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    Unionize, organize, agitate. But also get your ass covered if you can, like this guy is saying.

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      Workers, peasants, we are

      The great party of labourers.

      The earth belongs only to men;

      The idle will go to reside elsewhere.

      How much of our flesh have they consumed?

      But if these ravens, these vultures

      Disappear one of these days,

      The sun will still shine forever.

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        I’m not a fan of unions. CEOs don’t have unions. Devs dont get as much money as CEOs, but they get enough to be mostly financially independent.

        People spend way too much money on frivolity, instead of saving up their war fund. The more they spend, the more they are dependent on an income stream, the most reliable of which is employment.

        The reason people can treat you badly is because they have leverage. Your strategy should be to minimise that leverage. Obtaining financial independence (or semi-independence) is an important step towards that goal.

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          CEOs don’t have unions Yes, they do. They are called chambers of commerce or industrial federations.

          Devs dont get as much money as CEOs, but they get enough to be mostly financially independent.

          Depends on the devs. Lot of them have unstable contracts and very poor working conditions. Not everywhere is like in the Silicon Valley.

          People spend way too much money on frivolity, instead of saving up their war fund

          Might be true for the middle class people but it’s delusional to believe that people on low income would be able to save money giving up their morning cappuccino that is the only pleasure they have during the day.

          The reason people can treat you badly is because they have leverage. Your strategy should be to minimise that leverage. Obtaining financial independence (or semi-independence) is an important step towards that goal.

          True. Debatable if it’s a system we want to defend and reinforce. Anyway, creating unions is also a good way to get leverage when the system prevents you from gaining financial independence, that’s why they exist and won you the weekends, the 40h workweek, pensions and the abolition of child labour among other things. That kind of leverage doesn’t come from “financial independence”. That’s good for personal wins, but useless for big wins.

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            CEOs don’t have unions.

            No, they’re just personal friends with the Board of Directors.

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              CEOs don’t have unions.

              Their unions are the politicians they pay off to make rules that benefit them or damage their opponents. It’s like unions for a smaller number of people, vastly more of other people’s money going their way, and criminal prosecution for some opponents rather than just fines. Occasionally, the U.S. military is even sent in to kill a lot of people to protect their profits.

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                Your strategy should be to minimise that leverage.

                …which you can do, among others, by compounding your leverage with that of others. It’s easy to say “no” to every individual developer in an organization. Saying “no” to all of them at once isn’t as easy. I’m not saying it’s the only solution, or the best one, or even a “good” one in the generic meaning of the word, but it’s better than none at all, which is what a lot of developers have.

                Minimizing leverage when all a misstep gets you is a few weeks of job hunting is neither too hard, nor too risky. But when the leverage people have against you is in the form of income that allows you to care for an ailing family member, or keep your brother in college, the odds are very different, and the stakes are a lot higher, too.

                I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that didn’t lack anything – we weren’t filthy rich and my parents couldn’t afford fancy things, but we never starved, and I got good education. That’s not a very common thing. Most of my childhood friends are treated badly by others precisely because they weren’t as fortunate, and the kind of leverage you lose, or don’t get, between the moment you’re born and the moment you move out of your parents’ house, isn’t too easy to get back, and certainly not just through financial independence.

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                  Your strategy should be to minimise that leverage.

                  It’s too bad no one has ever invented a mechanism for pooling resources with other workers who share your vulnerability to being treated badly by an employer.

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                    And nobody has ever subverted that mechanism to create a labour cartel that permits busy-work and other sort of bureaucratic inefficiency.

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                I’ve been doing interviews for a large Nordic Bank the last couple of years. Many of the developers applying there are a bit older. That’s not negative in itself. It usually means more experience. But, one major concern for that large bank, when applicants are older, is that the developer is merely searching out this “stable” job to kind of breeze through, without too much effort, to retirement.

                So, my two cents; if you are an older developer (like myself) try to be clear about why you are searching out that particular job.

