The Senior Advantage

The senior advantage means more to me all the time, though often I feel there are more disadvantages to being around longer than advantages. Getting older is hard, especially physically, and I struggle with that. Having more wisdom, more tolerance, and more patience, are good things, but I’m not sure I would consciously make that trade.

In a business, senior often equates to more experience and time working on systems. Sometimes it means more skill as well, but usually, the internal knowledge of how our systems work inside of our environment is more valuable, even though it can be hard to get management to realize that fact.

The last two years have had many technology workers at home, doing the same work they did in an office. Over the last year, there has been contention between some managers that want people to return to the office and many workers that want to remain remote. While lots of people don’t have a choice, there are some who do, and they are often the senior, skilled people. Lots of them quit, which creates a challenge for managers to fill their slots.

One would think that management would work to retain and keep more employees, but in some cases, the response is to find ways to make it easier to hire new people. One positive thing that happened is the relaxation of the rule for tech workers to have a college degree. That’s good for many people that are talented and don’t want to spend tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars on a degree. A little disheartening to me and others who think that this further devalues the experience of current employees.

There are some great employers out there, as well as some great managers that care about their staff. My company is one of them, and I appreciate how we run the business effectively while treating employees fairly. However, there is no shortage of poor employers who do not care much about their people, their training (or re-skilling), or whether staff leaves. They will continue to lean on whoever is still employed while replacing staff with cheaper, and less knowledgeable, new hires.

In thirty years, the one thing I’ve learned is that I need to be responsible for my own career. That means learning often, working on my tech skills, polishing soft skills, and burning no bridges. I need to be prepared and ensure I have opportunities and choices in the future.

That’s my senior advantage.

Steve Jones

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About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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2 Responses to The Senior Advantage

  1. Churn (employee turn over) is a management caused problem that can be very costly and yet it still happens because the upper management can only see the cost in terms of old employees salary vs new employees salary and not factor in the costs incurred with churn in terms of training. This is because most upper management operate with outdated philosophy’s like requiring a Bachelors degree for a skilled job and disallowing remote work. Another common outdated work philosophy I frequently see is refusing to offer up reasonable/competitive raises because they believe they can easily find a younger replacement who will work for less. That worked before because there was always a labor surplus but today with the great exodus (people leaving jobs) companies no longer have teh luxury to be like this and yet they still operate this way or at least many large/established companies do. They simply can’t move past their outdated thinking with work.

    Clearly for some fields like medicine and law its a non brainer that a degree is needed but far too often the bachelors Degree requirement is tossed in simply because that’s how they’ve always done it and it’s a very foolish thing to do today for tech based jobs. I can see a Bachelors Degree or work experience equivalent but that’s not what I often see when perusing the jobs listed on LinkedIn . In my own industry I’ve messaged hiring people a few time’s to point out how they are making it harder on themselves by requiring a Bachelors Degree and often I’ll get a replay along the lines of “I agree but the call to require that is above my pay grade”. Just recently I got one of these and the hiring manager said the person they lost who was great employee who got offered more money elsewhere didn’t have a degree and yet in its wisdom management has decided the replacement needs one. (Insert image of Homer Simpson slapping his forehead and saying doooh)

    The Bachelors Degree and the requirement to come back to the office all come from the fact that most companies have decision makers /managers who operate on out dated philosophies often because they themselves are old and come from a time when remote work wasn’t really an option and when there was a surplus of labor so they could require a Degree and not worry about finding someone to fill the role. Today with a labor shortage these same people are still foolishly trying to require a degree and trying to disallow remote work although in the case of remote work some of that comes from a dislike for allowing employees to work remotely. It comes from a need to control the employees, force them into a 9-5 like encampment where management can watch them closely to make sure they aren’t possibly spending any of that 8 hours doing anything other than work. Yes in some cases they want people there because in person meetings and collaboration really can’t be beat but mostly it’s about control. Many in upper management have this idea that if they let employee work remotely they’ll spend all the day having fun and doing something other than the work their being paid to do. Granted you will have some who do this but it’s the same ones who when we weren’t working remotely would simply find ways to goof of at the office.

    With age comes wisdom and there is a lot to be said to listening to our elders because of their wisdom and experience but that has to be balanced with their often times outdated thinking on some topics like what we’re discussing. These older executives/management have a lot of experience and wisdom that you need to run a business but their outdated thinking on some things is going to hurt them today because they no longer have the luxury to be so demanding as before because of the labor shortage. What’s going to happen if they don’t change their thinking is these established business are going to slowly bleed staff to competitors who are wiling to embrace new thinking about work. I honestly don’t believe there’s any way to fix that other than by replacing those in upper management who think like this with either younger people or preferably order people who still have the wisdom and experience but who can move past outdated thinking about how work should work.


  2. way0utwest says:

    Agree with this. It’s slowly changing, but what’s amazing to me is how many managers are allowed to think this way. You’d think the cost of training, hiring, time lost, etc. would be something that gets pointed out.

    Just like workers that don’t get things done on their own, managers that can’t change ought to be let go.


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