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Optical/IP

Lighting Out From Telecom Town

Given the all-time low in the telecom market, it's not surprising to see folk turning to more reliable sources of revenue. Telecom skills are being reallocated on the personal as well as the corporate level.

Take the case of Doug Finke, who left his post as COO of Corning IntelliSense Corp. to become VP of product marketing and business development at ChipWrights Inc., which makes "systems-on-a-chip" for consumer applications (see ChipWrights Hires Finke).

"I have to say it is quite exciting working again in an area that is rapidly growing, after being in the gloom and doom of optical telecommunications," Finke writes in an email to Light Reading. While Intellisense has always made MEMS for a range of industries, the majority of its revenues are telecom-related.

In changing jobs, Finke opted to return to his semiconductor roots. In that space, consumer products and biomedical engineering offer better opportunities right now than telecom, though he doesn't have a biotech background.

Finke's not alone in ditching traditional telecom: James Smith, former VP of R&D at Transparent Networks Inc., left that startup this past summer to join L-3 Communications Corp., which makes systems and components for a range of markets, with a heavy emphasis on telemetry gear for the national defense market. He says its strong customer base and "cash positive" position were "absolutely" factors in his decision to join a new industry.

In another example, Michael Ward, former VP of North American sales at Corvis Corp. (Nasdaq: CORV), became VP of worldwide sales and service at more staid but steady Paradyne Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: PDYN) in January 2002. Ward started his career with engineering jobs at General DataComm as well as sales gigs at Ascend and later Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU).

Ward didn't respond to requests for comments on his move. But his case -- like Finke's and Smith's -- illustrates that, while many folk who work in the telecom sector are forced to find work in other industries against their will (see Laid Off, and Leaving Telecom ), others appear to be seeking greener pastures on their own.

In Finke's case, semiconductor experience helped buy a ticket out of telecom. And his experience isn't unique, according to Craig Millard, cofounder and managing director of the Millard Group, a recuitment firm. He says folk with enterprise experience, particularly in the sales and marketing areas, who left their posts for the glitz of optical telecom in the glory days, are now looking backward, despite mixed reviews about the reality of growth in enterprise spending (see In Search of... Enterprise Rebound). "Candidates who came from infrastructure companies that make LAN equipment or enterprise switches are absolutely returning to selling into the enterprise," he maintains.

Millard says it's a bit harder to place those who've been in telecom all along. People who worked for long-haul optical startups, for instance, were often recruited for their telecom skills, and now that business is bad, they can't fall back on 15 years of selling to enterprise customers.

Many folk with specialized skills also face metamorphoses in their fields of origin. It's not a given, for instance, that optical switch engineers, many of whom hailed from companies that made optical displays, can successfully return to their original business, or that network processor experts can go back to computer graphics.

"Graphics is dead. There are only a couple of companies left," writes Linley Gwennap, principal analyst at The Linley Group, a research firm. But he says "significant opportunities" exist for network processor experts in data center and enterprise applications, where vendors are looking to put the technology to use in Web switches, firewalls, enterprise routers, and the like.

Some workers may find they don't have to move -- their companies will take the initiative in new markets. This week, for example, Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. (FNC) announced plans to extend its manufacturing capability to making other kinds of systems than telecom ones. The company's launched its new direction by making ATM machines (the banking kind) for sister company Fujitsu Transaction Solutions (see Fujitsu to Build ATMs).

Other companies are looking to opportunities with Uncle Sam, which is building out a series of new networks related to Homeland Security and other projects. Among them is Firstwave Secure Intelligent Optical Networks Inc., which boasts of having made a smart move in addressing the government market early on (see Firstwave Follows the Feds).

"The federal government is starting to be a very interesting spot for companies in optical and communications," Millard says. He cites Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) as having started federal initiatives.

Light Reading is conducting a reader poll on the issue of leaving telecom for other fields of endeavor. To take a look, click here — Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading
www.lightreading.com
cyber_techy 12/4/2012 | 9:20:59 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Being laid off in the east coast, I am currently considering opportunities in California. I want to know what's the comparable pay? I've heard that you need to make 1.5 times in California compared to Massachusetts just to keep the same standard of living!!

I would like to hear from people who actually made such a move.

Thanks,
ct
DarkWriting 12/4/2012 | 9:21:15 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town <<<you an="" country?="" independent="" mean="" not="" we're="">>>

Take Texas.......Please!

DW</you>
TheChief 12/4/2012 | 9:21:16 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town I guess that's the next step after trying to become an independent country.
==================================================

You mean we're not an independent country?
TheChief 12/4/2012 | 9:21:16 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town We were called the Garden State for a reason.
================================================

Been to upstate NJ and it pretty and they raise a lot of horses, it is just too cold! Doesn't take too long to get use to 95-100 degree summers.
whitewater 12/4/2012 | 9:21:16 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Everyone's gotta love Texas...after all, who could hate the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders or Anna Nicole Smith? My personal favorite is Sandy the Squirrel (spongebob fans will know who I'm talking about); she kicks ass.

I actually live in NJ (yeah yeah I've heard all the jokes before)... but I've also been lucky enough to visit places like California, Texas and Mass. Each of these states has good and bad but over all seem to be pretty decent places to live (it's all a matter of preference isn't it?). I know NJ has a crap reputation but it's actually quite pretty once you leave the Newark ariport area. We were called the Garden State for a reason.

JohnMosesBrowning 12/4/2012 | 9:21:17 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Man! All these comparisons between California & New Jersey make me appreciate Texas even more!
TheChief 12/4/2012 | 9:21:21 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town There I can drive a pick-up truck with a gun rack and a shotgun
==================================================

Not any more, you need a lock on the gun; however, you can carry a 9mm under you arm! Now what part of Texas is New York in?
ceiloblue 12/4/2012 | 9:21:22 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town "Yeehaw! There I can drive a pick-up truck with a gun rack and a shotgun, believe in creatism, spend the whole weekends square dancing, going to race tracks or getting drunk at bbq! Yeehaw! My life will be filled with excitement! Yeehaw!"

Actually, you forgot the two-steppin' and line dancin'. But, in fact, it DOES sound like a lot of fun. :-)

(OBTW, vapa, it's c-r-e-a-t-i-o-n-i-s-m)
rjmcmahon 12/4/2012 | 9:21:29 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Ya'll need to come to God's country, Texas that is! ;)
_______________

During the apollo program, Johnson Space Center in Houston sent some moon rocks to Unversity of Texas and SMU, but they didn't have enough samples, so they sent Texas A&M a cow chip instead. When reporting their analysis the Aggie PhD's exclaimed, "Hey guys, the cow really did jump over the moon!"

It looks like Oklahoma is home of the three time cow chip throwing champion.

http://www.beavercowchipnews.c...

Now that's a sport Comcast will never dedicate a channel to ;-)

And you know why Texas doesn't fall into the Gulf of Mexico? Because Oklahoma sucks! (That's a joke. I dated a girl from Oklahoma -- which reminds of the one about Montanna, where men are men and women are sheep (and the sheep run scared).

Now back to the east coast / west coast debate ...
Elvis Doesn't Live 12/4/2012 | 9:21:29 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town I'm reminded of a few lines from a movie:

Texas? Only two things come from Texas, Boy.....steers and queers, I don't see no horns coming out yo head........

Uh oh, non PC remark.....let's see if it sticks.
vapa 12/4/2012 | 9:21:31 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Vapa.... weren't you indignant (and rightfully so)about the Chinese/Indian racial slur made earlier???

Haha... I think my post was poking fun at "stereotype" of a region, Texas (or the South in general). Is that considered racism? Do Texans have big enough ego to call themselves a seperate race? I guess that's the next step after trying to become an independent country. :D
DarkWriting 12/4/2012 | 9:21:33 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town "F" the East Coast. You have to get up too early there.

