Education

Five best TR career discussions of 2008

TechRepublic members got into some spirited discussions this year on the topic of workplace issues. Take a look at five of the best.

TechRepublic members got into some spirited discussions this year on the topic of workplace issues. Take a look at five of the best.

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If you've been around TechRepublic for a while you know that some of the best advice and insights come from the discussion boards. The discussions following blogs are also a good way to find out that that little problem you had with a co-worker or boss is shared by 60 other people.

Today, I'm going to highlight the five best career discussions on TechRepublic in 2008. I'll link to the blogs that inspired the comments and let you take it from there.

1. Six grammar and punctuation mistakes you might not know you're making

This one inspired a deeper discussion of the "i before e except after c rule" and the bastardization of the English language by Americans. A lot of people threw out some more pronunciations and misuses of the language that drive them mad. Who knew mistakes could be so much fun?

My favorite response came from TechRepublic member Tink when she related this story: "My son's spelling test came home with the following comment from the teacher written on it: ‘Your getting better'!"

2. Is ageism a thriving prejudice?

This discussion involved a few skirmishes between older IT workers and younger ones just getting into the workforce, with valid points on both sides. TechRepublic member davidt, however, summed up his opinion nicely:

"No manager I know or have ever known gets rid of mature workers to bring in ‘new and fresh ideas and skills.' They get rid of high salaries and bring in low ones."

3. Employers who check out job candidates on MySpace could be legally liable

Most of the posters in this discussion pointed out how difficult it would be to prove that a prospective employer based a hiring decision on what he or she read on a social engineering site. However, most also made the point that, if they want to, those employers can be influenced by the sites. As mesk9.oz said in the discussion: "If you use these sites, then you should take responsibility for what you do, and not try to blame others, for example the employer, for reading it and using it. No, the company should *not* be liable. *You* are liable."

4. Do you use the Objectives section on your resume?

Who would have suspected that a few words at the top of a resume could incite such an onslaught of comments? Comments came in from folks who use the Objectives statements, those who don't, and even from managers who weighed in on whether they paid any attention to Objectives statements on candidate resumes they receive. If you decide to use the Objectives statement, you'd be well-advised to follow the advice of TechRepublic member RTHJr. Click here to read the entire post.

5. Can a dress code prohibit body art?

This topic touched off a firestorm of discussion. Apparently, people feel strongly about tattoos and piercings, on both sides of the issue. Check it out for some very interesting viewpoints.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

14 comments
dba88
dba88

Toni: I'd be interested in hearing what the next five were! Where did the use of foreign labor; H1B and L1 visas come in? Now, now... I know they came in higher than that!! Also, as it relates to companies accessing social networking sites, I have a comment. A company doesn't really need to refer to a social networking site to see the content regarding a current or prospective employee. They still have the all encompassing "at will" employment clause you agreed to. Also, they can take a peek into your character by looking at criminal background and credit history. What you don't reveal, well, the onus is on them to find out. My advice is NOT to post anything wierd on the net! In fact, try not to post anything on the net about yourself. Don't be tempted to join social networking sites, because they potentially can, and potentially will, be used against you!

husnk3w02
husnk3w02

Unless MySpace is used to train con artists ...

chris
chris

How is "Best" being defined?

dbecker
dbecker

Worst.

reisen55
reisen55

See my post above. Management does not calculate the lost productivity issues nor do the outsourcing firms advertise them. Oh one does in a weird way. Look on the CSC web site for Aon and there you will find their account story, full of BS but at the bottom is THE HORROR STORY of 2006, when over 200 servers (CSC calls them a few legacy servers) got hit by a WORM. CSC acts as if Patton's Third Army was rampaging to relieve Bastonge. What a GREAT THING!!! CSC responded by throwing massive resources at this problem. Wow, and for a "few" legacy servers. Massive resources for 200 servers would be more in line and hardly something to talk about. Why mention it at all!!!!! So it goes and to Aon management this is cheaper, faster and better too.

reisen55
reisen55

Quite correct, but you can extend the skill set down to younger employees. Old or young, experience counts for nothing anymore. Only Bangalore IT graduates, fresh and eager to help you reboot your Windows XP or Vista computer, are considered viable IT personnel anymore. Our career field has been decimated and destroyed.

