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(BusinessWeek)   Old: "You suck at irrelevant interview questions and I don't like you." New: "You're just not a cultural fit for us"   (businessweek.com) divider line 379
    More: Asinine, interview question, American Sociological Review, Ernst & Young, job hunting, melting pot, marketing executives, Starship Enterprise, NWS  
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20796 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Jan 2013 at 9:23 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-07 05:18:48 AM

AloysiusSnuffleupagus: Some of us are grown ups and really tire of games. Both in relationships and at work.

The last time I interviewed for a job, one place had me run the gauntlet interviewing with 10 different people (for a half hour, each) culminating with the big boss who asked me some "WTF" questions. As in, "Seriously, I have no idea what you're talking about and I'm not sure what the appropriate response is." In the back of my mind was "what was the point of that?".

I might add, I have a doctoral-level degree and the question was about being replaced by technology which doesn't exist and won't during my lifetime.

So yeah, I really tire of the stupid questions.


Don't know if this was a software interview, but I've come to view the culture of 'you must be an expert in obscure algorithms and have followed programming competitions' in order to apply for a normal derivative programming slot to be hazing more than anything.

You spend two weeks before the interview cramming and practicing for questions that don't reflect the reality of the job.
 
2013-01-07 06:07:08 AM

the_chief: God Dammit, I hate the Beatles.


Your fired!
 
2013-01-07 06:17:53 AM
FTA: They'd rather have meaningful work...

No, they'd rather have a bridge club. The phrase "meaningful work" involves, well, work.

So, what if the fact that you "don't fit" is a good thing for your company? What if your company is almost entirely populated by barely-aware, vain, self-absorbed know-nothings and the fact that you actually have and exercise capacities like logic, problem-solving skills and situational awareness enable you to do the things others can't or won't? I wouldn't be speaking from experience here, or anything...

What if stacking your staff with a bunch of people who are exactly alike gives you a whole lot of people who all share the same flaws as well?

Isn't this basic, sensible principle what the phrase "strength through diversity" means? And isn't this the lesson many of us were taught in our youth- that you're going to meet people who are different than you. Some you might get along with, and some you might not. Such is life.
 
2013-01-07 06:29:53 AM

Fark_Guy_Rob: I'm not a good culture fit. I don't like *people*, as a general rule. I really don't like my co-workers. I enjoy tasks that are similar to my job; but I don't really want to do my job. I get paid a 'fair wage' but that limits me to only put in a 'fair amount' of effort. I don't bust my ass for the good of the company, I do just enough to get 'good' reviews - nothing more. And the entire time, I have one foot out the door waiting for anything better to come along.

But I'm REALLY GOOD at interviews.

It's strange. I've had a lot of similar situations growing up. When I'm 'on' I can act a certain way - for example - high school debate or theater or being the class clown; but take that away and even though I appear outgoing and social, I just like *attention*, not the people that give it. Once I'm not 'on', I really don't care. I'm not friendly. I don't want to hear about your wife or your kids or your husband or your funny story or anything else. Meh. I just want to dick around for five hours, take a long lunch, and go home.

But put me in an interview - and bam - I'm Mr. Popular! Mr. Good Culture fit. Friendly, funny, knowledgeable...I don't know or plan what I'll say before I show up - but I'm really good at picking up on what they want me to say. Maybe, with some training, I could be some sort of cold-reading psychic...I don't know. One interview I find myself saying how work-life balance is important and how working at a big, faceless insurance company just wasn't for me; that I wanted to 'make a difference'. Got that job. Next interview I'm saying that I just wasn't challenged enough, that I was tired of doing a good job, I wanted to do a great job! I wanted to push myself and see just how far and how good I can become. Even the lunch-interview with co-workers....I could go 10 years without having lunch with a co-worker or asking them a question or caring about an answer; but when I'm on my job interview and we go out to lunch, bam, I can pre ...


This is not an uncommon occurrence. Current hiring practices filter out for one skill-the ability to interview well. That skill has little to do with an employee's long term viability at the company. Even experienced and seasoned hiring managers have a low success percentage when it comes to weeding out duds. I probably would have hired you, as I have made similar mistakes in the past. Hiring someone is like proposing marriage after two one hour dates.
 
