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Narcissistic College Graduates In the Workplace?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the entitled-to-it dept.

Education 1316

SpuriousLogic writes "I work as a senior software engineer, and a fair amount of my time is spent interviewing new developers. I have seen a growing trend of what I would call 'TV reality' college graduates — kids who graduated school in the last few years and seem to have a view of the workplace that is very much fashioned by TV programs, where 22-year-olds lead billion-dollar corporate mergers in Paris and jet around the world. Several years ago I worked at a company that did customization for the software they sold. It was not full-on consultant work, but some aspects of it were 'consulting light,' and did involve travel, some overseas. Almost every college graduate I interviewed fully expected to be sent overseas on their first assignment. They were very disappointed when told they were most likely to end up in places like Decater, IL and Cedar Rapids, IA, as only the most senior people fly overseas, because of the cost. Additionally, I see people in this age bracket expecting almost constant rewards. One new hire told me that he thought he had a good chance at an award because he had taught himself Enterprise Java Beans. When told that learning new tech is an expected part of being a developer, he argued that he had learned it by himself, and that made it different. So today I see an article about the growing narcissism of students, and I want to ask this community: are you seeing the sorts of 'crashing down to Earth' expectations of college grads described here? Is working with this age bracket more challenging than others? Do they produce work that is above or below your expectations of a recent college grad?" We discussed a similar question from the point of view of the young employees a few months back.

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1316 comments

solution: (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202633)

Spoda-slap those bitches. Apparently douchebag-syndrome runs rampant in colleges where students suckle from mommy's teet.

I'm from Turkey, you inensitve clod! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202845)

Over here in Turkey, even our capital-I's have tits! And we like'm! It's about time US'ians get with the times and put tits on everything or we wouldn't get anywhere stuck with one gibb0r-parrent. Now, get off my deserted plat. Selah!

Oh they'll crash all right (5, Interesting)

JustShootMe (122551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202637)

... until the bosses have the same mindset, at which point we're all screwed.

Re:Oh they'll crash all right (4, Insightful)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202667)

Unfortunately, many bosses are equally out of touch with reality. Some even a bit more.
Anyway, you get what you teach. Many are taught that capitalism is all and that anything comes at a price. Would it then be strange that the same person puts a price on his/her ability (whether deserved or not is immaterial to the principle).

Re:Oh they'll crash all right (4, Insightful)

SpiderClan (1195655) | more than 5 years ago | (#27203051)

Whether it's deserved is the principle.

"Everything comes at a price" is a consequence of capitalism, not the goal. The principle is that if I value your skills more than I value X dollars per year, then that's what I'll be willing to pay you. If you won't work for less than X + 10000 dollars per year and that's more than I value your skills, we don't have a deal and I'll keep my money.

If you want something without giving anything in return, what you are talking about isn't capitalism.

Note: By you, I don't mean you, I mean them.

Precious Snowflakes (5, Insightful)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202657)

....mom and dad always told them they were incredibly special, and would do amazing things.

It never occurred to them that there's a hell of a lot more jobs that are sheer drudgery than are a thrill a minute.

In the almost seven years since I graduated from college, I've never been sent overseas for work. I have been sent exciting places like Indianapolis.

But I always had a job during college, too. And because of that, the only thing I expected after graduation was a better salary (but not amazingly better).

Yeah, well, you know what? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202689)

I deserve your job, because my mommy and daddy said I was very speshul!

Re:Yeah, well, you know what? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202825)

Yeah, well -- if you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?!

Re:Yeah, well, you know what? (2, Informative)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27203031)

The moderators who passed over the above comment should hang their heads in shame.

Re:Precious Snowflakes (5, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202725)

I have been sent exciting places like Indianapolis.

Oh, I used to lie awake at nights, dreaming of being sent to Indianapolis. Or was it nightmares.

Re:Precious Snowflakes (1)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 5 years ago | (#27203041)

I'll make it even better. To get to Indianapolis, I had to fly through.....CLEVELAND!

Re:Precious Snowflakes (2, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202753)

Ur doin it wrong!

Well, if international travel is a goal anyway. I'm a uk based software engineer and in my 9 years I've been sent on assignments to France and Sweden, knowledge transfer operations to San Francisco for a month at time, conferences in Florida and four months of secondment to Dallas, TX. I'm hoping to get out to Malaysia at some point soon.

All depends on your priorities, and who you work for (and how much they trust you to be the face of their tech organisation).

Still, I had three years experience before any of that happened.

Re:Precious Snowflakes (4, Insightful)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202991)

I'm a uk based software engineer

There's the difference right there. As a European, travelling internationally is not all that different than domestic travel in the US.

The nearest foreign territory to me (Bermuda), is an hour plane ride, or several hours on a boat.

Re:Precious Snowflakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27203067)

You seem to have missed the fact that four out of the six locations he mentioned are not on his continent.

Re:Precious Snowflakes (4, Informative)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202841)

Yeah, it was over fifteen years into my career before I was sent anywhere interesting. And even then, you end up spending so much time actually working that I got very little time to actually go look at the historic European city I was sent to.

What most new college grads don't seem to understand is that everyone in the industry wants to do the fun stuff and go the fun places, and as a college grad, everyone in the industry has more experience than you do. You have to pay your dues like everyone else.

Re:Precious Snowflakes (5, Insightful)

WAG24601G (719991) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202871)

While I think you're right about the attitudes of many parents, a greater contributor to this problem is in academia. If I had a dime for every skill that the Career Services department told me was instant top-of-the-stack material... well, I wouldn't have had to spend months searching for a job below my level of education.

Universities are still businesses, and one major source of income is bright-eyed young freshman who believe they will be able to conquer the world in four years, if only they invest $120,000 in a bachelor's degree. It doesn't benefit the universities (in the short run) to dispell that illusion.

Re:Precious Snowflakes (3, Interesting)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202875)

What about those of us who were never told by our parents we were good at anything, rather below average than precious snowflakes. Where do we get our sense of exelence and whatever else makes us think we should be paid huge amounts of moneys?

Oh that's right, it's that wherever you look in this day and age 90% of the populace are clueless idiots who rarely, if ever, look at anythign outside shcool curriculum. Hell, I've seen worse job applications from college graduates than I used to send out when I was in my senior high school year. Actual knowledge is also on about the same level.

Re:Precious Snowflakes (3, Interesting)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27203091)

This is so many kinds of true.

I'm a college CS junior. I am in the top 5% in my class in ability (grades are another matter, busywork annoys me). Whenever there's a group project, people are beelining to work with me, because I have demonstrated programming skills, project management ability, and the ability to break down problems to be easily understood by others.

I don't mean to brag when I say this, but rather explore a perspective. I heard this a lot: "man, I wish I could work like you do."

And I ask--why the fuck can't they?

I'm nothing special, I've just been using computers and programming for a long time. I learned BASIC when I was 7. Not to just print "HELLO WORLD" on the screen, but to do stuff. I figured out Hello World and how to generate random numbers - let's make a slot machine program! That works? What about graphics, turning it from ASCII to some 16-color awesomeness? That works? What about adding sound? And I was doing it on my own. I didn't have any teachers. My dad's a network engineer, but he doesn't know how to program--I was writing small processing apps for him in Java and Visual Basic when I was 11. Identify the problem, find a solution, implement the solution. And since I have that body of experience, today in college I can get away with paying only half a mind to my studies. I've been doing it so long that it's innate. I don't have to think about it, I just do it, and the process of adding more tools to my toolbox via academic study just happens naturally. (These days I spend my spare time learning new things that aren't necessarily programming-related. I picked up a MIDI keyboard and a bass guitar four months ago and started making electronic music. I can afford to branch out because I know my core stuff so thoroughly.)

