Hacker Newsnew | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

This reminds me of an article I came across, praising execs working with an 'assignment mentality' rather than lifetime-employment seekers: http://hbr.org/2001/07/the-right-way-to-be-fired/ar/1

What's interesting in this debate is that Mark's own experience isn't where he puts his mouth. He spent the first 8 years of his career at Accenture (which screams failed attempt at making partner -- sorry to be harsh), but drastically changed occupations every two years inside the firm (switching from IT to strategy, changing countries etc.).

I really like reading Mark, so I'm afraid of overbearing my point. But his inital blog post sounded like shamelessly getting his cake and eating it too.

He felt that such frequent career changes were the best way to prepare himself to lead a startup someday -- why would the same trait magically become a liability in others? Optimizing against this very behavior in job selection signals a quite detrimental two-tiered mindset -- himself at the helm, and employees who are there to take orders.

This is to some extent the reality of capitalism, but it isn't admirable leadership, nor a good way to generate innovation, and certainly not the best way to inspire people to stick on a sinking ship while the rats drown away. As the OP said - money can't buy you love... :)

Contrast this with Yelp, Aardvark and the second-generation breed of entrepreneurs coming out of the PayPal and Google mafias.

The distinction between tenured and assignment mentalities made in the HBR article is vital: before offering or accepting a position, make sure you understand the other's understanding of the relationship sought and the nature of the work. Distinguish between project-oriented and task-oriented work and act accordingly. Project-oriented positions have natural life-cycles with obvious times to conclude the relationship and move on (e.g., product delivery).

Finding people with an earnest, project-oriented mentality is hard. A lot of people believe or want to believe they are project-oriented, but are really case-workers, and vice-versa. A good portion of people aren't project- or task- oriented, they're people-oriented and will conform to a project- or case-oriented environment to the extent that it fosters good inter-personal relations.

A small fraction of people are entirely self-oriented: they'll do whatever is necessary to build their self-esteem and satisfy their will to power. They're cancers. One is enough to destroy the team. Filtering-out these bad seeds is the hardest and most important skill a hiring manager (or potential recruit) can develop. Mr. Suster's post isn't particularly helpful in identifying these most toxic individuals: they bind tightly to their hosts and stick through the disease they create, gaining greater responsibilities and better titles.


If his leadership is not admirable and he's a case of the problem in question, who better to say "Don't hire someone like me!"?


Update: link submitted to HN here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1293415


Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Y Combinator | Apply | Contact