The Chronicle

of a ColdFusion Expatriate

"Leadership BS" Is BS

September 7, 2021

I don’t really do “book reviews” on here, and I don’t intend to start now, but this is a reaction to the book “Leadership BS” by Jeffrey Pfeffer.

What seems to be the core premise of this book is that there are these “leadership myths” propagating that are doing harm to workplaces and people’s (mostly leaders’ or aspiring leaders’) job prospects.

The framing example is Jack Welch, onetime CEO of GE, who is painted as this great business leader and everyone wants to emulate him, but the story leaves out things like GE’s “rank and yank” performance management policy, stories about “GE jerks” and other examples of fraud, price-fixing, and so forth.

The premise that inspirational figures have flaws that are glossed over or omitted from the stories is a good one, and one which I agree with.

Then it all goes sideways.

How the 1990s Made Me an Introvert

August 30, 2021

It may be impossible to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m an introvert because of how I spent the 1990s, but I’m damn sure going to try!

Let me be clear: I love how I am, mostly. I just turned 40 this year, so I’ve had plenty of time to think about it, and when it comes to my introversion and my communication preferences, I don’t want to change. But what do the 1990s have to do with it?

In short, I spent a lot of time on IRC.

Do You Need a CS Degree?

August 26, 2021

First, I’m writing this for hiring managers; if you are seeking a job or starting a career in software development, this may not be helpful to you, depending on your own situation. Also, I started my software career in 1999, and basically by accident. A lot has changed since then so your mileage may vary. OK, on with it.

It was around 2015 and I found myself in a small conference room in a downtown Boston high-rise office building with one of my company’s co-founders, its chief architect, and a woman interviewing for a software job.

How Did I Start?

August 25, 2021

This is going to be a personal post, and it’s long, and I’m writing it mostly to get it out there, so if you aren’t into the whole “career journey memoir” thing, feel free to skip this one.

Would it surprise you to know that I applied to the Rhode Island School of Design and for a non-trivial number of years thought that I would have a (likely struggling) career in the arts and graphic design? In fact, I have done a few freelance graphic design gigs, and for a few years I ran a home business restoring old photographs (that probably deserves its own post).

So how did I wind up writing ColdFusion for a living?

As many programming stories do, mine begins with Java.

America Is in Love With Work

August 19, 2021

“So, what do you do?”

Maybe you’ve asked someone this question when meeting them for the first time. A friend of a friend, or a stranger on a plane, or your date. It’s a “safe” question to break the ice; after all, everyone has a job, right?

Sure, but why do we let our jobs define us? Why do we love work so much?