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The Resignation Counter Offer and the Danger It Presents

It’s been a bit since my last reader question Monday post.  But, hopefully you can forgive me.  The last two Mondays were Christmas and New Years Day, so I was a bit distracted.  Let’s get back to business today, though, with a reader question about the counter offer.

Buckle up, because this is a pretty infuriating tale.

I have a coworker who had an opportunity to go to a new company/job where he would have received a major promotion and raise. When he told his current boss about the opportunity, his boss countered by offering him an equally major promotion and raise.  So he decided to turn down the other offer and stay at his current job.

However, once he turned down the other offer and told his boss he would accept the counter offer, his boss came back and said that for “logistical reasons” he couldn’t do a major promotion and raise right now. His boss offered him a small raise and token promotion for staying and said that they would “re-evaluate the situation in 6 months”. Have you seen this type of bait-and-switch tactic before?

Okay, I can actually answer the question pretty simply.  While I’ve seen a lot of things in my travels, I’ve never actually directly seen this.

But I think the real question here is less whether I’ve seen it or not and more about my take on it.  So let’s take a look at that.

The Employment Counter Offer

First of all, let me set the stage a little just so we’re crystal clear on what’s going on.  This bit of back and forth between the person in question and his employer centers around the idea of a counter offer.

You go out and do some interviewing while gainfully employed.  One of these interviews bears fruit, and you find yourself with an offer in hand.  With that offer, you resign from your current post.  But your boss counters with, well, a counter offer.  “Tell you what — we don’t want to lose you, so we’ll match their offer to keep you here.”

Here be dragons, though.

Here be dragons, like this one, when you accept a counter offer.

I’ve offered my opinion on counter offers before, but I’ll recap here briefly.  You shouldn’t accept counter offers.  If you work with a recruiter, a recruiter will tell you this emphatically and cite tons of reasons.  This is because every time a developer accepts a counter offer, a recruiter loses his wings.  Or, wait, I mean his commission.

But it actually is a pretty bad idea for you, recruiters notwithstanding.  The counter offer comes from you having temporary leverage.  It’s generally the employer’s least bad short term option, but it doesn’t age well because you’re now in a role and earning an amount of money they don’t really think you deserve.  It’s probably the last promotion you’ll ever earn there.

So the first issue I have here is actually with the apparently aggrieved party.  Accept counter offers at your own peril.

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DaedTech Digest: Monitoring and Agile Transformation Anti Patterns

Alright, I’ll admit it.  I’ve violated the cardinal rule of blogging for the last couple of weeks, and I’ve not shown up here.  I hope you can forgive me.  (At least I’ve avoided charges of hypocrisy by posting to the Hit Subscribe blog, thereby avoiding failure to show up in a place where I give blogging advice.)

Anyway, two weeks ago was the holidays and family, and this week is travel.  My wife and I are on a week-long cross-country driving odyssey from Michigan to San Diego with some stops and some visits sprinkled in.  I’m making this post from a hotel in Little Rock Arkansas.

Still, though, I’ve at least managed to do a DaedTech digest post every week.  And I’ll keep that streak alive today.  Oh, and I will get back to making regular posts again, so no worries.

Picks

  • I’m going to be talking at a remote conference in a few weeks.  (More details later)
  • For Christmas, I received an Echo Show, which I’m really enjoying so far.  Think of Alexa, but with a screen.
  • If you’re in the market for a pair of headphones and you don’t mind spending some money, check these Bose headphones out.  My wife got them for me for Christmas, and they are awesome.  Extremely comfy, noise-cancelling, great sound quality, Bluetooth sync with your phone (or anything).  And they come charged out of the box.  I’m not an audiophile by any stretch, so it makes me being amazed by them all the more telling.
  • Finally, I’ll pick my Jeep Grand Cherokee.  Driving between Chicago and my place in Michigan brings us through a miserable band of lake effect snow.  I’ve made that drive twice during the holidays.  Then, yesterday, I drove through that same region and into the start of this blizzard cyclone bomb thing.  And, through it all, the Jeep was a champ in the snow.  Also, this kind of crap is why we’re heading somewhere warm for the winter.

DaedTech Post Digest

  • I wrote a post for QA Complete (SmartBear) about understanding test case management.  Think managing QA-style testing, rather than anything related to unit tests.
  • A little over three months ago, I announced something I called the “singleton challenge” for the NDepend blog.  This was an announcement/preview of a new line of posts I’m doing over there where I do empirical studies of the properties of codebases.  In this case, the idea was to put some data behind a post I’d written suggesting that singleton usage has a variety of negative effects on codebases.
  • For Scalyr, I wrote about different types of server monitoring software.  What might you want to know about your code in production?
  • On the SubMain blog, I wrote about how code comments and documentation aren’t the same thing.  Anything you stick in the codebase with a couple of whacks in front of it is a comment.  But that doesn’t mean it’s documenting anything (or even helping).
  • Here’s kind of a fun one.  For TechTown, I wrote about agile transformation anti-patterns.  I’ve seen a lot of different companies trying to “go agile” and there are distinct issues that emerge as somewhat universal, or at least common.
  • Finally, I wrote a post for Rollout about how you can use feature flags to go from architectural monoliths to a microservice architecture.