nancylee16
nancylee16

Just like with every other prejudice that comes down the line, age is irrelevant. It ALWAYS comes down to value. Regardless of age, if you are willing to accept a certain level of compensation for services, then you had better deliver. If you expect to work on the support desk for an entire career, then expect to get compensated that way. If you're young and willing to learn and grow (and therefore provide more value) then you've earned the opportunity. The major issue that I've seen in today's market is that younger people entering the workforce have unrealistic expectations. They only want to work on projects that interest them, on their terms, for a really high price tag. But I don't fault them, they've known life no other way than I want it NOW. I think our ecomonic situation will introduce a slice of reality to those expectations.

reisen55
reisen55

The big reason for outsourcing IT jobs out of the country is not age or youth or experience or certifications. We AMERICAN workers have the misfortune to live and reside HERE where our cost of living is far from the same in India or China. Over there you can live well on 1/4 salary and limited benefits. That and that single factor ALONE has destroyed the American IT career path and devastated our working community. Value too has nothing to do with it. Cheaper, faster, better usually turns out to be more expensive by virtue of slower and worse. Outsourcing rarely works but that is never advertised (naturally) by the firms in this country that delight in sending jobs overseas and the clients who buy into the argument. Snake oil salesman. My list: Computer Sciences Corporation\ Accenture Affiliated Computer Services GenPact EDS - bought by HP Old IBM loves to outsource to India and now China. (First Consulting Group which was bought by CSC and has vanished after doing enormous damage). In India of course we have InfoSys and Tata among many others. Again, value has no bearing to the brain dead management (there are exceptions) who buy the snake oil pitch and siren song of these corruptive firms. And these lost jobs do not contribute one dime to our economic mess either. Staff in Bangalore does not hop on a jet to come over here to buy cars, presents, gifts and pay taxes either. Value means nothing. Experience means nothing. Certifications mean nothing. Age means nothing Salary and Bennies are everything. Same is holding true for Human Resource and Financial professionals. My old employer, Aon, is offshoring everything. Service is going to hell in a handbasket.

bekwell
bekwell

It was ironic that on the right side of this article was an advertisement from Trident to outsource your IT to India.

dbecker
dbecker

"We need younger developers." He proceeded to get rid of the older ones. Taken to Federal Court. Plaintiffs could not make a prima facia case, although the Feds did acknowledge that it was "a hostile work environment". Age discrimination continues as HR staunchly ignored complaints of one worker saying in a meeting with managers and supervisor there: "You old people can't understand the technology". The remark was ignored in the diversity class, "Aging and attitudes" with the HR Director and her staff sitting right there along with the IT director. A group of young studs were openly hostile to older folk during the said diversity class. It is tempting to believe that the younger managers [especially those married to another manager at the same level in IT] discriminate against older workers, not because of salary but because they don't like what older workers represent: Stability, responsibility and discipline. Just a thought for those who contend that money is the only issue here. Narcissism is a very strong contender as a motivator.

Steven.Jones
Steven.Jones

There isn't one, plain and simple. Problems come from individuals how may be a SME who are expected to share their knowledge with newbies coming in the door to help with workload. When there is no sharing of knowledge, that's when there's a problem but it came come from "older" and "younger" emploees alike. I'm not old, I'm not young. Learning how to share began before kindergarten and you don't have to be old to forget how to share.

jonathan.henderson
jonathan.henderson

"summe dup his opinion nicely" - see point number 1?!

Lovs2look
Lovs2look

Just the space is in the wrong spot. Punctuation anyone?

brian
brian

Just because you've spelled a word "correctly", does not mean you have spelled the "correct" word. If they used/allowed contractions in spelling bees, then the spelling of the word would definitely be incorrect. We are PAID to have attention to detail. That's why we want to rip out someone's spleen when they can't seem to manage the proper use of rather simple syntax and/or semantics, especially when we have to fix their mistakes. Ask any woman or any DNS Administrator: Your life can become an absolute mess just from missing one period.