Incentivization

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The job market is red hot for software developers right now. Last time I was looking for a job, I made the mistake of putting my resume on CareerBuilder. I ended up having to fend recruiters off with a pointy stick. The problem was that 100% of the jobs they were throwing at me were awful. I ended up going with a reference from a prior colleague.

It’s easy to get a job, but I want a place that I can stay at long term. I’m not necessarily looking for an employer that has all sorts of “perks” either. Ping-pong, video games, masseuses, free food, and go-karts are neat and all, but feel a bit like coddling to me. It tends to hide the teeth used to induce all kinds of ills too.

Instead, I want to feel valued. Value means that what I do makes a difference, and isn’t just there to fill a time sheet. Not everything is going to send people to the moon, I get that, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the icy grip of death either.

How would an employer show that they value me? Know how I’m doing, and not just what I’m doing. Know what kind of stuff I like to work on, and with what technologies. Does your organization have some kind of corporate ladder? Be 100% clear on what is required to climb it. If you have to have some kind of annual review, there should be no surprises from either party going into it. If you only check in a couple of times a year at review time, don’t be surprised when I decide to check out.

A good software developer will be intrinsically motivated to ship. This motivation can be crushed like an armadillo under a 747, or it can be nurtured to become a redwood.

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