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Disapointed at work

by monsieur_champs (Curate)
on Aug 02, 2004 at 20:05 UTC ( #379409=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I'm disapointed with my company once more.

There will be a public contest to offer services to my country government, and my company asked me to bring them all my computer courses certifications and diplomas. They'll use them on the contest, to prove that they have qualified personnel working for them, and if they have the best people, they'll win the contest (and a lot of money, of course).

I see one bad thing here: my company (or any other company) never sponsored my courses and certifications. That's something I've built on my own expenses. I'm not even earn money for those competences, as somebody would expect. I fell exploited when they try to win a public contest using the certifications and diplomas that I've gained on my own, using just my efforts, time and money.

Is that fair? What I could do to make them understand that I don't like this, without risking (a lot) loosing my job?

I would love to read my fellow monks advices on this matter, or even some other posts about this same subject. I beg my fellows to forgive me for not reading any other posts about this. I couldn't find good words to unleash any wisdom from the Super Search shrine at this time.

May the gods bless you all for your advice.

UPDATE: I was fired last night, short after I posted this node. Thank you all very much for discussing and expressing you oppinions, guess they could be more usefull at my next job, when I have a next job. :-)

I'm sure this node is not the cause of my dismission, as my employer fired all the folks working on my project. They tell us (all) that this is an administrative decision, they can't go on with the project anymore. I was expecting this for about a year, now, and this sounds like an article from yesterday's newspaper... better luck next time. :-)

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Disapointed at work
by Zaxo (Archbishop) on Aug 02, 2004 at 20:09 UTC

    Sounds like a good time to apply to them for support for a course or three, and a couple of conferences as well.

    After Compline,

Re: Disapointed at work
by Sandy (Curate) on Aug 02, 2004 at 20:44 UTC
    Do you think that your company has (or is) compensating you financially (wages) for your qualifictions?

    If not, time to ask for a raise.

      I've tryied this already. Well, not directly. I asked them to help funding my graduation course. At the time there was just one year left. They said "no". At the same time, the had submmited the second public contest application presenting me as Oracle DBA.

      This is not fair, indeed.

Re: Disapointed at work
by maetrics (Sexton) on Aug 02, 2004 at 21:16 UTC

    You're not being exploited, get over it.

    People who work at gun point are exploited, we call them slaves. You have the choice to look for more work. You are an asset to your company, thats why they pay you. If you feel that its unfair for them to show you off as a capable person who can do the job, then choose another company who will undervalue your worth.

    I went to high school once, never got paid for it. I read a book yesturday, didnt get paid for that either. Heck, I'm here on this website, because the only guy who knew perl left, and I'm not getting paid to learn it.

    What I suggest is that you work on your negoitation skills a bit more. You sound like you're looking for a reason to leave your company (espically after you ask for a raise and they deny you). At the next company, think about the wage they're offering you and what they expect in return.

      Dear maetrics

      If you feel that its unfair for them to show you off as a capable person who can do the job, then choose another company who will undervalue your worth.

      You're right. Unfortunatelly, you missed a single point, that is not obvious, as you're not inserted into the brazilian software building market: we're suffering from (yet another) employment crisis here. There are just a few opportunities for qualified folks. I can't just throw a job away and look for another. I'm looking for another job for an year, now. I feel exploited, and don't like this. But I need to pay my bills, and eat, and study, and wear clothes. My current employer knows that there is few jobs available, and is not worried if I get out.

      What I suggest is that you work on your negoitation skills a bit more. You sound like you're looking for a reason to leave your company(...)

      Oh, hum... well, actually, I'm looking for a diplomatic solution. I'm trying not to leave this company, as I negotiated a good amount for compensation, taking into consideration my role here. I would love if there are more job offers outside there, so I could just talk gently to my boss. Sure he would listen to me if there are more job offers than qualified professionals.

      > ...You are an asset to your company...

      That reminds me of a communication lunch that I had with a vice president who offered this priceless gem:

      We like to say that our employees are our biggest asset, but they're actually an expense.
      A profit-sharing program is an excellent way for a company to make individual contributors feel good about making extra investments in education, working extra hours, etc. The vice president was actually explaining the complexities of the accounting system used to calculate the profit sharing bonuses when he said the above quote.

      Look for a good incentive program in your next company. If you start your own company and can hire people, you might consider implementing a profit-sharing program.

      It should work perfectly the first time! - toma
      You could argue that someone is being exploited if they feel (and it is down to the perception of the individual) that their pay and conditions are worse than what they could reasonably expect. A typical example would be someone who was working long hours for low pay.

      The OP is clearly unhappy that their efforts at self improvement have not been recognised until it is to the advantage of their employer. Whether this situation is classed as exploitation depends on the level of hardship that the OP feels that they are facing.