But what about the other students I mentioned? Most aren't programming in their spare time. Most came to school having had one or two high school programming classes and thought that was enough. They weren't learning outside of class. They still don't. Do the bare minimum of the homework, forget how all of it worked as soon as you finish the exam on the material. (A guy today asked me how to do string matching in Java. He's a senior graduating this semester. He's had four classes where Java was the assigned language.)

And it shows. No drive, no attention to detail. Some of them get internships as a company's PHP monkey or whatever, and they brag about it.

Me? I do their jobs in 2-3 weeks as a consultant and leave the client with something they don't need a webmaster for. I've done Google Summer of Code twice, with two very different groups, and am looking at doing it again--not really for the money, but just to broaden my horizons, to get into new fields of development and to learn more about my craft. I'm starting my own software-service company in May, with an estimated customer base of 60-80 clients already (thanks to networking, getting out and meeting people, not being a goddamn mushroom in a basement) and an estimated first-month after-tax profit of $8,800--which doesn't sound like a lot until you realize it's being run out of my apartment, on a sliding margin, without a dime of my own money invested in the enterprise, while living in a state where the median income is $25,000 per capita.

My generation is afflicted entitlement mentalities and an aversion to actually doing anything to better themselves. It's sad.

Re:Precious Snowflakes (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 5 years ago | (#27203013)

I was in my 40s before I was sent anywhere 'exotic', like Soldotna Alaska, in the winter. Be careful of what you wish for.

Re:Precious Snowflakes (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27203065)

Business travel is awful. You fly somewhere really exciting and interesting - work your ass off, have zero social life, feel incredibly lonely as you wonder around your hotel, then you fly home. The important thing is to make up lots of stories of how great it was, all the crazy people you met, what a great bunch of lads your customers/colleagues are etc..

First Bonus Post (2, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202661)

So what do I get? A ferrari? week in Tahiti?

Does the geek cred I gain by posting on Slashdot mean I automatically become CTO?

Yes (4, Insightful)

DreadPiratePizz (803402) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202671)

This is probably true. The reason being, is that students recently graduating who are around my age are children of the baby boomers. The baby boomers were a rather prosperous generation, so in general their kids had a lot of comforts and opportunity that they take for granted. Almost everybody I knew in college didn't know the value of hard work, and expected their privilege and excellence to be rewarded at face value, probably because they never HAD to work hard, because their baby boomer parents had provided them with everything they need. I really do blame the baby boomers. They grew up in a sort of fantasy world, where they could preach peace, love, and not war, and ignore the realities of the world. And so, their children will most likely have the same attitude.

Re:Yes (0)

JustShootMe (122551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202859)

But theyre not really children of the baby boomers, really. They're children of the children of the baby boomers. The children of the baby boomers gave us the financial debacles that we're only just now starting to realize the scope of. The children of the children of the baby boomers...

Well, let's just say that they're now in for a huge and shocking dose of reality. If you don't have some really impressive credentials at this point... lots of luck.

Actually... (4, Insightful)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202963)

It's always been like this. I was in college - god - going on thirty years ago (!) and we all thought we were the shit.

It's not until we all started working and actually failed at something that we got knocked back down to reality.

Obligatory (5, Interesting)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202981)

"I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint"
- Hesiod, 8th century BC

Re:Yes (3, Insightful)

Chakolate47 (1137273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202999)

Jeez - where did you go to college? Silver Spoon U? The state school I graduated from a few years ago had many students who were the first college attendees in their families. We worked hard and didn't expect favors. You'll find what you look for in life. If you're looking for whiny unrealistic brats, that's what you'll see. If you look for hard-working joes, that's what you'll find.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27203033)

The reason being, is that students recently graduating who are around my age are children of the baby boomers.

Is this the year 2000 again? Many of the current graduates are children of the GenXers and nearly all undergrads are. This only incidentally has to do with the boomers, and that is how they absconded from being parents to be their childrens "friend" and passed off the role of parenting to schools. I have just gone back to university for a career change and it is funny how many of the kids here act like they are still in school and their teachers will cover for their lack of studying (it is sink or swim in Australian universities).

As a young college graduate... (4, Interesting)

Talgrath (1061686) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202673)

Perhaps I'm just more realistic than the average college graduate, but I'd really just...like a job. I knew, coming in, that whatever I learned in college was just the tip of the iceberg; if getting a BS in Computer Science really prepared you for everything you might see in the "real world" then why are there Masters and Doctorate programs? I will admit that a lot of my fellow college students thought that they are geniuses for one reason or another, but I'm under no such delusions. Hell, in this economy, I'd just like a steady IT job; but it has been remarkably hard to find one with the market flooded with more experienced individuals.

Re:As a young college graduate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202761)

you are good boy, you will do it well. you may ask the man for job?

you are good boy, you work for good man.

Re:As a young college graduate... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202771)

You know, Masters and Doctorate programs have nothing to do with the "real world" of non-academic jobs. There IS a lot that you don't learn in college, but you are expected to learn it on the job.

Re:As a young college graduate... (5, Informative)

niklask (1073774) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202965)

You know, Masters and Doctorate programs have nothing to do with the "real world" of non-academic jobs. There IS a lot that you don't learn in college, but you are expected to learn it on the job.

This may be true in the U.S. but its not true everywhere else. In many European countries, like my own home Sweden, a master's degree in engineering is not at all uncommon. In fact, for most engineering jobs a master's degree is required.

Re:As a young college graduate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202979)

Yeah, with the shit education we get in the US if you land a job you are very luck indeed.
That is why Obama administration is going to be sending a bill to the congress to create a federal program to send at least 20% of the US undergraduate and graduate students to Universities overseas, in Europe, Brazil, China and India, so they can learn what those people learn, and perhaps learn why those places are not affected by the economic depression the way our USA is.

They give you a false impression in school.. (4, Interesting)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202677)

I graduated with a CS bachelors a few years ago thinking I would have a good shot at doing some compiler design or maybe kernel hacking.. despite the fact that I had only done these kind of things in a sterile learning environment that did not at all simulate the level of complexity involved in modern languages and operating systems.. So when I got out of school, I found out that, rather being able to get a job doing these kinds of things, I was lucky to get a web app programming job.

I'm not bitter. I should have realized this from the beginning. But I really wish someone would have pointed out to me that this was what the job market was actually like, so that I could have gone the EE route instead.

Re:They give you a false impression in school.. (4, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202751)

I graduated with a CS bachelors a few years ago thinking I would have a good shot at doing some compiler design or maybe kernel hacking..

You do have a shot:

If you do a good job at one of those for a while, I think there's a decent chance of turning it into a paying job eventually.

Re:They give you a false impression in school.. (3, Informative)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202779)

Not one of Bill Gates biggest fans, but he had a great lecture for students. In one part of it, he said something to the effect that schools do everything in their power to try and make things fair. The faster you understand that the world is not fair and does not care if you think it owes you something the better you will do.

And there is good money in being a developer if you work hard. EE is no easier.

Re:They give you a false impression in school.. (-1, Troll)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202895)

Not one of Bill Gates biggest fans, but he had a great lecture for students. In one part of it, he said something to the effect that schools do everything in their power to try and make things fair. The faster you understand that the world is not fair and does not care if you think it owes you something the better you will do.

