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Thursday August 11, 2005
06:57 PM

"Cube Farm"

[ #26247 ]

Cube Farm by Bill Blunden has been on my wishlist for quite a while, and the Apress rep handed me a copy during OSCON.

I probably shouldn't have started reading it since I have work to do. I had to read the thing all the way through. It was all about corporate in-fighting and it was like watching a train wreck: one that you've been a part of. I kept reading because it was like being part of a I-got-screwed-by-jerks support group. If you worked in the dot-com shakeout, you probably belong to the group.

He really goes beyond that though. At the end of each chapter Bill gives a summary of the points he raised in the chapter. Although it's a narrative, he highlights various types of corporate ambush techniques, diversions, and strangleholds. For instance, if someone wants you to go somewhere but they don't tell you why, they're setting you up for something.

He points out all the things I wish I had known when I started working in the real world: people are pushing their own agenda, and their actions don't necessarily tell you what they think. For instance, if you have the 2.5 kids and mortgage in suburbia, even if you think the manager is an idiot you probably aren't going to rock the boat and risk not being able to pay the bills.

Curiously, his company, Lawson, started out with some pretty good ideas: cross-platform, commented, versioned code, and it went downhill as a series of bad managers came through. The comments went away when one manager thought they were slowing down the compile. The cross-platform thing went away when another wanted to use COM thingies. It got ugly. So they went public.

Maybe I'll just hand this book to every recent college grad, but by then its too late. They probably already accepted a job offer and sealed their fate.

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