This blog entry is in English. Yet English is not my native language (Italian is), so have some indulgence with typos or grammatical mistakes. Also, I have been told that I write complex things - whether this is good or bad I don't know: but so, if you are unfamiliar with articulated prose you may see grammatical errors not only where there could be some, but also where just a prose you're not acquainted with is. Native speakers with an A+ grade in english said my english, obviously not perfect, imports no major issues. Lend a deaf ear to the errors, vocally disagree with my thesis whenever you want, but enjoy the style all the while.
you are disappointing me: so, don't you know that all plays are played again in every play, that the less we have faced our supposed enemies the stronger our opinions about them, and that what makes us original are not our goals but our difficulties to attain them?
But I am so much disenchanted with this old story, that you really ought to take my humble opinion with some grain of salt.
Do you remember how Marilyn Monroe replied to that man who said he was looking for a faithful, honest woman? "To do what with her?"
So, you say you want a job. May I ask: to do what with it?
How disingenuous on your part sending your qualifications to those firms, alleging you did so because they posted an online ad asking for resumes. Do you think you may use this argument as a justification for your inexcusably naive behaviour?
They probably didn't read even one of the resumes they got so far: who told you that men mean what they say, know what they want, and ask for what they need?
I am very disappointed by your incoherent behaviour: the time you spent drafting your resume, should have been better spent in a bar paying a drink to some hot shot of that very same firm, or to some hot lady of this world.
Resumes are of no importance. No resume will ever
get you a job. Forget it.
It doesn't matter how much you are qualified. The only thing that really matters is whom
you know, or by whom you are known
Don't you know that all social positions that matter have been already assigned by dynastic principles?
A persistence of the Ancien Regime *
is with us, and crowds cheer the most at the deed that is most against the interests of the crowds that applaud it: ask them, and they themselves will gleefully explain to you that the reason Angelina Jolie *
is famous is that she is beautiful and clever, and not that she is the daughter of Jon Voight *
who plays in her (or his?) very same movies
. But the only reason she is there is neither talent nor beauty, but only parentship; because there is plentiful of women who are beautiful (more than her) and talentful (more than her, but that's easy), and yet go nowhere
: and if you need an example of this, I can provide you with thousands: http://www.bride.ru
Ask them, and they will say to you that the reason the son of an ambassador is secretary of something in the government, derives from the fact he attended the right milieu to be competent, and not the right family parties with the right financiers for their campaigns so to brush aside into insignificance whatever talent without sponsors might have risen at his side.
Ask them, and they will explain to you that since they too would favour their son, it is quite normal that also public
positions are assigned via such principle, and that those families that are already immensely rich, have a right to make their already immensely wealthy scions wealthier twice.
That's called nepotism *
, and we'd need an Anti-Nepotism Act. But who will draft it?
In social conflict, there are those, at times called revolutionists, who are ready to become brigatisti *
and assassinate somebody irrelevant enough to make no difference, but are not ready to support an anti-nepotism act: the riot is for today, but a law is for tomorrow, and who in his wits would trade an inconsequential violence with a consequential law?
And then there are those, at times called moderates, who, in the name of the sterling defence of Constitutional Legitimacy, would gladly accept the unconstitutional illegitimacy of an underground oligarchy which, as a stealth cartel or an outmoded aristocracy with no more blazons but with intact privileges, incessantly and ubiquitously violates the Constitution and all the principles of a Free Market and of equality in start and access to resources, by placing there sons and daughters and nephews: and in accepting such unconstitutional behaviour so to defend the Constitution, the moderate would refuse as unconstitutional that anti-nepotism act designed to redeem a bigger unconstitutional fact with a lesser unconstitutional norm.
So terrorists assassinate those innocent enough to be of no importance, and moderates accept the misdeed big enough to be of the higher impact. We would have had already problems if the important ones were assassinated and the right law was to be discussed to pass.
In such a game, where do you want to go?
You can be more than decently qualified, yet you may still see the few really amazing ones be hired (I never saw with my own eyes this happening, but I keep reading freaks who allege they occasionally saw this happening), and lots of mediocrities with much less qualifications than yours overtake you (and also
the few really amazing ones) because they know somebody up the hierarchy ladder, or because they have spent a couple of hours on some sofa.
Then the line which liquidates your resume will go: "Dear sir, it is regrettable that we have to inform you that you are overqualified for this position". And do not believe they're telling lies: honourable men do not lie, and even if they believe they lied to embellish your pill, they believe so because they underestimate their own virtues - so that they are virtuous twice: once for telling the truth, the other for doing so while being demure. Indeed, it's you
who showed much more
than they needed, and acted conceited!
