180k to retain a programmer



  • So, in a frenzy to retain employees, Twitter has started a retention policy that a Spanish reporter has placed between 50k and 180k the cost of retaining some of that talent.

    I myself find the money well spent, but for me in particular, seeing my work fruit being used by millions is more important than a big bonus on the long run.

    What do you people feel makes you stay at some place?

    @Arantor may restraint from answering.



  • Co-workers.


  • sockdevs

    :rofl:

    Co-workers, belief in the product, loyalty, stupidity, pick one.



  • Co-workers (in particular my wife), I don't want to move, and I've been stuck in academia for so long that I doubt I would be any good anywhere else -at least not without a pretty steep re-learning at a much lower salary than what I currently enjoy (which, granted, is lower than what my former classmates are earning in industry). So basically I'm stuck.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    Autonomy.

    The quickest way to get me to leave has always been to micromanage me.


  • mod

    Future potential.

    My current position sucks, mainly because of management, but there is a huge potential for improvement and significant personal gain if I can hold on for just a few more months.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    :thumbs_up:



  • Working on interesting problems / projects.


  • Dupa

    @Polygeekery said:

    :thumbs_up:

    Thumbs up what? Does that really help retain talent?

    You must be a strange boss and your employees must be a strange bunch of people, too!

    :trolleybus:



  • Working on exciting cutting edge stuff where I learn new stuff all the time. I've worked in jobs that were dull (analyzing site traffic and stats or banking software is friggen boring for me). I've worked in jobs that resemble a Case of MUMPS in that if I stayed there for too long I'd have a completely useless skillset in something that I didn't even like doing. I'm in a job now that's really got cool stuff involving 3D graphics (but not a video game) and challenging problems that keeps me motivated. That's one big thing that keeps me from looking for a new job.

    Beyond that, a good culture and environment is huge. I don't want a grouchy boss breathing down my neck all the time or working with a colleagues who don't pull their own weight or are just generally nasty people. Whenever I'm in a job that has a tight knit group, I'll want to stay there for as long as it lasts. My current job is awesome for that, I feel like we're a sort of second family, but not in a creepy way.

    And, good work-life balance is also crucial for me. Crunch time happens. Sometimes it happens for a month if the team made a few time management mistakes, and I'm fine with that as long as we learn from those mistakes and try to avoid it next time (which we do, but often times in the next project we discover another source for a bad project endgame, but hey, that's life for a software engineer). But if every week of every year is a 80-hour marathon, then I get burned out. I know of some people who strive for that (most of which because they HAVE no life to balance) but I don't have tolerance for managers that set a status quo of "you aren't a hard worker if you don't put in 70+ hours per week at all times, regardless of whether you have a family or whatever else outside of this office."

    Commute's another big one for me. I don't want to spend 2 hours of my workday in the process of driving/riding to work. The closer I am to my job, the better.

    And yes, I have turned down higher paying jobs to work for jobs that fulfill the above.


  • :belt_onion:

    It's a combo of

    @abarker said:

    Future potential.

    and

    @boomzilla said:

    Working on interesting problems / projects.

    for me, at least at the current position I'm at. As much as I bitch about some of the tech stack making it do some of the stuff I did is highly satisfying.



  • I should add that relatively flexible working hours and working from home are two things that I really love about my job, too. I really like my management (at least, the next two levels up, whom I know all of personally and have worked with for a long time).



    • Having enough clout and independence to be able to do things without having everyone questioning the decisions you make in implementing a solution
    • Sufficiently interesting projects
    • Mutual trust and respect between employees and management
    • Flexible schedule (because traffic to make a 9-5 or 8-4 sucks ass). 9x9's and 4x10's are also pretty cool, but I personally find it hard to stay productive that long.
    • Reliable schedule (occasional overtime during releases or other emergencies is acceptable, regular 50+ hour weeks are not)
    • Being able to leave the office a few hours in the middle of the day to run errands without having to take vacation/sick leave (assuming you come back to finish the day)
    • Being on a first-name basis with the C-suite


  • This post is deleted!


  • @Groaner said:

    9x9's and 4x10's are also pretty cool

    4x10 I understand; I've worked those at a job, long ago. But what's a 9x9? Google gives me elementary mathematics problems or Go layouts.



