But seriously, do you consider yourself an 'excellent' coder, i.e. do you have a Phd from Berkley? do you mathematically prove all your algorithms? If you do, then i am immediately humbled in your present. .but either way.. chances are you dont. I am not saying you are a mediocre programmer, but chances are you arent someone worthy enough to not be benefitted by unionization.
No, I do not consider myself an excellent programmer; more of a hacker actually. The code I write works well, it is well tested and I stand behind it. (in fact, in my contract work I often surprise my clients by charging $0.00/hr for bugfixes unless it was something they didn't communicate to me.) Code I write is (IMO) well thought out and implemented properly (right tool for the job, built for maintainability, etc.). I work damn hard at it and my designs tend to be a tad overdesigned but that's because I've become quite adept at anticipating the sales and marketing people. :-)
In the same vein, I honestly do not believe a union would benefit me with respect to making my work better. Union-based health and benefits and getting my foot into the door of union shops, sure. Having union papers may get me contacts and resources which would be difficult to find on my own but really that's just research. Rarely is anything only in one place.
My work, while not mathematically proven or even pedigreed (I find a university degree only shows that you know how to learn, not necessarily that you're any better at what you do), stands on its own and I base my prices on that. If a client does not like the proposal I give him, that is his perogative and he may then either walk away or negotiate. I don't need a union to hold my hand and get me jobs, nor do I need a union to help me beat on my employer / clients. As I mentioned earlier I have pretty decent skills in research and can usually dig up what I need within an hour or two online or in the library.
This is starting to sound elitist and perhaps that is what I'm getting at. I know my work is good and I have no trouble getting work because of this. A union won't change this for the better or for the worse. It will eat into my profits, though. I am currently employed full time and do contract work on the side; I know both sides of the "work for yourself / work for someone else" coin. I've also worked in union shops (different career) to know what that's line and how they work.
You allude to unions being able to help all but the very best; I disagree. I believe unions only help those on the left hand side of the bell curve. After you pass the midpoint, any help unions offer would be below the 3dB point of give and take. After the midpoint, unions are using your talent and experience to help those on the other side more than they're helping you. If I want to help a young pup earn his place in the pack I will do so. I won't do it because I'm told or because we share some secret handshake; I'll do it because that person or persons appeal to me in some way.
I'm not afraid of being replaced. There is always someone bigger and stronger. I see my position (my talents and personal collection of experiences) as a way to help others become more than what they could be on their own. That's how I got to where I am and I am more than happy to pass that on. Being #1 isn't all that great. After a while the constant challenges to remain there become extremely tedious and you just want to get your work done instead of be involved in pissing matches over who's g0d.
I don't consider myself #1 and perhaps I won't ever be, according to my own standards. It's all relative anyway; anyone who does become better than me I will have hopefully helped to attain that status and be happy as #2 relative to them. Just because you're no longer alpha wolf doesn't mean you're any less than you were just before.
But if you are threatened with your job security, and forced to do overtime, then that is unfair. It happens alot, even in the higher level proffessional fields!
I agree wholeheartedly. However a union won't stop the threats, it'll just put more muscle behind your "no." If you're worth anything to the company (i.e. if you have sufficient talent) you don't need that extra muscle. Why use a cannon to swat a fly?
Unions do not have to be always active and always fighting. Right now there is no need for a union, so if one was formed, it should remain dormant.
That is inevitably what doesn't happen. When unions are formed the people are happy and the rivers flow with wine. But after a while unions find themselves without need to exist so they create problems and stir the shit, so to speak. If the union isn't actively fighting then the (new) members wonder why there even is a union and start to complain of the dues. It doesn't matter what the old guys say; the new guys see no need to pay their dues because of something which happened in the past so the unions keep that need going. It is a favourite pet theory of mine that union members and union shops regularly meet to discuss how to try and keep the battle fresh.
As to the P(rant), V(rant), that was notation representing the incrementing of a semaphore, and decrementing.
Ahh... I don't deal much in this aspect of software design (most small embedded systems don't have enough resources to worry about this or do it a little differently.) -- nice way to enclose a rant. :-)
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