|Volume 1: No. 24|
Why is it that everyone is working 60-hour weeks now? Maybe it's because we're falling behind. Tim Finin (email@example.com) showed me an excerpt from Freeman Dyson's Quick is Beautiful essay, saying that a lot depends on how fast industry can react to major changes. "An industry which is able to react in three years will find the game stimulating and enjoyable, and the people who do the work will experience the pleasant sensation of being able to cope. An industry which takes twelve years to react will be perpetually too late, and the people running the industry will experience sensations of paralysis and demoralization. It seems that the critical time for reaction is about five years." [Quoted by Zimmermann (firstname.lastname@example.org), 8/28, from Infinite In All Directions.]
People in the Usenet misc.jobs.contract have been swapping horror stories about bad bosses and hellish jobs. I've heard mainly good comments about HP and DEC managers, though. Jeffrey Kegler (email@example.com) says (8/23) that Hewlett- Packard is well-known in Silicon Valley for treating employees, contractors, and suppliers fairly. (Few contractors are as happy with their employers.) Don Steiny (firstname.lastname@example.org) agreed that HP had been the best of his dozens of employers. (HP Medical in New England does not necessarily share the same culture.)
Michael Vilain (email@example.com) reported (8/28) that DEC's West-Coast field offices are not the fun place they were. The recession has left morale low and employment uncertain, with each presentation essential to your survival. Vacation time was restricted in order to meet project deadlines. People had to relocate to wherever work could be found. Still, it wasn't a bad gig while the work lasted. Layoff pay was generous: 13 weeks, plus more for each year worked.