Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Professional, Personal And Political

So why is it in my professional life the people who are the staunchest Republicans - more often in management than anywhere else - always have the mentality of the cliched Republican version of a Union Shop employee?

For example, the producer on my current project decided to get in my face the day after the election about how my "faggot and welfare loving money wasting liberal" candidate lost. However, this is the same guy who is completely unable to quit wasting time and therefore money on dysfunctional development processes. He's not smart enough to figure out that we're wasting time and money, so therefore he's not smart enough to figure out how to fix it. The people who do that are the engineers. And when the engineers figure out how to save time, he actively resists the improvement because he's "too busy", never mind that to actually explain the new process or tool would take less time than it takes him to explain why he's "too busy". As near as I can tell, he performs no function. So why do we pay his salary? I'm not sure, but I wish they'd fire him and divide the money up among the people who not only perform their own jobs, but his as well.

It's been the same everywhere I have worked. The movements to increase productivity and keep costs down always come from people who tend to vote Democratic (if they bother voting at all). The Republicans in the office - engineer, artist or manager, it doesn't matter - are always more willing to waste the company's money and time standing around the water cooler discussing Rush Limbaugh, the evils of liberalism, how unfair it is they pay taxes to government fatcats who don't do anything. But when it comes to rubbing some brain cells together or producing some results, you can count them out, and if they might actually have to learn a new skill, you may as well forget it.

Of course there are exceptions to this, my engineering manager being one of them. He spends all day listening O'Reilly and Hannity and Limbaugh, and has Fox News as his homepage. But he never gets in anyone's face, and he works hard and thinks clearly, is results driven, and generally sets a civil tone for the office. But these exceptions are rare.

I'm not sure what it is about the software industry that attracts such lazy misbegotten creatures. I've heard stories about smart, hard working financiers and stock brokers who wish Ronald Reagan had lived and been president forever, but I've never met anyone like that in software. The people I know who wish for the Reagan Utopia have no interest in doing - and very little ability to do - any of the lifting, never mind the heavy part.

I thought being a Republican meant always striving for greater efficiency, greater productivity, greater profits, greater achievement. I thought it was the Democrats who wanted free money for doing nothing. But in my professional life, the general trend is completely the opposite.

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