Did you want the job, or scare the hell out of them?
Because if you want the job, the more you appear utterly dumb, drab and inoffensive, the better: enterprises do not like hiring a challenge, and they do not like producing an invention. No troublemakers
Infinitely more than a master or a degree, could do an acquaintance.
And even then, beware: men like feeling they are important, and they like posing so to make others believe they are such: fake promises abound, because they need to tell themselves (much more than you) the idle fable that recounts they could make the difference at anything: when was the last time they did? Never, for not even their own position was due to their talent, so how can they make the difference for you?
Not enough: what really kills me, is when they come to you taking the initiative
of making a promise without you ever even asked one thing. Their egos need an audience so badly, that at times you may enjoy their remarkable show and futile assistance for free.
In this situation, what made you believe that a missing acquaintance could have been replaced effectively by your talents?
I am 40. I think by internet standards I am "old". I was rejected by a famous Italian firm, which was hiring without stating any age limitations, when I was 38yo - and exactly on age considerations; I am sure there are also firms that apply color and religion and gender considerations as well: but only one of those trammels needs to be in your way in order to kill you. All the rest is overkill.
In those circumstances, the line that buried me was: "But do you know you will get orders by a younger person?". My reply: "Where's the problem, at Yahoo engineers 60yo get orders by men in their 20s". Their reply: "Uhm are you really really sure?". I was. It didn't suffice yet.
Of course, I was eventually notified that after the most attentive scrutiny, I so regrettably resulted (guess what) "overqualified for the job". But fortunately enough, they were going to retain my resume for the next available position that would match my brimful skills. They are still keeping it, I reckon: but for all the positions they want, I am evidently still overqualified - and obviously time did not ameliorate this already regrettable situation.
Do you know what the job was? Website minutes correction: text editor. That is, I had to run a spellchecker
I told you, they tell no lies. I was overqualified indeed
. What ominous an issue! A firm isn't supposed to know what to do with unwanted or wanton talent.
But now, do you really
want a job in a firm whose positions are evidently such that all the applicants may spend years waiting to result dis
qualified enough to hold them?
Do not think of me as a conceited person: after having said how and why I was dismissed, I think I have a point at least for not being ashamed of exposing my own failures.
But you have to understand two things, my friend.
Firstly, forget about entrepreneurs. Most of the times they do not exist: they ape them.
Insecure persons abound on top. They couldn't sail a boat, imagine how they could lead a firm. Being insecure, they hire the insecure, in order to be secure; and since those they hire are insecure and
powerless too, but they want to be secure too, either they do nothing to contradict the boss injecting whatever minimal level of originality in their works that would risk to oversmart the idiot who hired them, or they manipulate their boss into tricks that are detrimental to the whole enterprise because also the boss is insecure and so can be manipulated at least
You will be surprised how many leading incompetents can be told the decision they must make by employees whose unique competence is that of exploiting the pusillanimity of the others.
The firms you are dealing with are often made like this: a set of sons, daughters, nephews, cousins, lovers, relatives get hired first.
Once they have occupied all the top rows, they are simply unfit to spot talent: in fact, what kind of mindset may they have, when the enterprise they run has selected them upon familiarity criteria? They are just not equipped to judge you or to spot the capacities they never had in the first place - and this aside from the fact in some countries, particularly in Europe, a firm is subject by the law to make a public announcement for recruiting - you will never know that the place was already assigned... raise your hands Italians, my countrymen.
Then, these "enterprises" are composed of men whose idea of making money is: "make it from the shorter route". They are adverse
to risk: completely, totally, integrally.
99% of the entrepreneurs are inclined to risk only on the playbook of the ideal managers that do not exist.
They are all great minds, this type of entrepreneurs. They all think that the formula of the great enterprise is, as they may proudly repeat, "maximize income, minimize outcome".
How false. The formula for a good enterprise is: "maximize investments
, minimize income". Even ants know.
So you will find plenty of guys who will try to bargain and buy your ass for 300 bucks, in the name of the best principles of Peter Drucker *
whom they not only never read, but not even know who the heck he could be - and yet they report and apply Business principles that they must have read on cookies.
Go see yourself! See how lousy this job can be when facing such guys.
Therefore they make their business imitating the successful business of the others. Let's talk of fantasy.
, the real pioneer of the social networking field. How many sites you may count that are identical
to it? Many
... I won't name them.