DW
brahmos 12/4/2012 | 9:21:33 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town most of NJs tech elite do not live in the rundown
area opposite NYC, but more into the interior (somerset country) and south(monmouth county).

towns like holmdel,middletown,lincroft,red bank,
freehold, ....good places and less expensive than
CA/MA. close to the shore & seafood & gambling. plus NYC downtown is just 1 hr away by train.

the place I dont like is MA, bad roads, overhype,
over costly housing for shitty old dumps in 'good school district' , 'telecom corridor' and what have you.

if the job market were decent, would take monmouth cty anyday over life on the 495 belt.
vapa 12/4/2012 | 9:21:34 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Left coast, right coast, who cares! They both cost too much and have huge faults. Ya'll need to come to God's country, Texas that is! ;)

Yeehaw! There I can drive a pick-up truck with a gun rack and a shotgun, believe in creatism, spend the whole weekends square dancing, going to race tracks or getting drunk at bbq! Yeehaw! My life will be filled with excitement! Yeehaw!
the_lord 12/4/2012 | 9:21:34 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town
Vapa.... weren't you indignant (and rightfully so)about the Chinese/Indian racial slur made earlier???

As a Texan, I can say that your remarks lacked the same political correctness.... ;-)

Indians were in Texas long before there were Anglo settlers.

Look, if you want to play with the doggies, don't piss like a puppy!!!!

Aside from that, your car never rusts....
TheChief 12/4/2012 | 9:21:38 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Left coast, right coast, who cares! They both cost too much and have huge faults. Ya'll need to come to God's country, Texas that is! ;)
ceiloblue 12/4/2012 | 9:21:39 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Wonderful thing, this Ignore Author button. First time I've used it, and I'm a pretty tolerant guy.

All I can say rafaelg is that you are a bigot, and you never had enough sense to get off the turnpike.

And I regard that as a GOOD thing, in your case.
optobozo 12/4/2012 | 9:21:42 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town dwdm2,

What rjmcmahon quoted from Dee Hock could be applied to where you work. As the essay clearly explains, leadership starts within yourself. Practice it where you work and maybe people will flock to you. Then you won't have to figure out where to work.

'bozo
dwdm2 12/4/2012 | 9:21:43 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Aha, sounds attractive; well said rjmcmahon. Now only if we could figure out the address/location of such a place where these are practiced, perhaps we could flock there!

Cheers.
---------

rjmcmahon writes:

Accomplishment: Never confuse activity with productivity. It is not what goes in your end of the pipe that matters, but what comes out the other end. Everything but intense thought, judgment, and action is infected to some degree with meaningless activity. Think! Judge! Act! Free others to do the same!

Hiring: Never hire or promote in your own image. It is foolish to replicate your strength. It is stupid to replicate your weakness. Employ, trust, and reward those whose perspective, ability and judgment are radically different from your own and recognize that it requires uncommon humility, tolerance, and wisdom.

PS. the team is not yours. It belongs to the whole of which you are only one member. Taking credit for the whole is the quickest way to alienate yourself and contribute to its destruction.
rafaelg 12/4/2012 | 9:21:44 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town "One reason that someone might make a good internal referral is that they actually believe that the other person is actually a valuable person to have aboard. Hopefully, their motivation is to bring the most talented people to the company so that the company has the best possible chance of succeeding, to everyone's mutual benefit.

Sometimes it even works this way. ;-)

Tony"

Man, If that isn't idealism...

Fact: The internal refferrral has two motives:
1 Get the money for the hire.
2 Get the money for the hire.

RG
rafaelg 12/4/2012 | 9:21:44 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town As a former East Coaster, I think you are STONED

California on a bad day blows away New Jersey on a perfect Day

"NY/NYC are just as expensive (unless you want to live on the docks at Newark)

Traffic is as bad or worse

NYC taxes everything

First time it slushes
GET OVER IT"--- deepciscothroat

...And when NY flushes, NJ overflows...and they all become full of S---...
rjmcmahon 12/4/2012 | 9:21:44 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town The following link may be helpful for those trying to become part of human organizations where the sum is greater than its parts.

http://www.pfdf.org/leaderbook...

The following seem relevant to this thread.

Position: Subordinates may owe a measure of obedience by virtue of your position, but they owe no respect save that which you earn by your daily conduct. Without their respect, your authority is destructive.

Mistakes: Toothless little things, providing you can recognize them, admit them, correct them, learn from them, and rise above them. If not, they grow fangs and strike.

Accomplishment: Never confuse activity with productivity. It is not what goes in your end of the pipe that matters, but what comes out the other end. Everything but intense thought, judgment, and action is infected to some degree with meaningless activity. Think! Judge! Act! Free others to do the same!

Hiring: Never hire or promote in your own image. It is foolish to replicate your strength. It is stupid to replicate your weakness. Employ, trust, and reward those whose perspective, ability and judgment are radically different from your own and recognize that it requires uncommon humility, tolerance, and wisdom.

PS. Dreamer, the team is not yours. It belongs to the whole of which you are only one member. Taking credit for the whole is the quickest way to alienate yourself and contribute to its destruction.
J. Random Photon 12/4/2012 | 9:21:47 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town > could you please tell me why internal referral makes more sense

It's a concept called "birds of a feather".

Let's say you're a smart, well-qualified engineer working for me, who's personality is a good fit for the existing culture (or the new one, if we're trying to change the existant one).

Chances are the people you know, and would be willing to recommend, share many of your characteristics. Since you have proven successful in the environment, it's more likely that those you'd recommend will too, as compared to J. Random Person-off-the-street.
fiber_r_us 12/4/2012 | 9:21:48 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town
> Their is spelled t-h-e-i-r not thier

That is one of those words where my fingers are "dislexic". Same with "the", my figers often type "teh". If I don't proof it after typing, I'll commonly typo it...






opticaltalent 12/4/2012 | 9:21:53 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town fiber_r_us

I agree with everything you said in 1-8...it takes wisdom to know who are the players and who are the pretenders. Conventional factors such as education and being at companies that were successful do not always indicate if they will be a contributor at the next company.
I particularly like "Experience" is not measured in "years" it is measured in accomplishments and depth of knowledge." What you said about communication abilities and leaders is SO true...both are critical for success. You have a lot of nuggets of wisdom in this post.

Optical Talent

P.S. Their is spelled t-h-e-i-r not thier
runrabbitrun 12/4/2012 | 9:22:08 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Do you said, My point is that today's software "engineers" are really a "low-tech job", in my view. You don't need advanced knowledge. How often a software engineer deals with graph theory, computational geometry, or matrix algebra??? By the way, what's the definition for Poisson distribution which is often used to model telephone connections?
----------------------------------

The Bell Head in me needs to comment on this. Erlang-B is derived from the Poisson distribution. It is not 'the' distribution used in traffic engineering. Its been too long, else I'd also write about Wilkison distributions, peakedness, and least cost erlang routing (which resulted in hierarchical routing used in Tandem switching). An engineer's best tool is accuracy.

Also, the software engineers I know are not grind monkeys as you describe them. 90% of their time is in design, and 10% in coding. Even Dennis Ritchie probably wrote code which could have been written by a High School Grad. Do you think he used graph theory to create Unix? Bill Gates never got his college degree. If these are the group of people you are speaking about, sign me up!
calpole 12/4/2012 | 9:22:08 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town I agree. If someone has done PhD honestly,
then he must have picked up following qualities:

1. Precise technical communication and presentation. Academic presentation standard
is much higher.

2. Ability to see and solve problems.
Should have ability to see the root
of the problems.

3. Learned how to deal with their thesis supervisor.
MP_UK 12/4/2012 | 9:22:09 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town SweetOldWorld:
Either you're an engineer or you're not, and I'm talking about attitude. If you are an engineer, then you care about sw engg, scaling, etc.
...
-----------------------------

I agree. In addition to the excellent points raised by fiber' and others, in my experience the best engineers have a passion for what they are doing, not just turning up for work and doing a days graft.

