work life survey

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Ken Barker

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Nov 30, 2011, 1:28:14 PM11/30/11
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Ben asked me to pass this on to the group.  It is short.  If you're so inclined, please add your two cents.

Ken
------------------------

Hello,

My name is Ben Blanquera  and I'd really appreciate it if you could take a few minute to fill in this survey - https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/whatareyoulookingforcrb

The goal of this survey is to understand what IT professionals are looking for from their employers. The results of this survey will be shared (in aggregate form only) with local IT leaders as input to their human capital policies and procedures to create more inviting work places for you. This is a great opportunity to have your voice heard.

We will also share the results on the http://techlifeohio.com website. 


Thanks in advance for your help


--
Ken Barker
614.403.7044

Ben Blanquera

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Nov 30, 2011, 1:42:10 PM11/30/11
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Thanks in advance for your help. I'm trying to make it easy for org leaders to understand what they need to work on so we can better 
enjoy where we work

Regards,
Ben



--
Ken Barker
614.403.7044

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Scott Preston

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Nov 30, 2011, 1:46:39 PM11/30/11
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I think you should be asking Why, not What.


Cheers,
Scott

Ben Blanquera

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Nov 30, 2011, 2:12:05 PM11/30/11
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Scott,

Great video I appreciate you sharing. Why is the most important question. If you look i modified the question to ask the Why question. This survey hopefully will give some insight and a path for the how and what. We kinda need to do this for enterprises..;-)

Ben 

David Fisher

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Nov 30, 2011, 2:17:08 PM11/30/11
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I filled it out. 

One thing I've noticed about Columbus as compared to the larger tech communities is how much more people here seem to focus on life in their work/life balance. In SF/NYC/Boston, everyone's got multiple coals in the fire/projects and work until late, then go to a networking event afterward. I've observed too many people (imho) here that seem to want to check out at 5pm, not go to as many events, not working weekends and only focusing really on their day job. 

This isn't everyone for sure (as I know there are some incredibly hard working people here), but the drive to put a dent in the universe doesn't seem as strong here in Columbus or Ohio overall. Perhaps most here see this as a benefit, but I see it as an issue. 

I'm personally much happier working 80 hours a week plus having two side projects than I am working at a place that expects only 35-40 hours a week of each person and no interesting side projects. 

I'm also 29, no kids (none planned) and have no responsibility to anyone else. 

- David Fisher

Scott Preston

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Nov 30, 2011, 2:22:50 PM11/30/11
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Hi Ben,

Yea I saw that at the bottom. It's just so hard to quantify "why" Good luck with the survey, I hope you get lots of responses.

- Scott

Isaac

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Nov 30, 2011, 5:19:35 PM11/30/11
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Ben, there is no age category for Millennials, (I am 17).

Ed Jones

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Nov 30, 2011, 5:23:06 PM11/30/11
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It may depend on what you mean by "dent in the Universe".

I've spent a good bit of my adult life frustrated wanting to "move
faster, work longer, spend more time in the zone", so I hear what
you're saying and it's not a bad way to be at age 29.

But we all wear many hats; some that we may think we're taking care
of, but aren't.

Chief among these is citizenship. We are a nation of Princes, each of
us responsible for the perpetuation of the Republic, and the
Jeffersonian ideals it is built on. I watched a video yesterday of a
guy convinced that the 10,000 hours he spent playing Civilization
somehow led to him being a good citizen, and that the world is "too
freakin slow" for today's kids, not the least that some of the world's
knowledge appears in those nasty archaic things called books.

What Gabe missed is that the world IS slow, and applying more, or more
intense, hours to it isn't always on the path to solutions.

For example, we in the US actually take time to have enough kids to
replace ourselves, unlike our friends in Europe. This means we will
have a labor force that can keep up productivity after we are old and
decrepit, a labor force which can also pay the payroll taxes to fund
our retirement and medicare--again unlike our friends in Europe.

We also take time to do local government. You'd be amazed at how much
of our government is done by ordinary citizens working in their off-
work time, for no or miniscule pay. By the same token much of our
social services work is done by volunteers working at community
centers, churches, synagogues, mosques, food banks, YMCA's, youth
teams, cancer research fundraisers, scholarship fundraisers, park
cleanup, PTA, you name it.