A friend of mine was here a few days ago and I showed to him a few profile sites. He is an average surfer, no big experience and so no big deal. Believe me, he couldn't understand I changed
site every time I did. All looked the same to him: "do you mean we're not still on the previous site? Oh, I didn't realize that, Alberto..."
A windfall of gayful thumbnailed monotony shall bury us.
They imitate each other, in a way where the only criterion of judgement is how much the other site was successful; in this fashion every copied error propagates
itself as a virus
, renamed "good" practice upon the success it has at infecting
as many computers as possible, until all the machines are tainted, until the error becomes a set expectation by browsing surfers who get educated that such bad interface is the good one - the one they expect
to see, for they get presented with it continuously
Like Pavlov *
's dog, they salivate at the connections they have been educated to see showing up with the tag "well done".
The copied mistake becomes now a standard
: we have crowned
it emperor of our computers.
Thenceforth, users start supposing that the dysfunctional paradigm they have been (mis)educated to face wherever they go when online, is also the good
paradigm. In other words, an aesthetic judgement encroaches upon a malpractice. From that moment on the bad design (small fonts, light font color on light background, 50% of empty space as the right page margin) becomes what Voltaire *
said: "is there anything more venerable than an old mistake?".
Nearly all sites have those characteristics now, so I am sure I don't need to focus on any particular example. You might quote literally tons of famous sites where small fonts and fading colours are the current practice and offered service.
Guy A starts a product. Maybe he is an early starter, so he is on virgin territory. Users need that functionality. They use the product. The product is successful. Guys from B to Z start copying him in the tiniest details - let's take no chances
The errors of the product become a touchstone, and surfers think those are not errors, but goodies; after all, who else ever dared "teach" them they could have better food?
Fonts 9px "big" on blogs, gray foreground fading on white background, invisible footers, half a page empty. Successful nonsense
To the point that if now you feature blogs with fonts 13px, it is not considered an adequate paradigm of usability (as Jakob Nielsen
might suggest), but a "bad design" fit to drive users away from you because you are "hurting" their eyes: eyes that have endured all the rubbish
of the world already, except a good painting.
Or Guy A starts another product. Guy A has the money to reach millions. Guys from B to Z think that if he is so successful, it must be because the product has the coolest characteristics.
They copy him till the tiniest details. Again.
From that moment on, you're done my friend. They want you to be a parrot that repeats the same old and vapid line.
It is as when you buy -say- soap from the shelves of a market: how can you know that this soap is actually better than that other? You can't, simply: the whole of the process is entirely opaque
to you, and the only visible glitter that can be lent to your view is precisely through money put into advertisements and marketing
People buy exactly what they are told to buy
; and once done, they justify their action to themselves by founding an aesthetic judgement on that choice that others induced them into: they decide the product is good
But they know nothing about the product: they don't know who assembled it, they don't know the processes behind it, they don't know the options and the decision making behind it, they don't know the alternatives and why the one may be worse or better than the other: no tag and no label will ever be able to convey such behind-the-scenes data, and with such a thorough lack of knowledge
, no surprise people have also a thorough lack of good taste: they never had a comparative chance to train their taste (modern art or figurative art museums do not appear particularly attended...), and so they find good what they have been told
A bad paradigm may impose itself, through such circuits, as a Moloch or a Pyramid may monopolize the horizon of the onlookers.
So if after having placed a product, a firm takes also care of being sure it's good indeed
, that's just an additional, futile, ancillary feature, that does not
change in the least the score of a game that was already entirely decided at the previous stage - that of marketing
And nothing of this is an evil implication of capitalism - as those who are particularly exposed to being influenced by propaganda (another marketing item), conveniently represent these issues to themselves: this is just the way mankind is, clueless; and what works against such "evils" is not communism, because such evils are not specific to capitalism, but what works against it is culture, a bit of self confidence, and some endurance to grief rather than that hysterical surrender to the minimal difficulty that forces so many humans into a rush to dilute their problems into a collective rally where ignorances party and relieve each other. How can be a good informed buyer, a being whose main concern is that of shunning thinking and avoiding all problems?
Secondly, if you are good, you can tell that by this: you break the rules.
This is not a lesson in anarchy, let's be clear about this. It is that if you are good, you do not revere templated
solutions any longer and as for manuals (those things that teach to you how to make a product boring enough to look identical to all the products previously done), you start seeing errors even in them. You try to point out to the manual keepers the mistake. They snub you and mock at you. They are the manual (gate) keepers: who are you, conceited loser who runs no manual?
