a little too much honesty (was: perhaps)

Stuart Jansen sjansen at buscaluz.org
Sat Sep 9 20:08:57 MDT 2006

On Sat, 2006-09-09 at 17:55 -0600, Mister E wrote:
> > Frankly, insinuating that they only reason anyone would leave is that
> > they were "asked to" is more rude in my opinion. A simple "their
> > interests and our needs didn't intersect well" would have been better.
> > I'm pretty sure at least one "chose to leave" rather than being "asked
> > to leave".
> I'm curious to your personal interest in trying to apply PC cloaking to 
> such a statement?  Your statement made it sound like they left because 
> the company was crap, but his response gave a more balanced view on it. 

All evidence to the contrary, I try not to be long-winded. In this case,
however, it is obvious that in my too long post I used too few words. I
did not mean to imply that BDS is a lousy place to work. Rather, I
wanted to address the fact that there's no point recommending someone if
they're not going to stick. It wastes Josh's time and it's too
disruptive to the person recommended.

>   And I htink he needed to clear it up. I don't know these folks that 
> left, nor do I want to know who they were, but all those parties 
> involved know what happened and being a third party to the situation, I 
> don't think it's your place to tarnish the company nor slant any of us 
> to your view in a public forum without atleast letting him reply. Some 
> may not have seen it this way, but I thought your statements were not 
> needed as initial evidence of your view point and sent ya skating out on 
> thin ice.

Giving Josh a chance to reply was exactly what I was doing. I'm not
going to recommend friends then encourage them to interview and accept
the position just because I get $4k. (I doubt I'm the only Linux user
that finds money to only be a minor motivator. Once I'm comfortable, I'm
more interested in the quality of the result.)

There were any number of possible replies. For example: "You're right
Stuart, many Linux people prefer to avoid Windows but at BDS market
realities mean we need people who are willing to be more pragmatic. In
addition, BDS is a high energy environment. We want dedicated employees
that are willing to go the extra mile to meet deadlines when necessary.
We know that we ask a lot of our employees, but strive to more than
compensate them for such. Some people discover that they are more
comfortable in a less competitive market. Finally, as a young company,
we have made several important technology decisions and some people have
decided they are not interested in using those technologies. Any one of
these reasons could be the source of your concern."

(Disclaimer: I don't know if any of the above is true of BDS. I just
know Josh and it seems reasonable.)

Of course, composing a quick reply like that is perhaps a bit much.
Which is why I instead chose to offer the shorter "their interests and
our needs didn't intersect well".

I can see why Josh was offended by my choice of words and I regret that
they could be interpreted that way. My pride, however, requires me to
point out that Josh was guilty of something similar. He immediately
assumed that I was referring to people that had been "asked to leave".

So it's okay to say that someone was fired, but it's not okay to say
that someone decided they weren't happy with the company? If he can be
offended by something I didn't say but accidentally implied, I can be
offended by something he did say but didn't need to. (I'd love to claim
that I'm purely motivated by the feeling that "company's shouldn't be
the only ones that deserve discretion", but that wouldn't be true.)

(Reviewing what I've just written, I suspect the statement most likely
to be misinterpreted is "Some people discover that they are more
comfortable in a less competitive market." Before anyone decides that
I'm making a value judgment here, I'm not. For many people, their job is
an extension of their self. Some love to work in hard charging
environments. Maybe it's the money. Maybe it's because they like to feel
like a critical part of the team. Others prefer a job that ends at 5pm.
I've been on both sides. I used to enjoy "putting out fires" at 3am, now
I'm glad I don't have to anymore. Does that make me lazy? No. It's an
observation without an assigned value statement.)

> > Because you have tried to make yourself part of the community instead of
> > being another nameless, faceless employer. Again, if you don't want to
> > discuss it, don't bring it up. Instead of taking offense, you could have
> > taken it as a sign of respect that I was willing to be honest and open.
> > I appreciate what you've tried to do for the Utah tech community. I want
> > BDS/Mozy to succeed. However, if you want to feel like you're being
> > pushed out of the community, be my guest.
> okay, I now have a question... I recently moved back to the area; is 
> this forum "by invite only" or if we try to become part of the community 
> is it then a dirty deed because we might also offer employment?

What, you managed to get past the door without an invitation? That
shouldn't have happened, we'll have to look into that.

You will notice that I replied not to the job post but to Josh's
statement "we've had a surpringly low turnout of resumes for these
positions." which was part of a different thread. Besides being a forum
to avoid the discussion of anything Linux related, Plug is also
occasionally used as a place to seek advice.

Josh has made it more than clear that he neither sought nor appreciated
my advice. I do not think, however, that it is fair to interpret
anything I've said as an attempt to make Josh feel unwelcome.

> PS - Stuart... I've sat across from you at a few PLUG meetings and 
> watched you carefully. As a result, I repect you and can tell what type 
> of feller you really are (decent and upstanding), so I don't have even 
> one negative motive to condemn your statements, but these statements 
> make me think that newer folks such as myself are now not welcome for 
> one reason or another, especially if we offer employment opportunities.

If you decide to be a part of Plug, at some point you will be offended.
Occasionally it will be intentional, most often it will be accidental.
We could all walk around on eggshells, but that sounds neither
productive nor enjoyable. We should all try to be careful about what we
say, but as we've just seen some of us aren't very good at predicting
how something will be interpreted.

Over the years, I've seen many people say "I'm leaving because I've been
offended." ( /me hitches up his pants, scratches himself in a spot old
people don't realize is rude, then spits ) Once upon a time, I would try
to comfort the person and encourage them to stay. Today, my attitude is
closer to "Okay, don't let the door hit you on the way out." Someone
determined to take offense and leave will eventually do so no matter
what and the longer they stay the more we'll have to suffer their
bruised ego. All I can do is be honest, respectful, willing to admit my
mistakes and willing to continue the conversation as long as I think
it'll lead somewhere productive.

And with that, I don't believe there's anything more I can productively
say. (BTW, I'm already aware that I'd be a dodgy choice as a manager, a
horrible choice as a politician, and a hopeless choice as a beauty queen
contestant, so don't bother pointing it out. Those that know me IRL know
that I'm a passable co-worker.)

Stuart Jansen              e-mail/jabber: sjansen at buscaluz.org
                           google talk:   stuart.jansen at gmail.com

"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at 
the results." -- Winston Churchill
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