We are a people who turned a book about schools at 12,000ft in
Pakistan into a New York Times #1 bestseller. We inform ourselves
about things way off the normal career study list.

Steve Jobs changed the world in a big way, and yeah he worked 90 hour
weeks. But he also had $100 million at age 25 or so; and didn't know
jack about national security, or probably the 800,000 people massacred
in Rwanda while the world dithered, or teaching kids sportsmanship on
the local ballfield.


http://futureofed.org/the-gamification-of-learning/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheFutureOfEducationIsHere+%28The+Future+of+Education+is+Here%29


On Nov 30, 2:17 pm, David Fisher <tib...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I filled it out.
>
> One thing I've noticed about Columbus as compared to the larger tech
> communities is how much more people here seem to focus on life in their
> work/life balance. In SF/NYC/Boston, everyone's got multiple coals in the
> fire/projects and work until late, then go to a networking event afterward.
> I've observed too many people (imho) here that seem to want to check out at
> 5pm, not go to as many events, not working weekends and only focusing
> really on their day job.
>
> This isn't everyone for sure (as I know there are some incredibly hard
> working people here), but the drive to put a dent in the universe doesn't
> seem as strong here in Columbus or Ohio overall. Perhaps most here see this
> as a benefit, but I see it as an issue.
>
> I'm personally much happier working 80 hours a week plus having two side
> projects than I am working at a place that expects only 35-40 hours a week
> of each person and no interesting side projects.
>
> I'm also 29, no kids (none planned) and have no responsibility to anyone
> else.
>
> - David Fisher
>

> On Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 2:12 PM, Ben Blanquera <benblanqu...@gmail.com>wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> > Scott,
>
> > Great video I appreciate you sharing. Why is the most important question.
> > If you look i modified the question to ask the Why question. This survey
> > hopefully will give some insight and a path for the how and what. We kinda
> > need to do this for enterprises..;-)
>
> > Ben
>

> > On Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 1:46 PM, Scott Preston <scotty.pres...@gmail.com>wrote:
>
> >> I think you should be asking Why, not What.
>

> >>http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action...
>
> >> Cheers,
> >> Scott


>
> >> On Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 1:42 PM, Ben Blanquera <benblanqu...@gmail.com>wrote:
>
> >>> Thanks in advance for your help. I'm trying to make it easy for org
> >>> leaders to understand what they need to work on so we can better
> >>> enjoy where we work
>
> >>> Regards,
> >>> Ben
>

> >>> On Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 1:28 PM, Ken Barker <ken.bar...@gmail.com>wrote:
>
> >>>>  Ben asked me to pass this on to the group.  It is short.  If you're so
> >>>> inclined, please add your two cents.
>
> >>>> Ken
> >>>> ------------------------
>
> >>>> Hello,
>

> >>>> My name is Ben Blanquera <http://www.linkedin.com/in/benblanquera>


> >>>> and I'd really appreciate it if you could take a few minute to fill in this

> >>>> survey -https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/whatareyoulookingforcrb

Asa Benjamin Winkler

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Nov 30, 2011, 5:48:17 PM11/30/11
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I would pre-emptively ask regarding this mailing list discussion -- please, no politics.


On Nov 30, 2011, at 5:23 PM, Ed Jones wrote:

It may depend on what you mean by "dent in the Universe".
...



On Nov 30, 2:17 pm, David Fisher <tib...@gmail.com> wrote:
I filled it out.

One thing I've noticed about Columbus as compared to the larger tech
communities is how much more people here seem to focus on life in their
...

Ben Blanquera

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Nov 30, 2011, 5:54:05 PM11/30/11
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Isaac - thanks pointing that out. I've added that as an option

On Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 5:19 PM, Isaac <isaacbf...@gmail.com> wrote:
Ben, there is no age category for Millennials, (I am 17).

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Jonathan Hogue

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Nov 30, 2011, 6:49:22 PM11/30/11
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I filled out the survey, but don't think it will change much.

