I realize I’m not really well known or famous like Niall Kennedy is, but he used blogging to advertise his availability and find a new job. Both Ian at Bold Career and Tim Bray have both written about blogging and how it might affect your career.
Why am I blogging about this? Well, close to three years ago, in August 2003, I took a sizable pay cut in order to switch jobs. No, that’s not quite right: I quit my old job when they laid off my entire team, with really nice severance packages, and expected me to stay around managing the outsourced team in India. Anyone who knows me well enough, knows that I am actually in favor of seeking competively priced labor and I’m in favor of outsourcing overseas. But, I could tell that the partner that was chosen — with some ridiculous multi-year locked in contract — was never going to be able to deliver what was needed. (Three years later, talking to old ex-coworkers, it sounds like I was absolutely right.) While I hate failure, I’m not afraid of it. What I cannot tolerate is being locked into it, with no chance of ever possibly succeeding. I constantly struggle daily to push for what’s right and what’s best, but if it’s clear that can never be accomplished — I’m not just talking extremely difficult but truly impossible — then persistence and perseverance isn’t commendable, it’s foolhardy.
So, now, three years later, I’m part of a team working on a project that’s starting to head in the same direction: we’re at high risk of failure and all forces involved are pushing it in that direction. I’m clutching tightly to Ed Yourdon’s Death March, looking for hope. Here’s a quick glimpse of my current schedule according to Outlook (actual details have been sanitized via pixellation):
The sad irony is, the worse this project has gotten, the more meetings have been scheduled, which means less time to do any actual work on tasks. Just look at that calendar! Between the hours of 09:00 AM and 06:00 PM, on an average day, I have 4 hours of time where I can actually do work. Lets do the math: in a 45 hour work week, less than 50% of that time is unscheduled, where I can do work. (I even eat lunch at my desk and work through lunch.) I also do an hour of work in the morning at home, and a few hours of work in the evening before going to bed.
This is an absolutely classic example of a Death March project and it has all the tell-tale signs.
Frankly, I’m beyond done here. I’m willing to work extra-hard and make sacrifices and try to accomplish the unimaginable, but I need to do it for a company and a team that will support my efforts so it’s possible. I absolutely refuse to work a 20+ hour weekend and see the look of anger, frustration and disappointment on the faces of my wife and kids. This weekend, I’m going to spend it surfing indeed.com and try to line up interviews with headhunters and recruiters. (If there are any out there reading this, feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Indeed.com is really cool — you can subscribe to an RSS feed on your job searches and get updates that way. Here’s a search for “software engineer” jobs within 15 miles of Butler, NJ. Look at this gig, C/UNIX Embedded Software Engineer:
We are seeking an Experienced Software Engineer to develop firmware and/or software supported applications. This individual must have five plus years C/Unix; some OO Java or C++ skills are a plus but not required. Proficiency with C and socket, multi-thread programming is required, as is familiarity with TCP\IP, HTTP and other protocols related to web services.
Location: Parsippany, NJ
Pay Rate: $75k – 90k
This is pretty close to perfect for me. I have lots of multi-threaded and network programming in C (via AOLserver). Of course, it’d mean taking a pay cut — again — but, I need a job. I have the financial responsibility for supporting a wife and two kids.