2013-01-07 06:37:39 AM
This is what happened when "Personnel" became "Human Resources" with mostly women in charge.
 
2013-01-07 06:39:02 AM

coldf33t: Who says the "quiet ones" aren't a cultural fit?


No one. Quiet people don't say anything.
 
2013-01-07 06:42:26 AM
I wanted to fark the brains out of the last HR girl who interviewed me.

/Got the job.
//Oh yeah.
 
2013-01-07 06:44:12 AM

HotIgneous Intruder: I wanted to fark the brains out of the last HR girl who interviewed me.

/Got the job.
//Oh yeah.


www.nerve.com
 
2013-01-07 07:20:29 AM
These cookie cutter questions to determine if you are a good "cultural fit" are stupid.

Take people to lunch with the team they will be working with.

When I worked for SLB they had an interview weekend (I realize this doesn't work above entry level jobs). You could see who wasnt' really a "people person" you could see which ones chose to drink and couldn't handle their booze, and you could see who could give a good speech after having booze the day before.
 
2013-01-07 07:23:41 AM

Omnivorous: New: "You're just not a cultural fit for us"

Translation: you're older than me and have more experience, so you're a threat.


I've actually seen/heard this line a lot, and it's usually used as a B.S. reason to shaft younger employees.

/sadly, the younger employees seem to know more than the older ones at the company I'm presently contracting with
 
2013-01-07 07:25:16 AM

TheGhostofFarkPast: Indypendy: coldf33t: Indypendy: Currently in the market for a job that only requires the heavy use of sarcasm, swear words, and an unfailing ability to b.s.

Sales

Oddly enough, I'm horrible in sales. I'm not a born cheerleader and have a hard time talking people into buying shiat I know they don't really need or would.struggle to actually pay for.

/sold cars for one month
//sold rainbow "home cleaning systems"
///briefly sold my soul to Avon
////fark sales marketing

Even though you are that way you can still make hand over fist, I did that while at ATT. I was the complete anti-sales anti-company stooge but boy did I sell and boy did I sell a crap ton. I was a straight shooter with people and I played no games and my customers and their friends and family all appreciated it and I got a lot of word of mouth very quickly. I ended up with a stack of awards, national recognition and a bunch of free stuff from all "high sales" conventions/award ceremonies. I am glad I left though because ATT is were souls go to die.


That made me smile over my morning coffee.

/I never smile until the pot is empty.
 
2013-01-07 07:36:16 AM
New? We've been doing this for a long time at my job. That's why it's good place to work and we have low turnover.

I would expect that it's very common in any software-based job.
 
2013-01-07 07:37:48 AM

BokerBill: FormlessOne: xsarien: BokerBill: What's your favorite movie? What's your favorite website? What's the last book you read for fun? What makes you uncomfortable?

- None of your business
- None of your business
- None of your business
- A rock in my shoe

/Not a good cultural fit with any company that thinks these are important questions to ask in a job interview.

Do you give douchy answers to those questions when they're asked in a casual setting? Because what's being measured here is your ability to have a normal conversation that doesn't involve "talking shop."

It's a little jarring and their purpose is pretty transparent these days, but they can also serve as a bit of an ice breaker in a normally tense situation, like, say, a job interview.

On the other hand, discovering the folks carrying the "YER NOT THE BOSS A' ME!" chip on their shoulders in four questions or less makes a job interview go that much faster.

A job interview is not a casual conversation: that's really the point here. This is not about "yer not the boss of me"; it's about what's appropriate and professional in the context of a job interview. If you really want to know what book I last read for fun - rather than for professional development - I might reasonably wonder if you ever hire anyone who isn't your personal friend.

On the other hand, on the job you are emphatically the boss of me. And it's still none of your business.
Like I said, if you think it's important what my favorite movie is - important enough to base a hiring decision on the answer, then it really doesn't matter whether we agree on favorite movies: I don't fit with your organization.
And I can decide that in four questions or less, too.


