Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum

Very Sad Story, 55 And Washed Up


Redcellar
 Share

Recommended Posts

You don't get it. After a couple of decades as an IT contractor, few people want you. You have worked in the banks and corporates, big and small development houses. You know more about databases C++, Java, analysis and every tool there is. You have spent the years using such things every day. Website and E-commerce development is not hard, I wrote one of the biggest in the country. Yet, they don't want you. You are too old, your face does not fit. It has nothing to do with ability or personality. Look for yourself, where are the grey haired developers?

In today's NYT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/29/us/bay-area-technology-professionals-cant-get-hired-as-industry-moves-on.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&src=rechp

You do not have a future in IT, nobody does. Just because you are on £150k a year now, you will not be soon. IT people are like soccer players. They get a short career.

No you don't get do you? I never ever was a contractor you were. We build businesses that always have two elements recurring revenues and project work. Never sexy always infrastructure so look at this as a timeline form 1990 til now

Hardware break fix - upgrade projects

1st line service desk - sell tin

Outsource low end functions - provide people

Manage the whole thing - sell phone lines

NOW Sell VDI/cloud services - transition consultancy

Tomorrow -who knows but the track records not bad in coping with change (remember my technical skill set is break/fix walla)

You decided to become an IT employee (thats what a contractor is) rather than learn how to bulid an income stream through moving with the technology in fact the cloud stuff opens up loads of opportunity for small mid sized players.

Thats not to mention our two businesses that thrive whatever IT change and relocation and Resourcing (you just change the CV's.)

The trouble is I do get it. Probably see your CV soon. The trouble is it's much harder to learn how to run a business than learn V1.34 diddly squat of the next Java release but hey like the other guy you made a wrong turn.

Edited by Greg Bowman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 159
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

A lot of truth in Greg's post! In engineering, anyway... I do see lots of older engineers, more so than I guess you'd see in IT.. but to be able to steer the business into profitability regardless of technology... I see many older guys in managing, strategic marketing and systems type jobs, helping to define new products and create new business. Once you've done some tech stuff, you realise that although it can be difficult in itself, you get used to the flow and can more than likely guide yourself through using new tools to get new projects done. It's getting the idea for those new projects.

Crikey... maybe I'm ready to go into a higher role...!! Hope so ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

+ 10

Of course some people on here criticise him. Because one of the fab things about this site is that it's full of people who have never had anything go wrong in their lives, who always exercise brilliant judgement, made the right academic choices and always had a plan in place for every eventuality.

What a pleasure it is to be in such company! :D

A lot of truth in this, too ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In today's NYT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/29/us/bay-area-technology-professionals-cant-get-hired-as-industry-moves-on.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&src=rechp

You do not have a future in IT, nobody does. Just because you are on £150k a year now, you will not be soon. IT people are like soccer players. They get a short career.

Funny that should come from a 'merkin study.

IT in the UK is very firmly a young persons game. That's why I now work for a 'merkin company. And why my previous job was for a 'merkin company: they're not so discriminatory about it.

The great thing about now is, with rent no longer eating almost all my income, I've been able to save. Two years and nine months in the previous job left me enough savings to buy a flat outright. Not a nice house, but an FTB (or BTL) flat I could only have dreamed of renting (let alone owning) back in my days as a young grad working for a UK IT company.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lot of truth in Greg's post! In engineering, anyway... I do see lots of older engineers, more so than I guess you'd see in IT.. but to be able to steer the business into profitability regardless of technology... I see many older guys in managing, strategic marketing and systems type jobs, helping to define new products and create new business. Once you've done some tech stuff, you realise that although it can be difficult in itself, you get used to the flow and can more than likely guide yourself through using new tools to get new projects done. It's getting the idea for those new projects.

Crikey... maybe I'm ready to go into a higher role...!! Hope so ;)

Mate I am 50 and wish I knew this S*** earlier, go for it. You are an expert technologist and as a group we are generally in a different league to other professions but our archilles heel is because we work in a nogo/go environment we are too cautious it applies to all technologists and so the bull shitters get on.

But learn a bit of that and you are unstoppable.

Tactically lean everything you can about

Presenting

Finance

Long term high value sales cycles

Oh and see linkedin as part of your working week not a lunchtime play around. If you have any mates in recruitment spend a morning with them in my experience they use it very well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

+ 10

Of course some people on here criticise him. Because one of the fab things about this site is that it's full of people who have never had anything go wrong in their lives, who always exercise brilliant judgement, made the right academic choices and always had a plan in place for every eventuality.

What a pleasure it is to be in such company! :D

I agree but the critism is around the woe is me entitlement line. He is articulate, educated and lives in a 1st world country what he appears to lack is a spine and pride to go and earn money it's still out there.