I know some engineers that are quite good, but would probably be just as happy doing something else - not really interested in the parts of a system that don't involve them.

In contrast, all of the outstanding engineers I have worked with (or still do) have a genuine interest for what it is they're doing, and a desire to find the best possible solution for the task in hand.

Personally, I like being an engineer and I like working on telecom problems. It's interesting, creative, and (even now) quite well paid - and that's why I've no intention of leaving telecom. Hopefully when the industry picks up a little, there will be more of the people left who want to be here, and less who aren't so bothered.

P.S. Fiber' I find your remark about having to "...clean-up some of the other mistakes." a tad worrying. Do you mean this in the same way as the CIA might? ;-)
MP_UK 12/4/2012 | 9:22:09 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town I agree. NJ stinks. It is only good for the Indians and Chinese who are used to living in gutters.

-------------------------

AMngr, I was going to ask what made you think it was in any way acceptable to write this post, but instead you've joined Booby on my ignore authour list. I encourage others to follow suit.
SweetOldWorld 12/4/2012 | 9:22:14 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Either you're an engineer or you're not, and I'm talking about attitude. If you are an engineer, then you care about sw engg, scaling, etc.

Would you hire prima donna non-PhDs who are smooth talking? Maybe made it big in that last bubble we were in?

I've come across a lot more non-PhDs who I wouldn't hire than PhDs, but then the percentages are probably skewed in that direction.

Apart from the "I want to waste a few years trying to relive my undergrad days doing a PhD" types, most PhDs are pretty serious about their work. Their focus was not on engineering, though, so when they graduate, they aren't automatically to be good engineers. That takes experience. They may have better understanding to become good engineers, if they were serious about doing their PhD.

I was.

BTW, if there's a pool on AMngr being BM, I'd say no. BM's English is atrocious enough (and I'm not talking spelling) that he's probably not a native speaker.

-S
owl-light 12/4/2012 | 9:22:14 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town ... getting back on track ...

I moved from California to New Germany 20 years ago during another economic downturn. Rarely does a week go by these days when I don't regret that decision. I'm moving back to California at the first opportunity, which I see this downturn as providing - things can't be any worse there than here.

California, from my previous experience, really is the land of opportunity. Especially, when compared to New Germany, which is the land of cronies, rigid thinking, bureaucrat traditionalists and corporate sludge. Not exactly what's going to get us out of this mess - Edison don't live here anymore.

Even if I don't find a job in California, at least I'll be around interesting people.
sgan201 12/4/2012 | 9:22:17 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Hi Fiber_r_us,
Thanks for your compliment...

fiber_r_us 12/4/2012 | 9:22:18 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Well said Dreamer. I don't see anything in your post that is contradictory to mine. Your post was the view (and an excellent one, at that) from the perspective of an employee with little or no managerial control. The view I was illustrating was that of an executive hiring manager who looks for people with your values.
sgan201 12/4/2012 | 9:22:18 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Hi Fiber_r_us,
I can only speak for myself and no one else...
I make things happen regardless what sort of people I have..
For those that are trainable, I trained them..
For those that are not motivated, I motivate them (one way or another)..
For those that are totally useless, I avoid them and limit their damage..
I was never in a high enough position to get rid of all those useless people but I always get the job done by my will and persistance.
I never work in a good enough company but I always make my team win..
I believe a person that want to make a difference, he/she always will..
Either I leave my team/company or somehow I will make sure my team/company win..
If there is a will, there is a way..
If there is no will, there are thousand excuses..
So, it is easy to win an A team.
It is how to win with what you have that show whether you are a good leader. A good leader maximise the potential of his/her less than perfect team. Do well with what you have. Put your people into task that they can grow into. Groom them..
AAL5 12/4/2012 | 9:22:19 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Apache,

yes I suspect 'AMngr' is Bobby when he wants to post even more racist material without it reflecting on his other persona.

AAL5
fiber_r_us 12/4/2012 | 9:22:19 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Fortune,

You cut-off my second paragraph that started with the word "seriously"! I was not serious about that comment. Indeed, no one can make such a generalized statement as to say *all* people from a given company are good/bad. Such a classification is clearly an individual thing.

Today, I work with several top-notch people from both Lucent and Nortel.
Fortunecookie 12/4/2012 | 9:22:20 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Dear fiber_r_us,
I am very sorry to hear that you have such a strong bias towards Lucent and Nortel employees. I am an ex-lucent employee and looking for jobs now.

I have to admit that there are many people from Lucent are lazy and ego, but not all of them. I know personally some decent, honest, responsible and deligent Lucent engineers who have been laid off. Sarcastically, some of those who still on the pay-roll are totally the opposite.

It is indeed sad to hear that from you. I believed you were a good manager, but how come you are so biased?

Best Regards,

Fortunecookie

---------------------------------------

So, I should be looking for egocentric, selfish, no-work-ethic, introverted, lazy, dumb, non-experienced who want to be a manager type of people? I could probably find all of these I want from the Lucent and Nortel layoffs!
Fortunecookie 12/4/2012 | 9:22:20 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Just as rare as good employees, good managers like you are hard to find. I am so tired of hiring managers to ask job candidates the exact skill match.

experience or intelligence (which indicates the learning capability), which is more important. This is how I look at this problem. Experience will get people on speed, but leraning capbility shows the up potential, which is the measure of accelaration. For short term, speed may be important, but for long term, accelaration is more important.

Best Regards,

Fortuecookie
--------------------------------------------------

Hiring the right people is difficult at best and damn near impossible when the industry is hot and good people are few. I have to agree with Tony, I have never been able to find enough of the *right* people. Over the last 15 years, I have hired hundreds of people in four different companies. I have interviewed thousands (some days I have had eight or more interviews). Like Tony (or any other honest person), I do not have a perfect track record. But, it is important that you correct the mistakes when they are made. I have had to fire the mistakes I have made, and that tends to make me choose more carefuly when the next hire is made.

In my experience, hiring the "right" person is based on a large number of factors (and non-factors):

1) In general, I don't care about thier education (unless I am hiring a pure beginner, which has been rare in the startups I have worked for). Unfortunately, educational experience (either University-based or industry certifications) is little indication of how well they will perform in a job. I am far more interested in what experience they have accumulated.

2) "Experience" is not measured in "years" it is measured in accomplishments and depth of knowledge. The "smart" people Tony is referring to are people who have *accomplished* significant things in short periods of time and accumulated (and retained) in-depth subject knowledge; not someone who has accomplished little over long periods of time and can't remember any of it.

3) I deem someone's accomplishments as significant if the problem was challenging and *they* actually did the work to solve the problem. Determining this is tricky! I usually have them explain thier thought process, thier approach, what barriers they ran into, why the chose the solution they did, and so on... By making them explain, in detail, *what* they did and *why* they did it that way, you can begin to understand thier problem solving abilities. If they can't do this off the top of thier head, then *they* probably didn't do the work or they can't explain things well. In either case, I am not interested.

4) Dedication at thier previous jobs. It is critical to know if someone will stick through the tough times in a job. Any job that has a chance at making a difference is going to include a lot of difficulties. During the bubble, people thought that they could get-rich-quick. Reality is that this is the exception, not the rule. In general, you must work hard and suffer through difficult times to be successful. Thus, understanding how long a person stayed at a previous job, what difficulties he faced, and what ultimately made them move on to a new job, helps the hiring manager understand the tenacity of the individual. No doubt, this understanding tends to be subjective.