And seeing if you can handle casual conversation with someone who is your boss (or potential boss or client) is appropriate.
 
2013-01-07 07:39:52 AM

swingerofbirches: I did phone support from home for Apple, and one week the incentive was that if your team sold more AppleCare than another team, the other team's lead would have to dress up in drag and sing "I feel pretty" via webam (it was a virtual job). I would get messages from my team lead asking me if I was "pumped" about the contest.


Your reply might have been, "Why would I want to see the other lead have to do that? "
 
2013-01-07 07:45:34 AM

zedster: FTFA:""These trends are being driven by millennials because they care about culture," says Dan Schawbel, author of Me: 2.0. "Research shows that millennials typically stay at a job for about two years-and they have different priorities. They'd rather have meaningful work over more pay, or work for a company that gives back or cares about the environment. They want a culture that's less hierarchical, more flexible, and more understanding of difference, because millennials are the most diverse generation."

NO NO NO NO NO NO

WWII Gen: Hey I'll get a job and work at it for 20+ yrs, return you'll give me benefits like a pension
Business: Okay

Baby Boomers: I'd like what my parents had
Business: nope you'll have a 401K that we will raid and no job security

Millennials: If I'm not going to be making great money and have no job security I'd rather work someplace I like and move on when I burn out
Business: Why do you have no loyalty? come back?

If I had the choice between culture or a place that actually took care of it's employees without screwing them over I would take the security. Having fallen into IT I have to say the contractor system is not going to inspire me to do anything less then the bare minimum, what incentive do I have? I have no profit share, no chance of getting hired on (always a false carrot they dangle), and very little security. At best Millennials are just waiting for the huge delayed wave of Baby Boomer to retire and open up the job market for them, at worst you are looking at generation that will have far less opportunity and quality of life then their parents.


Millennial here. This pretty much sums it up. I'm okay with making a little less money if it's a more rewarding job. May or may not shake out that way here, but at least there's the potential.

I don't really care about "cultural fit". I'm assuming companies define it in a very narrow way -- essentially looking for little drones to handle Yes Man roles. If I'm interviewing someone, I usually try to get someone with a bit of a different perspective than me and others in the office. It's generally worked out well, although obviously with a diverse set opinions comes the occasional confrontation. Organizations -- companies, agencies, whatever -- tend to become risk-averse and live in bubbles. Bringing in people who aren't "cultural fits" can be a nice kick in the ass for them, IMO.
 
2013-01-07 07:45:38 AM
The "cultural fit" thing goes both ways; it's the primary reason I quit my last two jobs. (First DoD, then a military subcontractor). The money was fine, but I just reached a point where I got out of bed in the mornings and could not bear the thought of willingly subjecting myself to that environment any longer.

The place I work now is much better - beer Fridays, quarterly team outings (fully funded, except alcohol), giant sharks roaming the halls, and a whole bunch of people who are damn good at their jobs. Both competence and culture figure heavily in their interview process. First, candidates are pre-screened through an online test. The ones who pass that are invited for a grueling day-long interview (by fellow team members and managers, not HR). The on-site interview begins with technical skills, including another written test, then moves on the "softer" questions mostly involving the phrase "give me an example of a time when...". The thing is, if the candidate doesn't do well on either the online or on-site technical portions, they're dismissed without even getting to the cultural part. And yes, there have been candidates who did well technically but were turned down because they weren't a "good fit".

As a result, everyone on the team is the cream of the crop, the team is tight, the work environment is both fun and serious at the same time, and the turnover rate is incredibly low for a tech company.
 
2013-01-07 07:46:51 AM

Sygonus: DiggidyDan: "what would you say your biggest weakness is?"

Blunt honesty. . . That's an inane, loaded question that you are only asking because it's on your script.

This is probably one of the most useless interview questions ever. It's so common that most people, unless they're completely clueless, will have some carefully crafted non-weakness "weakness" to respond with.


Someday, I would love to answer that question... "Giving unorthodox responses to conventional questions. It really pisses people off." And then totally leave it at that.
 