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DaedTech Digest: New Year’s Edition

I’ve been taking it easy this last week, celebrating Christmas and also taking the rest of the week (mostly) off to spend time with family.  So I’ve done no normal posts and also don’t plan to have one on New Years Day.  Instead, I’ll pick back up next Wednesday.

But, I can take a few minutes out to sneak in a digest post.

Picks

  • I’ve been reading a series called The Expanse, by James Corey.  If you like sci-fi, I definitely recommend it.  I also understand that it’s a SyFy series as well.
  • For Christmas this year, I got a “jerkygram.”  If you love meat and jerky the way that I do, you’ll definitely enjoy this.
  • I’m doing a talk for a remote conference called The Developer on Fire Remote Conference.  This takes place January 22nd to January 24th, and you can catch me, John Sonmez, Jon Skeet, and many others.
  • I pick a little vacation time.  It’s been hard, but I’ve gotten my business interests to the point that I can actually take a vacation without it meaning that I have no income.  It’s restorative and, while I wholeheartedly endorse hustles and side hustles, you can’t go 365 days per year.

DaedTech Post Digest

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DaedTech Digest: Christmas Edition

This is the last DaedTech digest before Christmas, which reminds me to wish all of you reading a Merry Christmas!  And, if you don’t celebrate Christmas, then Merry Random Day off Work.

If you look at the dates of things in the digest section, you’ll see that they’re typically older posts.  My goal is to work my way gradually to getting current and then eventually to link to stuff I’ve written within the last week.  Like all things in life, it’s a process.

Anyway, I asked Amanda to draw a Santa Claus for the Christmas edition of the digest, and she obliged.  So here’s that to help make your life more festive.

Picks

  • For you Developer Hegemony fans, the Ditching Hourly podcast featured a textbook example of an efficiencer.  This guy decided that he was going to make his specialty helping dev shops save money on their AWS bills.
  • I’ve come to really love Alexa, and I’ve always loved home automation, so I pick this.  I have an Echo and a Dot and also a bunch of smart bulbs, a Wink Hub, and a Nest.  The result?  I can say “Alexa, turn master bedroom light on” and that actually happens.  It’s not quite the same as wiring a bunch of X10 stuff up and turning a Raspberry Pi into a home automation rest endpoint, but, since I no longer have time for that, it makes a good stand in.
  • Speaking of Raspberry Pis, REST, and home automation, if you’re a more recent reader, you might not know that I once did a home automation course for Pluralsight.
  • We’re heading out of southern Mississippi in a couple of days, but during the 5 weeks we spent here, we’ve enjoyed a variety of beers from the Lazy Magnolia Brewery.  If you’re ever here (or see them in stores near you), it’s tasty stuff.

DaedTech Post Digest

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Resume Skills for the Job Seeker with Upward Ambition

It strikes me that, lately, I write a lot about how to make it in a free agent world (or how to get there).  So today, I’d like to switch up it a little and give a nod to those of you in the salaried world, and perfectly happy there to boot.  But don’t expect me to talk about a resume skills section or what have you without at least a little realpolitik and a little cynicism.

The resume-interview one-two punch is a stupid way for employers to find employees.  Full stop.  But it’s also the prohibitive incumbent and the system that you’re going to have to navigate.

So let’s focus on resume skills today and give you a fighting chance at navigating the process.  In fact, let’s go beyond just navigating it and look at how to maximize how it works for you.  This has two essential components.

  • Filter the riff-raff employers out of your search as quickly as possible.
  • Impress the ones you care about.

Let’s look at how you can tune the resume skills section to help with both.

The resume bot 9000 is the only one that cares about your resume skills section.

The Anatomy and Purpose of a Resume

First of all, let’s consider the purpose of a resume.  Lansing Community College, winner of the SEO sweepstakes for “what’s the purpose of a resume” has the following to say.

The purpose of a resume is to provide a summary of your skills, abilities and accomplishments. It is a quick advertisement of who you are. It is a “snapshot” of you with the intent of capturing and emphasizing interests and secure you an interview.

Who am I to argue with an institution of higher education?  That all sounds exactly like the ostensible purpose of a resume and a very sunny assessment besides.  It’s your own tiny commercial in print, and, done right, it gets you interviews.

But let’s be a little more blunt about the way things work.

You put together a resume, trying to stuff as many self-aggrandizing tidbits as you can in there while looking plausibly humble.  Then you fire it off for the viewing displeasure of an extremely bored person whose main mission is to find reasons not to call you.  This resume filtration will feature two passes, usually.  These include an automated or semi-automated pass to disqualify anyone without the magic acronyms and a second one to disqualify anyone that seems fishy somehow.  To navigate this minefield, you put together a resume with the following sections.

  • Basic contact information.
  • Employment history, including job titles, job descriptions, and accomplishments.
  • Education.
  • The resume skills section.
  • Some people include an “objective” which should probably be “straight cash, Homie.”  (Just kidding — no one appreciates honesty here, so I’d just omit this altogether)

What do Resume Skills Look Like?

In this particular post, though, I’m going to focus on the resume skills, so let’s not worry about the other sections too much.  The standard advice there is usually good, particularly the part about trying to quantify the accomplishments at your various jobs as much as possible.

It’s the resume skills section that features the great tragedy among the broader, lesser tragedy that is this whole process.  I’m talking about this, lifted from a hypothetical resume for one Amy Jones, “midlevel software engineer,” on Monster.com (they’re still truckin’, apparently!).

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