We have all made loads of mistakes but I should imagine lots of us 'positive' types (loud mouths ;) ) have never made the mistake of thinking anyone owes us a house/living/health etc

Edited by Greg Bowman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mate I am 50 and wish I knew this S*** earlier, go for it. You are an expert technologist and as a group we are generally in a different league to other professions but our archilles heel is because we work in a nogo/go environment we are too cautious it applies to all technologists and so the bull shitters get on.

But learn a bit of that and you are unstoppable.

Tactically lean everything you can about

Presenting

Finance

Long term high value sales cycles

Oh and see linkedin as part of your working week not a lunchtime play around. If you have any mates in recruitment spend a morning with them in my experience they use it very well.

The way I see it is that the engineers/IT bods are key to getting the work done, but at the end of the day they're grunts. I'm a grunt! There, I said it. I used to think my dad's view of the world was a bit old-fashioned... e.g. bad stuff still happens, you'll get far if you can flatter somebody.. etc... but now I see nothing has changed and he was right all along! There's a lot to be said for knowing you sh!t first of all.. but then to be able to take that knowledge and use it to create future business. Develop current products and define new ones... talk to your co-workers to make them feel like they're important and part of a pack... make sure you're approachable but not be taken for granted... a good communicator and so on. I'm sure you can tell me more! You're in sales, right? Were you in tech before that? Sorry, I do forget... there are so many stories on this site!

One of my friends in London does this debating thing every week in front of people... I used to think 'what is he on' but now I see how valuable that is.

I don't plan to do an MBA any time soon - don't know if I ever will... but I do have some amazing notes which I'm reading right now on finance, accounting, marketing and the like. You can never know too much.

I just hope in future a lot of this 'reading up' will benefit me (sometimes I think it's all read and no action). Although I sit in front of a screen most days, I have started to put my hand into all the pies (geting to know a bit about each project). I'm still a big techy in that I will often spend hours trying to properly understand the most obscure thing... but I see now that that is not the best way forward if you want to adapt and earn. Saying that, many of the more wise engineers I know say that when their colleagues when into mid-management, they found it hard to ride the waves (unemployment etc).. whilst if techies ever needed a new job, they always had up-to-date skill-stes. This is where electronics differs from IT, I reckon. Good electronics engineers, so far, always seem to be in demand. For this reason, every design manager I've ever met still spends at least 50% of his time doing design. So the path forward regarding what to do with myself is a but foggy.

Edited by guitarman001
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You don't get it. After a couple of decades as an IT contractor, few people want you. You have worked in the banks and corporates, big and small development houses. You know more about databases C++, Java, analysis and every tool there is. You have spent the years using such things every day. Website and E-commerce development is not hard, I wrote one of the biggest in the country. Yet, they don't want you. You are too old, your face does not fit. It has nothing to do with ability or personality. Look for yourself, where are the grey haired developers?

Thank god it has come so soon in the New Year: The first of our regular "I.T. is DOOMED!!!!!!" posts on HPC. :) So, to recap (the million other posts of the same ilk over the years I've responded to...):

I'm an I.T. contractor. Have been for 23 years (and a few years permie before that.) I have no problem finding work. Jobserve is still full of £100k-200k roles (permie or contract.) But...

Your face must fit; if it doesn't, make it fit. You must have good business and communication as well as technical skills. You must keep those skills up-to-date; and that means don't keep knocking out web & ecommerce sites, as the Bobs can do that much cheaper. Older, more experienced I.T. people are hugely sought after; younger people in I.T. struggle, as they have far less experience and are competing with cheap Bobs.

I'm approaching 50, and have no problem finding work. My contracting colleagues are all in the 45-60 age bracket; not a single one of them is presently out of work.

I.T. is not easy. Period. The streets are not paved with gold. But - as Jobserve confirms, right now - there are plenty of jobs around for the right people. And those jobs pay 4-8 times the national average wage. Longest I've been out of work was 7 months in the dark days of 2009; but I still managed to pull £60k in the remaining 5 months of the year. So I.T. can't be that bad, can it.

Your experiences may differ to those of mine and my colleagues. I suggest you look long and hard at the marketplace you are working in before making such generalisations as those you make above.

Nomadd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank god it has come so soon in the New Year: The first of our regular "I.T. is DOOMED!!!!!!" posts on HPC. :) So, to recap (the million other posts of the same ilk over the years I've responded to...):

I'm an I.T. contractor. Have been for 23 years (and a few years permie before that.) I have no problem finding work. Jobserve is still full of £100k-200k roles (permie or contract.) But...

Your face must fit; if it doesn't, make it fit.

Your experiences may differ to those of mine and my colleagues. I suggest you look long and hard at the marketplace you are working in before making such generalisations as those you make above.

Nomadd

+1

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He didn't seem to mention having any dependants and, if that's the case, then he has a world of choices that are much less available to those with wives and/or children.