2013-01-07 08:03:23 AM

Lsherm: strife: Lsherm: Turns out for years the Indian students and the Pakistani students had been swapping out the tech crew jobs because they refused to work with one another.

Seems legit. IIRC, they had a thing for threatening each other with nuclear warfare not too long ago.

This was years before either of them had nuclear weapons.  They haven't like each other for a long time.


This is what I was thinking of, more or less.
 
2013-01-07 08:16:54 AM
We have a fairly small (16 people) creative company. We value work and really actually enjoy the process. We are 16 years old and pretty successful by most any standard and almost never have anyone leave for a better job on their own accord (2 in our history). Our hires almost always work out with three exceptions: we hire someone that one of the people who screened them had reservations about...we hire someone despite a vague red flag on their references...we hire someone unproven that we have a good feeling about. We only add one or two to our staff a year, so we really need to get things right. Culturally, we are as far apart as anyone could image, but so long as we hold a common work value, it's all good.
 
2013-01-07 08:21:18 AM
I've found the best work places are genuinely the most diverse. This means no one "cultural fit" for a company. You have curmudgeons, air heads, frat boys, nerds, dweebs, etc. all piled into one room and make it work because you're adults and can be professional even if you're not nearly identical to the person sitting next to you.

Personally, I'm one of those belligerent, unteachable, disloyal, slacking, insert degrading term, millennials. I learn quickly, I perform well. If I do get too bored or frustrated (no new, more challenging tasks, same mundane crap, micromanaging assholes, etc.), I do move on. I'm not going to sell my soul to any company and I'm very happy accepting less in life if it means less time away from my family. I learned that much from watching previous generations spend 80+ hrs a week at the office. No thanks, no how, no way. I've got other stuff to do, sorry boss.
 
2013-01-07 08:25:04 AM
i've never really had a job interview. the vast majority of my jobs were through staffing agencies, so the "interview" was little more than a formality and a chance for my supervisor to meet me beforehand and tell me what time i was supposed to be there on my first day. but even in those cases, they always asked a few personal questions just to see what kind of person i was. my answers didn't matter, they just wanted to know something about me other than my name. most of my jobs have been factory/labor jobs and i've worked at several places that would hire almost anyone who walked through the door. sometimes, all i had to do to impress my supervisor was smile politely and not come to work hung over. i remember one factory had such high turnover that they would burn through 15 or 20 new people a week during the summer when they were busy. when the company has ridiculous turnover like that, they don't even do interviews, they just tell the staffing agency to send everyone they have. thankfully, i don't work there anymore.
 
2013-01-07 08:46:04 AM
delaney55.files.wordpress.com
"I'm very interested in one of your more client-facing positions. I want to be the public face of your company!"
 
2013-01-07 08:46:50 AM
I'm sensing a lot of "I'm a petty, angry, introverted asshole, but you are obligated to hire me because of my self-categorized superior skillset even though you would rather punch me in the face than look at me" in this thread.

While aptitude is certainly important, making sure that you're not hiring some self-absorbed shiathead that is going to bring down the moral of the entire office is equally so. If you can't handle being asked what was the last movie that you saw then my question would be what is it you are trying to hide?
 
2013-01-07 09:00:01 AM

gadian: I've found the best work places are genuinely the most diverse. This means no one "cultural fit" for a company. You have curmudgeons, air heads, frat boys, nerds, dweebs, etc. all piled into one room and make it work because you're adults and can be professional even if you're not nearly identical to the person sitting next to you.


A culture of professionalism. Something that can cut across many personality types, if you look for it in people.

I work for a "family company". This is often touted as a positive "culture thing" around here. You want to talk about nepotism? About a third of the people who work here- most of them in influential positions- are related to one another by blood or marriage. I'm among the few who isn't. I actually had one vendor tell me that- before his company even considered working with us- they did a mini-genealogical study of the company. it was probably a wise decision on their part.