5) Communication abilities. I am *not* talking about accents from other cultures, as I have little trouble understanding anyone who can speak english even a little. I am talking about someone's *ability* and *willingness* to describe problems and thier solutions to me and the rest of the engineers. Someone who knows how to do something, but can't explain it to others is not very useful. All of us have had the joy of working with people who are very knowledgeable and love to help others understand what they know about technologies and solutions. Unfortunately, most of us have also worked with those who "hoard" knowledge as if it were some sort of "magic" that only they could possibly understand. Again, discovering this attribute is difficult during the short interview process, but having the candidate explain unique solutions to you can help demonstrate thier abilities in this area.

6) Flexibility. Particularly in the startup companies, the candidates must be flexible about everything (job duties, location, hours, etc). Someone who states that they can only work on certain things, or at certain times, is not very useful.

7) Willingness to be the "worker bee". Frankly, it is a huge red-flag if someone approaches me and says they want to be a "manager". This is a clear indication that he has no idea what he is talking about. In general, nobody who has done it before actually *wants* to be a manager. "Managing" is the wrong word to even apply to the situation. What I really want is someone who *is* a leader (not someone who *wants* to be). Leaders are people whom others naturally follow (usually because the are good at #5 above). A leader does not have to be in a *Manager* position.

8) Team player. I hate the phrase, but, in most cases what people mean here is the ability for one to leave thier ego at the door and do what is best for everybody in the company. This one is particulary hard to discern during the interview process and probably accounts for a large percentage of my hiring mistakes. There is a "fine line" between those who are very knowledgeable *leaders* and those who are maniacle egomaniacs. The former can be the best thing that has ever happened to your company, just one of the latter left unchecked can destroy a startup company.
Apache_13 12/4/2012 | 9:22:20 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Reminds me of someone who posts regularly on this board . I bet Gea and AAL5 know whom I am talkin' about . :)

Cheers .
Apache.
dwdm2 12/4/2012 | 9:22:21 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Wilecoyote,

Thanks for the stimulating discussion. I do not claim myself an expert in hiring people. However, I was mentioning about the "hiring" process as opposed to one's performance, attitude, suucess, etc. These qualities or performances can be observed/evaluated on the first hand basis only after you hire someone. I bet a dime that if during the hiring process if you don't feel comfortable with even a single characteristic of the candidate, s/he gonna have a luck with your company - no matter what the credentials say!

Are there exceptions? I bet there are!

Cheers.
vapa 12/4/2012 | 9:22:21 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town agree. NJ stinks. It is only good for the Indians and Chinese who are used to living in gutters.

Is AMngr for real? Did something crawl up your a$$ and died there? Your post is totally un-called for. Your racist posting belongs to somewhere in Yahoo message boards, not here. Please leave.
AMngr 12/4/2012 | 9:22:22 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town I agree. NJ stinks. It is only good for the Indians and Chinese who are used to living in gutters.
opticalwatcher 12/4/2012 | 9:22:22 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town >Let's throw some data here:

> A 2500 sf single house in a good NJ
neighborhood is worth about $400,000 (enough)

>In Cupertino or Los Gatoes that is > $1 millon

Now that isn't fair. Cupertino and Los Gatos are
two of the most expensive neighborhoods in the SF Bay Area. And the the era of the million dollar houses is past. There are plenty even in these expensive neighborhoods for far less. Why not buy a house in nearby Sunnyvale (good neighborhood, good schools, low crime) for $500,000?

I never imagined houses cost that much in New Jersey. Why does anyone live there?

> CA has the highiest student teacher ratio, >20
which is the nation's worst, and its
school performance is not impressive either.

Are you going to compare public schools in the Bay Area with public schools in NJ? All I can say is HAH!

> CA is good in weather, so you decide what is important for you.
Not living in New Jersey is pretty high on my list.
lr2002 12/4/2012 | 9:22:22 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town fiber_r_us: Well said in #49.
glenda 12/4/2012 | 9:22:23 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Hey - I resemble that remark - let's not go getting personal.

I'm sure in the end, your high standards will pay off and the last few words in your tale will be "happily ever after."
wilecoyote 12/4/2012 | 9:22:23 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town DWDM, I've fired many people I really "liked" and was "comfortable with." I like them to this day but am very happy they're no longer with my company.

No one has to be friends after 7 pm or whenever. Everyone's too busy to socialize anymore (anyone you want to hire).

My advice: hire very aggressive people who are team players. Hire people who live to pick off competitors. People who will burn off dead weight in your company and won't tolerate mediocracy. You'll like them for the success they bring your company.

Kick ass in the market. Hire people who want to do that.

Why does my advice matter? I'm growing a business in a very difficult climate, successfully. I've also wrecked a business and watched all kinds of companies succeed and fail. The common denominators for success: smart people who work hard, not necessarily "nice" people.

I for one think it's a problem when everyone "likes" each other too much. They tend to have a more difficult time communicating hard messages internally and want to please each other too badly.
dwdm2 12/4/2012 | 9:22:24 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Folks,

Those of us who learned the hard way know that the bottom line in hiring is first you have to "like" the guy; you must be comfortable with the person. Everything else described by seasoned managers such as "talent", "experience", "attitude", etc. are scrutinized after the initial screening.

Enough said.
ceiloblue 12/4/2012 | 9:22:25 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town You're entitled to your opinion, deepthroat, but I'll take princeton over milpitas or pasadena any day.

Maybe YOU ought to get over it.
fiber_r_us 12/4/2012 | 9:22:25 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town >Amazing post, fiber_r_us. I've worked with
>several managers, I wish ONE had practiced the
>tenets you prescribe!

Thanks sigint. You are pointing out that one of the real problems in the industry is that the "hiring managers" do not know how to hire the *right* people and maintain them after the hire. The responsibility of this goes directly to the people who put the hiring manager in that position to begin with (the VPs or other senior execs). Ultimately, the executives are responsible for putting in place a management team that knows how to hire the right people. It is the executives' responsibility to keep-up with the hires being made, how they are working out, and how the hiring manager is performing. If the executive discovers that a hiring manager is not making good hiring decisions, then the executive must take action to replace the hiring manager and clean-up any damage done.

I faced this decision myself a while back. After hiring a director-level person who seemed to meet the criteria, we found that this person lacked the leadership skills required and was making hiring decisions that did not measure-up. We ended up having to let the director go and clean-up some of the other mistakes. A setback, yes. But, it was better that this was taken care of sooner than later, before more damage could be done.

While these approaches may offend the politically correct contigency in the industry that thinks everyone has a *right* to a job, I think that anyone that objectively analyzes a business realizes that tough decisions *must* be made in order for the company to survive. Particularly in these difficult times, each organization must be made-up of nothing but top-notch people. To do anything less is to seriously undermine your company's ability to survive.

I believe this is where many of the large companies fall flat on thier face. They simply have no way of tracking the performers and non-performers (at the lowest to highest level in the organization) and clean up problems when they occur. As harsh as this sounds, the big companies would be a lot better off today if they could have "cleaned house" years ago of non-performers at every level.
fiber_r_us 12/4/2012 | 9:22:26 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town So, I should be looking for egocentric, selfish, no-work-ethic, introverted, lazy, dumb, non-experienced who want to be a manager type of people? I could probably find all of these I want from the Lucent and Nortel layoffs!

Seriously, I listed the things I *look* for. It is hard work, I don't always find them, and nobody is perfect. But it is like looking for a gold nugget in a bunch of rocks. I don't feel it is in my company's best interest to lower the standards and have been sorry every time I hired someone who didn't display a significant number of these traits.

It has been hard to hire while maintaining high standards, but (luck or not) I have hired hundreds of people that mostly met these types of qualifications. I would love to find more (if I were hiring at the moment).
glenda 12/4/2012 | 9:22:26 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Like, wow. This must be the place on the web I go when I want to read scary, adult-version fairy tales that can still be shared with one's parents.

