woodka at spirit.sdsc.edu
Mon Mar 27 15:54:41 EST 2000
>I had dinner with a computer programmer the other night who's approaching
>40. Our talk turned to burn out and age discrimination. It will be hard for
>him to find another job if he leaves the one he has, because 40 is way too
>old for computer programmers, in the lore of the business (US News and World
>Report had an article on turning 40 last week, and said the same thing).
>Companies want young, graduates, fresh out of school, who will work those
>80-100 hour weeks and have no life, and aren't afraid to try anything,
>because they don't yet know what its like to fail. Most programmers who
>work like that burn out by age 40, or, as my friend said, discover life and
And then we wonder why companies can't produce high-quality software after they've chased off everyone
who doesn't like working long hours and operating in continuous crisis mode... this is also why this
field has so much trouble attracting and keeping women in the field.
>I think industry is going to pull all the women who can't stand the
>hierarchical games out of academia, which may be good for these women
>personally, but not good for women as a group. The games may not be gone in
>industry, but with a bottom line they can't dominate the way they do in
>academics, and putting up with them becomes more lucrative. Until academia
>feels some kind of pain by ignoring the contributions of major sections of
>the population (women, blacks, hispanics, etc) I'm afraid the games will
>continue and those who perpetuate them will remain in academia.
I think these games need to end in all fields, and it's time for all of us to start saying so. They
affect our politics, our major corporations (less than 3% of top corporate CEOs are women), our schools
and our society as a whole. It's ridiculous that we all still have to put up with these attitudes, and
the drug abuse, child neglect, crime, alcoholism, and all the other societal ills that come from not
seeing people as individuals with individual needs, instead of as units that fit societal or industry
needs, to be ignored if they don't fit those needs.
"Using one's willingness and ability to do intellectual battle to decide
whether you're smart, or whether your idea is good is works really well
for people who like to fight, and it tells you absolutely nothing about
anybody else." -- Anita Borg
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