I had the occasion of being in a meeting the other day regarding a company website we're having an outside contractor work on. The contractor has only been in a handful of times. We don't know him overly well. Despite all that, our CEO/Owner (and also head of the family) was behaving in a way that would have been more congruent with drunken Friday night bar revelry. Swearing like a sailor, being belligerent and rude to the contractor, all that good stuff.

It's not the first time I've been embarrassed by my "superiors" in this company, but it was the first time it involved the CEO. I felt bad for the contractor, and I could see it in his face- the same thing I felt: "oh for the love of god and all that is holy, get me out of this room".

I've overheard things- things of a very personal nature- that I tend to dismiss or sublimate because, frankly, the less I know about their little interpersonal drama, the happier I am apt to be. I'm not a gossip, personal scandals and entanglements with people I wouldn't associate with outside of the need for a paycheck don't interest me much.

Which isn't to say I haven't been friendly with people in my places of work in the past- or that I haven't cultivated relationships of a personal nature- even here. But these have always been conducted in a mutually beneficial and sensible fashion, and they "escalated" in a natural way. People who are over-loud, and who blurt out all manner of personal things without regard for tact don't really interest me in a personal way.

I'm not that sort of person. Mostly, I want to do my work and I want to go home at the end of the day. If you're an interesting enough person to me that I'd like to strike up a conversation about personal things, I'll do that. Otherwise, I'm more than happy to be 'that strange guy who doesn't quite fit here, but boy is he good with computers'.

I'll never criticize you for the company you keep, or the affairs you conduct, the substances you're addicted to (the porn you download), and so on- because I won't know about it. I'll expect the same courtesy- the same professionalism- from you.

It's the only "company culture" that really matters to me.
 
2013-01-07 09:05:12 AM

Nemo's Brother: Aces and Eights: Weirdest question anyone asked me in a job interview: "What would you do if you were on a bus and someone was drunk and threw up in the aisle?"

Somehow I must have given the right answer. I was offered the job, and accepted it. Didn't stay long. The place was stranger than the interview.

How did you respond?


Shoot the hostage.
 
2013-01-07 09:05:19 AM

StrangeQ: If you can't handle being asked what was the last movie that you saw then my question would be what is it you are trying to hide?


I'm trying to hide the fact that I find your belief that my taste in movies obscures something significant about me that's relevant to my ability to to a job and receive a paycheck is flagrantly pretentious and ridiculous, of course.

And the last movie I saw was the Hobbit (to a lesser extent, your wife's sex tape).

Sometimes I lean my head out my window and smile for a satellite picture.
 
2013-01-07 09:06:54 AM
Old: "You suck at irrelevant interview questions and I don't like you." New: "You're just not a cultural fit for us"

One of the many tactics companies use to avoid hiring engineers over 50 without actually admitting it.
 
2013-01-07 09:08:00 AM

zedster: Millennials: If I'm not going to be making great money and have no job security I'd rather work someplace I like and move on when I burn out
Business: Why do you have no loyalty? come back?


THIS ^eleventy.
 
2013-01-07 09:14:27 AM
Fark_Guy_RobI'm not a good culture fit. I don't like *people*, as a general rule. I really don't like my co-workers. I enjoy tasks that are similar to my job; but I don't really want to do my job. I get paid a 'fair wage' but that limits me to only put in a 'fair amount' of effort. I don't bust my ass for the good of the company, I do just enough to get 'good' reviews - nothing more. And the entire time, I have one foot out the door waiting for anything better to come along.

But I'm REALLY GOOD at interviews.

It's strange. I've had a lot of similar situations growing up. When I'm 'on' I can act a certain way - for example - high school debate or theater or being the class clown; but take that away and even though I appear outgoing and social, I just like *attention*, not the people that give it. Once I'm not 'on', I really don't care. I'm not friendly. I don't want to hear about your wife or your kids or your husband or your funny story or anything else. Meh. I just want to dick around for five hours, take a long lunch, and go home.

