Found 1 comment on HN
terra_t · 2010-10-19 · Original thread
The funny thing is that I think his job hunting strategy is essentially correct. However, you just can't be so brazen, arrogant, and transparently narcissistic about it.

Narcissism is the new "N-word", but it's not a bad thing. It's really a fancy way to say "self esteem". Psychoanalysts, since the 1960s, have come to see that postmodern people don't (usually) have the Oedipal problems that Freud talked about, but instead they have trouble with self esteem. There are a number of causes for this, but one of them is the massive exposure we get to the mass media. We all see people who are fantastically talented and successful (Bill Gates, Payton Manning, Jerry Garcia, etc,) we get massive doses of the "pornography of success" but we don't get realistic role models growing up. A lot of the people who read HN were people who "knew" they were smarter than anybody else in their peer group, but were in the shadow of Einstein, Bogart and Warhol. Bright and talented kids often don't feel like they have comparable peers, so they compare themselves to inaccessable superstars.

Narcissism isn't bad, it's just a part of your mind, just like your heart is part of your body. However, Narcissism can malfunction, and a common form of malfunction is another preoedpial phenomenon called "Splitting", where you perceive things as all good or all bad. One day you feel like you're the best in the world, and really special because of that, then the next day you feel like the worst in the world and you're special because of that too. It can really mess up your head and make you miserable and ineffective. I'm not a professional, but I think this guy is experiencing splitting... He puffs up this big image of his self-importance because he also feels like he's small and unimportant.

His process of healing and growing up means that he's got to integrate his feelings of "I'm awesome" with his feelings that "I'm worthless" and develop a realistic appraisal of who he is. Unfortunately, that's a very difficult task in the postmodern age.

Anyhow, sending out resumes is a crappy way to get a job, particularly in a down economy. You really do want leads to come to you, and there are a few ways of doing that. I really like Neal Schaffer's approach to using LinkedIn, which is all about "digging your well before you are thirsty"

My experience is that arrogance is an absolute killer in the job hunting process. I had a time, years ago, when I had a crappy resume, and just getting interviews was a challenge. After a while I had great experience, and I'd get interviews for maybe 50% of the applications I sent in... I'd just blow the interviews. I looked at why I was blowing the interviews and I found that arrogance was a big factor, so I made a point to tone it down.

My issue now is that I feel programming is a dead end and I'm more interested in a management role. In my area, there's definitely a problem of "too many indians and not enough chiefs"; software projects often have nobody leading them at all, or if somebody is driving the bus, they're second-rate salespeople, experts in entomology, or otherwise people who don't understand the issues of IT management. People around here are much more interested in hiring junior developers who will go screw up their projects than they are in somebody experience who can help a team get the little things right consistently.

My answer? Start my own business. I'm old enough that I'd only apply to Y Combinator as a prelude to filing an age descrimination lawsuit. However, I'm learning to combine my programming ideas with some very hard-nosed business ideas and bootstrapping something that, someday, might become really awesome.

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