It doesn't take huge amounts of capital and income for a singleton to live an interesting and fulfilling life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're in sales, right? Were you in tech before that? Sorry, I do forget... there are so many stories on this site!

I give off a sales air.....(arrogant, goal setting, bit of NLP Blah blah as you know!) all leanrt myself from building the companies and having to get the work although I think I have a deeper interest in it than most owner managers have taken the odd course, seminar etc. Of the three of us who run the businesses (we are equal partners in all our ventures) I am the most new business minded.

My background is pure tech, Left school did a four year apprenticeship as a production Engineer, then joined IBM as trainee typewriter mechanic and worked through systems and then into management.

Did an MBA in the 90's whilst running my own business but didn't really teach me anything I hadn't already found out dealingwith clients/bank manager etc but was the OU good quality and I enjoyed the mental break from the business as a change of gear when studying. But not sure even if you were employed it adds much to your career.

My enduring business love is recurring revenue technology service products the closest us mortals can get I think to wealthy multi generation landowners in that designed and sold right (and delivered professionally) they produce income on a Sunday.

Edited by Greg Bowman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

He's possibly a victim of the way many companies in the UK "develop" their technical specialists. As a good young engineer you soon realise that progression in the business and in pay terms means moving into management. The frequent result is that the business loses a good engineer and gains a mediocre and unhappy manager - who will sooner or later be hoofed out when hard times loom.

For the individual, that's a really bad outcome as they are practically unemployable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He's possibly a victim of the way many companies in the UK "develop" their technical specialists. As a good young engineer you soon realise that progression in the business and in pay terms means moving into management. The frequent result is that the business loses a good engineer and gains a mediocre and unhappy manager - who will sooner or later be hoofed out when hard times loom.

For the individual, that's a really bad outcome as they are practically unemployable.

Very very true.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the problem here is that this guy's lack of job is being viewed in isolation. It's clear from listening to him that he has a number of other problems. These might be:-

- Lack of a cohesive social structure, i.e. a sense of belonging

- Regret at not having met that "special someone" and fear of growing old alone. Probably coupled with the baggage of some extremely painful relationships

- Feeling like he is a "loser" in society because others seem to have much more, even those apparenty less "bright".

The above being somewhat cyclical thought processes that may be are not doing him any favours.

There are very real problems with the job market and he's unfortunately at the brunt end of them. Some people will never be good in sales, marketing or really any job that is more based on social skills than strategic and/or technical ones. In many countries this would not be an issue, however in ******** Britain it's another matter. Skills with smoke and mirrors, or just plain brown mist will get you very far and ensure well remunerated and continued employment.

So the guy probably wants an honest job that uses his intellect rather than selling out and becoming a walking piece of plastic. Is that really so bad? I feel for him, I really do. Not to say I wouldn't do things differently if I was in his position, but I can see exactly how he got there.

Perhaps he's not the practical type so suggestions like "learn a trade" would be useless. I know plenty who can barely hammer a nail without serious injury, let alone anything more complicated.

I think the real issue is this: We have a fundamentally imbalanced jobs market where so many functions of commerce have now been moved overseas that there is a disproportionate skew towards soft skills. In an environment like this, there will always be big losers. Maybe this guy just needs to realise this, stop dwelling on what won't happen and live a more positive life. He'll only get one after all and despite what is going on in his head, there is a whole world out of possibilities there that he would have never even considered.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually think there are alot of people who have a life plan, they just tend to be pretty short sighted, experience and learning from mistakes is a very valuable lesson in life, at 27 i personally had a massive life crisis, didn't work for nearly 3 years, 22 years later i'm semi retired at 52 working 3 days a week, I planned, sacrificed, saved, succeeded.

I also believe that self pity is a major fault in alot of personalities, having a positive attitude to everything i do served me well, I'm not saying it works for everyone, but it did for me. Feel free to flame me but people like the guy on the radio is a sad story, we're all wanting cheaper houses, he's just part of that process, life is a bitch, i know, i've been down there.

...+1 some people who may have worked in a well paid managerial post, standing on a pedestal of importance and respectability hurt themselves hard when they fall off of it.....this world is not about what you once were, what you know or what you have been, it is about sometimes accepting the lesser opportunities below ones station, being in self denial instead of accepting the reality of the situation they are in, no person is too good for any job....being humble and getting back into the work place, meeting people who can and will help that notice your personal qualities, determination and drive without stepping on others toes.

Where there is a will there is a way. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He's possibly a victim of the way many companies in the UK "develop" their technical specialists. As a good young engineer you soon realise that progression in the business and in pay terms means moving into management. The frequent result is that the business loses a good engineer and gains a mediocre and unhappy manager - who will sooner or later be hoofed out when hard times loom.

For the individual, that's a really bad outcome as they are practically unemployable.

