Angus: Abysmality

Today, I was told that due to IBM’s “abysmal marketing”, our platform was suffering. On top of that, said critic went on to tell me that he no longer had any loyalty to the IBM brand. In addition to my frustration, I became quite animated in my response. Yet, he really did not deserve my passion.

The photo for this blog entry was one I took at COMMON a couple of years ago. One of the attendees, a formidable RPG programmer in his time, had stolen some time in an almost secret place, to have a quick snooze. This tired and worn out programmer came to mind today while I listened to the ranting of the IBM critic. There are so many of our community who are just going through the motions of their job, waiting for their retirement, or their firing. In an earlier post titled Narrowosity, I proposed that we recognize the business acumen of the long-time RPG programmer, and transfer that knowledge to the youth of our community – those with enthusiasm, vigor and a willingness to learn.

Today’s conversation was all about brick walls. The critic had something negative to say about everything IBM had done in recent years. And, upon some digging, I discovered it was all about the fact that IBM had not done things the way he thought it should happen – hence, everything IBM had done was ‘wrong’. I asked him this specifically – did he think IBM’s marketing was abysmal because he had not seen it? His answer was affirmative. Digging further, I asked if he thought he considered himself a demographic to which IBM should market? He admitted that IBM should not be marketing to him, and I suggested his reasoning of why IBM marketing was abysmal was based on a flawed premise.

We discussed his perception that IBM had changed the name too many times. I mentioned the new Power Systems servers being a merger of i and p – not just a name change – and he spat back with an interesting question. How was he supposed to know about that? At that moment, I realized the futility of my defense of the platform. If he was not willing to stay abreast of the industry which provided his livelihood, then he truly had signed out, and was waiting for the terminal to be switched off. I had no business in dragging him back to a reality from which he had escaped.

I was interviewed for a recent article, in which many questions were raised on how to maintain your career and keep your job in these ‘troubling’ economic times. Of course, the most simple solution is to spread confidence wherever you go, but getting over your own negativity is a hurdle most people are unwilling to jump.

After reading the article, I reconnected my thinking to my earlier idea that injecting enthusiasm into many people in our industry would be difficult. Certainly, there are many who have turned on the screen saver of negativity and hopelessness. But for those who are simply frustrated at the lack of positivity around them, I believe there is some hope. Mostly because, these people are geniuses at what they do, and need some connection to the passion of their own start in I.T.

It is a simple answer. Take one enthusiastic, upcoming developer. Find one iGenius with an outlook of despair and gloom. Call the latter a mentor, and connect the two. This equation will definitely result in one young improved business analyst iDeveloper. And maybe, just maybe, some of that enthusiasm and vigor will rub off on the iGenius. Who knows, they may stop saying “AS/400”!!

There may not be much time before all the iGeniuses actually retire, and we are left alone with the critics.

Get to it..

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