  • @HardwareGeek said:

    But what's a 9x9?

    Every other Friday off with mostly 9-hour workdays and one 8 hour day.


  • mod

    @fbmac said:

    (post withdrawn by author, will be automatically deleted in 42 hours unless flagged)

    That's the @fbmac we all know and lo... Well, the @fbmac we all know.



  • Good management counts for a lot:

    • Effective in shielding me from a lot of crap
    • Accepts that I don't want to go into a management path and doesn't pressure me to (it did take two or three performance reviews to fully convince them)
    • Respects my technical opinions
    • Knows enough about what I do to offer sensible advice when I ask for it

    Good company and department culture counts for a lot too:

    • Allows me to be flexible with my hours
    • No fuss if I need to stay home to look after family, or need to come in late or leave early for whatever reason
    • Minimal fuss for sick leave or other personal leave
    • Generally try to promote a good work-life balance, even if they don't always succeed1. Enough so that in the last annual review we were talking about the problems in our overnight processes that I currently get sent alerts for, and I was basically saying "it's cool, I don't mind getting up to fix stuff" and my boss was saying "nah, you can leave it until the morning except for these cases where it's more urgent".

    On the personal level:

    • High degree of autonomy and responsibility
    • Good position in the food chain, basically expert technical across a range of systems but without the management style tasks that I hate (and suck at).
    • No particular desire for change for change's sake; as long as the current job is "good enough" I have no motivation to look elsewhere.

    So basically, it's a pretty good place to work, it allows me to work in a manner that suits me and is flexible enough, there's not much bureaucracy to wade through, and that's good enough for me.

    1 On an individual level we're generally encouraged to maintain a good balance. When people work unusually long hours it's recognised and rewarded, as it should be. But often it seems that almost all the rewards are given out for people working exceptional hours (rather than for e.g. exceptional customer service or other exceptional performance), which in my view sets up an unwelcome expectation that if you want to get rewarded, you need to work long hours.


  • mod

    A company I worked at called them "9 80s", which sounds like a not-quite-completed snowboarding trick. 9 days, 80 hours, so the 10th day is off.



  • @Groaner said:

    Flexible schedule (because traffic to make a 9-5 or 8-4 sucks ass). 9x9's and 4x10's are also pretty cool, but I personally find it hard to stay productive that long.

    Any computer programmer who claims to be able to work a 10 hour day is either lying, or not actually working.

    I'm lucky if I can productively write code for 5-6 hours. I know there are a lot of people out there better than me, but I have a lot of trouble believing anybody can write quality code for 10 hours in one sitting.


  • mod

    @blakeyrat said:

    I'm lucky if I can productively write code for 5-6 hours

    I'm lucky to have 3-4 hours to write test automation code in, between meetings. 10 hour days seem entirely doable from that perspective.



  • What are the meetings for? Other than ad-hocs, I only have one meeting a day, and it's a < 10 minute standup. I guess once a week we have a half-hour meeting. And I've been working a lot with a data ops guy, but that's all ad-hoc.

    Of course I work at a company that understands the point of managing developers is to shield them from the bullshit and let them work.

    I love the idea that a 10-hour work day is doable, only assuming the company is constantly wasting your time by sitting your ass in meetings for half of it. Hah.

    EDIT: now that I think about it, all in all, we spend more time in company events like happy hours or the BBQ last week than we do in meetings. Now if only this company wasn't located in the absolutely worst commuting destination, maybe I'd be happier with my job...



  • Pros

    • Close to home
    • Good co-workers
    • 36 hour working week
    • Good managers (respect my ability/opinions, agree with my deliverable assessments, doesn't attempt to interfere/overrule my opinions, workload management etc)
    • Interesting projects
    • Freedom of personal development (I can take time out to update skills/apply new skills to projects)
    • Flexible working
    • 32 days paid leave (and soon to increase to 40, 5 year loyalty bonus)
    • Internal work only (no uppity clients, I work for an academic institution so any issues can be smoothed over easily because clients = co-workers)
    • HIgh degree of responsibility/authority over projects
    • Manager takes the hit when it comes to meetings about meetings so I don't have to

