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Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013 9:47 AM
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GeorgeCopeland (10/23/2013)
Ian Massi (10/23/2013)
I've heard that in some places it's mandatory to take at least a week at a time at least once a year in order to make sure that you haven't become mission critical.


That sounds like a brilliant policy. I take it a step further. Every job that I have had, I have tried to eliminate it - improve processes and documentation so that my job becomes unnecessary. Everytime I am successful at this, they just give me more to do.


I always try to automate to the point that I even try to train my replacement. There are so many "empire builders" who keep their little secrets close to their vests. I've worked with a lot of those and they end up in the same job for like 20 years!! I want to grow and take on other projects, not maintain the same systems util I am retired along with that system.
Post #1507712
Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013 9:50 AM
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jarick 15608 (10/23/2013)
GeorgeCopeland (10/23/2013)
Ian Massi (10/23/2013)
I've heard that in some places it's mandatory to take at least a week at a time at least once a year in order to make sure that you haven't become mission critical.


That sounds like a brilliant policy. I take it a step further. Every job that I have had, I have tried to eliminate it - improve processes and documentation so that my job becomes unnecessary. Everytime I am successful at this, they just give me more to do.


I always try to automate to the point that I even try to train my replacement. There are so many "empire builders" who keep their little secrets close to their vests. I've worked with a lot of those and they end up in the same job for like 20 years!! I want to grow and take on other projects, not maintain the same systems util I am retired along with that system.


That's a really good point. Where I work now, we ended up with empires because the IT group is relatively small. We're working towards expanding who has knowledge of which systems and making sure that everyone has a backup so they can actually take some time off.




The opinions expressed herein are strictly personal and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of my employer.
Post #1507715
Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013 10:34 AM
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LightVader (10/23/2013)
jarick 15608 (10/23/2013)
GeorgeCopeland (10/23/2013)
Ian Massi (10/23/2013)
I've heard that in some places it's mandatory to take at least a week at a time at least once a year in order to make sure that you haven't become mission critical.


That sounds like a brilliant policy. I take it a step further. Every job that I have had, I have tried to eliminate it - improve processes and documentation so that my job becomes unnecessary. Everytime I am successful at this, they just give me more to do.


I always try to automate to the point that I even try to train my replacement. There are so many "empire builders" who keep their little secrets close to their vests. I've worked with a lot of those and they end up in the same job for like 20 years!! I want to grow and take on other projects, not maintain the same systems util I am retired along with that system.


That's a really good point. Where I work now, we ended up with empires because the IT group is relatively small. We're working towards expanding who has knowledge of which systems and making sure that everyone has a backup so they can actually take some time off.


Big thumbs up to this. I also try as much as I can to automate and develop process so I can off load things. Because the complexity and importance of the projects have always grown, even when I am loathe to give up something interesting in the end it has always been for the best. What I was trying to solve 5 years ago, for instance, would bore me to tears if I had to do it now.

On the topic of vacations, I firmly believe we undervalue them in this country (U.S.). I try to set an example by taking all that I have accrued, and NEVER saying no to a request from one of my team. This means that there has to be enough overlap in our skills that this is possible, and ensuring this is possible I view as one of my principal responsibilities to the company as a manager. As was mentioned in an earlier post, if a person can't take a one week vacation it means they have become 'mission critical', which in my view is a management failure (read -- my failure). My standard is actually a two week vacation, not one.



Post #1507739
Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013 12:30 PM
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Apologies for wading into the "IT union" side discussion, but I have to agree that a union is not really an ideal fit in general for developers and DBAs.

And its certainly not something I'd be tempted to do just to score some more vacation time.

I think I'd dislike the union dues, stress of collective bargaining, lack of accountability, and primacy of seniority relative to competence more than I'd like the extra vacation days. Not to mention the potential negative impact on company performance and adaptability.

Unions have their place. There are some jobs and industries where without them, employees could (and/or) have been squeezed to barely liveable conditions without them. But they are not a good fit everywhere, not a good solution to every "my pay/benefits suck" problem.
Post #1507789
Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013 1:35 PM
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Nevyn (10/23/2013)
Apologies for wading into the "IT union" side discussion, but I have to agree that a union is not really an ideal fit in general for developers and DBAs.

And its certainly not something I'd be tempted to do just to score some more vacation time.

I think I'd dislike the union dues, stress of collective bargaining, lack of accountability, and primacy of seniority relative to competence more than I'd like the extra vacation days. Not to mention the potential negative impact on company performance and adaptability.

Unions have their place. There are some jobs and industries where without them, employees could (and/or) have been squeezed to barely liveable conditions without them. But they are not a good fit everywhere, not a good solution to every "my pay/benefits suck" problem.


