Repost of an article by Ted Dziuba on Saturday May 01, 2010.
Read the original article at: http://teddziuba.com/2010/05/why-engineers-hop-jobs.html
What’s with all the hate on my generation? It started when somebody
quit Jason Calacanis’s industrial web spam startup, Mahalo, for a higher
paying position at a competitor. Invariably, Calacanis went apeshit on
the poor guy in a very public way, and this started a cascade of blogosphere
butthurt about people in software under thirty: that we’re unreliable,
that we’re lazy, that we’re entitled.
Well I’m as unreliable, lazy, and entitled as the next guy, but that’s not
why I’ve hopped jobs in the past. People in my generation have a very
low tolerance for bullshit, and software engineering, in general, is a
very high bullshit career. If you couple that with the standard load
of bullshit you would get from a non-technical Harvard MBA type boss —
like many CEOs that you find trying to get rich in Silicon Valley by
hiring some engineers to “code up this idea real quick” — it’s no
wonder that a good engineer will walk off the job after his one year
As an engineer, you are told that you’re “lucky to have a job”, because there are “a hundred people lined up
outside, ready to take it”. (As chance would have it, there are at
least a thousand lined up to take the job of rich prick who tells
people what to do). This backlash is the product of diseased
thinking. A CEO who makes an engineer work 80 hours a week is a driven
entrepreneur, but an engineer asking for a comfy chair is a prima
donna. So, when we are up to our knees in golf-course, martini-lunch
bullshit, don’t be surprised when we jump ship for a higher
I recognize the value of business people and
management. Somebody has to sell the code that I write, which in turn
puts food on my table. Since I am an engineer, I like
iterative optimization. Every time I have left a job, I have
further refined the requirements that a person must fill before I agree to work for him. After every job, I add one or two requirements to the list, and
I have found that my happiness at work improves dramatically with
This is my current list:
- The organization must need me at least as much as I need it.
- My direct manager must have a technical background — enough to understand why programming is hard.
- My direct manager must have enough experience or raw intelligence such that I can trust him/her to make decisions, even though I may not understand the reasoning.
- I must have absolute faith in the business plan.
- I must have absolute faith in “the business side” to execute that plan.
So, Jason, when that fellow quit Mahalo, he didn’t just leave you
in the lurch. He added something to his list. Maybe you should find
out what that is.