I’m going to say it. Kids today…
When I began working in IT, men wore ties to work. This wasn’t back in the Don Draper Days…this was only a couple of decades ago. The corporate culture was professional, dignified, and respectful. Not that I’m a fan of neckties—far from it—but they were an indicator of how we treated one another, and how we thought about ourselves. We were professionals, and we were adults.
Seattle, home of grunge rock, was one of the first places to install Casual Friday in our corporate culture (I think we tied with Silicon Valley). The rank-and-file pushed for it, and we loved it, but I knew some executives who, even though they wore denim jeans on Friday, those jeans had been ironed.
Soon, dress codes were relaxed further. No neckties at all, then jeans acceptable everyday if you didn’t deal directly with customers, etc., etc. But still, we maintained an “adult” atmosphere. Running an IT shop was serious business. The systems we built and enhanced were very expensive and absolutely critical to our business. We weren’t screwing around here. We were highly skilled professionals, hard to find, and rather expensive, so casual dress or no, we maintained a professional attitude.
The last decade has seen massive changes in IT: offshoring, Y2K, and the burst IT bubble, which resulted in a diaspora of young hot shots who didn’t know a test environment from a deck chair. These Spicoli-clones flooded the market, commanding exorbitant salaries for their super-cool, shiny website-building skills, and knocked the corporate culture on its ass.
Since then, IT has been increasingly infantilized. Agile and other scrum-like methodologies, geared toward the quick-fix and the “What have you done for me lately?” attitude, have replaced more thoughtful, quality-obsessed approaches. Instead of workload planning sessions, we now have “story time.” Rather than project managers, we now have Scrum-masters. Instead of a determination to deliver a product that works right the first time, we now have “patches.” End-users no longer expect quality from IT; they literally expect us to screw up. And we fulfill that expectation, frequently.
So, yesterday, in our end-of-sprint demo, when suddenly our scrum-master announced that now we would go around the table so everyone can say who they appreciated this last sprint, I nearly blew my head gasket. What followed were ten minutes of the most uncomfortable, infantile, totally unprofessional drivel I’ve ever experienced on the job. “Everyone gets a trophy.”
Kids today… They go on and on about “disrespect.” You want to know disrespect? Treat a 53-year old man like a 12-year old at the Thanksgiving table. That’s disrespect, boyo.