Re: Disapointed at work
by shotgunefx (Parson) on Aug 03, 2004 at 06:08 UTC
    Well, it seems that you feel that your undervalued. If you don't feel the company is paying you what your worth and you don't feel that the situation is going to change, then you should probably start shopping around for a new job.

    Of course you need to consider what happens if it falls through. Also, I don't mean this as an insult at all, I don't know you or have any knowledge of your capabilities, but I thought I'd point out that in my experience, sometimes people overvalue themselves as well. When faced with a similar situation, I decided to make the jump into self employment. (That was in 98) Having said that, being your own boss can be a major hassle.


    "To be civilized is to deny one's nature."

      Fellow shotgunefx
      Thank your for the advice. :-) Maybe you should read the answer I just wrote to brother maetrics. I'm currently looking for a new job offer for an entire year. And there are many fellows from Brazil in situations like this.

      About my knowledges and capabilities, this is a good point of view, too. Maybe I'm overvaluing myself. I'll think about this and talk more later.

      I have bad news, too: short after I've posting this (and I'm sure my boss don't read this at all), I was fired. They're cancelling the project I work on, and this means the entire team is off. Suddently, this thread was rendered (almost) senseless... and I became interested about your self-employment. Could you please write me about this? What is the feeling? How you gather jobs? What are the most annoying things, and what are the best things on being self-employed?

      Many thanks to all fellows that helped

        Sorry to hear about that.
        As far as being self-employed, there are some advantages, but also many disadvantages in my experience.

        1. Everything is always your responsibility, always.

        2. You work harder for the same money in my experience.

        It's nice to be your own boss, but you can never "punch out", many times, I long to be able to say "It's 5 O'Clock, let some one else deal with it.", but I never can.

        Then there's the paperwork side of things. Taxes, Insurance and other red tape. It also takes a lot of will power to keep your nose to the grindstone. I've found that when I'm doing Ok, but could be doing more, the temptation to let things slide creeps in.

        A good example that illustrates some of the major downsides. In 2002, two of my family members got diagnosed with terminal illnesses. This put a huge strain on me and being self employed, there were no sick days or personal time. Luckily, I've developed very good relationships with my clients. Almost all of them just stalled their initiatives for a long time to let me take care of my family and do what I had to do. Still, trying to care for someone dying and having your phone bleating "Server Down" and it's ilk and knowing it wasn't going away on it's own didn't make anything easier.

        Trying to get back to where I was and dealing with everything that piled up was (and to a smaller point still is) a huge ordeal.

        As far as getting jobs, I've been really lucky. Outside of 1 useless ad in 98, I've never had to do anything to get them. Due to circumstance, I got friendly with a small startup (I gave up on software and took a slacker job doing 3rd party support so I could play Team Fotress with my friends, luckily my monitor sucked and couldnt' see anything, so I just played with their software when not working) and made a great impression by doing a great job with their customers and being able to do things with their own software that they couldn't.

        They got bought by a big-boy and during the transition, they company pretty much wasn't there as they moved the startup from the east coast to west.

        When dealing with their customers (their business was growing at an enormous rate, quadrupled in the first few weeks), I just started making up their policy and handling everything as I thought they would want. I'd have Sony on the phone, and would just handle it, make up an answer (luckily the right one) This got me in with higher ups at big boy and also got me friendly with companies I never would have gotten the time of day from.

        So I really can't speak to that aspect of things and in my mind, that would be one of the bigger ones. Hopefully, someone else can speak to the difficulties involved.


        "To be civilized is to deny one's nature."
        I'm very sorry about your situation, your story made me feel sad. You know, here in Argentina things aren't so different.
        But don't worry, just get a new job. Search for telecommute jobs at, and send your resume to every Portuguese advertising agency that you can find in the web. I work for some Spanish agencies that pay me in euros :-)
        The best thing of being self-employed? You can manage your time to get a life. The worst thing? Usually you don't manage your time and finish working on weekends.
        Un abrazo.

Re: Disapointed at work
by Plankton (Vicar) on Aug 02, 2004 at 20:34 UTC
    I am afraid I don't understand ... What does it matter that your company sponsored your courses and certifications? If I where running a company I would be happy to have a employee that had the initiative to spend their own money to keep their education current. Maybe I am experiencing some sort of cultural disconnect?

    Plankton: 1% Evil, 99% Hot Gas.
      Your looking at it from the wrong perspective. Your looking at it from the perspective of the business. I'm sure from their perspective it rocks to have employees spend their own money to help the company. From his perspective however, it's not good when the company takes advantage of what he spent his money on. However in this case I think that he was basically hired because he has those competencies, so they're not taking advantage of anything, presumably the wage he is being paid compensates for the degrees.
        Certainly if the employer know he possessed those assets before hiring him, he has no reason to feel taken advantage of. Perhaps they were earned after hire, though.