                Ps. By the way. In the Nordics we have strong unions, and labour laws, large companies can’t really fire people for not being productive enough. So this piece of advice might not be applicable in other places.

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                  It’s absolutely applicable in the United States.

                  The other piece is a concern that older people can’t be trained in the company’s local customs/culture, which can lead to massive communication and productivity problems even with the best of intentions.

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                    older people can’t be trained in the company’s local customs/culture

                    I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way, but to me, this sounds like when companies talk of ‘culture’ as an excuse for working stupidly long hours without a care for your life outside work, obligatory drinking and partying, and generally trying to pretend that a toxic workplace environment centred around a specific demographic is a positive thing. I can’t imagine what other sort of workplace culture an older person would have difficulty learning/fitting into.

                    I’d love it if you could expand a little on what you really mean.

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                      Every company builds its own culture. And yes, that matters.

                      • Some have strict chain of command. You do not go over your manager’s head to the top levels. Ever.
                      • Some have open access. Call the CEO whenever you have something you think he should hear.
                      • Some require all problems be presented with a possible, even if terrible, solution, at least as a starting point.
                      • Some companies have deep sharing cultures. If you can do something, you better be teaching other people how to do your job.
                      • Some allow people to attain mastery of their own space because it’s more efficient that way.
                      • Some companies actually do respect feedback.
                      • Some companies require people to only bring issues they know for certain are actually issues, to avoid distractions or rabbit-hole fixes.

                      An employee who has spent years working with that last bullet point is going to find it hard to work in a place where all issues are brought forward for at least brief discussion. That’s a cultural mismatch, and it’s not anything except an inability to utilize a person as trained.

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                        An employee who has spent years working with that last bullet point is going to find it hard to work in a place where all issues are brought forward for at least brief discussion.

                        People can just learn to do thing differently. Do people find it hard to work in different ways at different places? If not, why is this a reason to not hire somebody. Putting such a strong requirement on something that can be changed anyway seems like a good way to have to go through more people than you have to during recruitment.

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                          Do people find it hard to work in different ways at different places?

                          Yes.

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                      I work at a place with a strong union in the US.

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                        that seems to be increasingly rare, for programming jobs anyways. or are you doing something completely different than that?

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                          What has that experience been like?

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                            I do, too. Worker protection is rare in US, though. Their comment is still mostly true.

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                            older people can’t be trained in the company’s local customs/culture

                            I feel like some times when a company say someone isn’t a “culture fit”, they’re just using coded language to discriminate against a worker. Age discrimination is illegal in the US, but not hiring someone because of “culture fit” is totally fine. Similar with race, sex, etc.

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                              See my answer here: https://lobste.rs/s/qu40ze/how_prepare_for_losing_your_programming#c_omhxsj

                              Companies know they have their own cultures. A person’s past experiences or levels of aggression (or lack thereof) may be incompatible with the way work is done at a company. It has nothing to do with being old, just with being trained.

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                            Then ask yourself, is your IT landscape one with recent commodity frameworks and infrastructure, or is there a lot of in-house software and infrastructure that might take someone half a year, maybe longer to understand and grow into?

                            Is your employer the kind of place that needs (and retains) ambitious people who shake things up, or do you need people who are willing to maintain legacy software without complaining too much?

                            If you’re willing to invoke the stereotype of the greybeard who wants to coast until retirement, then you should be fair and invoke the stereotype of the ambitious fresh graduate who rewrites everything in Ruby on Rails, then leaves after three years, leaving the organization with the pieces.

                            Edit: I should’ve realized that you point out this stereotype to warn people of stereotypes that work against them, not that you’ve internalized this stereotype yourself

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                            TL;DR: Don’t be poor, don’t live in the US.

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                              Not simultaneously, anyway. Being rich in the US is generally fine. And being poor in some places is not too bad.

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                              Having an Emergency fund with nine month of expenses would be a good start. The rest can be figured out .