Friday, May 04, 2007

Let me tell you something about John

I gather that it has become something of a standing joke that every general update we send, via email or this blog, includes the news that nothing has changed for John on the job-front, but that he continues his search.

No offence, but I wish it was funny from where we sit.

John has held his current job for nearly 8 years, at a time when the average length of time for an IT post is 18 months-3 years. If you don't follow this trend, it is very easy to get stuck in a catch-22 situation from which it becomes ever more difficult to break free.

John is enormously talented as both a business and a systems analyst. He also has better corporate awareness than is usual with IT people. His current and his previous job both started as rescues because the organisations had got themselves into a real IT pickle. In both cases, he brought together this skillset and singlehandedly transformed their systems, streamlining, cutting the dross, redefining all the SLAs, fixing what has been broken. He understands the big picture better than most, and he works hard. Very hard. Often thanklessly. With offices in Europe and the US, he is often fielding calls at ridiculous hours.

Unavoidably, the passage of time has meant that he has grown older. In a time when age-ism is alive and well in the world of IT, he cannot change the fact that he is middle aged. Unfortunately for him, he looks even older than he is, something he could only change by being a more self-absorbed, vain man. And every time you you have an application rejected, no matter who you are, it becomes that little bit more difficult to send in the next one.

Recently, he was contacted by a company in trouble. Once again, it was a case of an implementation gone bad. The (private) company had been left in the lurch by key staff members who walked away from the mess. John would be perfect for the role, but the owner is understandably cautious. He doesn't want to make a long term decision in this crisis time. He wants someone who will come in temporarily and fix the problem. Then he will reconsider the position with a more level head when things are less fraught. John can't afford to walk away from what he has on this basis. Consider the evidence: what are the chances that he would find something else after a year, once he has fixed the problem and worked himself out of a job?

So he stays where he is, being faithful in the little. Giving more than his employer deserves. Never losing faith that the God has His reasons.

So let me tell you something. Last night I was in a discussion group. I was facing the door, but the other discussion leader had his back to it. The moment John walked into the room, Craig said, "Has John just arrived?" How did he know? Apparently my face lit up like a beacon. I have been married to that man for 19 years this month, and he still makes my world a better place just by being there. He is my rock.

I wish I could go to those interviews on John's behalf. I could tell them a thing or two about his commitment, his loyalty, his dedication, his pride in his work, the care he takes of his staff. If people can't see the true value of that man, then they need to have their eyes tested!


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