Sadly, none of them survived the lesson, as he subsequently "cut off their air supply" to make his point.

A virtuous man says the world isn't fair, but he'll try to fix that. Bill Gates says the world isn't fair, so fuck you.

Re:They give you a false impression in school.. (1)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27203021)

I'm not a Gates fan either , but that is correct, and so is the false impressions. I was in the business before Gates and we had a grad from MIT that was valedictorian in EE. He was on tranquilizers in a couple months as reality set in, that talent and experience are two sides of a coin. He eventually became a valuable asset and by that time he was like everybody else and didn't want to travel, as it is a PITA. I personally paid my dues for ten years before I had a decent position and I took four or five flights a week and eventually learned to hate travel with a passion.
It isn't a new condition as it was as true in 1980 as it is now.

Re:They give you a false impression in school.. (1)

peterwayner (266189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202899)

EE has it's own version of web application programming too. And let me tell you that it's not easy to build a well-functioning website. Humans are notoriously strange. At least compiler designers only have to interact with programmers. Web application developers have to anticipate every type of human. It's a harder job if you ask me.

Re:They give you a false impression in school.. (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202987)

Harder job? Maybe (I couldn't say.. I don't really know much about EE, though I really wish I did). More interesting? I don't see how. Building web apps is professional child-proofing. Its difficult, but completely unrewarding.

The real issue: "seniority" based pay (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202687)

A big part of life is seeing your options narrow as you grow older. There was a time when it was a (very remote) possibility that I could make the Olympic team. Now, I'm simply too old. On the plus, I now have a wonderful wife and daughter so I now know I'm not going to spend my entire life alone (there was a time when that was also a possibility).

So, some guy fresh out of college thinks he might be the next Bill Gates? Maybe he will be. Who are you to say that he won't? It does happen. A few years down the road, when this guy's options have narrowed, you and he might both agree that it's just not going to happen.

But why the need to stomp on some guy's dreams right this second? Particularly when, as you describe it, that dream involves something as simple as not wanting to live in Decater, IL or Cedar Rapids, IA. There are an awful lot of people who do manage to "live the dream" of not having to live in the Midwest. And, if all your new employees really want to live in Los Angeles, why not open a branch office in Los Angeles?

But the real issue here seems to be seniority based pay. The article linked by the summary mentions college graduates wanting more than "entry level" pay. Well, I've seen an awful lot of situations where two guys are doing exactly the same job but one guy is getting paid a whole lot more because of "seniority". That really doesn't seem fair to me (it also doesn't seem fair that management pays itself so much more than the people doing the actual work, but that's another topic).

Anyway, it may be overwhelmingly naive but it's hardly narcissistic to expect the same pay for the same job - and, reading between the lines, that seems to be the real issue here. "How dare those young whippersnappers expect to be paid as much as me - the 'senior' developer?" Maybe they're up to the job and maybe they aren't - but is that really any different than some old guy thinking he has what it takes to be a "senior" developer when he really doesn't?

Re:The real issue: "seniority" based pay (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202835)

Well, I've seen an awful lot of situations where two guys are doing exactly the same job but one guy is getting paid a whole lot more because of "seniority". That really doesn't seem fair to me...

While I understand where you're coming from, this argument is very disingenuous at best. Basically, you're saying there's no value to someone having more work experience in a field (or several fields). I can't count the number of times I've seen a problem arise (or even a request for suggestions) where the younger people throw out solutions that are quite simply moronic. Or they'll cost a ton to implement. Sure, it happens with "senior" staff, too, but oftentimes their answers tend to be on the more practical side. And it's largely because they're more familiar with the myriad aspects involved. Or they are a major part of the institutional knowledge that is required to competently resolve the situation. Unfortunately, many people never seem to realize this. And they're often the ones pulling the group down as a whole. So is it any surprise that they're the ones who tend to make less?

It IS like TV (4, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202693)

I have seen a growing trend of what I would call 'TV reality' college graduates â" kids who graduated school in the last few years and seem to have a view of the workplace that is very much fashioned by TV programs, where 22-year-olds lead billion-dollar corporate mergers in Paris and jet around the world.

They just don't realize that the show is, "The Office".

Education fads (5, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202697)

My mum's a primary school teacher, so I got to hear all about the crazy fads that sweep through the education system as regularly as forest fires.

Education fads are a bit like management fads, or the hype-waves that sweep IT; some self-important tosser somewhere in academia comes up with a stupid idea, some government pinheads buy into it, and before you know it, it's all over like a bad rash.

The movement to boost pupils' self-esteem was a recent big one, which according to a recent piece on the BBC, took off in America. The idea, is that kids get praised all the time as a means of positive reinforcement -- with the obvious drawbacks.

But then again, it could be the Dunning-Kruger Effect (where the incompetent are unable to see their own incompetence), which is as strong now as it always has been.

Not just college grads (2, Interesting)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202699)

I think it's more of a cultural thing. I've seen people of all ages kinda expect primadonna treatment for some reason or another.

I'd also go so far to say that other cultures such as asians (of which I am also part of and have lived in for several years) are brought up to expect to work hard first and reap benefits sometime after they've proven their worth. It's actually quite confusing for us when we work for an organization that is anything other than a meritocracy.

Re:Not just college grads (2, Funny)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202743)

Huh, my middle paragraph got eaten somehow.

In fact, I'm going to go all racist and suggest that you'd enjoy reading http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/ [stuffwhitepeoplelike.com] . But it's OK because I'm part white myself and identify with at least a third of the stuff they cover. It has really helped me understand myself and others in a way that is simple, succinct, and wrong :P

It isn't their fault. (4, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202715)

They've been systematically lied to. Western youth has been aggressively fed a vision of fun, laid back jobs that inexplicably pay huge amounts, coupled with an excessive consumer lifestyle.

Remember the apartments they lived in in Friends? Remember what they did for a living? Exactly.

Its why there was so much consumer debt - people thought they were entitled to a lifestyle beyond their means, and were willing to take loans to get it.

Re:It isn't their fault. (4, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202995)

Remember the apartments they lived in in Friends? Remember what they did for a living? Exactly.

I seem to recall that the apartment in Friends was rent-controlled at a level that had been set some time in the 60s, and they were illegally subletting it from a elderly relative who had long since moved away. Also, the show had some good stories about the financial issues of people living in Manhattan.

Nitpicks aside, though, you're right about Friends (most of the time) and TV in general. But then, TV has always lied about a lot of things: everybody is good looking and has no weight or fitness issues (unless they're evil or they're somebody's funny sidekick). Bad people always suffer for their badness, and good people are always rewarded. Nobody is ever at a loss for clever thing to say. All complicated issues get resolved one way or another after 48 minutes of interaction. Etc., etc.

Re:It isn't their fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27203025)

people thought they were entitled to a lifestyle beyond their means, and were willing to take loans to get it.

By definition, if they got approved for the loan, it's within their means.

Or, as some famous airhead once said, "How can I be out of money? I still have checks!".

Blame the parents teachers (3, Insightful)

coniferous (1058330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202723)

Speaking from the viewpoint of a 21 year old IT "professional"... Its the parents/teachers fault. We have been told from a very early age that having education sets us apart from the rest. You end up with people that think that because they got 90s in school, they are more qualified to do a job that someone has been doing for 20 years. Its stupid, even i think so. Perhaps if we hadn't been so coddled as kids, the workplace wouldn't be such a huge step for my generation.

