Sure, I’m capable, and even willing. My employer, though, has a different idea. They recruited and hired me as an Application Developer, but I’m told now what they really like is my experience deploying a certain Open Source product.
This makes me wonder.
Imagine you are the human resources department for CubeCity LLC (sorry, they’re too small to have a real HR department, so you’re it). CubeCity’s CEO just got out of the hospital last night, having mostly recovered from plowing into a concrete wall at 90mph while reading his e-mail. He’s a busy man, so he can’t really afford not to read his e-mail between locations, but he didn’t really like hospital food all that much, and so he wants to avoid repeating this experience.
He’s now put you in charge of hiring him a chauffeur. You’ve already asked around for referrals within the company, so you start to write up a job ad. How do you advertise the position? A lot of companies seem tempted to put something like this out:
CubeCity LLC is in need of a race car driver. We will provide a vehicle, which you will operate and maintain.Sure, the duties are a stretch, and the qualifications excessive, but you need a really good driver, right? I mean, he's responsible for ensuring the safety of the CEO! He'll be a little bored driving around town all day, but maybe he'll get over it.
- Ensuring provided vehicle is kept in performance-ready condition
- High-performance driving at events determined by management
You will report to the CEO.
- Master’s degree in any field
- At least 5 years of experience racing on closed circuits
- NASCAR experience strongly preferred
Click here to apply if interested.
The CEO's worried, though, that maybe being an accomplished race car driver isn't enough. What if the car breaks down, and it makes him late to a board meeting? That would be totally unacceptable! Let's try this listing instead, you think:
CubeCity LLC is looking for a Senior Automotive Engineer to lead the development of our new flagship car concept.After all, if you can find someone who can design cars, surely they'll know how to drive them, right?
Key responsibilities include:
- First and foremost, ensuring vehicle safety
- Working closely with the product design team to ensure we deliver the right product
- Tuning the car’s body, suspension, and drivetrain to ensure an exciting driving experience
- Ensuring compliance with all applicable emissions and fuel efficiency requirements
You will report to the product design manager.
- At least a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, or a related field
- 5 or more years experience in automotive engineering
- Experience designing high-performance cars strongly preferred
Click here to apply if interested.
Of course, you’ll be recruiting again soon. Automotive Engineers aren’t chauffeurs. In fact, the person you hired through that last job listing has probably been working for nearly a decade on getting to a place where he gets to design the cars we all go out and buy. He may even love to drive, but he’s simply not going to be happy driving the boss around town.
Why the hell, then, hire an Application Developer when what you really need is a System Administrator?!
In spite of this, I have gotten to work on a couple of awesome projects. They were simply awesome because I made them that way, and not because anyone was expecting anything great. While they seem grateful for the results in these cases, I’m convinced my employer otherwise has no idea what to do with me.