    Cons

    • In the education industry rather than the programming industry
    • Wage is about 20% lower than sector average (but I would have to drive ~25 miles up a car park of a motorway to avail of this, so I personally find the close to home advantage along with the 36 hour week and flexible working cancels this out to a large degree. I worked as an IT engineer in said city prior to this job and my commute was ~60-90 minutes each way compared to 10 minutes now)
    • Can be a pain to avail of IT resources because of public sector budgeting/low resource overheads (Not my workplaces fault, just a fact of the industry)
    • Small team does limit chances to improve skills though learning from others
    • Absolutely no bonuses/overtime allowance etc even if I wanted it
    • Zero chance of upward mobility (small team with no manager reports directly to a much higher level manager, probably 2-3 steps above who is also overall IT manager)

  • mod

    As a QA advisor-type, my schedule seems to run a lot more like the businessy people and the BAs than devs, and they're usually the ones trying to push for longer days with fridays off from my perspective.

    Grabbing my calendar, I have change control meetings, test sessions (where my role is mostly to smile and advise everyone that it's okay, we know what we're doing; non-blakeys can see the lounge for more details), a bit of training, a meeting to get an estimate together, biweekly or weekly standups, monthly overviews of how IT is doing, quarterly overviews of how the business is doing, code reviews, and then the periodic meetings to discuss specific issues like "how do these new servers work exactly" or "Why is my build server always down".



  • Considering my context-switch is like a half-hour, if I had more than the one meeting I'd be completely useless. I don't understand how you get anything at all done.


  • mod

    I'm pretty good with context-switching and multitasking :) I don't get as much done as I'd like, but I'm in a position to influence other people to get better work done, so it sort of evens out.



  • 10 hours... as much as the extra day off would be nice, fuck that. There's no way I'm able to concentrate for that long. I'm currently struggling at 5.5 hours into the working day as I didn't sleep well last night. 10 hours would be hell on little sleep.



    • Pay
    • Team members who know their shit and I'm still learning from
    • Vesting period
    • Great vacation package for a US company
    • Great commute
    • Currently under good second-level managers


  • @abarker said:

    That's the @fbmac we all know and loathe

    ?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    I'm lucky if I can productively write code for 5-6 hours. I know there are a lot of people out there better than me, but I have a lot of trouble believing anybody can write quality code for 10 hours in one sitting.

    That's what lunch and breaks are for, silly. Admittedly, long context switches would be much worse of a problem. On good days, mine can be as few as a minute or two.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Any computer programmer who claims to be able to work a 10 hour day is either lying, or not actually working.

    I spend a fair amount of time talking to other people about stuff. Some days I feel like I can work 12 hours and still feel fresh at the end and others I'm ready to knock off before I log in.



  • @loopback0 said:

    10 hours... as much as the extra day off would be nice, fuck that. There's no way I'm able to concentrate for that long. I'm currently struggling at 5.5 hours into the working day as I didn't sleep well last night. 10 hours would be hell on little sleep.
    I'm at the office for about 8 hours a day but if I actually work for more than 5-6 I would be shocked. Fucking hell I can't remember the last time I coded for over 2 hours solid. I appear to spend more time trying to parse what I'm reading, harrassing people for more percise details about what they want or acting as a sounding board for senior developers. I suppose that is part of my job but I always feel a little guilty filling out timesheets and saying I put in full days.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @boomzilla said:

    I spend a fair amount of time talking to other people about stuff. Some days I feel like I can work 12 hours and still feel fresh at the end and others I'm ready to knock off before I log in.

    Many programmers don't get to spend nearly all of their nominal 8 hours a day actually writing code. Especially those that have to do other stuff like provide tier 2 support. On a bad day I might spend up to 6 hours dealing with clients rather than programming.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @DogsB said:

    I suppose that is part of my job but I always feel a little guilty filling out timesheets and saying I put in full days.

    I used to feel bad about that too--then I realized that if the company wanted me to actually spend the entire day coding, it would hire additional people so I didn't have to double as the help desk. Fortunately our time entry software has "support".



  • @FrostCat said:

    On a bad day I might spend up to 6 hours dealing with clientstrolling TDWTF rather than programming.

    FTFM



  • I had my boss complain I was spending too much time on tdwtf once. The task I had was too boring at the time, and I depended from coworkers doing things, and they had other priorities. (Not today, I'm on vacation now)



  • Are you angry? Tell me what I posted that upset you so I can delete it


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