A load of good luck to the hiring managers looking for quantities of communicative, sharing, team-playing, no-ego, intelligent, experienced, nose-to-the-grindstone engineers without management aspirations who everyone else follows. I can't imagine why your inbox isn't brimming with such resumes. Are you sure you're looking in the right place?
runrabbitrun 12/4/2012 | 9:22:26 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town So you want to move back to NJ. What exit?

Don't plan on exit 105 or exit 107 on the GSP having too many job openings.

The Summer I left Exit 105 seven out of thirteen weekends were rain outs.

Sure homes cost less, but that's where the cost of living difference ends.

Agreed California is not heaven, but don't get fooled by the grass is greener syndrome.

Good luck and best wishes. But, please move with your eyes open. If you've always lived on the left coast be ready for a cultural shock when you move East.
downreading 12/4/2012 | 9:22:27 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town "By the way, what's the definition for Poisson distribution which is often used to model telephone connections?"

exponential arrival process , PDF =
{Lambda* [e^(-t*Lambda)]}.

For such process Probability (N events in time t)
= {[(t* Lambda)^N]* [e^(-t*Lambda)]/[Factorial(N)]}
opticalPassion 12/4/2012 | 9:22:27 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Let's throw some data here:

- A 2500 sf single house in a good NJ
neighborhood is worth about $400,000 (enough)

In Cupertino or Los Gatoes that is > $1 millon

- CA has the highiest student teacher ratio, >20
which is the nation's worst, and its
school performance is not impressive either.

- CA is good in weather, so you decide what is important for you.
opticalPassion 12/4/2012 | 9:22:27 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town What you mentioned "software engineering", modular and abstraction etc. are nothing difficult to master, for a high school graduate. After all, any collage grad from computer sci. field should have at least learned those thing twice in school.

My point is that today's software "engineers" are really a "low-tech job", in my view. You don't need advanced knowledge. How often a software engineer deals with graph theory, computational geometry, or matrix algebra??? By the way, what's the definition for Poisson distribution which is often used to model telephone connections?

sigint 12/4/2012 | 9:22:28 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Amazing post, fiber_r_us. I've worked with several managers, I wish ONE had practiced the tenets you prescribe!
fiber_r_us 12/4/2012 | 9:22:29 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Hiring the right people is difficult at best and damn near impossible when the industry is hot and good people are few. I have to agree with Tony, I have never been able to find enough of the *right* people. Over the last 15 years, I have hired hundreds of people in four different companies. I have interviewed thousands (some days I have had eight or more interviews). Like Tony (or any other honest person), I do not have a perfect track record. But, it is important that you correct the mistakes when they are made. I have had to fire the mistakes I have made, and that tends to make me choose more carefuly when the next hire is made.

In my experience, hiring the "right" person is based on a large number of factors (and non-factors):

1) In general, I don't care about thier education (unless I am hiring a pure beginner, which has been rare in the startups I have worked for). Unfortunately, educational experience (either University-based or industry certifications) is little indication of how well they will perform in a job. I am far more interested in what experience they have accumulated.

2) "Experience" is not measured in "years" it is measured in accomplishments and depth of knowledge. The "smart" people Tony is referring to are people who have *accomplished* significant things in short periods of time and accumulated (and retained) in-depth subject knowledge; not someone who has accomplished little over long periods of time and can't remember any of it.

3) I deem someone's accomplishments as significant if the problem was challenging and *they* actually did the work to solve the problem. Determining this is tricky! I usually have them explain thier thought process, thier approach, what barriers they ran into, why the chose the solution they did, and so on... By making them explain, in detail, *what* they did and *why* they did it that way, you can begin to understand thier problem solving abilities. If they can't do this off the top of thier head, then *they* probably didn't do the work or they can't explain things well. In either case, I am not interested.

4) Dedication at thier previous jobs. It is critical to know if someone will stick through the tough times in a job. Any job that has a chance at making a difference is going to include a lot of difficulties. During the bubble, people thought that they could get-rich-quick. Reality is that this is the exception, not the rule. In general, you must work hard and suffer through difficult times to be successful. Thus, understanding how long a person stayed at a previous job, what difficulties he faced, and what ultimately made them move on to a new job, helps the hiring manager understand the tenacity of the individual. No doubt, this understanding tends to be subjective.

5) Communication abilities. I am *not* talking about accents from other cultures, as I have little trouble understanding anyone who can speak english even a little. I am talking about someone's *ability* and *willingness* to describe problems and thier solutions to me and the rest of the engineers. Someone who knows how to do something, but can't explain it to others is not very useful. All of us have had the joy of working with people who are very knowledgeable and love to help others understand what they know about technologies and solutions. Unfortunately, most of us have also worked with those who "hoard" knowledge as if it were some sort of "magic" that only they could possibly understand. Again, discovering this attribute is difficult during the short interview process, but having the candidate explain unique solutions to you can help demonstrate thier abilities in this area.

6) Flexibility. Particularly in the startup companies, the candidates must be flexible about everything (job duties, location, hours, etc). Someone who states that they can only work on certain things, or at certain times, is not very useful.

7) Willingness to be the "worker bee". Frankly, it is a huge red-flag if someone approaches me and says they want to be a "manager". This is a clear indication that he has no idea what he is talking about. In general, nobody who has done it before actually *wants* to be a manager. "Managing" is the wrong word to even apply to the situation. What I really want is someone who *is* a leader (not someone who *wants* to be). Leaders are people whom others naturally follow (usually because the are good at #5 above). A leader does not have to be in a *Manager* position.

8) Team player. I hate the phrase, but, in most cases what people mean here is the ability for one to leave thier ego at the door and do what is best for everybody in the company. This one is particulary hard to discern during the interview process and probably accounts for a large percentage of my hiring mistakes. There is a "fine line" between those who are very knowledgeable *leaders* and those who are maniacle egomaniacs. The former can be the best thing that has ever happened to your company, just one of the latter left unchecked can destroy a startup company.
deepciscothroat 12/4/2012 | 9:22:30 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town As a former East Coaster, I think you are STONED

California on a bad day blows away New Jersey on a perfect Day

NY/NYC are just as expensive (unless you want to live on the docks at Newark)

Traffic is as bad or worse

NYC taxes everything

First time it slushes
GET OVER IT
ceiloblue 12/4/2012 | 9:22:30 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Actually, I know several who have moved or who desire to move back to the east coast (NY/NJ), and several other who've moved east having never been here and who are quite happy to have made the move. It may have been at one time, but California is no longer heaven.
AMngr 12/4/2012 | 9:22:30 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town JMB wrote:

Perhaps you just answered your own question- "the valley"! Why would anyone want to live there? The cost of living is out of control. California taxes you to death in addition to completely ignoring your constitutional rights! I've interviewed for and been offered good jobs in CA in the past, but, refuse to give up my rights and my firearms to live there!!
-------------------------------------

I know a lot of people who moved from NY/NJ area to CA in last five years and no body ever want to come back. They all consider "Valley" as the "Heaven"...
AMngr 12/4/2012 | 9:22:31 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town JMB wrote:

Perhaps you just answered your own question- "the valley"! Why would anyone want to live there? The cost of living is out of control. California taxes you to death in addition to completely ignoring your constitutional rights! I've interviewed for and been offered good jobs in CA in the past, but, refuse to give up my rights and my firearms to live there!!
-------------------------------------

I know a lot of people who moved from NY/NJ are to CA in last five years and no body ever want to come back. They all consider "Valley" as the Heaven...
JohnMosesBrowning 12/4/2012 | 9:22:32 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town "For the last decade, I've never been able to find all of the smart, qualified people that I've needed, domestic or foreign. And I think that it's pretty much like this all across the valley."

Perhaps you just answered your own question- "the valley"! Why would anyone want to live there? The cost of living is out of control. California taxes you to death in addition to completely ignoring your constitutional rights! I've interviewed for and been offered good jobs in CA in the past, but, refuse to give up my rights and my firearms to live there!!

