We've all been told over and over again that Perl isn't appropriate for corporate work, and that it's a terrible, messy, ugly language. It's slow; it makes you write bad code; it lacks Enterprise features; it's not object oriented, or the OO is rotten; code written in it isn't maintainable.
Hearing this constantly has affected us. We spent a whole bunch of energy defending ourselves and lost -- we've been tried and found guilty. We've been raked through the muck so badly that PHP is perceived as a more legitimate option.
To some degree, the result has been that people learn other languages than Perl. To another degree, it's been that trade rag influenced CTOs pick other languages and hire for them.
Here's yet another result: shops that still use Perl have damaged egos. They urgently need to be taken seriously. When talking about Java jobs, I never hear the "we have immediate need" line -- if a Java shop urgently needs a programmer, they'll be careful, considerate, understanding, and professional. If a Perl shop immediately needs a programmer, they'll be loud, obnoxious, pushy, and disrespectful ("I'm sorry, I can't fly out tomorrow, I have a personal obligation" -- "but we have an immediate NEED"). I'm sick and tired of the veiled tantrums these jokers play.
They're way over pimping the positions, trying to make themselves sound like they survived the dot com bubble unchanged and the foosball table not only is still there but is still the social center of the office. While Java jobs will have one line talking about the dynamic corporate culture and talented developers, Perl jobs on jobs.perl.org seem to average 4 or 5 lines.
And I understand that whether a company is profitable or not is a major consideration, but Perl jobs spend enough energy playing up their market position (even for companies industry insiders never heard of) that it raises alarm bells.
And their fragile egos scorn so readily -- if you're not all over their fantastic offer to fly out the next day, or if your allergy that you warned them about but they ignored gets in the way of you working, you get treated to abusive language -- a real, actual hissy fit on their part because you're not in with the team, ready to go the mile, yadda yadda yadda.
And I'm sick to death of the overly trumped up interview process. I've interviewed for C and Java jobs and had the engineers willing to speak candidly to me as one human to another. I understand Google wanting to erect barriers to keep interviewing fair and level, but every two bit Perl shop seems to be aiming for more formal, more robotic, more detached. So I find myself having burning questions about whether I want to work at a place, that I could easily get answered, but instead I'm the mother fucking Inquisition. Dude, chill! Acting all serious and shit won't make me or any other passable Perl programmer take you seriously -- at best they'll play along.
There are some cool places to work and write Perl, I'm sure. But I haven't been in contact with them.
This last company, Logitech, insisted that, since I couldn't fly out immediately (overlapped with YAPC) that I meet two of their engineers there. I agreed, with reluctance that must have showed in my voice, as the recruiter was adamant that I meet with someone at once ("we have an immediate need!"... oh yes, whatever *you* need). Their engineers were busy and so was I. Worse, it was mixing business and pleasure. I got drunk. I had animated idealogical conversations. I gave an angry lightning talk.
And then my lack of professionalism always seems to get in the way. *sigh*
Conclusion: Perl is doomed. No, but seriously... Perl shops have a first class small dog syndrome going.
We haven't been in the papers and trade rags. In the battle between PHP and Java, and Ruby and PHP, and Java and Python, and Java and C#, they've all but forgotten about us. We don't like the hype, but we miss it, because we know that we depend on it, and it's been a long time since we've had it. It makes it hard to justify using Perl in an organization, if you're a manager who resells repackaged hype. Before long, you're craving to be taken seriously, to be respected, to be admired as being on the cutting edge. Begging for it. Demanding. Throwing a fit when you don't get it.