Category Archives: Self Help

The Rich Recruiter? Things Have Gone Terribly Wrong!

I just ran across this book out on Amazon Unlimited.

The Rich Recruiter

When you check it out, you will also find lots of other books on how to get rich in the placement business.  In particular, this occupation has risen up take its share of the money being thrown around in the information technology field.  What money?  Exactly.  Back in the late nineties, lots of things emerged from the shortage of IT guys most companies were facing.  The web was taking off, the Y2K disaster was looming and the nasdaq was soaring.  There just were not enough computer geeks to go around.  In response, lots of barriers to foreign workers were brought down, contracting rates went through the roof and the staffing business grew in to a monster.  Of course, like all bubbles, this one burst.  Nothing much came of Y2K, all of the workers brought in to fill IT positions stayed on to depress contracting rates and we have more people out there than ever looking to get rich off  of the poor, socially inept, cubical dwelling computer guy.  IT wages are not nearly what they were 15 years ago though.  In 1998, it was nothing for a database programmer to make $150/hr.  Just for locating one, a recruiter could often charge another 25-50$ on top of that.  Well, times have changed, yet the recruiter has stayed on.  It’s a lot harder to get rich in the placement game than it used to be, but, as this book describes, if you are persistent in your efforts to wedge yourself in between employers and employees, you can still extract quite a hefty economic inefficiency for yourself in today’s market.  As a developer, you are likely familiar with how this business effects our business.  Say you are finishing up a contract and would like another one.  It would seem reasonable that you would put your resume out for potential employers to see.  You might even look for a job listing and submit your paper via email.  But wait…the listings you see are not for jobs, well, at least not directly.  They are recruiters.  They may have a job in mind, or they may just be trying to build up their list of contacts.  They live and die by this database of people that can actually do work.  Matching on keywords that they really do not understand or even much care to, they laboriously filter and sort resumes against listings looking for opportunities.  When a match is found, they call the developer, call the employer, arrange a meeting and then, if all goes well and employment results, they sit back and collect 20k, 30k, maybe even 50k each year that the employment lasts.  Yes, you can still get rich in the recruitment game.  Very rich in fact.  While not as lucrative as in the past, the big players still report 10’s of millions in annual income, all based on matching people to jobs.  My question is, given that wages are no longer inflated and the market is no longer experiencing a shortage of workers, do we still need to be bringing in new people from other countries to fill our tech jobs?  Marco Rubio thinks so.  He believes the number of h1visas approved each year should be increased 4 times to somewhere around 240 thousand a year.  What will this do to the wages of American citizens who work in IT?  Will it make them go up?  Seriously, Rubio is running for president.  Who is he planning on working for?  Why would I vote for anyone who wants to use the Presidency to depress American wages further?  And while information technology wages are 1/2 to 1/3 of their past glory, have staffing company margins declined likewise?  Even if the answer is yes, should there even be any margin in the first place?  Recently, a job for a MongoDB dev/admin position opened up some where in Georgia.  Within 2 days, I had been contacted by no less than 10 different recruiters, all with very personal form letters, none residing in Georgia themselves (mostly New Jersey residents), asking me if I would be interested in moving 1000 miles to take the position.  Funny thing is, very often the same thing happens when a .NET position opens up in St. Louis.  I am not a .NET programmer.  These guys aren’t even reading the resumes any more.   It is a numbers game for them and that’s about it.  It is actually kindof insulting.  You can press the spam button in gmail but does this really do anything?   For fun, call them all back.  One will insist that he can offer no more than 60/hr while another will offer 70 right off the bat.  You are not negotiating with a potential employer, you are negotiating with a person who has imposed himself between you and the employer and he/she is deciding how much they want to make next year off of your labor.  Whether it be 10k, 20k or 30k, I believe it is 100% too much.  What does that come out to by the time you have moved in to your Atlanta based cubicle?  5 thousand dollars a phone call?  100 bucks per spoken word?  Are you really so frightened by the job search process that you are willing to give up half your pay next year to have someone hold your hand?  Is getting a job in a field you know really such a revolutionary idea that you should pay someone 10’s of thousands of dollars for suggesting it?  No, No, NO!  If I want to move to Georgia to work on a Mongo database, I will look for the employer myself and split the difference with them.  In today’s economy, that is how we should all do things.  After all, isn’t this the way other jobs work?  So how do we fix this?  You really should not be able to Get Rich recruiting in today’s economy.  Actually, the solution is simple.  Managers, do your jobs.  When you need an employee, post the position.  Add the line “Please No Recruiters, Only Applicants” to the bottom of your listing.  When responding to ads for employment, do your best to only respond to those from real employers.  Keep your spam folder empty and don’t make the mistake of posting your resume out there on the boards.  If you do, add the same type of line to it.  And be adamant about this policy.  You do not, i repeat :), You do not need to pay someone 30k a year for the opportunity to make 100k a year doing your job.  Job boards, clean up your act too.  I know you get paid for listings, but isn’t the quality of the listing part of your value proposition?

Anyone else out there tired of giving away half their pay check?  Employers, doesn’t it make you ill having to pay 2 people for every 1 programmer you hire?  It is high time we put an end to all of this.

the word no

“No” is perhaps the most important expression/utterable in all of human language. It is one of the first words we learn and marks the dawn of our existence as individuals possessed of both the power and liability of free will. Those who master it’s use increase their odds of success in life many times over for having bothered. Those who struggle with it are likely to lead diametrically composed lives full of avoidable failures and frustrating regrets.  No one likes to hear it.  Most of us don’t even like to say it.  If you find yourself in this latter group, I urge you, for your own good, to give “no” additional consideration and use in your life.

To Do List

As someone who has tried almost every self help strategy/angle out there, I have a fairly good understanding of most of them and have learned from personal experience what works and doesn’t work.  Here is perhaps one of the simplest I’ve tried and it works for me every day.  It is a to do list.  Most people use to do lists in some way or another.  I my approach to this was suggested to me in a book by Hung Pham, one of my favorite self help authors.  Please check out his books if you have not already.  Each day when I sit down at the computer, I create a short, 3 item list of things I want to get done that day.  Instead of going in to a lot of detail and outlining my entire day step by step, I distil my goals in to 3 simple statements.  To most of you, it would seem that I am setting the bar pretty low.  Just 3 things?  Why not try and get 10 done.  Here is the logic.  Creating a large list tends to result in negative feelings about your ability to reach your goals.  Any interruption to  your schedule and you fail to complete some of your  items.  Then these items get pushed to the next day and you end up with another un-doable list.  The cycle repeats and repeats with you never reaching an end point or a time when you feel you have succeeded.  This is not good in the way it makes you feel and results in lower productivity in the long run.  The best strategy by far is to start with a notecard, post-it or as I do, Tomboy Notes in Linux.  Write down 3 tasks that you know you can complete that day.  Don’t be too general or specific.  Try to stay somewhere in the middle.  A good rule is to choose things that will take between 10 minutes and 2 hours each.  Try to list things that are not every day tasks.  Like for example, “go to work” on your list every day is not something for your list.  These need to be things that you intend to accomplish in addition to what you normally do.  Choose things that are critical to your well being and personal advancement.  “Go to the dmv and register the car”  is a good one.  “Watch video on Backbone.js and try some examples” is also good.  Keep your list handy so that you can easily refer to it all day.  Regularly return to it as even with just 3 items it is easy to forget about it as you go through your day.  When you complete items, draw a line through them or annotate on your computer with DONE.  You will be surprised how keeping to this short list every single day will add to your over all productivity.  I hope the 3 things list is as helpful to you as it has been to me.  It is a good habit and good habits make successful people.