Re:Blame the parents teachers (5, Insightful)

JustShootMe (122551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202813)

But you are doing exactly what the article predicts that you would do - it's everyone's fault but your own. Yes, yes, they do share blame, of course they do. And I know as much as anyone that children are not at truly fault for how they're raised. But at some point, it may be their fault - but placing blame really doesn't fix the situation. Only you can fix the situation, and it doesn't really matter whose fault it is.

I'm speaking as someone whose parents really messed him up in many different ways - but ultimately, they are not going to fix it, I have to. And placing blame really does nothing but remind me of the past, instead of looking to the future.

Put shortly and bluntly, who gives a fuck whose fault it is, I care more about what you do with your life and who you are *now*. :-)

Re:Blame the parents teachers (1)

coniferous (1058330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202885)

But you are doing exactly what the article predicts that you would do - it's everyone's fault but your own. Yes, yes, they do share blame, of course they do. And I know as much as anyone that children are not at truly fault for how they're raised. But at some point, it may be their fault - but placing blame really doesn't fix the situation. Only you can fix the situation, and it doesn't really matter whose fault it is.

I'm speaking as someone whose parents really messed him up in many different ways - but ultimately, they are not going to fix it, I have to. And placing blame really does nothing but remind me of the past, instead of looking to the future.

Put shortly and bluntly, who gives a fuck whose fault it is, I care more about what you do with your life and who you are *now*. :-)

Its very hard for me not to blame the issue on someone else... Where else am i going to get real world experience at a young age?

Re:Blame the parents teachers (4, Insightful)

JustShootMe (122551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202953)

Open source? Internships?

I'm not saying it's easy. But doing the not easy stuff is what differentiates one from the rest. At least in the beginning, who knows, you might have to sacrifice pay for experience. But the investment will pay back.

Unless your parents are abusive, they are only there to guide you - your motivation and your willingness to step out on your own to figure stuff out is what's going to really give you what you need. Ultimately, parents and teachers are only there to tell you how to stick your foot in the door. What happens once it's there is entirely up to you.

I don't think I'm saying this right. Oh well. It's Sunday.

Re:Blame the parents teachers (1)

coniferous (1058330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27203029)

OK, Lets speak a little bit more generally. When I was a kid i lied about my age to get a job at burger king and volunteered at computer shops to get my hardware and repair background. But what about the rest of my generation? There is absolutely *NO* incentive for them to step out of their comfort zone. How do you encourage this in an entire generation? What sort of cultural values would get our kids off their collective asses?

Re:Blame the parents teachers (5, Interesting)

JustShootMe (122551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27203093)

Maybe I'm just cynical, but does it really matter? If they want to sit there on their asses and bitch and moan about how bad their lives are, that's their problem - and it makes it just that much easier for people like you and I to make something of ourselves.

I'm not saying I wish it on them, really... but I'm not responsible for them, I'm responsible for me. You see what I'm saying? You can lead a horse to water...

It only becomes my problem when they expect me to support them...

Re:Blame the parents teachers (1)

JustShootMe (122551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202961)

Uhh... one other thing. I should point out that I'm 33 and I still do open source work and stuff, and I don't expect to get paid for everything I do. It'll come back to me.

Generation Me, a book on the topic (1)

Geof (153857) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202915)

I have read similar comments by young people before. I believe it was in the Amazon reviews of Generation Me [amazon.com] , which I discovered via an article [zephoria.org] on danah boyd's blog. boyd says she has found the same thing in her research (she studies young people's use of social software).

Re:Blame the parents teachers (4, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202989)

I think the web contributes. You can find websites with ready-made "communities" for any absurd group. Facebook, Twitter and the like feed on the inherent ego-centrism & narcissism of the age group - as if people really CARE what you're doing minute to minute. It all fosters a false sense of importance and belonging that just doesn't exist in the real world. On the other hand, shifting the blame to anyone but yourself is another issue. Sure, your parents told you you were special, but you believed it.

We do kids a disservice by constantly telling them how wonderful they are. Fact is, people build a real sense of self-worth by working hard to overcome challenges, not by being given prizes.

People, not "students" (5, Interesting)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202747)

So today I see an article about the growing narcissism of students

Might as well replace "students" with "people". The whole concept that this is somehow limited to graduates of whatever reeks of the "dirty intellectuals" cultural revolution mentality.

It's not graduates that are getting narcissistic, it's much of our society that's changing this way, of which they are but a subset. If you think that the people who don't finish high school and suckle on the NYC welfare tit for much of their life are any less narcissistic, you've got a dose of reality coming...

Our society has removed a system of intrinsic rewards that involve satisfaction from doing one's job well, and providing for one's family, and replaced it with a money-grabbing race for being buried with the most stuff. But make no mistake about it - this phenomenon has far less to do with education, and far more to do with the destruction of family as a concept.

Re:People, not "students" (4, Insightful)

coniferous (1058330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202831)

So today I see an article about the growing narcissism of students

Might as well replace "students" with "people". The whole concept that this is somehow limited to graduates of whatever reeks of the "dirty intellectuals" cultural revolution mentality.

It's not graduates that are getting narcissistic, it's much of our society that's changing this way, of which they are but a subset. If you think that the people who don't finish high school and suckle on the NYC welfare tit for much of their life are any less narcissistic, you've got a dose of reality coming...

Our society has removed a system of intrinsic rewards that involve satisfaction from doing one's job well, and providing for one's family, and replaced it with a money-grabbing race for being buried with the most stuff. But make no mistake about it - this phenomenon has far less to do with education, and far more to do with the destruction of family as a concept.

Uh, wut? How does not having a solid family structure make you more narcissistic? Personally I have found that people that had to fend for themselves and didn't have mommy at arms reach more humbled and harder working.

Inflated Titles == Inflated Expectations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202757)

Well, first of all, the problem is with their older generation instructors. telling them they can call themselves "engineers".

Over on the other side of the border , "engineer" is a protected title, so not every college dropout who can string together a java crapplet can claim that title.

Now if you refer to the position as "developer" or "programmer", their expectations might be more in line.

Not College's Fault (1)

1alpha7 (192745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202763)

Its not just the college graduates. We have the same problem with high school graduates for blue collar jobs.

This just in! (4, Insightful)

intx13 (808988) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202769)

Students find that the real world does not match their ideals and expectations!

I think no matter what age bracket you fit into, you or someone you knew as a post-student entering the workforce for the first time had their expectations shattered.

It's neither shocking nor news, and it certainly doesn't make you narcissistic. It makes you inexperienced, which is kind of the whole thing, isn't it?

On the other hand, there are more young people succeeding that do make it that far that quickly nowadays, so maybe you could say that the variance is increasing - more people expecting greatness and being shocked, but also more people going directly to greatness.

Furthermore, the example of one prospective employee thinking that what were in reality fairly standard and expected skills made him a unique snowflake doesn't mean he and every other post-student is narcissistic. More likely, in school he WAS cream of the crop, teaching himself new skills and so on. What he doesn't realize is that the people he's comparing himself to are now working at McDonald's; he now needs to compete against the much smaller group of people like himself. Depending on the school, he may have never met anyone else from this group.

Anyway, not narcissism, not egotism... just a mix of inexperience, naivete, and optimism/idealism.

Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202775)

Our business does language courses abroad and school exchanges for high school kids. The result is that we need to keep alot of our staff pretty young so that we can present a "cool" image to our clients.

Thus, about half of our staff is fresh college grads at any given time. We hire them especially as "accompagnateurs", basically glorified camp cousilors who accompany and supervise the kids during their courses and exchanges.

