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Geeky in the office

The author of the book “ To be a geek ” Michael Lopp (Michael Lopp) about working interviews, the suspicious profession of a manager and how to leave in time.

The careerist directories are trying to decompose the work into components. “Work a lot and move up”, “rely on yourself” and so on.

But everyone who has worked a little in the office knows that human relationships undermine the ability to fulfill these mottos. The real trick - and it takes a long time to figure it out - is in the realization that the work system is not a system at all. This is an arbitrary and ever-changing set of rules, in which there is often no common sense.
Approximately to this conclusion in the end come system-thinking (system thinkers) - the category of employees, to which Michael Lopp considers himself. Lopp is a geek. He is the one who loves order and predictable results. And he understands that systemically-minded people may face unique pressure in the office.

In this interview, Lopp shares the hard-won bit of knowledge about office work: how geeks communicate with non-geeks, why geeks and managers can't get along and how to recognize the moment to quit their jobs.

Who are the system-minded people?

Botanists (nerds) - systemically minded. We have a complete illusion that the world can be known. Like, if you think about it, make enough time and effort, then you can find a set of rules for almost everything. This is absolutely not true.

Our favorite tool is the computer. And a computer is a system that does predictable things. Since this tool is omnipresent in our lives, we have the impression that everything works in the same way.

Are system-thinking people too trust in management?

I think just the opposite. What are the three main occupations of managers? They organize the process. They communicate. They should be leaders. Leadership is quite an interesting thing, it inspires and makes you think strategically. But the first two classes, organization and communication, sometimes become a trap for many managers. They use information as a weapon. This is a serious violation of the ethics of geeks, in which everything must be transparent, cognizable and systematized. This is where, in my opinion, lies the reasons for the bad reputation of managers: they hide information or present it as it suits them.

One of the reasons for the disagreement between geeks and managers is that managers sometimes forget who they are and what they do. They may become entangled in rules, policies, people, and processes. Of course, there are good managers, but it seems to me that this is where geeks give rise to suspicion. They ponder: "Why does he no longer speak my language?"

What are the first signs that it's time to quit?

You probably won't like it either, but you make a decision inside yourself even before you do it consciously. You do not need a weighted decision. It’s just that at some point you start to get worried ( wandering; apparently, this means loss of concentration ).

For example, I never take off the phone. I don't even have a phone at my current job. But before when I heard the phone ring, I thought: “This is a recruitment agent or a lawyer.” But sometimes I wondered: “Who else could it be?”.

In addition, botanists trudge from the creation of structures. If you have lost this buzz, because you have understood people and have already released the product three times, this is a sign. For me, when I stop learning something new and realize that nothing scares me for a long time, that's when I start to worry.

During job interviews a programmer is often asked to solve puzzles or problems. Is there a way to prepare for such tests?

As an employer, you want to make sure at what level a potential employee can reflect. Yes, of course, you can find the 20 most interesting puzzles. But the point is to look at the process of thinking of the candidate.

As a system-minded person who wants to understand the rules, I would be happy to go for an interview, knowing the questions. But this is not fair. You study each other in this interview. Good interview questions do not just test your knowledge, but also how you respond to these questions.

How often can they re-call for an interview? When should I put an end to this company?

If you come to the interview for the third time, what can you say about this organization? Can they evaluate and function? Maybe it is better to work in a place where they can not call? This is the first thought that comes to mind.

But sometimes you can recognize the different topics of each interview. At the first there is an acquaintance, the following is a technical interview, and then a check of compatibility with the corporate culture. The question is, is there any progress? The normal interview process should show signs of progress.

Interview is always mutual. You learn as much as possible about them, and they about you.

How can system-minded people communicate with non-systemic?

We have geeks have many instincts that fucking embarrass non-geeks. One of them is specific accuracy. You are asked: "How long will it take to develop this feature?". In this case, you are expected to answer in the style of the size of T-shirts: small, medium, large. But you give a three-minute answer about the state of the architecture, the unreliability of the code and your needs. And it is very annoying to people. All they need are just general touches.

My advice is to know your audience. Engineers understand this over time. They look around the room and understand what kind of response is expected of them.

You use the term nerd in your blog, but your book is called "Be a geek." Is there any difference?

In the introduction it is written about it. I chose the word nerd (nerd) because it was used many years ago to describe this demographic group. But we called the book “Be a geek” because it sounds cool. Say "Being a nerd" does not turn the language.

I did a lot of research, figuring out the difference between a nerd and a geek. The difference is actually missing. Venn diagrams completely intersect. For every good definition of botany you can find the same definition of a geek.

The etymology of words is interesting. “Geek” - it was an artist in a circus who knocked heads with a live animal, and “Nerd” came from Dr. Suze ’s children's books . This is the only serious difference between the two words.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/101889/

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