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pjp
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:57 am    Post subject: What's your business plan for doing your job profitably? Reply with quote

Have you ever had a job clearly defined as to how it impacted profitability? One which was not directly / obviously related (e.g., sales)?

Personally I never have. I have a job to do, rarely with the minutia spelled out.


I'm generally not a fan of the author's opinion based on the handful of times I've read the column. However, I'm thinking the question could be turned around onto the interviewer. "How does the company see this job as it relates to profitability?" Right after the "Do you have any questions for us" part of the interview.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IT is a cost. Therefore if you work in the IT, you're probably working in a cost center. Unless of-course you're working for a consultant.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not officially.

However, I do have a philosophy of "get it done and get it out there". It doesn't have to be perfect (though that would be very nice too), but first and foremost it should do what it needs to. And I will avoid a rewrite as much as possible. I've had shitty hackish programmes running for years.

No finished projects = no income.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, I do know exactly how much I cost my employer. And my job is to look after the costs and profits....
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The correct response is "Pad my time and expense reports with as much as I can get away with."
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

notageek wrote:
IT is a cost.

That's 1980s thinking, the product of pencil and paper accounting practices under which things like activity-based costing, benefits measurement, and performance metrics were not yet feasible (although many organizations still use it, mostly to obfuscate their wastefulness and incompetence).

However, to be fair, I don't believe he is suggesting this question be asked of low-level worker bees. And, if you asked it of a candidate for a government job, you'd just get a blank stare.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
However, to be fair, I don't believe he is suggesting this question be asked of low-level worker bees.
Actually, he is. My interpretation. IT: If a system goes down, the business loses money. Preventing downtime reduces losses. That sort of thing. By reading the comments (search for his name), you can see he thinks it is applicable everywhere.

Personally, I don't agree. At least not that literally. Given my IT example, once automation is implemented, redundancy, etc., then downtime is mostly prevented. Does that mean it is wise to eliminate most of the SA dept.? Probably not.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My take was more that he is fishing to see if the candidate has a big-picture mindset -- an understanding of how their performance contributes to the success or failure of the larger entity they are part of. I think phrasing it the way he did would be a mistake with anybody below management level, though.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Author: At your current job (or last job), do you have any idea how your work contributed to profitability?

Poster: Probably he doesn't, and neither does any other worker. [...] This is especially true of intangible IT services.

Author: Answer: Don't work for companies like that.

Quote:
It's hard for some to realize that workers who do not generate revenue (e.g., salespeople) still affect proflt. Even the janitor

Quote:
What kind of position would my question not work with? If you can come up with one, I'd love to talk about it with you. I'm not saying there's isn't a position where this question wouldn't work -- there might be. I just don't know what it is.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exactly.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

every business does managment accounting. And those doing that lovable stuff have to know the cost of a worker, the janitor, the whores hired to entertain customers.

But the worker? Why should he know? Why should he care?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because unless you contribute to profitability, then you are excess baggage. Understanding how you impact the bottom line can help your value.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
Because unless you contribute to profitability, then you are excess baggage. Understanding how you impact the bottom line can help your value.


if a company has 'excess baggage' the managment failed. Knowing that you are a mistake is not really helpful.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nobody fires the janitor. The shit would immediately hit the fan. Just my advice for frustrated IT workers...
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

energyman76b wrote:
Knowing that you are a mistake is not really helpful.
It can help you to discover a way to make yourself valuable, or give you a head start in finding a new job.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not cause carnage with the figures. Which I seem (knocks on wood) to be getting
better at.

That's the not causing as opposed to causing mind.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wildhorse wrote:
Nobody fires the janitor. The shit would immediately hit the fan. Just my advice for frustrated IT workers...


Just gets outsourced
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
Because unless you contribute to profitability, then you are excess baggage. Understanding how you impact the bottom line can help your value.


It could also be seen as projecting management incompetence (i.e. they don't have cost/gain model for IT services themselves) onto workers (who shouldn't care, unless you are there as a consultant/selling something).
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
energyman76b wrote:
Knowing that you are a mistake is not really helpful.
It can help you to discover a way to make yourself valuable, or give you a head start in finding a new job.


more valuable? Joe Worker? Doing menial jobs at the assembly line? His job is do his job and not to do the managments job at the same time.

Or are you arguing that managment is not needed, just like accounting? Hey, while we are at it - banks are superfluos too! Creating money by creating more debt.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prenj wrote:
It could also be seen as projecting management incompetence [...] onto workers [...].
What could be seen as such?


energyman76b wrote:
His job is do his job and not to do the managments job at the same time.
"It's not my job" is certainly one way to demonstrate value. I said nothing about doing management's job.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
Prenj wrote:
It could also be seen as projecting management incompetence [...] onto workers [...].
What could be seen as such?


energyman76b wrote:
His job is do his job and not to do the managments job at the same time.
"It's not my job" is certainly one way to demonstrate value. I said nothing about doing management's job.


'knowing' how much you personally influences profits IS managments job.
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Libertardian denial of reality is wholly unimpressive and unconvincing, and simply serves to demonstrate what a bunch of delusional fools they all are.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Knowing how much you do or don't influence profit could result in you not having a job.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a lot of you are missing the point. Of course management should, and probably does, know better than you how productive their IT workers are, and how they contribute or detract from the profitability of the company.

The question is what would you, specifically, do in your job to maximize the profitability of the company. If the company is comparing 3 potential employees, it gives them a way to evaluate what each would bring, in terms of what the company cares about.

So saying "it is not my job to know how IT contributes to profit is basically like saying "I just take orders, and don't plan to think at all on my own. I may be good at doing what I am told, but I will never be anything more".

As a side note, I wouldn't use the question quite like that. I would rather phrase it without the emphasis on profits, such as "what is your business plan to do this job in a way that will make this company best-in-class", or something similar. The best companies focus on products, and let profits follow, not vice-versa.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"best in class" doesn't necessarily contribute to profit. It may reduce it. So it just depends on the motivation.

Quote:
So saying "it is not my job to know how IT contributes to profit is basically like saying "I just take orders, and don't plan to think at all on my own. I may be good at doing what I am told, but I will never be anything more".
But unless someone takes the time to explain HOW your job helps the bottom line, they may not know. That doesn't translate to unwilling to learn. I've never had it explained to me. Reducing inefficiencies is low handing fruit. Once that's addressed, it is much more difficult to quantify. A good example of this is when Homer becomes the supervisor. "Can you work faster?" That''s only viable for so long and is a false gain.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 wrote:
I think a lot of you are missing the point. Of course management should, and probably does, know better than you how productive their IT workers are, and how they contribute or detract from the profitability of the company.

The question is what would you, specifically, do in your job to maximize the profitability of the company. If the company is comparing 3 potential employees, it gives them a way to evaluate what each would bring, in terms of what the company cares about.

So saying "it is not my job to know how IT contributes to profit is basically like saying "I just take orders, and don't plan to think at all on my own. I may be good at doing what I am told, but I will never be anything more".

As a side note, I wouldn't use the question quite like that. I would rather phrase it without the emphasis on profits, such as "what is your business plan to do this job in a way that will make this company best-in-class", or something similar. The best companies focus on products, and let profits follow, not vice-versa.


then the whole 'question' is stupid in the first place. And replacing profits with products doesn't help much either. The question should be 'what is the company really expecting from me'.
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