I am NOT a pro union person in any way, most people consider me anti-union.

My main issue with unions is that they don't adhere to what they should be doing, and frequently violate laws and get away with it. For example, it is against federal law for the teacher's union to engage in politics, but we all know they do and it is ignored.

That said, what I see as the value to unions is to ensure fair pay and benefits, and to ensure that workers are not abused, and that in cases where companies have no choice but to ask people to work more than they should, the employees are compensated fairly. Meaning an employee being paid $40 an hour, should be getting $60 an hour for any hours over 40 in a week, sometimes over 8 in a day.

The other side of the coin is that our profession should see a variety of wage levels due to the differences in intelligence, technical knowledge, and capabilities of workers. An entry level IT worker in any discipline could potentially be a star already. Frequently our most senior people in a number of disciplines are incapable of doing the most basic things. Fair pay means looking at productivity and quality. Unions are better suited to assembly line work where everyone produces the same quantity and quality - IT isn't like that.

Still, how many of us work for companies where everyone is paid the same, everyone gets the same bonus, everyone is looked at as being no better or worse than their co-workers? In my experience, companies have taken IT workers and forced them through the round hole that is "office workers" and view us the same way. Sure, some IT workers are idiots, some shouldn't be in the field, but a large number of IT workers (maybe everyone reading this?) excel at what we do and make an effort to produce the best quality work we can possibly produce.

So, unions or not? I don't know. I don't like them, but at this point I don't see them hurting a lot of IT workers in a lot of companies. I imagine there are some of you who would be hurt, and I would never want to force someone to join if they did not want to, but unions don't believe in options. My preference is to find a way to ensure we are compensated fairly, given appropriate time out of work to be ourselves, and to not be asked to work 60 hour weeks every week, without true vacation time, and not being paid for the hours we put in. All of that without the downside of unions. I have no idea how to make that happen. This is a brilliant group - someone will figure it out.


Dave
Post #1507809
Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013 2:21 PM


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Great points Dave. I was just looking at it from a benefits side, not salary. Just trying to think of a way to help those who don't.

I would like to pose a question more related to Steve's comments on vacation. I know I was the one who opened that can of worms on unions.

How much of a salary decrease would you take for more vacation? Using Dave's number say you are making $40 an hour, for a 40 hour week thats $1,600. Would you take a decrease in your salary of $1,600 or more for another week of vacation?

I think I would. That amount, or equivalent to my salary isn't going to put me into any financial trouble. And I would enjoy my time away more than I would that money.
Post #1507818
Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013 2:30 PM
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below86 (10/23/2013)
<snip>

How much of a salary decrease would you take for more vacation? Using Dave's number say you are making $40 an hour, for a 40 hour week thats $1,600. Would you take a decrease in your salary of $1,600 or more for another week of vacation?

I think I would. That amount, or equivalent to my salary isn't going to put me into any financial trouble. And I would enjoy my time away more than I would that money.


I think that depends on how many days you start with. Right now I get 20 days, plus 11 holidays and some sick days. I don't think I would give up any of my salary for more time off. There's no issue financially, but with where I am in life right now, I don't think I could use more time. If I had a family that I was missing time with it would be a different story.

The previous company I worked for you could choose between overtime pay or comp time when you worked extra hours. I think that was a nice policy.




The opinions expressed herein are strictly personal and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of my employer.
Post #1507821
Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013 7:49 PM
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Steve,
How many times have you ever heard anyone lying on their death-bed speak the words, "I wish I would've worked more."

I'm guessing none.

Have a good time!
Mark Cusano
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Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013 9:30 PM
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How much of a salary decrease would you take for more vacation? Using Dave's number say you are making $40 an hour, for a 40 hour week thats $1,600. Would you take a decrease in your salary of $1,600 or more for another week of vacation?


So basically you are asking people if they'd take a weeks unpaid vacation?
Post #1507869
Posted Thursday, October 24, 2013 7:14 AM


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Nevyn (10/23/2013)

How much of a salary decrease would you take for more vacation? Using Dave's number say you are making $40 an hour, for a 40 hour week thats $1,600. Would you take a decrease in your salary of $1,600 or more for another week of vacation?


So basically you are asking people if they'd take a weeks unpaid vacation?


Yes, but instead of having one less or smaller check it would be less throughout the year. My wife has less vacation time than I have and I would love for her boss to let her do this. I would rather have that time together than the extra $133 a month in this example.

We used to have 'comp' time for anything worked over 40 hours. Senior management found out about it many years ago and put an end to it. :-(
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