Mercenary

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 716562

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item Mercenary

  • rick adkins

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 109

    I work for a mid sized corporation. We have a lot of manual workers and a couple hundred people that use computers to manage the manual workers and the company.

    I most enjoy and become em passionate when I feel I reduce the workload or improve the process for someone. For example we had data that resided in a purchased application that was needed to be entered onto another purchased application. Building the bridge application that linked the two applications saved some poor soul 2 hours a week! When someone has a task that is boring or error prone and I am able to help reduce or eliminate it, sign me up.

    Rick Adkins

  • RP1966

    SSC-Addicted

    Points: 492

    I think most people would like to work for a company they saw as making a positive contribution to society, however what the company does is just one aspect of determining your happiness in a role. As IT roles tend to be slightly detached from the front line of what the business does and the technical challenges that give job satisfaction do not tend to be job sector specific, what the company does can be less important than other aspects of employment at a particular company.

    Ideally I'd work for somewhere that was within comfortable walking distance of home, had decent terms and conditions, a good working atmosphere and that I felt made a positive contribution to society.

    However, for me, where I live is more important than how I earn a living, so I have had to compromise based on the employment options in the area I live. My current employer scores pretty well on everything but positive societal contribution (financial organization), that's the compromise I've made to live where I do.

    Realistically, if you want to have choices about what your employer does in order to find one that meets your ideal you need to live somewhere that is an IT employment hotspot so that there are lots more employment options and different business sector opportunities - unfortunately that often means making significant compromises elsewhere in your life.

    How important is work in the overall mix of your life?

  • Gary Varga

    SSC Guru

    Points: 82166

    As a freelancer there is always a mercenary element. I will take the next appropriate role to ensure that the bills are paid and that there is food on the table (not sure it is fair to say that living in a first world country).

    I do avoid certain project types; offensive military software, nuclear power station control software, pornography. It isn't that I disapprove of these applications, per se, it is just that I don't want the responsibility. It is a similar feeling to how I feel about the armed services personnel, police officers, etc. I don't want to do it but I am glad that there are those that do.

    I always try my best to ensure that, not only myself but the whole team produce the best results possible given the situation we find ourselves in through best practices, techniques and appropriate use of software available.

    Would I prefer a project that assisted those in some altruistic endeavour such as searching for the cure to cancer, running a soup kitchen, getting fresh water supplies for those in countries without it? Yes.

    Am I prepared to reduce the living standard of my family to do so? To my shame, no.

    Why shame? I think that a lot of people live far above the living standards of so many that if we shared a bit more everyone could be a lot better off. However, the realist in me knows that there are too many who would take advantage of the situation that the money would not get to those who most need it. Instead I earn as much as possible and donate through standard charities particularly supporting the causes I think most worthwhile.

    Am I a technical mercenary? A coder for hire? I guess so.

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • BenWard

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 5903

    If I said I was passionate about mapping xml data into DB2 with Java, or building PDF documents full of numbers out of SQL Server with T-SQL & PHP I'd likely be escorted to the nearest mental health institute.

    I am however very proud of the organisation I work for. In an industry with a very bad rep, my organisation really does throw down the proverbial gauntlet to our competition in terms of fair/ethical business practices and customer care. If the work I do is helping my organisation to maintain that standard with our customers I'm pleased to be part of it and will commit to it as if I was building an engine to a new sci-fi rpg.

    Ben

    ^ Thats me!

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  • call.copse

    SSCoach

    Points: 16916

    I always thought something like teaching or nursing activity would be very worthwhile. Sadly I lack the personal empathy for such activities. So, helping a few businesses run a bit more efficiently it is. It needs to be done and I feel I can take some pride in keeping my customers competitive.

  • trevor.adams

    Default port

    Points: 1449

    I think there are two levels here.

    Day-to-day I think you value things like how challenging or interesting your work is. And also, of course, you value working for a common purpose as part of a team.

    Sometimes, you will try to look at the bigger picture and that is when you consider issues such as "Is my software helping society in any way?"

    I spent much of my career working for a strictly commercial organisation. On a day-to-day level, it was often rewarding but the software was certainly not helping society in my opinion. I now work in the Health Service. Many times the day-to-day issues are more frustrating but I can be comforted by the fact that the bigger picture is a good one. The organisation is here to treat ill people.

  • Gary Varga

    SSC Guru

    Points: 82166

    trevor.adams (10/14/2014)


    I think there are two levels here.

    Day-to-day I think you value things like how challenging or interesting your work is. And also, of course, you value working for a common purpose as part of a team.

