August PLUG Meeting: Mid-Career Development

Ryan Simpkins plug at
Mon Aug 6 16:08:39 MDT 2007

Well, I'll go first because I can't resist:

> - What do you want to know?
How do you get paid more without looking like a jerk? What general skills are
more valuable than others? What things are likely to shake the HR money tree?
I know some people who told management they were quiting, and then got a raise
out of it. The risk with that is if they don't have a problem with you
quitting you'll be forced to quit. Also, it seems to kind of put you in a
position where you'll have to leave sooner rather than later.

> - What aggravates you about job-searching and/or recruiters in general?

I can't stand recruiters who don't have a clue about the technology they are
trying to hire for. Just because I have Perl on my resume doesn't mean I'm a
Perl super-guru (like some of the other PLUGers). I find that many tech
recruiters don't have a clue how to seperate the technical "chaff from the
wheat." I've noticed this especially with hiring individuals via recruiters.
I've got some truly horrible candidates pushed on us from recruiters because
they are just looking for keywords. They aren't even trying to understand the
culture and details of technical positions (especially open source). Don't
they realize that tackling these technologies is a life-long endevor? My
abilites in the different bullet points are, well, different.

When a recruiter sends me Linux jobs to post on the PLUG list in MS Word
format I politely respond saying that isn't going to work. Most of them never
come back with a text only version. Those who do usually provide horribly
formatted text versions. For open source tech positions I prefer text resumes
and job descriptions wrapped at 80 chars, or if printed a well formatted
document that makes finding applicable sections easier. I think you need both
a text and either a PDF/Word compatible doc that are well formatted. XML can
be an easy way to keep this in sync. This allows you to use whichever is more
appropriate for the situation. If I can only have one, I prefer normal text in
a fixed-width font.

> - What are your thoughts/concerns in this market/economy

It seems to be going up locally. When is it going to fall, and how hard will
it fall? What can I do now while it is going up to make the down not hurt so

> - What do you wish hiring managers and recruiters would "get" that
> they just don't get.

I think the biggest thing would be the culture of open source in general. They
need to understand what makes it unique, and how creativity is encouraged in
FOSS. We don't want drones, we want creative thinkers with solid technical
skills. On individual like that is worth at least a dozen drones.

> - How do YOU like to be approached about job opportunities?

I like e-mail. That way I can filter out stuff that clearly doesn't apply to
my career path. It also allows me to respond at 1am when I am likely to
finally be done with the really critical issues of the day. If you call me in
the middle of the day and I'm at work you are going to voicemail and I may or
may not ever respond. However, if I am currently out of work call me everyday
just to re-assure me! ;-)

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