Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Downgraded to Testing" by Jerry Weinberg

Jerry provides some career advice to a tester. 

While the whole little article is very good, I am going to pull one part of Jerry's advice out and comment on it.
Your boss has demonstrated he has no interest in "fair enough." And no interest in your career or your family. Your approach is all wrong. You should first find yourself a job in an organization that already values Testing, at least slightly.

In my experience, an organization like yours is never (at least in your working lifetime) going to value testing enough to value you, or pay you what you're worth to them. Nor will it be a good place to learn the profession. All you will learn is what I'm telling you now: that is, you shouldn't stay in this job a moment longer than you must in order to see that your family is fed. (For example, if your wife works, see if you can simplify your finances so you can live on her income, at least for a short time.)
In my travels, there were times where I fell into this trap. It is harsh to hear, "we don't value what you do very much" - technical people are sensitive to that kind of message. Jerry has defined quality as, "Quality is value to some person (who matters)". In this context, the boss matters and the value you are offering is lacking (from their perspective).  That is "OK". The organization is not pure evil and you are not a shlub. The answer is in between. Get over it - you are not going to convert them to your view of the world. Move on.

And one of the nice things about consulting is having to consciously work through the issues: "what is your value?", and "is the potential client's problem a problem for me?".  As I've gotten older I've become less emotionally wrapped-around-the-axel, and adopted a "It is just business. You are not giving me what I want - and I can say no to this relationship.".

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