This is actually a lot of work and not very fun, but it does involve some travel. 10 years ago, we could hire a few college grads for the summer and send them with a group of kids and they did a good job.

Now, things are different. The fresh college grads just aren't as responsible as they used to be. Generally, they can't be trusted with the petty cash, they can't be trusted to be sober at any given time and the young men can't be trusted to stay away from the girls in their charge.

The solution was to start sending one of the senior staff with each group to supervise the younger staff, but even then they have been getting worse. I don't know what changed, but I think it is that the college grads today shut down as soon as something is less entertaining than they expected.

Every Generation (4, Interesting)

perlhacker14 (1056902) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202777)

Every new generation is bound to feel superior to the previous, being fresh and inexperienced and self-confident in their sparkling new standards. Every previous generation will feel that the new children are annoying little pests wearing too-big boots. This is to be expected, and the attitudes usually fade over time as the new generation gets hit with reality and the older ones come to stand them.
Of course, this really is the one of the first times that it comes up in the software fields, as the field is relatively new.

anecdotal evidence (5, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202795)

The article is based on nothing but anecdotal evidence. The person who wrote the slashdot summary (named, strangely enough, SpuriousLogic) relates some more anecdotal evidence. Now slashdotters are requested to supply even more anecdotal evidence.

I teach physics at a community college. Any generalization you can make about my students will be true about some of them and false about some others. Yes, I have encountered some students whose self-esteem seems unrealistically high. Yes, I have also encountered some other students whose self-esteem seemed to me to be unrealistically low.

If you want to show a trend over time, like increasing narcissism, you need quantitative data from two different times, and you need the random and systematic errors on those two data-points to be small enough that they can be shown to be unequal with a high level of confidence.

My default hypothesis about any educational reform movement is that it will have absolutely no effect on anything. I'm only persuaded to the contrary if solid quantitative evidence shows up to the contrary. My default hypothesis is that the self-esteem movement has had absolutely no effect on students' self-esteem, or on their achievement, or on anything else. Students tend to be pretty realistic. They look and compare themselves with other students. They know if they got an F on their physics exam and their lab partner didn't.

Re:anecdotal evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202913)

Uh, look at not only who wrote the summary. This is yet another kdawson troll article.

blame modern child rearing (3, Interesting)

thule (9041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202819)

... and schools. Parents don't teach their kids that some things are just simply part of life. You have to do it whether you like it or not. You have to do it even if you don't get an allowance or a gold star. Some things are worth doing even if you don't feel good about doing it.

Schools affirm this by removing competition and focus on making sure kids feel good about themselves. This is reflected in a recent survey where US kids scored lower on things like math, but felt that had done well on the test. Non-US students felt that they had not done well on the test, but scored higher. In other words, stupid US kids feel really good about themselves. Heck, they've been rewarded not for getting things right, but for trying! Why wouldn't they expect to get constant affirmation in the professional world?

Bring back competition. Bring back winning and loosing. Bring back hard work. Dump the ego-centric psychology.

No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202829)

This is hardly something new.

I own a small consulting company (two full time, others brought on per project). A few years ago I got a tiny job to re-do a server with new hardware and implement a backup strategy. One of the minor issues was that the reporting tool they used required client software and a shared drive and allowed only one person to view a report at a time. As a gesture, I rewrote the report in PHP. My PHP is not very good however.

About the same time, I received a resume from a recent grad who wanted to start with a small company. He found me through some friends. Among his qualifications listed on his resume was guru level PHP. Perfect. I asked him to re-do the page to format it better, add the company logo, create a PDF download link. Simple, right?

Almost two weeks later he sends me his bill for close to a thousand dollars. He was still "working on" getting the PDF download link, but he had added the logo (about 6 lines of HTML in the header). The formatting hadn't changed.

Recent grads still don't know about the long work days, the deadlines, the software management process... yet still they want to start at $100/hr or $90K/year.

Yea whatever happend to the good old days of.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202837)

Seriously where are the good old days of being paid for your knowledge and expertise. Not just getting a bonus of millions for running a company into the ground. Maybe I'm out of touch but learning some that has intrinsic value to the company in excess of what I was hired for qualifies me for a raise. Maybe I need a few new skills combined together before I can actually ask for raise with good conscience.
Maybe I'm missing the point of school. Maybe it is just a paper hanging on the wall and doesn't signify anything but a loan in the bank. But to me my time is money, my knowledge is money.
Once hired though my time is up to the employer if he wants me to do my work in base Antarctica and he agreed to my price then yes I'll work in Antarctica. Crying over not getting the best clientele or locations out of the gate is stupid. But then again I've seen an owners nephew twice removed come in and take the best seat in the house. Management has its choices, and in today's economy they have a lot more choices than ever.

oh really? (-1, Flamebait)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202849)

Okay the guy in the summary sounds like a douchebag but you know what I'm really sick of? Older assholes who think that because they learned Basic back in the 80's or whatever that they're such a better programmer. In my college advanced VB class there was an older dude getting re-trained for his company and I, as a 19 year old, was programming circles around him. He thought he knew it all and was really laid back and didn't put in much effort and showed off his neat little tricks he learned but his final programs sucked. And in the workplace now, I have the unfortunate disadvantage of looking 16 even though I'm almost 22 so everyone treates me like I'm 16. I have the distinct feeling that even if I'm the best programmer and best employee they have in the IT department, they wouldn't promote me simply because of my age and my looks. This idea that people have to work for years before moving up the ladder and it's all based on experience and not actual skill is bullshit and it needs to stop. But I also agree that clueless, mostly unskilled young people looking for pats on the back for stuff they should be doing anyway are pretty annoying too.

Re:oh really? (5, Funny)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27203001)

This idea that people have to work for years before moving up the ladder and it's all based on experience and not actual skill is bullshit and it needs to stop.

Uh, guy? I think you're the one they're talking about in the article.

Re:oh really? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27203007)

"In my college advanced VB class"

I stopped reading your comment there.

Symptom of society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202851)

I hate to tell the submitter this, but software engineering is not the only place to find this sense of entitlement among the "Gen Y" or "Me Generation" population.

A couple of years ago a morning show ran a segment on two small companies where each held an "employee of the day" ceremony every morning complete with party hats and snacks. Management's rational? They needed to attract and retain a younger work force, and these types of bobbles and shiny things were the only flavor that did so.

Welcome to the future we all created (enabled).

I remember when 40 years of loyal service at the company only got you a firm handshake and a gold watch at your retirement party. Then again, that was in Soviet Russia....

It's a non story. (0, Flamebait)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202853)

This is nothing but hyperbole based upon a few - that's assuming it's true. This is nothing new. I've had to deal with narcissists since I entered the workforce in the 1980s: programmers who thought they were brilliant and should be worshiped like Gods. This is just a news story that's a backlash against the perceived "self esteem movement"; which is backed up by a bunch of burnt out, cry baby teachers who have their own narcissistic tendencies (Oh look at me! I'm an overworked and underpaid teacher! I'm teaching YOUR CHILDREN! I'm more important than anyone!).

Yawn.

BTW, Teaching is a GREAT gig! Graduate from college at 22, work and get all the extra credentials needed and at 60, retire a millionaire! Guaranteed. The Teacher's Union will see to it - they don't like it when folks point that out. Yep, the profession that has the most retired millionaires is teachers. You won't have a private jet, but you'll be living much better than most retirees. Make sure it's a public school system, though.

