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Re: Case study for interviewing Oracle DBA

From: Nuno Souto <>
Date: Wed, 02 Mar 2005 02:49:18 +1100
Message-ID: <>

david wendelken apparently said,on my timestamp of 2/03/2005 12:58 AM:
> How many of you, if asked to find a good CFO or a good tax attorney or a
 > good Mongolian linguist would know how to tell the difference  > between a good one and a bs artist?

I certainly wouldn't. Then again, going by the caliber of CFO's, CEO's and such out there I don't think many do. There is a reason why we now have this Sarbonne-Oxley thingie with us...

> Let's look at it from management's point of view.

Actually, I think that is the completely wrong point of view. It should be: the *company's* point of view. Stuff the manager.

What does the company want? A quick-and-dirty employee that will do a passable job for minimal amount of $$$ and be easy to dismiss a few months down the line?

Or an employee that will hang around for a while and be an asset to the company? Yes, business knowledge IS a company asset. How much does it cost to train a new person in the particulars of the business? There you go: that IS the value of the asset. It's only the accounting madness of the 80's that has dismissed it. But it's slowly turning around.

> They desperately need a team of really good IT folks to do work for them.

and who KNOWS the business as well. Unapplied IT knowledge is worthless outside of academic environments.

> They don't have a clue in heck of how to tell a really good IT person from a
 > nimrod --

Nobody knows. Never mind how many pieces of paper might be brought in. You might hire the best paper-qualified genius around only to find (s)he is totally unmotivated after 6 months. How much did that silly exercise cost?

 > before they hire them and waste 6 months to a year  > finding out they made a mistake.

That is the risk of hiring ANYONE for ANY position. Perhaps if companies spent more time fostering an in-house culture and helping people fit into it things would be different and the motivation would be there for employees to learn the business?

You don't need a genius on every company's IT: all you need is a smart, attentive and motivated person with the basic knowledge. The smartness and attention is what you look for, the motivation is what you have to provide. Watch what IBM does. Why do you reckon it is so successful in finding *AND KEEPING* good people?

Business knowledge doesn't come cheap. And if companies think they can get it for free, they are so far off the mark they'll never find anyone suitable.

It's a fact of modern business companies don't want to invest in getting a proper culture and on-going education to their employees. There is a price to pay for that and it is the meaningless and worthless pieces of paper we now see.

This is one of the consequences of the deranged employment policies of the 80s. Has anyone thought of penalizing the true guilty parts in all this: the so-called economic "experts" who recommended a "mobile workforce" and other similar lunacy?

Might be worth spending some time learning from past errors instead of just forging ahead into uncharted waters hoping for a miracle. Some of the current outsourcing trends fall right into this "miracle hoping" territory...

> I don't get mad at my young child because they don't know how to do something,
> and I don't complain to my friends about it, I teach my child how to do it!

Yes! It's called: invest some of your capital in the future of your child. It applies to employees and companies as well. And it won't go away any time soon.

> One of my goals for next year is to start writing a series of articles

 > for management and airline magazines on "things managers need to know
 > about IT".   I would love to hear from you all **off list** as to what
 > needs to be included in that series.

The problem is NOT with IT and how to evaluate it. The problem is with the deranged hiring policies of the last 25 years. Companies are now reaping the long term consequences of those. They were sufficiently warned there was a price to pay in the long run: total cynicism and disloyalty of the workforce. Well, it's here now.

One can insist on throwing pieces of paper at the problem. It's got nothing to do with the paper, I'm afraid.

Nuno Souto
in sunny Sydney, Australia
Received on Tue Mar 01 2005 - 10:52:35 CST

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