But put me in an interview - and bam - I'm Mr. Popular! Mr. Good Culture fit. Friendly, funny, knowledgeable...I don't know or plan what I'll say before I show up - but I'm really good at picking up on what they want me to say. Maybe, with some training, I could be some sort of cold-reading psychic...I don't know. One interview I find myself saying how work-life balance is important and how working at a big, faceless insurance company just wasn't for me; that I wanted to 'make a difference'. Got that job. Next interview I'm saying that I just wasn't challenged enough, that I was tired of doing a good job, I wanted to do a great job! I wanted to push myself and see just how far and how good I can become. Even the lunch-interview with co-workers....I could go 10 years without having lunch with a co-worker or asking them a question or caring about an answer; but when I'm on my job interview and we go out to lunch, bam, I can pretend to care. You like that sport? Oh yeah - me too! Why, I even used to play in high school. You guys are all nerds and have level 60 toons on WoW (this was years back when 60 was the cap) oh man! I love that game, let me tell you about my bot wrote! Yeah it *IS* awesome. You guys can't stand slackers who talk about WoW all day? Oh man, me neither. I had some coworkers and all they'd do is talk about stupid computer games. I mean seriously......

Whatever. All complete bullshiat. I want to do the minimum amount of work for the maximum amount of pay. I don't care what I work on. I don't care what the company does or makes or if it exploits 3rd world labor or donates profits to 3rd world countries - I just want my damn check. I'm currently in the banking/finance sector, so that's a more acceptable attitude, but I'd say it even if it weren't true in situations where I think people want to hear it.

But it's a GREAT feeling when someone tells you that you are overpaid for your work history, but offers you your asking salary. Or when they say, 'You don't quite have the qualifications we're looking for; but we are going to take a chance on you, because your a great fit for this role'.

I don't know what a better system would be, but putting a lot of value in someone's interview skills will get you candidates who are good at interviews - not good at work. If you put a value in cultural fit, you'll get people who can pretend to be likable during the interview/hiring phase.

I'm seven for seven in job interviews. If I can make it to the interview, I've gotten an offer 100% of the time. And I'm just some crappy slacker. I've got buddies from college who are twice the employee that I am, who interview poorly, who would be a MUCH BETTER choice than I - but companies are happy enough to hire a-holes like me.


Get out of my head! Seriously though, your actual job-related skills defines the envelope what you can do; your ability to schmooze defines whether you can apply those skills. It's like intelligence: you can be the smartest person in the world, but nobody is going to notice your rich, inner life if you cannot communicate it, bro.
 
2013-01-07 09:15:49 AM

stiletto_the_wise: My interviews are pretty straightforward. Ask questions with one right answer and many wrong ones, and count how many right answers they give. I'm concerned only with competence, because you at least have a hope of measuring competence and using it to objectively compare candidates. I don't care if you like golf or play poker on weekends. Are you smart and can you get shiat done? Those are the only relevant measurements.


One of the places I interviewed at last year should have been a lock, up until the part where the team lead started asking about my involvement in local community service. Evidently planting shrubs at a playground and pretending to enjoy hanging out with disabled kids has become an essential qualification for second-tier IT support. I'd wager that "being a pretty girl with a huge rack" didn't hurt her own career prospects.
 
2013-01-07 09:21:14 AM

ModernLuddite: But seriously, I do NOT socialize with my coworkers. I do not talk to my coworkers. I do not share personal or private information with my coworkers. It's none of their damn business and I will not play games or jockey for position. This is, incidentally, why I will never be in charge of anything, but fark it. I don't like the admission price.


Take it from someone who's made the mistake: you're on the right track. The more you treat your coworkers as friends or -- even worse -- extended family, the more backs you will eventually have to stab.

Or, worse, the more knives you will have to end up removing from yours.

People who don't socialize with their coworkers have a reputation for being "standoffish" and "arrogant". We also have a reputation for working hard and getting results, because we don't spend 45 minutes bullshiatting about last night's episode of Archer or what the f ever.
 
2013-01-07 09:21:47 AM

Nurglitch: It's like intelligence: you can be the smartest person in the world, but nobody is going to notice your rich, inner life if you cannot communicate it, bro.


I dunno, I've always thought actually doing a thing is the most powerful form of communication there is.