I find young programmers unmotivated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202861)

Unmotivated and, quite often, looking for the easy answer. Rather then spending the 10 minutes reading the API documentation they would sooner bug the senior devs, looking for the easy answer. Many times I will ask them to read the documentation, while feigning "I don't know", and see where they end up. More often than not, I end up disappointed. For many of these programmers, it's just a way to make money.

But I don't think this problem is occurring everywhere in society, arrogant, young, "deserving" grads not willing to earn their keep.

People are stupid (2, Insightful)

Tybalt_Capulet (1400481) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202863)

Most people have no idea about anything, or how anything works.

The more skills the more education they obtain the less they try to gain the knowledge of the world around them, making nice little pocket worlds that almost everyone lives in.

We simply don't want to believe the things we know are true.

My generation (The college students/graduates) are the worst. Because of Google and Microsoft we think we're all going to become rich tomorrow if we go into the tech career path, but most of us have no idea how those companies filled niches in the world and the non-coding brilliance it took for them to rise to the top.

We expect our pay out to be like our video streams, done downloading before we've started to watch, when reality is that it's slower than a 56K client downloading from another 56K client.

Non traditional Grad (2, Interesting)

theredshoes (1308621) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202869)

I recently graduated after going back to school in my thirties. Yes, my expectation was at least to get a job making more than I did before I was downsized and went back to college. I do however work at a tech company now and I would have taken any position available. I had to make some hard decisions about that too. You have to take the good and the bad, that is just the way it is with the economy now. I just took a job that I am overqualified for, the salary is not that great, but I can live comfortably on it because I have other sources of income and investments because I am older and did prepare for the future. And the only reason I have that is because I had to make some seriously hard decisions, like selling the house my husband and I lived in when he was alive, cars etc. The good part is that the company is growing, it is a ten minute commute and the work is interesting, so far. I figure give it a year, if it doesn't get any better or I do not get a promotion, I will go to grad school at night and work there until something better comes along or I find something better once the economy gets a little better. I actually feel very lucky and happy about my new job! Honestly, the people are very nice there and seem to have good bosses so far. I really did not have any pie in the sky or rose colored glasses scenarios in my mind when I got out, probably because I was already screwed over a few times money wise by other companies because I didn't have the degree, they were not forking over the cash even though I should have been making at least 10K more, LOL At least now with the degree, I have the leverage to go somewhere else and make more money. :)

What the hell? (4, Insightful)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202887)

I'm 18, and I'm about to leave my secondary school and head off to university (assuming I get my grades). I've always had an interest in tech an computers - so I learnt (or started learning) C/C++ at around 14 to try and get a step ahead of just the typical 'wannabes'. I now consider myself, four years later, to be a pretty competent coder. Besides that though, I don't consider myself 'special' in any way or form what-so-ever.

In fact, the only 'special' thing about what I just mentioned is the age I was when I did it - what I actually did (self teaching, as per the java beans example) is painfully uninteresting. Yet people I meet routinely single this out as 'strange' and 'amazing' (people in other fields, that is).

I don't share their enthusiasm - why is self-teaching so amazing? Am I really that cool for doing the simplest thing ever - teaching myself. Or are the other people I'm being judged against too fucking retarded to teach themselves?

I think that's the main scary thing this article touches on (and something I've experienced) - self teaching is now some kind of oddity. I'm pleased I learnt C/C++ when I did: Not because of what it is, but apparently, in this new age of retardation, self taught *anything* is some amazing feat to be behold. I think that's the scarier prospect than overly narcissistic students/graduates

answer at bottom of page (3, Funny)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202911)

Quote at bottom of /. page:

"You will be advanced socially, without any special effort on your part."

Well, there you go.

I hve not seen this (2, Informative)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202919)

I know this reply isn't particularly exciting, but I can say I have not seen this happen. The grads I meet are excited, interested, and humble. Maybe we just hire the good ones?

Try going to school with them (2, Insightful)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202923)

Seriously, if you think they are bad in the work place, try being in an environment where they aren't fired if they can't mesh with the rest of the group. I'm fine with self confidence, but the arrogance of some of the students is more than frustrating. Since they think they have it all under control, they don't care about learning some of the lessons that college tries to teach them.

I still see a lot of concern about how many programing languages you know, not how well you can think and solve problems. Oh my, you've worked with 6 languages, including Javascript!

Please tell me it gets better. I am scared.

Not Narcissism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202927)

It seems that there are a number of things going on here - none of which I would really describe as "narcissism".

  1. When you're young, you really don't know what you're capable of - and you won't know unless you try.
  2. When you're young, you do have more flexibility. Some old guy may really be stuck in Decatur, IL (e.g. because of family) but some young guy really may have the flexibility to settle somewhere "glamorous" like Los Angeles (or even Paris). And, if the young guy is going to do it, he'd better do it soon - before he marries a girl with all her family in Decatur.
  3. Some older workers expect to be paid more for "seniority" and there are legitimate complaints that this is unfair. It may be naive but it's hardly narcissism to think that workers should get the same pay for the same job.
  4. When you're young you've got to try to sell what (little) you've got. Maybe Enterprise Java Beans is all you've got so feel like you've got to talk it up.
  5. When you're young and haven't done much, stuff that bores the older crowd (e.g. Enterprise Java Beans) can still seem new and exciting.

It's in the psychology of the generation.. (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202933)

This generation have been fed on heroic IT success stories, like how a couple of college DNFs in a garage start up a company, and are billionaires before their 30, amongst other IT legends.

These are kids that do not recall a time where there were no computers in homes, typically. The younger kids, about age 20, do not know a world without the internet. They've also grown up aware of the worlds most pressing issues, overpopulation, global warming, general doom and gloom, and the now ubiquitous message that we simply don't have a future if we don't do something about it.

(Where my bunch are lazy and self-indulgent. But I kinda like that) Given that, there's little surprise there are are high expectations of gains from entering the IT industry, along with a ever decreasing tolerance for tedium and BS. I've observed this in the fresh out of school age group following my lot.

I don't think this is a bad thing however. I find many of them actually refreshingly motivated and willing to change things, rather suck-it-up and keep your head down and wait for your opportunity to move up. In comparison my age group (born circa 1980) is rather lazy.

Moving beyond "work" (3, Informative)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202941)

http://www.whywork.org/ [whywork.org]

See especially:
    http://www.whywork.org/rethinking/whywork/abolition.html [whywork.org]
"Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you'd care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working. That doesn't mean we have to stop doing things. It does mean creating a new way of life based on play; in other words, a ludic revolution. By "play" I mean also festivity, creativity, conviviality, commensality, and maybe even art. There is more to play than child's play, as worthy as that is. I call for a collective adventure in generalized joy and freely interdependent exuberance. Play isn't passive. Doubtless we all need a lot more time for sheer sloth and slack than we ever enjoy now, regardless of income or occupation, but once recovered from employment-induced exhaustion nearly all of us want to act."

See also:
    http://www.smallisbeautiful.org/buddhist_economics/english.html [smallisbeautiful.org]
"The Buddhist point of view takes the function of work to be at least threefold: to give man a chance to utilise and develop his faculties; to enable him to overcome his ego-centredness by joining with other people in a common task; and to bring forth the goods and services needed for a becoming existence. Again, the consequences that flow from this view are endless. To organise work in such a manner that it becomes meaningless, boring, stultifying, or nerve-racking for the worker would be little short of criminal; it would indicate a greater concern with goods than with people, an evil lack of compassion and a soul-destroying degree of attachment to the most primitive side of this worldly existence. Equally, to strive for leisure as an alternative to work would be considered a complete misunderstanding of one of the basic truths of human existence, namely that work and leisure are complementary parts of the same living process and cannot be separated without destroying the joy of work and the bliss of leisure."

