Smart Phones, New Politics

Purple Forge Ottawa Citizen – Smart Phones, New Politics


ex-High Techies in the Federal Government

After this blog entry I was immediately asked about the challenges those ex-techies who joined the Federal government have found.   Here is a quick summary of what I’ve been told:

  • Being under-employed/under-challenged (compared to their personal perceived capability)
  • Being discouraged from working excessive hours (one individual told me about a situation where a co-worker took them aside and asked them to stop working long hours because it was making the rest of them look bad  – however all other individuals I know said they had never experienced this type of behavior and in fact noted that people in their departments tended to work more then the regular work hours as a matter of course)
  • Really, really bad employees who are passed from department to department like a hot potato (these employees typically know how to exploit the various government union and HR policies to effectively do nothing and avoid being fired and consume vast amounts of their managers time and reputation in the process)
  • Political wars and games where each department was working to position themselves for projects they expect to see funded

In Nortel, I personally experienced:

  • Being under-employed/under-challenged (only when working on a  product transitioning to legacy support  – when this happened I usually changed jobs)
  • Being given really, really bad employees as part of a new project team (who I first mentored/worked with to help them develop missing skills or cultural awareness, and if that failed (only on one occasion) I put them into the HR process leading to termination/transfer to a job with a better fit)
  • Political wars and games where each department was working to position themselves for projects they expect to see funded

Anyone else from High Tech who ended up in the Federal government have observations to contribute?

Obama Inauguration January 2009

I was lucky to visit Washington DC during the Obama Inauguration with Dr Mark Miller and his sons Michael and David.

Tuesday was a long day.   We had to get up at 1:30AM on Tuesday to drive to the West Falls Church Metro station.  We then stood in line at 3:30AM waiting for the Metro station to open at 4AM.  We made it downtown and onto the National Mall around 4:30AM – we followed the crowd through the fence that was pushed down by over-eager Obama supporters – security wasn’t quite ready at that early hour.

Once on the National Mall, there was little to do but stand around and try to keep warm – it was cold.  I thought I was well dressed for the weather, but when my feet went numb and I started to shiver, I decided to throw in the towel.  I  left the Mall and headed back to the hotel around 7:30AM.   It took almost 3 hours to get back to the hotel due to the crush of people arriving.   In the end it turned out that watching the Obama Inauguration on TV was almost like being out on the Mall – except I was warm.

Mark and his two sons toughed it out to hear the speech from the National Mall.   They got to watch the Inauguration on the Jumbo-tron TV screens and experience the excitement of the crowd in person.  They arrived back at the hotel (ecstatic) around 4PM – Mark literally laid down on the floor within minutes of walking in the hotel room  and was instantly asleep.

Some pics from the day are below –