Corin Anderson (magellanic) wrote,
Corin Anderson

In a conversation I had this evening (and, if you're thinking it was with you, it wasn't) I realized that software employers are a commodity. I'm sure this is nothing new to anyone who's thought about it, but I hadn't, so it seemed interesting to me. One binary classification on why employees work for a given employer is either (a) the employee is especially excited by working for the employer, is enthusiastic about the job, wants to make a change to the world, has a dream of getting rich by this work, etc.; or (b) the job is just a paycheck. In the latter camp the employers are a commodity. Switching costs will vary, especially as options and bonuses may be vested over time, but if a job's just a paycheck, then those employers really need to do something to keep employees happier there than possibly elsewhere.

This has come up recently as I've been chatting with friends at various companies, and I've been disappointed to learn that employers really aren't that moved to retain good talent. Going through grad school has persuaded me to find a way to be excited by work, and I've found a job that I'm enthusiastic about (ie, it's not a commodity to me). So I really hadn't looked at things the other way before. But it gave me pause for thought. And to realize that, unfortunately, as uninterested a given employer may be in retaining "paycheck" employees, not just any other ship will be a better one to jump to.
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