On the other hand:
    "Blame It on Mr. Rogers: Why Young Adults Feel So Entitled"
    http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB118358476840657463.html [wsj.com]
And, extending that theme:
    "Blame the Bailouts on Mister Rogers?"
    http://emac.blogs.foxbusiness.com/2008/12/12/blame-the-crisis-on-mister-rogers/ [foxbusiness.com]

Maybe there are deeper issues here on all sides? From:
    http://groups.google.com/group/openmanufacturing/msg/72330a22bcae8928 [google.com] ?

Consider who could pay for food or water (or copyrighted content or patented
processes) in thirty years, if robotics continues to develop just at the
current rate over the last thirty years.

Check out clerks?
    "Your supermarket cashier may not know a kiwano from a tamarillo, but
Veggie Vision does."
http://domino.watson.ibm.com/comm/wwwr_thinkresearch.nsf/pages/machin [ibm.com] ...

Cab drivers?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DARPA_Grand_Challenge [wikipedia.org]

Heart Surgeons?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intuitive_Surgical [wikipedia.org]

Airline pilots?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autopilot [wikipedia.org]

Nurses?
      "Robot nurse escorts and schmoozes the elderly"
http://www.thematuremarket.com/SeniorStrategic/Robot_nurse_escorts_sc [thematuremarket.com] ...

Entertainer?
      "AKIBA ROBOT FESTIVAL 2006: Actroid Female Robot"
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbFFs4DHWys [youtube.com]

Athlete?
      http://www.robocup.org/ [robocup.org]

Migrant agricultural labor?
      "AgBo Agricultural Robot"
      http://www.used-robots.com/articles.php?tag=1790 [used-robots.com]
      http://abe.illinois.edu/faculty/T_Grift/publications [illinois.edu]

Librarian?
      http://www.google.com/ [google.com]

Artist?
      "robot artist draws portraits"
      http://technabob.com/blog/2007/12/28/robot-artist-draws-who-it-sees/ [technabob.com]

Designer?
      "Evolutionary Design by Computers"
      http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/staff/P.Bentley/evdes.html [ucl.ac.uk]

Miner?
      "Could Robots Replace Humans in Mines?"
      http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12637032 [npr.org]

Writer? (Well, these need a little work. :-)
      "SCIgen - An Automatic CS Paper Generator"
      http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/scigen/ [mit.edu]
      "General Writing / Plot / Story Generators"
      http://www.eqretrofit.com/zmc/writing.html [eqretrofit.com]

Sure, people will rightly point out none of these robots are perfected yet
(although Google works pretty well at a lot of routine stuff we used to ask
librarians to help with or relied on them to keep up with manually).

All still require human supervision (though big airplanes have great
autopilots, some that can land the planes even in bad weather).
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/print.main?id=1888707 [airliners.net]

Some, like the surgical robot, amplify what a trained human can do but don't
yet replace the person (even though it's not too big a stretch to imagine
coupling a surgical robot with the Veggie Vision ideas). The Nursebot is the
most limited of all of these robots relative to the need, and there is no
plumber bot I know of (except specialized ones for nuclear power stations).
The writing software is added as a joke, :-) but also to show how even that
shift is in progress -- at the very least, such informational tools can
amplify and speed what one human writer can do.

And there may always be a demand for big name human athletes and
entertainers -- maybe a few thousand of each, at least as far as media stars?

But that is not much of a basis to envision an economy for thirty years from
now, employing billions of people presumably still competing for jobs both
with each other and against the robots other people make. It's basic
capitalism. If a company can reduce costs, it must, because its competitors
will. Until, costs start to approach zero, and we get divide-by-zero errors
in all the economic equations leading to infinities.

Anyway, these all point out how all the assumptions underpinning the
economics of our society (and related politics and schooling) are changing,
and within decades, if not sooner.

The handwriting is on the wall, not just for compulsory schools, but for
other large parts of our social structure they link up with. It's not
necessarily a bad message either, if we accept it and try our hardest to
make the best of it. It's not like one day the robots and AIs will suddenly
take over (I hope). It is more like bit by bit things will continue to
change and these things will show up in our lives, and our social network
will shape them based on our priorities.

This issue was identified and thought about even in the 1960s:
      http://educationanddemocracy.org/FSCfiles/C_CC2a_TripleRevolution.htm [educationa...ocracy.org]
"The fundamental problem posed by the cybernation revolution in the U.S. is
that it invalidates the general mechanism so far employed to undergird
people's rights as consumers. Up to this time economic resources have been
distributed on the basis of contributions to production, with machines and
men competing for employment on somewhat equal terms. In the developing
cybernated system, potentially unlimited output can be achieved by systems
of machines which will require little cooperation from human beings. As
machines take over production from men, they absorb an increasing proportion
of resources while the men who are displaced become dependent on minimal and
unrelated government measures--unemployment insurance, social security,
welfare payments. These measures are less and less able to disguise a
historic paradox: That a substantial proportion of the population is
subsisting on minimal incomes, often below the poverty line, at a time when
sufficient productive potential is available to supply the needs of everyone
in the U.S. ... The continuance of the income-through jobs link as the only
major mechanism for distributing effective demand--for granting the right to
consume--now acts as the main brake on the almost unlimited capacity of a
cybernated productive system."

Almost *nobody* is going to be able to out-compete robots in thirty years.
If we still have a hyper-competitive economy still privatizing water and the
fruits of manufacturing by then, even if the air is still free, I suspect
almost all of us are doomed anyway.

So, there are deeper issues than narcissism at work here...

See also Marshall Brain's writings, like "Manna":
    http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm [marshallbrain.com]
and Robotic Nation:
    http://marshallbrain.com/robotic-nation.htm [marshallbrain.com]

Sounds about right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202943)

I've been a software engineer for the past 12 years and I've been in a position to interview and hire new engineers for the past 7. I one thing I see over and over again is the idea that college prepares you for a job in this field, it does not. I can not tell you how many college grads come in with a portfolio that is nothing more then class work. If you want to get a job in this field you need to take it upon your self to learn more then what they teach in college which rarely translates into "real world" skills. If you ask them to even explain what they do have, nine times out of ten they either "didn't work on that part somebody else in my group did" or they just can't. If you give them a simple task like "write a prime number generator in the language of your choice" they choke. Word to the wise. If you can't discuss something in your field outside of your class work, you failed college regardless of what your final GPA was.

yeah it's a b**ch to interview with me. ;-)

Where are you hiring people from (2, Interesting)

Logic Worshiper (1480539) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202955)

I know people from CMU and community college, and the CMU people do tend to have their heads up their butts. The community college people have much lower expectations. If you hire the people with the highest grades from the best schools, yes they're going think like that. Try hiring students from non-ivy league schools (yes that includes new Ivy) and see if they have a more down to earth attitude. Or maybe even give people who have real life experience (working as a dishwasher) credit for that on their job applications. Talk to their former employers and see what there attitude is like. Maybe you're hiring the wrong employees because you're analysing job applications wrong.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202997)

Admittedly I probably don't interview as many candidates as you do. In the past 3 years I've talked with maybe 12 or 14 future or recent college grads. We ended up making offers to around half of them, and 4 of them accepted. Of those, 2 are doing great work, 1 later left for grad school, and 1 will be joining us this summer.