Company cultures are established by the early leaders and history of a
company, and are near impossible to change 1-2 generations later,
especially from the ground up. For example, working a flexible work
schedule where the CEO, middle management, and your team doesn't value
them is a good way to get fired.

The best way to grow healthy I.T. cultures in Columbus is to deprive
bad cultures and nurture good cultures with your talent and effort.

On Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 1:42 PM, Ben Blanquera <benbla...@gmail.com> wrote:

Matt Williams

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Dec 1, 2011, 8:16:46 AM12/1/11
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David --

Some background...

+ I started learning to program when I was 10.
+ At 12, I learned my first machine language (z80)
+ At 14 I taught myself 6502 from a library book and hand assembling & poking into my C-64
+ At 18, I crammed an entire year of AP Computer Science into 1 month, on top of my other course load.  I took 4 AP tests that year, making 5's on 3 of them (and a 4 on English)
+ I've been working in the industry since I was 19

I'm 41 now, almost 42.  I haven't stopped learning new technologies.  I study -- both inside and outside of work - for me the learning doesn't end when I leave the office. I've been involved in computing for over 3/4 of my life and I expect it will play a role for the rest of it.

*However*

I have a 7 year old.  For a good chunk of her first 2 years I was away from her, working this contract or that. I will never get that time back, it's gone forever.  I missed her first tooth.  I missed her first steps.  I don't want to miss any more.  Unless we have outages I'm not pulling all nighters any more for work -- for other things, personal projects and the like, but not work.

I've taken up weaving, yes, but I'm seeing applications for it in my computing skills -- I notice that it is helping me in the area of pattern recognition. And I am considering developing it into my "retirement" job.  In addition to making textiles, I'm making software which is weaving related as well as working to preserve knowledge -- there is a lot which is in danger of being lost.  Additionally, I donate scarves to homeless and low income people.

I do work with many people who put in their eight and are done with computers for the day.  I'm not one of these. However, the idea that people here, as a whole, don't have a drive to put a dent in the universe I feel is very narrow focused.  It seems to me that you are missing a lot outside of the narrow area of work and computing. Perhaps other's dents are a bit more shallow, but much more broad, affecting a far greater area -- and consequently many more lives.

It is interesting that this conversation is coming up right now -- I'm seeing others on the net speaking of similar topics.  Amy Hoy has a rather rather blunt take on it at http://unicornfree.com/2011/fuck-glory-startups-are-one-long-con/ -- if language is an issue, you may not want to read it.  But she raises some very interesting points and has some interesting quotes from JMZ to boot. 

Another Matt, Matt Heusser on IT Knowledge Exchange has an interesting take as well -- http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/unchartered-waters/what-i-learned-from-google-you-get-fifteen-years/

Matt
I can say to myself and the world, "Look at all I am doing, am I not being busy? Am I not contributing? Am I not having an impact on all those around me and with whom I come into contact? See, my life has meaning."
To which the Tao responds, "You are doing, yes, but you are not being. Slow down, go with the flow, work with life, not against it. By being, you do. By doing, you cease to be."

Randal Rust

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Dec 1, 2011, 9:02:44 AM12/1/11
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On Thu, Dec 1, 2011 at 8:16 AM, Matt Williams <otte...@gmail.com> wrote:

> I'm 41 now, almost 42.

I am delurking for a moment here, because the comments about Columbus
in comparison to NY, etc. put me off a bit, and I want to lend some
support to Matt's comments. For the record, I will be 40 next month.

> I have a 7 year old.

I have a 10-year-old and twin 8-year-olds. All boys.

> I missed her first tooth.  I missed her first steps.  I don't
> want to miss any more.

I left the corporate world about 6 years ago after our family went
through a very difficult event. I run my own business now, and do
everything from right here in my home office. I am here when the boys
go to school in the morning and when they get home. They drive me nuts
half the time -- after all they are young boys -- but I wouldn't have
it any other way.

> the idea that people here, as a whole, don't have a drive
> to put a dent in the universe I feel is very narrow focused.

Yes, it is, because there are other ways to do that other than at a
keyboard. Because of my business, I am free to adjust my work schedule
as needed, so that I can, if necessary, play catch with the boys in
the street before school. Throw the football with them. Shoot some
hoops. Whatever they want to do. I have coached soccer, baseball and
basketball. I have more of an impact on society as a coach than
anything else -- and I run a pretty successful business, and I'm in
the process of starting two more myself and getting involved in a
third.

