Stop Blaming the Employer!

Over the past few days I’ve had several people tell me that business is taking advantage of employees. When recessions hit, the employer exploits the situation in his favor, to the employees’ detriment. While this may be the case in some situations I don’t think it is in the majority of cases.

The employer may be an easy target in this situation, but the anger and frustration is misguided. The ability of an employer to pay an employee stems from demand for the employers product. If the demand shrinks, then his demand for employees with the skill to produce the product shrinks. With shrinking demand comes shrinking revenue. Without revenue to pay the bills, including payroll, expenses have to be reduced. There really is no other choice here if the business wants to remain viable.

There are several reasons why demand might shrink. There are two overwhelming reasons in the current situation that I see. First is that consumers (including businesses) have reduced or are reducing their spending, this directly translates into reduced demand. The second is globalization is providing real competition for technology related skill sets. If you can’t differentiate yourself and provide real value it is hard for any employer to justify regular salary increases. Remember the employer must compete with other companies that can and will take advantage of these cost differences.

Another cause of reduced revenue is the inherent idea of consumers to want to buy the cheapest items possible that satisfies their need. With companies competing for the limited spending, this directly translates into less revenue for the company that you are buying from. The reduced revenue means reduced employment, but also means the most efficient business will be successful and will add jobs once demand increases. In a world of global competition keep this in mind when you think that your employer is not being fair. He is working in a world where to survive he has to make the best economic decisions to keep the business operating and competitive.

What can you do to change this and improve your situation? Learn new skills that makes your company more competitive. If you can show that your new skills bring value to the company then most employers will be willing to share that with you (remember it may take some time to actually realize revenue from your new skills). If they aren’t then maybe it is time to find a new employer. You can bring value by selling jobs, learning new skills that are in demand by current clients or by increasing efficiency and thereby reducing costs. If you are not willing to do anything then you really only have yourself to blame.

If you are feeling like a victim of the current recession my advice is to get up and do something about it. Learn something new, at no time in history has there been such valuable information available for free. Help make your company more competitive and you will come to realize that taking action is a much better path than dwelling on your perceived misfortune.

Language Mismatch

One of the reasons that I believe communication between developers and non-developers is difficult is because developers must work in a world of specifics and details whereas a non-developer can casually neglect those details without even knowing they’ve been neglected.

For instance a non-developer says we need to allow users to log into this system. Easy enough, non-developer thinks his part is done. The developer looks at this requirement and thinks, is it a single users system? Will people register for this system? Is htaccess acceptable? Should it be a web based login? Etc. etc.

The above example is overly simplified and does not entirely show the mismatch. The only way to improve communications between the two groups is to ensure both groups understand how the other thinks. Without this understanding there will be tension that doesn’t necessarily need to exist.

The non-developer has most likely been educated in a less scientific and more abstract manner. This leads the non-developer to neglect details that are essential to any system designed to run on a computer that has to understand all paths through the system.

The developer on the other hand has to think about and understand all these paths to be able to build a system that fully functions. Always thinking about and contemplating whether or not the requirements are complete enough and whether they conflict with each other.

I believe the only way to resolve this mismatch is through educating both parties to be more understand of how the other must think. With this education maybe each party can move toward the others way of thinking enough to make the resulting system that much better.

Business Group Questions

A few questions to stimulate conversation for our business group.

  1. Have you recently read any thing that may be of interest to the group?
  2. Have you heard of anyone failing in business lately, what was the reason?
  3. Have you heard of any business thriving lately, what was the cause?
  4. Do you know of anyone that has lately done something worthwhile, what was it? Who has committed an error that we sho uld do our best to avoid?
  5. Is there anything at present that we may do to help mankind, the country, our friends or ourselves?
  6. Is there anyone you want to meet that the group can somehow arrange?
  7. In what ways can the group assist you in your pursuit of success?
  8. Do you have any ideas which would be a good fit for this group to execute?
  9. Do you have any other questions that you feel should be added to this list?