Not a single one of the people I've talked with has shown any of the characteristics you describe, even the one who ultimately decided to pursue an academic career. All were very grounded and - perhaps with our help - had a good understanding of what is expected of them and what they can expect from us. But even coming into the interview, no one expected to be a pampered 6-figure globetrotter. Those we hired have done solid work for two years and earned a promotion, which is fairly typical for strong engineers in our company. Neither has traveled outside the country on business and none has received any individual recognition or bonuses. Both seem reasonably happy working for us, and we're happy to have them.

So I'm now wondering whether our experience is unique, yours is, or perhaps we are talking about sufficiently different fields that candidates might be expected to have different outlooks and expectations. We are a systems programming shop; we work on an entire software stack from the operating system to the UI. We don't use Java, we don't use C#, and we aren't trendy or faddish. Our company doesn't offer free food, massages, or 20% time. It's an innovative but very traditional environment, perfect for engineer's engineers who are focused on delivering a world-beating product to our paying customers. So maybe we're just not attracting the sort of person who went to school to get a meal ticket instead of a degree and doesn't understand that the whole world isn't a Googly startupish workers' paradise. But it's hard to credit that 22-year-old computer science grads are that diverse in their worldviews. So maybe one of us has just experienced an anomalous run.

For what it's worth, I'm 30 and most of our team is around the same age or a little older. Most of us are bust veterans with at least 5 or 10 years of real-world experience, and our leaders have been here for a little longer, but we're not 30-year men. Maybe this will look different when I'm 50.

Stop Blaming the Victim! Failure is Required. (4, Insightful)

JasonNolan (628882) | more than 5 years ago | (#27203011)

I've taught for over 20 year, and have watched the rise of entitlement and expectation on the part of children and parents. And the inability of educators to disabuse students of this. And the media's willingness to capitalize on this. Children have been taught that this is what to expect, praised for expecting it, denied exposure to the mundane realities to follow, and inculcated into the cult of 'TV reality' that SL so rightly describes. I can tell you... my best interns are mothers in their late 30s-40s who are looking to improve opportunities for themselves, and thereby their children. That said, the solution is easy. And it is not merely turning post graduation employment opportunities into a nightmare of failure. We can manage expectations. We can raise the bar. We can expect more from students in high schools than standardized scores, and continue that level of expectation into college. Rule one for anyone that I know to be a self-motivated successful individual is that failure is a requirement. They don't put it that way. If you've never failed, you have never tested yourself or pushed yourself to the extreme of your abilities. You've never tried something radically new, if you've never failed. You expect success and you anticipate the attainment of your expectations if you've never pushed yourself. Children learn to push themselves from the models that they observe in their parents, teachers and social contacts... so if grads aren't what we expect, then we, collectively, have not been setting a good example. Blaming the victims of our collective failure is easier than our solving the problem from the ground up... and if we don't, then we're actually the same as those we're deriding. IMHO of course.

That's inevitable (1)

giampy (592646) | more than 5 years ago | (#27203015)

I think that especially in the US (but to a lesser extent everywhere else too, given that the economy is by large part a service economy rather than a production one), you HAVE to be narcissistic to compete with all the other narcissistic people on the market, inflated self esteem is sort of expected. Non-narcissistic people are often dismissed as not having enough self esteem, when in fact they are just honest and realistic.

I've seen a little of that (5, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27203023)

...are you seeing the sorts of 'crashing down to Earth' expectations of college grads described here?

I see a little of that 20-something narcissism here and there, but it's not universal. What I see more of is what I would call intellectual stubbornness. Every so often I'll interview someone I think has potential and, even if they don't get hired for that job, I'll keep them on a short list for future openings. Along with that give them some suggestions for areas of focus that would give them an edge on the next interview. Do this, this and this and the next time we have an opening I don't have to advertise it, just hire out of the pool. Saves me sorting through the resume slush pile.

At first I was subtle about the suggestions, but very few would pick up on them. Even when I would contact them quarterly to see how they were doing, trying to show them they really were on the short list. I finally had to quit being subtle and just give them the right answers. But even when I did that, it's amazing how few would give me that answer back. One I suggested they get familiar with a non-MSFT development framework. Any one. Zend, Cake, Rails...anything. They didn't have to develop an app, just learn about one. An hour of reading. And the next time we talked they were in another .NET class. Then acted surprised when they didn't get that job, either. ????

That I do see that a lot in young people. They're convinced they have the right answers and won't budge or take a suggestion. There's no curiosity or willingness to explore. they seem really regimented in their thinking. Something I found profoundly saddening personally and, as hiring authority, really freaking annoying.

Why not an office? (4, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 5 years ago | (#27203045)

When the delta cost between an modest office and a cube is around $2k/year, I frankly have a hard time seeing why a $50k professional shouldn't have one if he wants it. If he asked you for $2k additional salary to work for you, you'd give it to him. So why not a $2k office?

That he's expected to settle for a cube is almost pure PHB. It says that the organization is more interested in the petty politics of oneupmanship than the are in their employees' comfort and productivity.

On the other hand, my eyes head for the ceiling when the guy who has been there two weeks starts explaining the half dozen major changes we should make to the business. Spend six months learning how to do it my way you greenie! When you're fully trained on the job, I'll be interested in your opinions on how to improve it.

I've said it once, I'll say it a thousand times... (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27203079)

Fraternities and other student organizations encourage networking. Most of which is with unemployed people who still receive an allowance from mom and dad.

I always had a job in IT through college. It taught me that humility, rather than narcissism, is rewarded. If you're a good programmer/tech let your work speak for you instead of your words.

Nothing new (3, Interesting)

S-4'N3 (1232394) | more than 5 years ago | (#27203083)

The arrogance of educated workers isn't anything particularly new however it is something that seems to drift from field to field along with educational trends. A couple of years ago I read an article on how something like over 60% of CEO's would not hire anyone with an MBA on account of how disastrous former employees had been. At the time, and as a generality (no I'm not talking about you, Mr. MBA who happens to read slashdot) MBA graduates tended to assume that because of their diploma, they knew how to run a department or company better than people without the equivalence in education, but many years of experience. Now this trend is starting to apply to programmers. They expect that with their degrees and certifications, they will be better workers, and thus given better opportunities than people many years their senior. Now I'm not saying we are all supposed to LIKE Bill Gates, or anything, but his high school diploma has certainly gotten him far. No amount of education will ever replace work experience. Learning new or even old out-dated languages is part of any intense IT job, and only with experience will you be good at troubleshooting and reverse engineering the kind of poorly documented stuff that you will be expected to do. Personally, I have the same level of education as Bill Gates and have dropped out of college twice, but that hasn't prevented glamourous opportunities from coming my way. On account of my skill, experience, and knowledge of my companies products, I've been flown to Edmonton (okay... it's really not THAT glamourous), while some of my colleagues have been to Vancouver several times. Now I'm not saying higher education won't get me farther in life, but not having higher education has certainly not prevented hard work and experience from contributing to an interesting career. Any college graduate should know that your education will get you nowhere without hard work and level headedness, and that an inflated ego will only hold you back. I don't think it's necessarily fair to entirely blame the baby-boomers for this scourge of arrogant graduates, but as a trend, I certainly suspect they didn't help. The boomers did grow up in a time where education guaranteed a more exciting career and life. Then 'everybody' went to school and we wound up with Generation X. You'd somehow hope that this younger generation (of which I am pretty much a part) would have caught on. Let's just blame videogames and short-attention span TV instead.
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