Will Productivity Harm Your Job?

Jan 6, 2009   //   by Hackadelic   //   Blog  //  No Comments

recovery 98/365Today, I incidentally came accross a (somewhat older) discussion about python jobs, where I found a post from someone who was looking for one, saying

I ended up doing Java web developement close to where I live. I figured big projects in slow languages = slow progress = job security. Alas, probably less fun too.

Note his logic ??? (In italic)

Wow! I thought. Somehow, this does make sense. A bizarre sense, but still…

I mean, it is true that Python is known as an exceptionally productive programming environment. (Yeah, all you Java, Perl, PHP and whatnot programmers, who never really tried Python: Keep your voice down.1 😉 ) And it is also true that there are (still) much less “python jobs”, than there are, say, “java jobs”. So this might be evidence…

Let me generalize this a bit:

The less productive your working environment2 is, the safer your job. Within certain limits, that is, so your employer doesn’t run out of business. (Note that I’m not talking about your personal productivity within that environment. You still need to keep up a certain level. But after all, the bar for your personal productivity is set by the productivity level of your working environment, so you can view that as another advantage of low productivity environments.)

MoneysNow that we’ve seen how lack of productivity can make your job more secure, and your working life easier, let’s see what’s in there for you if by some twist of fate you actually managed to increase the productivity of the whole environment.

Obviously, you would need to do something really novel in order to accomplish a task of such epic dimension. We’re talking about innovation here, not less than we’re talking about effectiveness.

At this point, I inevitably have to think about one occasion on my own job once. We’ve been in a meeting on the topic of automation (of which I am a great proponent), when we asked our boss “So say we do a great job and set up a system with which we can complete the work of 4 weeks in one. Do we get a week or so off for every 3 weeks saved?”

As you can easily guess, the answer (after some short confused silence) was “No”.

This, and numerous other occasions from my own and others’ work life, allow for one and only one conclusion:

Your working environment does not want to be more productive!

Projects would be completed sooner, and everybody would have to familiarize himself with new topics much more frequently! I mean: We’d need to study, hey!

Productivity bars would be raised, and everybody would have to work smarter, if not harder! Less hanging around, chatting, watching youtube videos or whatever we love to do while we wait for “the system” to complete, or whatnot …

And all that just because YOU invented a new method?!?

No way you’ll ever be rewarded for that, dude !

Think about it.

DISCLAIMER: The content of this post is purely fictional. Any resemblence to real work life situations of any persons living or dead is purely coincentental, and unintended. By no means it reflects the authors true convictions, nor those of any of his employers, colleagues, relatives, friends, neighbors, pets, or any other life-forms he is or has been in any relation with whatsoever. 😉
  1. After all, Python has created his own chemical element, Pythonium, the raffinate of which, Pythonite, is a recognized productivity analeptic. []
  2. We all do our job in certain working environments, which enforce some, if not most of the working conditions, including but not limited to the programming language and the tools that we use. []

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