Conversely I hear people talking about doing things all the time. Talk, as they say, is cheap. Maybe that's the real reason for this sort of thinking.
 
2013-01-07 09:23:43 AM

DanInKansas: ModernLuddite: But seriously, I do NOT socialize with my coworkers. I do not talk to my coworkers. I do not share personal or private information with my coworkers. It's none of their damn business and I will not play games or jockey for position. This is, incidentally, why I will never be in charge of anything, but fark it. I don't like the admission price.

Take it from someone who's made the mistake: you're on the right track. The more you treat your coworkers as friends or -- even worse -- extended family, the more backs you will eventually have to stab.

Or, worse, the more knives you will have to end up removing from yours.

People who don't socialize with their coworkers have a reputation for being "standoffish" and "arrogant". We also have a reputation for working hard and getting results, because we don't spend 45 minutes bullshiatting about last night's episode of Archer or what the f ever.


TRUTH. I don't care what obscure feature you've hacked to work in Android or how the Bills did yesterday. I'm trying to get my shiat done, go away.
 
2013-01-07 09:37:13 AM

YodaBlues: DanInKansas: ModernLuddite: But seriously, I do NOT socialize with my coworkers. I do not talk to my coworkers. I do not share personal or private information with my coworkers. It's none of their damn business and I will not play games or jockey for position. This is, incidentally, why I will never be in charge of anything, but fark it. I don't like the admission price.

Take it from someone who's made the mistake: you're on the right track. The more you treat your coworkers as friends or -- even worse -- extended family, the more backs you will eventually have to stab.

Or, worse, the more knives you will have to end up removing from yours.

People who don't socialize with their coworkers have a reputation for being "standoffish" and "arrogant". We also have a reputation for working hard and getting results, because we don't spend 45 minutes bullshiatting about last night's episode of Archer or what the f ever.

TRUTH. I don't care what obscure feature you've hacked to work in Android or how the Bills did yesterday. I'm trying to get my shiat done, go away.


Some of these same people who spend a chunk of the day playing office tea party are the ones
that then turn around and run off at the mouth about how they had to come in on Saturday to
"catch up" on all this work they had...If they had actually worked during normal hours instead of
going from office to office chit chatting then over to Starbucks to re-fill their coffee in between they
would have gotten it done..ARGH! I worked with people like that, and I REALLY wanted to call them out
on it so many times when they pulled the "Ya, I was here this weekend.." crap...
 
2013-01-07 09:42:56 AM

HempHead: And no, you don't get to invest in individual stocks in a 401-K because that's about the stupidest thing you could do. If you want to gamble in the stock market, do it with money that's not set aside for retirement.

My last company allowed user directed investments, which was pretty nice.

My current company restricts investments to funds with the highest fees in the industry. I have no doubt that the company (or someone high up) gets a kick back from the fees.


Sadly, it's probably more like somone in an executive position in your company plays golf with someone from that particular investment firm. Even in situations like this though I still say that a 401-K is better than a pension. You just need to be a lot more savvy.
 
2013-01-07 09:44:13 AM
This last point presents a modern quandary: How do companies value diversity and cultural fit, especially if hiring managers are often biased toward hiring people much like themselves?

Answer: They don't.

My favorite new trend is asking thinly veiled questions to determine your political & religious beliefs so that they can discriminate based on that. And yes, companies totally discriminate based on political & religious beliefs, all day, every day, all over the country- and any laws saying otherwise may as well be printed on toilet paper.
 
2013-01-07 09:52:21 AM

Mr. Eugenides: Even in situations like this though I still say that a 401-K is better than a pension.


I never understood the aversion to 401k retirement accounts. Unlike a pension, a company can't simply "loot" it.
 
2013-01-07 09:54:04 AM

GoldSpider: I never understood the aversion to 401k retirement accounts.


There's "aversion" to 401K accounts?
 
2013-01-07 09:54:08 AM

Yoyo: I haven't got the capital nor the borrowing power nor business knowledge needed to start my own business. There's a reason that engineering and business are in two different colleges at most universities.