JMB
chitgo 12/4/2012 | 9:22:33 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Well said mate !!!! That is the way it works in 8 out of 10 organizations. Plus, if the incumbent joins on a referral program, the person making the reference gets a decent amount from the company. One more way of making some $$$$$
chitgo 12/4/2012 | 9:22:33 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Hey,

Well said mate !!!! That is the way it works in 8 out of 10 organizations. Plus, if the incumbent joins on a referral program, the person making the reference gets a decent amount from the company. One more way of making some $$$$$
dwdm2 12/4/2012 | 9:22:34 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town A hiring manager oughta be able to discern between an engineer (with or w/o PhD) and a pretender. It is not enough to claim that "I look for qualitites," and then in practice give in to internal pressure/recommendation.

I am not experienced enough to know Tony Li (I nevered hired him nor he ever hired me) or many other famous managers, so nothing personal here. The following are the golden rules to survive in this tough time. My observation is that ALL managers mainly look for:

a. the incumbent must not have higher (or even close) qualities to those of hiring manager to be considered as a "good match"

b. the incumbent must be a "yes sir" person to qualify as a "team player"

c. to be considered as "sincere/hard worker" s/he must follow/try all ideas evanescent from boss's head without any questions

d. once they are able to prove the guys idea works, they'll qualify as high achiever. Any deviation from the above three is a recipe for potential lay-off.
Tony Li 12/4/2012 | 9:22:34 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town
One reason that someone might make a good internal referral is that they actually believe that the other person is actually a valuable person to have aboard. Hopefully, their motivation is to bring the most talented people to the company so that the company has the best possible chance of succeeding, to everyone's mutual benefit.

Sometimes it even works this way. ;-)

Tony
optical_IP 12/4/2012 | 9:22:34 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town I'll concede that hiring based on internal referral makes sense, but then you have to ask whether the person making the referral is simply trying to pack the department with friends and allies.
**********************************************

could you please tell me why internal referral makes more sense

and

why would u think a person making a referral is not simply trying to pack the department with friends and allies ..... errr isn't this basic human nature
(I have seen this happening both at School and work)

optical_IP

Paddy MacGinty 12/4/2012 | 9:22:34 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town "On H1Bs: There never was a shortage of engineers just a shortage of ones willing to work for under $30K. I have worked with many from universities I have never heard of whom supposedly had PhDs but did not know basic things like F=ma and just what is a dB. What's up with that? Well at least they work on the cheap."

I worked for a start-up, who are still on the go JUST. They paid an average of $15k more to their technicians in the US than their engineers in the UK. An ave Eng wage was $45k in UK and $60-80k in the valley.

Now as a young engineer with 3 yrs defense experience pre-telco, I was surprised during an engineering meeting to have to teach all these PHD's Cause and effect diagrams, and FMEA when problem solving a real issue. Straight out of whatever research they couldn't think beyond the theory to actually tackle real life problems.

Tony Li 12/4/2012 | 9:22:35 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town For the last decade, I've never been able to find all of the smart, qualified people that I've needed, domestic or foreign.

With all due respect, Tony, that's because you, like most managers, don't know how to screen and interview candidates.

Most executive recruiter and managers over-weight socially-defined indicators and underweight factors like problem-solving ability, work ethic and interest-alignment.

------------------

Well, that's interesting flanker. If you had worked with me at all, you would know that my primary requirement is brains.

You can't teach smart. But the smart can be taught just about anything.

Now I won't say that I'm the best person at detecting brains vs. none, and I certainly have made my share of hiring mistakes. It's sometimes difficult to differentiate between clue and clueless based on a resume.

So I'm sorry that I turned you down for whatever job, flanker, but I don't think you know me well enough to know what I'm thinking.

----------------------

Your ilk also mis-define's team play. Most managers define team play as a willingness to acquiesce to consensus decision making. Real team play is the instinct to consistently place collective interest ahead of one's own.

They aren't the same thing. The former is based on loyalty and conformity and the latter on achieving predefined and measurable goals.

--------------------------

If you're suggesting that I insist on conformity, well, you really don't know anything about me. You are absolutely correct that team play is about putting the interests of the group ahead of one's own. That means putting aside ego, making decisions based on sound engineering and not lowering team morale just because you had a bad day.

Your sour grapes are showing, flanker.

Tony
flanker 12/4/2012 | 9:22:35 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town I notice that no one has defended professional hiring practices so far, which says a lot about the competence of recruiters and senior management.

I'll concede that hiring based on internal referral makes sense, but then you have to ask whether the person making the referral is simply trying to pack the department with friends and allies.

It's a costly gamble when you hire an SVP, EVP or director that brings in an entourage of five subordinates with them, and then nine months later you realize that the entire team has trouble tying its shoe laces, let alone meeting operating targets.

This happens far too often.

seen_the_light 12/4/2012 | 9:22:36 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town
looks like YO mamma didn't teach you manners.

pinhead.
inauniversefarfaraway 12/4/2012 | 9:22:37 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Wow,

It goes without saying that your messages echo a sentiment that pervades the engineering community.

What is amazing about this entire situation is that engineers have a lot more power than they think. They are the ones, after all, who produce these goods that result in the creation of value. The folks at the top may decide on direction, they may even sign your pay check, but without the mutual collaboration with the grunts on the line, feeding back to create the machinery of design, the process breaks down.

Without the goods that are delivered by such people, the pointy haired managers, and their legions are helpless.

How is it then, that the freaks seemingly have all the cards?

While it would be revolutionary to think that change can happen. Change will happen in spite of all efforts to the contrary. Erasing the legions of people who make things happen will only hasten the end result. The idiots will win, even at their own loss.

Perhaps, like the factory workers of the turn of the century, engineers should form a union that protects their well being. Engineers have been suckered into believing that they are professionals. Is their any doubt that engineers are an expendable commodity? Once their work is done, we just fire them. Whatever they produce will last for as long as it's needed. Then, we just get another bunch of suckers. Or better yet, after they almost starve to death, offer them a job, way cool!

Devaluating the profession is a problem. Who on this list has had to work with "colleagues" that could not "communicate" effectively either verbally, or in writting, and who's credentials were "intriguing," or whose skills were "questionable?" If businesses allow themselves the luxury of hiring burger flippers, and call them engineers, there is a problem.

Society rewards bad behavior. It is evident by the realities of the work place. Who hasn't heard that the incompetent get promoted "out of the way?" Think about that for a moment. People who work hard do so because they like it, not because they want to advance!?(sic) If we promote imbeciles in the work place, what other consequence can their be but the deterioration of the corporate fiber?

We are now amazed at the corruption, and the stupidity of corporate leaders, boards, entire ranks of senior management. Is it any wonder? Promote incompetence, reward and nurture it, then, stand beffudled by the aberrations that result. It should be a Hollywood production, this is a good (or bad) formula for a comedy.

To those who accomplish great things, temper your work product. Don't allow yourself to get fired, or marginalised, after you deliver the goods. That is immoral.

The crisis will end when the collectivity rewards good behavior, and discourages bad behavior. That is the fundamental tenet of capitalism. If abuse exists, as we all know it does, it must be curbed to the point where productivity can emerge, and grow.

The credulous must therefore become reasoned. The nitwits, well, their ranks must be trimmed. Let's face it, Darwin just doesn't work when society allows such aberrations.

Let's see if a free market economy will eventually correct these elements, provided we are able to accurately interpret the "common good."

All the very best,
dwdm2 12/4/2012 | 9:22:37 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Aha finally some "words of wishdom!" from Dr. Phil (Dr. Who?). David Letterman oughta have this piece! :-)

Text follows:

Fellow Disgruntled Dudes,

On H1Bs: There never was a shortage of engineers just a shortage of ones willing to work for under $30K. I have worked with many from universities I have never heard of whom supposedly had PhDs but did not know basic things like F=ma and just what is a dB. What's up with that? Well at least they work on the cheap.