    Sometimes, you will try to look at the bigger picture and that is when you consider issues such as "Is my software helping society in any way?"

    I spent much of my career working for a strictly commercial organisation. On a day-to-day level, it was often rewarding but the software was certainly not helping society in my opinion. I now work in the Health Service. Many times the day-to-day issues are more frustrating but I can be comforted by the fact that the bigger picture is a good one. The organisation is here to treat ill people.

    I guess that we must not forget that with the economic system within which we all work requires that not everyone is doing such things as some people have to generate the wealth that allows others to perform these kind of roles.

    I am not interested in turning this into a socioeconomic debate. I am just saying that under the current global economic system, for right or wrong, if there wasn't enough of a revenue stream to provide for companies who do such things then they wouldn't be done. Whether that revenue stream is provided by health insurance premiums, taxation or a combination of both if you pay premiums or taxes then your job is providing for a healthcare system indirectly, whatever it is.

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • rmurphy711

    Valued Member

    Points: 56

    We are all motivated in different ways as you may notice most responses seem to indicate a preference to support the “greater good.” It’s also refreshing to see those who've responded from the reality perspective that sometimes a job is “just a job” as a means to pay the bills. Those of us who have been there can certainly relate to that.

    Personally, my passion is technology period. I’d prefer to work at designing and developing an application that will help “save humanity” but honestly, I just like trying new things, working with new exciting-trending languages and products. Unfortunately though I've only been able do that as a freelancer to pick and choose exciting-challenging projects to work. Most companies are slow to embrace change and it’s been my experience that the more “not for profit/save the world” an organization is the slower it’s apt to change, or embrace new technologies. Occasionally an interesting “helping humanity” project surfaces, but when I balance what they want against their budget expectations it’s usually a major red flag and not realistic.

    So for me I can only say “I too want to save the world” but I want to be creative, learn something new and have fun doing it too 😀

  • RP1966

    SSC-Addicted

    Points: 492

    rmurphy711 (10/14/2014)


    . Most companies are slow to embrace change and it’s been my experience that the more “not for profit/save the world” an organization is the slower it’s apt to change, or embrace new technologies. Occasionally an interesting “helping humanity” project surfaces, but when I balance what they want against their budget expectations it’s usually a major red flag and not realistic.

    That's interesting. Earlier in my career I worked for a couple of organisations that had social objectives and were starved of resources, and they fostered a very creative 'getting things done with the tools at hand' approach - lateral thinking and creative re-direction of tools was very much part of the mix in order to get the most out of what we had. It was fun!

    I think part of the problem is that along with resource squeezing, many companies now have a very risk averse outlook. The result is stagnation rather than the creative approach I experienced in those earlier roles.

  • chrisn-585491

    SSCoach

    Points: 15866

    We have processes which ensure the quality of work where I'm employed. I don't find much passion in the normal day-to-day work, been here too long... What I love is the rare project that allows me to be creative. Most of the time it turns out to save lots of money and time for myself and coworkers.

    True passion in in code and technology is found outside of the job. This is the golden age of hardware and software. There's plenty of itch to scratch with in the OSS and maker worlds.

  • OCTom

    SSChampion

    Points: 11755

    I enjoy developing an application that makes someone's daily work life better and easier. To see someone using my software and being happy to use it makes me happy.

    Tom

  • Jack Corbett

    SSC Guru

    Points: 184380

    I'm very rarely passionate about the software I'm working on. I am passionate about how the software is developed and always make an effort to provide the best solution I can. Sometimes that turns out to not be the best solution, but it is the best I can provide with my knowledge and skill level. The key thing for me is how the users react to the software I've been involved in developing, if they find it helpful and time-saving then I'm content with my job, but when it doesn't meet a need or isn't used that's when I'm frustrated, regardless of the reason.

    Jack Corbett
    Consultant - Straight Path Solutions
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  • Kick6Tiger

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2368

    I've had jobs before where I was extremely passionate about the product and/or the idea of being the first to market with something new or ground breaking. In all but one instance the final product was railroaded by poor product owners or scuttled by C level people with alterior motives. Those jobs were the ones I spent many weekends and nights slaving away only to reach the finish line and find a big pile of political BS. Now I have my work and I have my passions...and rarely do the two cross. If I work on something in the future to benefit society, it won't be while working for someone else.

    Aigle de Guerre!

  • GeorgeCopeland

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 6896

    Banking and healthcare are two industries that help make communities better. I have been fortunate to make my living in these verticles. I have tried working for companies that don't have much social value add, just focusing on the code. In the long term, I just can't do it.

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