The time I spend with my boys teaching them how to be young men is far
more valuable than anything I do.

The time that I spend teaching kids how to play the game of baseball
and seeing them enjoy it is far more rewarding than anything I do.

> Perhaps other's dents are a bit more
> shallow, but much more broad, affecting a far greater area -- and
> consequently many more lives.

This is so incredibly true.

At this time of year, every year, I read "A Christmas Carol." It is a
good reminder that the best, most important investment I have made --
and will ever make -- is in my family. When Scrooge is visited by the
third ghost, he sees his own funeral. No one comes, because he spent
his life counting money and conducting business at the Exchange at the
expense of everything else.

I understand that family life is not for everyone, and that's OK, but
there are other ways to make a difference in the world besides sitting
at a desk and going to meetups and conferences.

--
Randal Rust
R.Squared Communications
www.r2communications.com
www.facebook.com/r2communications
614-370-0036

Steve Madsen

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Dec 1, 2011, 9:26:51 AM12/1/11
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At the risk of piling on...

My feeling is that if any particular place is too "laid back" for an individual's taste, he or she has two choices. The first is to move to where the expectations at the workplace are higher. The second is to start your own thing and run it as you see fit. The talent will come, or not.

It is not reasonable to expect every place to be the same as Silicon Valley, New York or Boston.

I spent almost ten years in the Silicon Valley working exclusively at startups and have nothing, outside of the experience, to show for it. There are countless stories of someone pouring everything they had into a company for four years to vest their option grant, only to see the company ultimately fail. They look back to find their non-work friends have drifted away, and those work friends will as well once everyone gets new jobs.

It's fine to read exceptional stories like Steve Jobs's and dream, but the truth is that far more people expend the effort and nothing comes of it. It's important to step back and consider the long-term big picture. If that still means working 80 hour weeks, go for it. Just don't presume to expect the same from others.

--
Steve Madsen <st...@lightyearsoftware.com>
Light Year Software, LLC http://lightyearsoftware.com

Francesca McLin

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Dec 1, 2011, 9:38:20 AM12/1/11
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Wow, this issue has really touched a nerve for a lot of people. I'm a lurker here, but I'll give my take, having lived/worked in a lot of places:

Places like NYC, SF, DC tend to attract people who are driven and passionate about (often), a single thing. Maybe it's technology, maybe it's money, maybe it's the lure of being part of something larger and making "a difference." Many of these people tend to be younger - just out of college, just out of grad school, no families, and find it easier to make the sacrifices required to go all-out in a narrow focus. If they're lucky, it pans out before they burn out.

I'm 30, and I work for myself because it gives me the freedom to pursue passions like travel. Every so often, I uproot and move my "office" somewhere else. In April, it'll be Italy, Spain and Kyrgyzstan for a few months.

However - this also means that my business can be termed a "lifestyle" business instead of a startup. I work sane hours, turn down projects that are not a good fit, and prioritize time and freedom. These choices mean that I make much less than I did as a corporate employee (and probably most of you). My choice isn't for everyone, but it works for me. I take comfort in the fact that I'll never wake up at 95 wishing I'd spent less time at work.

tl;dr
Many of us have multiple passions and multiple important priorities in life which preclude devoting all our time to work. This doesn't necessarily make us less driven, just less-narrowly driven. Be wary of making judgments.


David Fisher

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Dec 1, 2011, 10:13:03 AM12/1/11
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Thanks for the replies and conversation everyone. My words are not intended to be a slight to Columbus, surely on anyone on this list. I know that bringing this up really digs into a lot of people and that isn't my goal. Just by the merit of being Ruby programmers in a super-corporate/enterprise tech scene you're doing something different than the average .NET/Oracle/Java programmer. You're probably already the exception and not the rule.