The other side of that story is when the good engineer refuses to become a mediocre and unhappy manager, leaving the mediocre engineer to become the mediocre manager instead. There's nowhere in the system for him[1] to go. If he's not 'progressed' to a suit-and-powerpoint job by 30, he's on the scrapheap as far as UK PLC is concerned.

Result: good engineers under the rule of bad managers. Both despise each other: the manager sees the engineer as a junior bod apprenticed to the managerial job; the engineer sees the manager as an idiot. Disaffected engineers.

That's the classic setup that leads to big IT disasters. The people who can sell to governments or banks are incompatible with the people who can develop the systems they sell. They despise each other. It becomes self-fulfilling: only the bad engineers, and new grads for at most a couple of years, will work for those managers.

It's also one of the big drivers for Open Source: engineers getting together to produce something good and worthwhile that is denied them under the yoke of the Suits.

And finally, in my own case, it's why I haven't worked for UK plc for a very long time.

This phenomenon has had a little publicity in a public-sector context, with the meeja seeing a problem in the need for a good classroom teacher to move away from that and into an administrative role in order to progress. But elsewhere it just happens, off the radar.

[1] Or, rarely, her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's also one of the big drivers for Open Source: engineers getting together to produce something good and worthwhile that is denied them under the yoke of the Suits.

I agree with a lot of your post apart from that line. People down the ages don't buy good and worthwhile things they buy what they are sold and persuaded are good and worthwhile things so in reality nothing to do with UK Plc it's human nature from the time of the Romans.

Edited by Greg Bowman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's also one of the big drivers for Open Source: engineers getting together to produce something good and worthwhile that is denied them under the yoke of the Suits.

You do understand that IBM and Oracle (and BEA and Sun, before their respective buyouts) are some of the biggest contributors to O.S.S? :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You do understand that IBM and Oracle (and BEA and Sun, before their respective buyouts) are some of the biggest contributors to O.S.S? :)

I understand it very well, thank you. And I should point out the distinction I made between UK plc and US companies. I could comment in a lot more detail but, given that I worked for Sun at the time of the Oracle takeover, it would be inappropriate.

You can even list Microsoft in recent years: hearing Sam Ramji speak some years ago told me some serious folks within MS were on-side, and more recently seeing them recruit Gianugo ("open source is necessary but not sufficient") Rabellino confirms it further.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The other side of that story is when the good engineer refuses to become a mediocre and unhappy manager, leaving the mediocre engineer to become the mediocre manager instead. There's nowhere in the system for him[1] to go. If he's not 'progressed' to a suit-and-powerpoint job by 30, he's on the scrapheap as far as UK PLC is concerned.

Result: good engineers under the rule of bad managers. Both despise each other: the manager sees the engineer as a junior bod apprenticed to the managerial job; the engineer sees the manager as an idiot. Disaffected engineers.

That's the classic setup that leads to big IT disasters. The people who can sell to governments or banks are incompatible with the people who can develop the systems they sell. They despise each other. It becomes self-fulfilling: only the bad engineers, and new grads for at most a couple of years, will work for those managers.

It's also one of the big drivers for Open Source: engineers getting together to produce something good and worthwhile that is denied them under the yoke of the Suits.

And finally, in my own case, it's why I haven't worked for UK plc for a very long time.

This phenomenon has had a little publicity in a public-sector context, with the meeja seeing a problem in the need for a good classroom teacher to move away from that and into an administrative role in order to progress. But elsewhere it just happens, off the radar.

[1] Or, rarely, her.

wow, this rings very true for me.

the problem is the bad communicating disaffected employee is no longer listened to and then it can take a big disaster to shake things up.

However ultimately, I feel the country if not the western world has come to idolize the talk rather than the walk. If we went back a few hundred years, most of the people that are idolized and well rewarded would struggle just to survive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

nicely put.

I may seem to have been hard on him,but I feel his low state is directly correlated to his expectations.

I have not listened to the recording, however I would like to say that expectation is the cause of a lot of problems.

I fear a lot of people are going to suffer as a result of stretching their finances to meet expectations.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

out of my circle of friends,a lot are deep in debt and jsut don't realsie how hard life will be when they're older,especially if they're earning power takes a hit.few have anything approaching 50% equity in their hosue/capital set aside and thus are highly exposed to a reversion to mean in HPs.

most have no prospect of a decent pension.many would be in a completely different position if they'd not got greedy adn moved up the ladder chasing the HPI dream moving from 70% equity in a small hopsue to 25% equity in a large pile.

expectations/social pressure/greed/stupidity all played their part.

we all make mistakes in life,it's jsut that some are far more damaging than others

owning your own home.. well that would be great if they did own it, all they own is an obligation to make repayments, if they renege on that deal, they have less than nothing, all it takes is the whim of some new whizkid director and it's all over.

It can happen in the blink of an eye, of cause we have generous benefits to soften the blow for now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.




×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.