>  > > etc. I also consider myself skilled in secadmin/sysadmin, but don't
>  > > have much experience on paper.
>  > 
>  > Yes, I have seen jobs out there for this, but it is not where I want to
>  > go. I think even UCB, UCLA, and Irvine have recently had job offers that
>  > fit the above description nicely. There is still demand for these skills,
>  > but these are not the skills I wish to apply.
> I'd be happy to employ these skills in my next job - but, the majority
> of jobs which fit the latter portion of that list will not be to my
> liking. However, there are some jobs out there which make intelligent
> use of those skills.
>  >  (Perhaps my list of
>  > "demands" is too great.) I guess it is just like he whole, "I *can* do MS
>  > Windows NT,2000,XP, Domain, Active Directory, Office, Access, MS SQL
>  > Service, etc. and started the MCSE thing (it is really easy if you want to
>  > do it) but that is not where I want to go. That is also employable, but
>  > who wants to program in ASP? Blech. I want a stable job that is exciting,
>  > fun, requires a great deal of control, attentions to details
>  > with big implications and affords a lot of responsibility. Really, a job
>  > where I get to do what I am doing now, but with more stuff to control and
>  > manage.
> Right. I'm not just gonna take any old job that fits my job - I have
> to love doing it. I consider it *extremely* unlikely that I'd even
> consider a non-UNIX development environment; though in a very few
> select situations, I might consider a Cygwin environment.
> But I love GNU software too much. It is just too cool to be able to
> custom-tailor my environment to my exact needs - I wouldn't be happy
> giving that up.
> I would consider web development - but most clients wouldn't want me:
> I'm a standards pedant, and would refuse to write anything which
> made platform-specific assumptions; or used JavaScript in stupid ways
> (like almost all sites do today). These days I insist on writing web
> which conform to XHTML, CSS2, and WCAG (the Web Content Accessibility
> Guidelines). This means I avoid using tables to lay things out
> wherever possible - and where I do use it, I ensure that they still
> look good if linearized (that is, if a browser were to ignore all the
> table tags - something that can happen on text-or speech-based
> browsers). This would be unpopular with many companies - though
> perhaps if I had a good opportunity to explain the reasons and
> benefits, I might win some of them over.

Agreed. Customer education is the biggest battle to take on when working
with people who dont know any better.

> But really, my chief loves are software development and systems
> administration. But I don't usually look for sysadmin jobs, because
> they are typically demanding - I don't own my life. I need the ability
> to spend 8 hours (usually), and give all the rest to my family and
> personal needs. But with software dev, I need to be involved in
> projects which I will enjoy working on.

Ah, I am not afflicted with being married, or any kind of Sig-O or
kids. It is one of those things... I am too selfish with my time. I do
what I want, when I want. I think that only weak people could live with
that, and who wants to partner with a weak person? of course, there are
probably exceptions, but it is not worth my time to find them. If my
thoughts on this ever changed, i would probably shift into programming and
adopt a thought much like yours. it is very good- spend time with your
family and leave work at work. Less stress and quite healthy. :-)


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