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Mon Feb 25, 2013, 02:58 AM

Got a surprisingly difficult Email

Coworker from a previous gig, whom we'll call Jane, got laid off in November. She's working on reinventing herself taking some IT classes at community college. She asked me about the work I do (I'm a Mainframe Cobologist), and I told her COBOL is dead.

Challenging part is I don't really know Jane's skillset well enough to know if she'd be able to make the transition. Send a message to another friend and coworker, whom we'll call Bill, that worked with her for many more years than I did.

Felt like I passing the buck, but I also just didn't feel like I could advise, "Go and do X" or "No, don't do X, look for something else."

Hoping that Bill will be able to advise Jane. Hoping that he has an idea about where she'd excel.

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Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply Got a surprisingly difficult Email (Original post)
Kennah Feb 2013 OP
ohnoyoudidnt Feb 2013 #1
Skittles Feb 2013 #2
Sherman A1 Feb 2013 #3
unhappycamper Feb 2013 #4
Brickbat Feb 2013 #5
Kennah Feb 2013 #6
Dan Feb 2013 #7

Response to Kennah (Original post)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 03:02 AM

1. It sounds like you made the right decision.

You referred her to someone who had more information to advise her instead of guessing. I don't see why you should feel bad about that.

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Response to Kennah (Original post)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 03:10 AM

2. ask her if she is willing to go to India, Brazil or China

that's where the IT opportunities are

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Response to Kennah (Original post)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 04:19 AM

3. You shouldn't feel bad at all

you did what you could to help her. Often we can do nothing or very little in a situation, a great deal of life is just being along for the ride it seems. That said you did make an effort to help and hopefully if Bill in this case can't do anything, he will pass it along to someone who can.

It's called networking as I recall.

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Response to Kennah (Original post)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 08:13 AM

4. My first IT job was a COBOL/IMS programmer for United Brands Company in Boston in 1981.

Did that for a year and then joined AT&T (New England Telephone).

I was doing online IMS transactions for a payroll system and moved to Software Support in 1983. After 18 years of mostly support-related activities, I ended up running special reports for the FCC, DOJ and various public utilities. Languages I used included SAS , Visual Basic and Perl.

They made me an offer I couldn't refuse and I left Verizon in 2002.

I've been back as a contractor for the last three years (3 ~ 6 month gigs) doing PC operating system upgrades.

Much of IT activity has been outsourced; I have no recommendations for a programming job in the United States.

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Response to Kennah (Original post)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 08:23 AM

5. Why difficult? That's called networking.

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Response to Kennah (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:10 AM

6. I am feeling much better today

Talked to Bill and apparently Jane is a shit-hot programmer who knows her stuff. She was thinking in subroutines and compartmentalization before it was cool. I don't think she is going to have ANY trouble transitioning back into coding and into OOP from structured programming.

I guess it's a form of survivor guilt I was feeling, anytime I hear about more layoffs.

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Response to Kennah (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:21 AM

7. Sad part is

that most organizations want people with experience...the cost to train in the business world is more than it seems most want to pay.

How are her analytical skills - in which case, she might be better served seeking a Project Management Certificate to compliment her programming skills.

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