Talent: If you stay at the same job for 10 years in your comfort zone and do the minimum at some corporation you are considered a genius because you built the exact same widget over and over and over and............

Hiring managers: Wake up! If you read a resume which is a perfect match then the person cut and pasted your job description as his resume. You may want to hire someone who can think on there feet and answer questions intelligently.


On PhDs: They are good only if they have some real experience after the degree, otherwise they are useless. I think the current down turn will get rid of some of their entitlement attitudes.

Regards,


Dr Phil, SoHn (School of Hard Knocks)
Yes Dr. Phil has a Ph.D. from UCLA so he knows.
optical_IP 12/4/2012 | 9:22:38 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town how do u guys hire people ?

do u prefer to hire a candidate whose resume has been forwarded by an employee of ur company / team member
( and fits job requirements .... not necessarly the best, but can do the job)

OR

hire the best available candidate

optical_IP
optical_IP 12/4/2012 | 9:22:38 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town
Most got the job right out of school and have never actually "done" anything but think deep thoughts.

Even some of the recent graduates I've run into are among the most pompous, least skilled, yet have the highest opinion of their worth.



Dude,

how different were u when u got out of school ?

Dr_phill_SoHn 12/4/2012 | 9:22:39 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Fellow Disgruntled Dudes,

On H1Bs: There never was a shortage of engineers just a shortage of ones willing to work for under $30K. I have worked with many from universities I have never heard of whom supposedly had PhDs but did not know basic things like F=ma and just what is a dB. What's up with that? Well at least they work on the cheap.

Talent: If you stay at the same job for 10 years in your comfort zone and do the minimum at some corporation you are considered a genius because you built the exact same widget over and over and over and............

Hiring managers: Wake up! If you read a resume which is a perfect match then the person cut and pasted your job description as his resume. You may want to hire someone who can think on there feet and answer questions intelligently.


On PhDs: They are good only if they have some real experience after the degree, otherwise they are useless. I think the current down turn will get rid of some of their entitlement attitudes.

Regards,


Dr Phil, SoHn (School of Hard Knocks)
Yes Dr. Phil has a Ph.D. from UCLA so he knows.

dwdm2 12/4/2012 | 9:22:43 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town "Your ilk also mis-define's team play. Most managers define team play as a willingness to acquiesce to consensus decision making. Real team play is the instinct to consistently place collective interest ahead of one's own."

I agree with flanker. A common practice in many industry is to measure ones ability by the "number of year's" experience. So if someone has 10 years experience, a recruiter and/or a manager will assume that this person is more capable compared to someone who has less number of year's experience.

While in many cases this may be true, in some cases, however, this is just a moronic assumption (IMHO)! Nevertheless, this is what is happening when it comes to hiring. Managers and recruiters (or perhaps the system) does not have a way of looking at the "whole picture" about a candidate, unfortunately.
flanker 12/4/2012 | 9:22:43 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town For the last decade, I've never been able to find all of the smart, qualified people that I've needed, domestic or foreign.

With all due respect, Tony, that's because you, like most managers, don't know how to screen and interview candidates.

Most executive recruiter and managers over-weight socially-defined indicators and underweight factors like problem-solving ability, work ethic and interest-alignment.

Your ilk also mis-define's team play. Most managers define team play as a willingness to acquiesce to consensus decision making. Real team play is the instinct to consistently place collective interest ahead of one's own.

They aren't the same thing. The former is based on loyalty and conformity and the latter on achieving predefined and measurable goals.

Go figure.


jhsmith 12/4/2012 | 9:22:49 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Another viewpoint is to look at the examples of people featured in the article (myself being one of them). If any of those engineers who were "spat out into the realm of unemployment" are interested in looking outside of telcom, opportunities still exist for talented and versatile engineers. My particular division of L-3 has hired software engineers (typically JAVA programmers) as well as hardware engineers (typically people skilled with digital/FPGA design and mixed mode design) in the past few months. In fact, we still have openings for about 6 engineers...
achorale 12/4/2012 | 9:22:51 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town opticalPassion writes:

> but to write a SONET/WDM switching software,
> a good high school kid is trainable for the
> job! (not to insult anyone who are writing
> software, this is in fact the reality).

could you please identify which vendor you
work for so that i might avoid those products
in the future?

thanks ...

Tony Li 12/4/2012 | 9:22:51 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town

For what it's worth:

For the last decade, I've never been able to find all of the smart, qualified people that I've needed, domestic or foreign. And I think that it's pretty much like this all across the valley. Talent adds value that's head and shoulders above salary, so you take it from wherever you can find it.

And yes, if the high school student is smart enough, he can sit down and write good switching code. But finding a high school student who understands software engineering well enough to deal with abstraction, modular code, and tough design issues like scalability is a rare thing indeed.

Tony
opticalPassion 12/4/2012 | 9:22:52 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town
I mean, is education important at all in this industry? You don't need a Master degree, not to mention a PhD, to be a good telecom software engineer. Of course, there are exceptions that work areas such as probibility/statistics (for ATM switch) and signal processing (DSP) etc. requires advanced knowledge, but to write a SONET/WDM switching software, a good high school kid is trainable for the job! (not to
insult anyone who are writing software, this is in fact the reality).

I have seen new grad who does a good job in writing software (it works), but is very poor in mathematics. Am i confused? Then who need those who have advanced educations?


Oakster 12/4/2012 | 9:22:54 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town vapa writes...

Why are you dissing other fine Ivy League schools? Can you name all seven? Who can in this board?

Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Dartmouth, Columbia, Brown, Cornell, and UPenn.

By my count, that makes eight.

By the way, the Ivy League is officially just an athletic conference.
vapa 12/4/2012 | 9:22:54 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town We have imported so many average engineers from abroad at the peril of our own graduates. It is really a sad story when we see our graduates from Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Princeton are not able to find jobs while many companies, particularly in Caklifornia, continue to import foreign workers.

Why are you dissing other fine Ivy League schools? Can you name all seven? Who can in this board?
lights_out 12/4/2012 | 9:22:56 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town
Snape wrote:
"Most got the job right out of school and have never actually "done" anything but think deep thoughts."

Isn't that what they do at Bell Labs? Sounds like research training.

lights_out
Snape 12/4/2012 | 9:22:56 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town
Except for researchers, most of the Bell Labs people I've met overall were some of the most clueless I've seen.

Most got the job right out of school and have never actually "done" anything but think deep thoughts.

Even some of the recent graduates I've run into are among the most pompous, least skilled, yet have the highest opinion of their worth.

Overall, I've enjoyed working with the H1B people.
Their perspective is refreshing.
lights_out 12/4/2012 | 9:22:58 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town FX wrote:
"If my memory serves me fine, there was a serious lack of skilled workers in the telecom industry and the only way to sustain growth was to import these brains. Remember all those phone calls from head hunters? well, I do..."

We all can remember that time not too long ago when our phones were ringing off the hook from recruiters looking to place us in the next big "thing". However, I don't think that was necessarily tied to any lack of skilled workers. It was more likely tied to a lack of low-paid workers.

At the height of the "bubble" an engineer in any of the telecom companies was being paid a right handsome salary. My own opinion is that the telecom companies wanted to try and get salaries down and used the boom of the dot-com era to declare that there was a shortage of good engineering talent. They lobbied Congress and the White House, convinced them the shortage existed, and got them to open up the borders to just-as-experienced-yet-lower-paid imported talent.

Just an observation.
lights_out
lr2002 12/4/2012 | 9:23:01 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town A great many graduates from those elite schools are foreigners.
TheChief 12/4/2012 | 9:23:02 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town This myth comes from the US military that may declare an officer to be outstanding regardless of his/her education. For example, Dr.Oppenheimer, a distinguished scientist was working for some army officer with no educational credential.
=================================================

http://www.nuclearfiles.org/bi...