I spent the past 10 years in Boston before moving here so that my girlfriend could get her PhD at OSU. I've also spent a large amount of time (about once a month sometimes) in NYC and a bit in SF. Boston is where I cut my teeth on the startup and tech scene, and I don't expect Columbus to turn into another city, because that's just silly. Yet, I can't help but notice the differences, which sometimes are small and sometimes are the size of the grand canyon. 

I'm actually not the biggest fan of working 80 hours a week at one job. I don't think it will always get you ahead. Yet, 80 hours a week on your career seems perfectly reasonable. By this I mean time going to work, networking events, working on side projects, learning new things, conferences and even just parties with colleagues. I describe it as inertia. A moving object likes to keep moving. Work hard, play harder is my motto. 

I don't think that participating in community and family things is a poor idea at all, just a different priority.  Having children and a family can be a great thing, but it definitely shifts your priorities as it should. Steve Jobs was not a good father by most all accounts.

In Massachusetts, the average childbearing age is 27.7 vs 24.7 in Ohio (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db21.pdf). I think this is the highest in the nation. In Cambridge, which is where I spent the majority of my time, 70% of births were to women over 30. Only 17.6% of households had children under 18, compared to 28% in Columbus. 

In short, where I lived people were having fewer children and putting off having them later, focusing more on work and graduate-level education. This is neither a good or bad thing, just what it was. I dated a lot there, and only ever heard one woman ever say they wanted children someday. 

This isn't to say everyone just had their nose to the grindstone for their job, but often they'd work the day at their startup, then go study something or work on a side project for a few hours, then go to 1 to 3 networking events that evening and go home at midnight. It was seriously hard to not get pulled from one tech party to another, or one hackathon to another. Weekends were often tripple booked. 

The final big thing I'll point out is that the influence of the universities there was massive. Oh its massive here too, but in a different way. You've got MIT and Harvard there drawing some of the best, brightest and most driven people in the world there. Going there is their absolute dream, and not because they watched Harvard football games as a kid. Many of them stay around afterward. Those that don't generally go to NYC or SF. None of them do it because its easy, but because they want a challenge. It creates this amazing sense of competition and drive in the entire city. 

What's funny is that when I talk to people who spent a significant amount of time recently in Boston/NY they seem to agree with me instantly and complete my sentences when on this subject, and when I talk to someone who has spent the past 5-10 years in Columbus they disagree and point to all the reasons that Columbus is happening just in a different way. I don't think anyone's right or wrong, its just a different perspective. Its different goals. Its different challenges. 

Its even a different type of startup here. At the Ohio Early Venture Summit one of the main speakers who worked for Sequoia Capital said if you want to do a consumer facing tech startup, go to SF or NYC. If you want to do something with business processes, insurance, medicine, government, etc... this is a great place. I'm sadly more inclined toward the former.

In the end its my problem, and no one else is wrong for having different priorities. I need to find people here who have similar values, and I'm sure I can find those here. Its just a little harder to find, and if anyone wants to meet up for coffee or hacking, I'm totally there. 

- David

Shane Zatezalo

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Dec 1, 2011, 10:46:58 AM12/1/11
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I'll try & keep this short as well. I think Matt and I are in very similar situations. I too missed out on a lot - games, practices, you name it. Because I was "the man" and whenever anything needed to be done I'd work late, work weekends, work 80 hours for weeks/months till go-live.

What'd it get me? Just more work and even less time with family. I can't get all that time back. I dearly wish I could. For me, looking back, it was the wrong approach to the life I wanted for my wife and kids and myself.

Generally I see this as, as you grow older your priorities change. The younger crowd will work work work. Then they build relationships, marriage, children, hobbies (because they've made money the find they can actually do things instead of be broke all the time). They dig into homes and communities and schools (and even local government). Then life isn't centered around work so much. It's more of one's life evolving.

There's nothing wrong with any of it; if one way or the other makes you happy, go for it and good luck.

The message from David Fisher with the average childbearing age I found really interesting. What I find intriguing is people postponing for further education, but then they have much more school debt in a poor economy (but that's a discussion for another thread).

And the survey, that last question was way too vague $.02. But I do like the idea behind the intent of why Ben created such a survey.

Thanks,
Shane

On Dec 1, 2011, at 8:16 AM, Matt Williams wrote:
> David --
>
> Some background…[…]

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