That, and not everyone has the mindset for starting a business, much less invite the instabilities of contract labor.

/One of the rare birds that would like to see contract/temporary/contingent work die a horrible, grisly, and sudden death
//for all but the people that can readily choose it over FT/direct
 
2013-01-07 09:58:24 AM

SkunkWerks: There's "aversion" to 401K accounts?


Perhaps not the right word (only 1 cup of coffee yet). A lot of folks here bemoan the transition from pensions to 401k accounts, perhaps as a dying relic of a more trusting corporate age.
 
2013-01-07 09:59:29 AM

NephilimNexus: My favorite new trend is asking thinly veiled questions to determine your political & religious beliefs so that they can discriminate based on that. And yes, companies totally discriminate based on political & religious beliefs, all day, every day, all over the country- and any laws saying otherwise may as well be printed on toilet paper.


Given the meme of the "let's look at the parking lot and fire those who have [candidate|politician] bumper sticker first", that is not surprising. You'd have to put some more teeth in the law to ensure that indirect approaches are considered as non-compliant as direct ones. It doesn't stop when you do get hired.


GoldSpider: I never understood the aversion to 401k retirement accounts. Unlike a pension, a company can't simply "loot" it.


Market instability, otherwise everyone from the top down would take a 401k.
 
2013-01-07 10:06:49 AM

whatshisname: What's asinine about it? Fitting into a workplace is just as important as skills.


That is where that rare job skill called "professionalism" comes into play.
 
2013-01-07 10:07:01 AM

AloysiusSnuffleupagus: A resource is something that exists to be exploited.

When personnel became human resources is when it all went to hell.


This. For the love of all that is holy, THIS. One of the snarkier questions I've ever asked an employer during an interview was whether their people's-paperwork-managing department was called Personnel or HR. They liked that question. :-)

On a related note, A Deepness in the Sky is an excellent novel, and puts a different spin on "dept of human resources".
 
2013-01-07 10:08:11 AM

GoldSpider: Perhaps not the right word (only 1 cup of coffee yet).


I was thinking it had more to do with "needing that money to live on a day-to-day basis" myself.
 
2013-01-07 10:13:34 AM

StinkyFiddlewinks: Seems these days when I interview for a web-design/programming position I'm confronted with nothing but self-important hipsters, and it gives me a sad.


the arrogance expressed by tech firms in NYC is off the charts at the moment. very reminiscent of i-bankers in 2005-2006.
 
2013-01-07 10:16:37 AM
I had a job a couple years ago where the whole staff really liked each other, went out on weekends and drank together etc. I don't drink though, and really, even aside from that I'm a bit of a square. I mean, I don't act all judgy of what others are doing, but I clearly don't fit in with a bunch of people who live to get smashed twice a week.

So, while I get the 'cultural fit' angle in hiring, what is someone like me supposed to do in a place like that? I was uncomfortable, none of them liked me much socially, but I was fine at my job. Eventually I left though. I just wish I felt confident that all that won't happen over and over again; there aren't too many offices full of non-religious teetotalers out there.
 
2013-01-07 10:19:30 AM

sethstorm: Market instability, otherwise everyone from the top down would take a 401k.


SkunkWerks: I was thinking it had more to do with "needing that money to live on a day-to-day basis" myself.


At least a company can't loot an employee's 401k like they (apparently) can a pension. So there's that.
 
2013-01-07 10:22:10 AM

sethstorm: Market instability, otherwise everyone from the top down would take a 401k.


Ideally that's why a 401k will let you just keep it in cash or "cash equivalents" if you really don't trust equities.
 
2013-01-07 10:24:07 AM
I honestly think that anyone with at least average intellegence can be trained to do most jobs out there as effectively as someone with a degree. Obviously I'm not counting something like doctors in that. So if I was hiring for my own company, my priorities would be someone who seems pleasant to be around and isn't a slacker.
 
2013-01-07 10:24:54 AM

Mr. Eugenides: I still say that a 401-K is better than a pension. You just need to be a lot more savvy.


Those are conflicting positions!
 
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