Two years at MIT and a graduate of West Point. Bobby, can you match these educational credentials.
lightFleeting 12/4/2012 | 9:23:02 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town The "soldier" to whom you are referring, General Leslie R. Groves, was the director of the Manhattan Project and the one who hired Oppenheimer to lead the Los Alamos team. What was important here wasn't his education but his ability to manage an extremely large project. Groves not only had responsibilty for Los Alamos, but the gas diffusion plant at Oak Ridge and the Hanford plutonium production facility as well. He did an excellent job.

BTW, I lit out back to Los Alamos.

lightFleeting

DoTheMath 12/4/2012 | 9:23:03 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town I have come across many people who have made this
move recently. All of them are senior or staff
engineer level people, almost all in software. Software
engineers are very fungible: I know people who have
moved out of telecom start-ups to write code for casino
gambling systems etc.

People have gone from the likes of Lucent & Nortel
to the likes of Home Depot, Merck, GM, Wells Fargo
... By the way the non-telecom companies are doing OK
- not real good, but not real bad either. They are
not *buying* a lot of IT, but they do seem to be
selectively hiring IT talent.

There is another reason for it: during the boom,
most top-notch talent shunned enteprrise IT shops,
for the stock option promise of the vendors. This
left many IT shops in desparate need for good talent.
Now that the score is even, they are glad to get the
talent.

manoflalambda 12/4/2012 | 9:23:04 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town lastofthebohicans:
VP and COO ectypes that have 'lighted out' were prominently featured in this article. Yawn.


I agree... Each week it seems another couple hundred engineers are spat out into the realm of unemployment... where they end up is more important than some fellow repacking his golden parachute for a new jump...

Salute,
Manoflalambda
TheChief 12/4/2012 | 9:23:04 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town For example, Dr.Oppenheimer, a distinguished scientist was working for some army officer with no educational credential. This soldier was even credited with the production of the atomic bomb.
==================================================

Bobby every time you post, you prove just how ignorant you are! General Leslie Groves was a very talented officer that moved to the manhattan project after he suppervised the building of the pentagon. Gen. Groves supervised not only the New Mexico effort of Dr. Oppenheimer, but also efforts in Tenn and Washington State to produce the raw material for the bombs. The raw material production is even more impressive than the bombs themself's.
Fiber Xpert 12/4/2012 | 9:23:06 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town "We have imported so many average engineers from abroad at the peril of our own graduates."

If my memory serves me fine, there was a serious lack of skilled workers in the telecom industry and the only way to sustain growth was to import these brains. Remember all those phone calls from head hunters? well, I do...

"It is really a sad story when we see our graduates from Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Princeton are not able to find jobs while many companies, particularly in California, continue to import foreign workers."

Yeah, right, of course all these "unpatriotic" companies prefer to hire average foreigners rather than the top-notch american graduates. Probably another plan from evil countries to destabilize America?!?

Personnaly, I doubt they hire at all. The problem came from an artificially inflated market from money coming not from revenues and profit, but from over enthousiastic stock market and VC funding which will never come back. Sad, simple and true.

This is the way our free economy works, with its good sides and, as we experienced it, its occasional downfalls.
captain kennedy 12/4/2012 | 9:23:06 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town During the bouble the industry experienced "growing numbers of disappointing workers", a bit of attrition is not all bad.
Mary Jander 12/4/2012 | 9:23:07 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Actually, you reminded me that we are conducting a poll to find out more about where folk are going after telecom. I've added the link at the end of the story above. We'll follow up with the results of that poll, which should help flesh the picture out.
fleshpeddler 12/4/2012 | 9:23:10 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town
Odd... I have found Lucent to be extremely concerned with education (degrees are tied to bands to some degree for instance). At least it's like that in Jersey where they have lots of PhD's.

Just seems to be the whiney people from Massachusetts based startups that seem to think they are owed something from their "awesome" efforts after being aquired. Starting to look more like a "String of Beads" if you catch my meaning.

AAL5 12/4/2012 | 9:23:12 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Bobby.

are you not getting recognition in Lucent for your academic qualifications?

Have you found your work place being filled with more 'foreigners'?

Do you feel contempt for all the people that have tried to belittle your genius?

Come on you can tell us. Just sit down on the couch, take a deep breath and tell us all about your childhood.

AAL5
BobbyMax 12/4/2012 | 9:23:13 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town The industries that hire people in significant positions from another industry is likely to heart a company in a very severe way. We in the USA have a false notion that anyone can do the job regardless of one'seducation and background is simply a myth. This myth comes from the US military that may declare an officer to be outstanding regardless of his/her education. For example, Dr.Oppenheimer, a distinguished scientist was working for some army officer with no educational credential. This soldier was even credited with the production of the atomic bomb.

In the industry, we have repeated this stupid notion that education/training is not important. A mere look on the internet about the qualifications of the Board Members of Siemens and that of Lucent or AT&T should reflect the fact that we do not value education. It is because of this we see alot of incompetent CEOs who simply do not have the necessay background to serve theie employers. We do not have merit based hiring at any level of employment in the high-tech industry. I wish to assure it happens in our great country.

The employment in our great country has become cyclical where various are victims of downturn every five or six years.

We have imported so many average engineers from abroad at the peril of our own graduates. It is really a sad story when we see our graduates from Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Princeton are not able to find jobs while many companies, particularly in Caklifornia, continue to import foreign workers.
Paddy MacGinty 12/4/2012 | 9:23:14 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town I agree, I came in from Defense Electronics to Telcoms. When the bubble burst I have moved to a Japanese electronics firm. They use laser diodes and optics so it wasn't so much of a task to shift but best of all I'm getting on the lean manufacturing bandwagon. If Telco companies are to make headway on the rise they need to be efficient and I guess I'll be well placed to apply my skills.
lr_fan 12/4/2012 | 9:23:22 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town Yeah Right!

I am so sure that some engineer nerd (I am one as well) can get a job ahead of 100s and 100s of 6'4" meatheads who can lift up 2 or 3 nerds.
vapa 12/4/2012 | 9:23:24 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town I am not high on food chain like COO or CTO, etc., and I am thinking about joining dock union, where peeps get paid some where around 100K. Shucks, that's more than what I make putting in 12 hrs a day or more!
lastofthebohicans 12/4/2012 | 9:23:27 PM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town VP and COO ectypes that have 'lighted out' were prominently featured in this article. Yawn.

A blurb about some techies themselves that have capitulated (and where they ended up)
would have balanced this story out. You could
also do the LR community a service by polling
some of your techie moles out there (and you
know who they are) and find out where they
have ended up ... biotech, defense, CRM,
the hand-held device market, financial services,
etc.

RTP, Sonoma County, Richardson have a
disproportionate amount of telecom workers.
Boston area/Bay area are more diversified,
with a better chance of finding an alternate career (if you previously considered telecom a career path).

-lotb
pipesoflight 12/5/2012 | 12:51:58 AM
re: Lighting Out From Telecom Town I am impressed by the well-worded comments concerning the view from the top looking down. I really mean this with no attack on you.
I would have to say many of the qualities included in this summation plus a few more also apply to Founder VPs (engineering), directors, and mangers, when looking up from the bottom. Often times these ideas is exactly what the guys in the trenches believe too. Unfortunately the trench guys canG«÷t tell the VP he is a micromanager, arrogant, and made some of the poor decisions that caused problems for the program. Upper management often sees the flaws in those below them yet refuse to accept a reverse assessment by those in the trenches. I worked for a VP at a startup in Richardson that talked a lot like your post but he couldnG«÷t separate emotions well or take criticism well either. Some of the problems on the program were caused by his decisions, but those below him took the rap. Monetary spending was excessive at times and could have made the difference in the numbers laid off.
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