I know these guys work hard, and it's the situation that's at fault. That being said, here's the situation, with a little background first.
A few recruiters have been chasing me. One of the companies later casually boasted of hiring a very well known person in the Perl community. This bugged me for some reason, and I couldn't quite put my finger on it until now. It doesn't bother me that they don't want me so much any more, or that this other person has a job, or that it isn't the coolest job in the world and they deserve better, but that's getting warming.
I've beend teasing recruiters, telling them I want to work on long term infrastructure that will benefit them but is beyond the scope of any of their current projects. They *hate* this, all being obsessed with whatever the current deadlines are that they're getting ready to miss and not the 20 upcoming deadlines for other things they're also going to miss and the next million dollars worth of hardware they're going to have to buy to try to scale up. As soon as the scope of work goes above whatever middle manager I'm assigned to, it's panic.
Companies must have gotten into this mindset in part because recruiters and recruiting works. They can -- with this last hire as proof -- get top talent to work for middle managers, with blinders on, oblivious to the long term for the company, business-wise or technology wise.
With Nicholas Clark's lament at http://www.nntp.perl.org/group/perl.perl5.porters/112172 about the lack of paid labor beyond Perl itself it struck me that if these companies were legimately desperete for talent, then talent would be able to set the priorities, and they'd pick longer term priorities -- such as Perl itself.
We got where we are now in Perl with Perl's philosophy that developer time amortizes over user time. And companies just don't "get" that. And now we're losing it.
Companies are well known for complete failure to give back. Microsoft, with it's huge size and influence over the burb its in, famously negioted tax breaks that let it bankrupt the local gradeschool and turn it into a school worse than most inner city schools. Way to go! It seems to me that Perl using companies are managed to shoot themselves in the foot in a similar, but even shorter-term -- say one or two years down the road -- sort of way.
So, I'm going to "profit" from this little bubble by using it as a soap box to condescend to these fucktards from.