        No, fellow BUU. I wasn't hired because of the competencies that they're using. I don't even have a salary compatible with those competencies roles.

        They pay me as I'm a perl programmer, and I buy books, go to workshops and study perl (on my own expenses). That's fine.

        When they applied for the public contest, they presented me as an Oracle DBA (I have the competences, but never played that role here!). This is a more expensive role, and I never received even a single hour as an Oracle DBA here. And that hurts.

      I guess you are experiencing that "cultural disconnection". Sorry, that's my fault. Please allow me to clarify my (cultural-affected) point-of-view:

      I've paid for my entire education for years. In Brazil, that's the most-probable alternative to make you way up. There is the public (free) education system, but it is really bad at the lower levels (children) and highly restricted at the upper levels (there are vacancy for just 0.5% of the studants at the public universities).

      Paid education is a heavy-weight corportation-sized investment at Brazil, and we don't have any help from government or corportations.

      Now you have a bigger picture, hope you can understand my question: why shall I put my money on something others will use to make money without paying me for it?

      In other words: when you put your money at the bank, the bank uses it to make more money. At the end of the investment time, you receive your money back, and an aditional ammount, in payment for the use of your money. What makes my employer think that it can use my knowledge (a.k.a. "money", as I "buy" it with education and books) to make money and don't give me anything in exchange?

      Please don't confuse this with the work I already sells to my employee, and that is fairly paid. That "extra" money built on my expenses is what I don't see as fair.

Re: Disapointed at work
by inman (Curate) on Aug 03, 2004 at 13:30 UTC
    What was your motivation for attending training courses and gaining certifications? I assume that since you paid for the training out of your own pocket, that you were interested in the subject and that you now feel qualified. Doesn't it give you a certain sense of pride that your employer is suddenly interested in your achievements?

    I doubt that your employer can force you to present proof of any qualifications that were not required when you were employed. If however you claimed to have certain qualifications when you applied for the job then it is only reasonable that the employer should see them. In the mean time, discussing which qualifications are relavent to the exercise, will give you a great opportunity to discuss your current situation and future plans.

    bon chance!

Re: Disapointed at work
by husker (Chaplain) on Aug 03, 2004 at 14:49 UTC
    My first response is "I get educated so I can work", not the other way around. Nobody paid my college tuition except me. Education makes me employable, and so it's my responsibility and nobody else's.

    On the other hand, the company benefits from your abilities. (You benefit from them in that you have a job and earn a wage).

    In your case, I think the main question at the heart of this is:

    Do you feel that things that are good for the company are good for you?

    I've worked at some places where I can answer that question "yes" (my current employer is on this list) and other places where I felt like that answer would be "no".

    If you answer that question "yes", then you should be glad that you ARE qualified and that you can help your company win some work, because that will ultimately be good for you.

    If you answer that question "no", then I understand how you wonder if the company should benefit from your own efforts while you seem to get nothing in return. If that's how you feel, I suggest you find another employer, because you are not ever going to feel good about your current employer.

Re: Disapointed at work
by perldeveloper (Scribe) on Aug 03, 2004 at 17:06 UTC
    Sounds like it's time you started your own company. Well, at least consider it seriously before imagining yourself employed in some other place. Anyway, it's probably better to wait before you start going to interviews and such, as you might be too sore because of what just happened and it might show.

    Anyway, if you think being fired is real sh!t, you're right only if you're convinced you could only work always having somebody telling you what to do -- i.e. employee.
Re: Disapointed at work
by gwhite (Friar) on Aug 09, 2004 at 11:41 UTC

    I am sorry you lost your job.

    Regarding your initial question though, when you were hired by the company, why did they hire you? was it your credentials and diplomas, previous work experience, abilities to lead, speak, etc. or was it a combination of those?

    So what did they hire? an educated person, with experience and capabilities. The business hired that and they should use that in their marketing efforts. The more the business makes, the better it is with all involved with the business. I would guess that once you were hired and they asked you to write some Perl code, you didn't say, you didn't teach me Perl, so I cannot write any for you. They didn't teach you to speak or interact with others, but you probably did those things. They hired a package, you should not hesitate in bringing all the resources of your package to help your employer.

Re: Disapointed at work
by Anonymous Monk on Aug 02, 2004 at 21:27 UTC
    I know what you should do! Put on a Che Guevara T-shirt run around in the street with a stick and a brick. Shout some selfrightous nonsense about "the people". Throw the brick through a window and get sprayed with a water cannon and tear gas! That has always worked in the pass. Well, maybe not but it sure makes for some entertaining TV :)
      I'd admonish you for your unhelpful answer if I wasn't too busy laughing my ass off. :)


      "To be civilized is to deny one's nature."

      I was re-visiting some old posts and loved this one. Won't ++ you just because this would increase AnonyMonk's XP, not yours.

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