When you are good you are like a chess player. In fact, do you know what
is that makes a great chess player? Have you ever played chess? We know as an objective matter of fact what this is.
It's envisioning the moves ahead. If you can foresee 20 moves ahead, you're a champion. But no
ordinary player who sees 3 moves ahead will understand you.
The chess player who wins, is the one who outranges your ability to foresee his (her) next move with his (her) own ability to foresee yours. His move, yours, his next options, your next moves, his next options, your next moves... who stops first, is the lesser player.
Because there is a limit
to how much a man's mind may control and coordinate at once, how many wires you may pull at the same time.
You say you want a job as a website designer. How can you tell that you "saw a move" in that field? Because each line of code you write, makes you think
about many possible outcomes and about how many possible combinations of the inputs there can be round the corner, and round the next corner, and round the other corner again, and again and again. You have a vision
. You paint your own maze, instead than waiting in the maze of the others for the Minotaur *
to spot and crush you.
Eventually, you will find that a specular indicator of what type of programmer you are is, if it is seeing many moves ahead, that your fellow programmers (or whatever they may be) do not
follow you anymore and do not
understand at all
what the flick you're talking about. It's the time when they start saying you
You're programming for your posterity
. You're like the Good Writer accordingly to Ernest Hemingway *
:«Listen. There is no use in writing anything that has been written before unless you can beat it. What a writer in our time has to do is write what hasn't been written before or beat the dead men at what they have done. The only way he can tell how he is going is to compete with the dead men. Most live writers do not exist. Their fame is created by critics who always need a genius of the season, someone they understand completely and feel safe in praising, but when these fabricated geniuses are dead they will not exist. The only people for a serious writer to compete with are the dead that he knows are good. It is like a miler running against the clock rather than simply trying to beat whoever is in the race with him." »
When your fellow programmer will say to you that you're bad, and that you talk nonsense, then
you will know
you are good
That is, you are good when you become lonely
. You are a lone star, and the darkness does not understand your light. That's the chrism
; as Albert Camus *
wrote, when you are good you start thinking that you "hope
there will be a very big public the day of my execution
, and that they all will welcome me with high yells of hatred
Genius does not go in teams.
When everybody can't understand you, when they mock
at you because you can
see things that they can't even imagine go figure understand, and therefore you start finding also the manuals as pretty lousy and crammed with unsafe advice, particularly the most affirmed manuals, particularly those where dozens of programmers worked, particularly those where worked programmers that believe manuals are the Holy Bible and therefore they transmit from one programmer to the other their lousy and lazy
habits as templates... when you see all of this, when you are out there in the wilderness, when it's just a matter of you and the codes (or your novel) in mortal combat
, and the far horizon you see is open to your eyes only because no one else has that scope
, when you start inventing
because manuals fail
to foresee what you see and envision and they can't to provide you with what you need, when you start trashing templates - then you do
You can tell you are very good when nobody understands you any longer, and when you read the manuals feeling a shiver in your backbone at seeing what they have been able to pass as a sound advice over there...
Morale, if you are good, you're screwed, my friend. If you want success in life, learn how to be mediocre
You have nowhere to go, no Charterhouse of Parma *
to shelter in, once you have even a minimal independence of thoughts or ideas.
You're a voice crying in the wilderness. Your boss sees 3 moves ahead (but he has the bucks...), your colleagues too or when they see further they may sit mum to avoid being fired, and all your audience of surfers has been (mis)educated to respect a bad paradigm.
You have no way out. You're stuck.
Be your own self employer. No fears. Whenever you have something good to do you must not be afraid that somebody may understand you and steal your idea. «Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.» (Howard Aiken *
You can tell you are good by this: no one likes you. They hate you. They scorn you. They mock at you. They say you talk nonsense (they can't say move 4, go figure move 20). You're a freak, not a geek. You are a pioneer. You are alone against the cannibals. You are alone against the natives.
I never saw a genius being reported as having an easy life. The whys and whereofs, or some of them, are the ones exposed above.
You have then to fight a superior
fight, in the very same interest of your mis
That's a honour. The bad part of it, is that no matter how good your cause, you can still lose
In shorter words, since you say you are envious of those who get hired in your place: no one worth
being envious of, can be a hired person too
Either they are at the top of the pinnacle (they hire, don't get hired), or at the bottom of the barrel, as castaway gold shining in the gutters.
Or, at any rate, where your hired job stays, that's not where your talent
Talent and being hired have never been partners in this world: they have always
been avowed foes
And, oh: if you maliciously think I am the only one who feels so, please read 10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job
and/or 10 Myths About Self-Employment
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