Monday, September 12, 2005

[geek][random] It ain't 1999...

...but it ain't 2001 either. There are definitely some signs in the air that the tech economy is starting to heat up here in Seattle. First, recruiters are hiring people to walk the sidewalks at the entrances to Microsoft's campus wearing sandwich boards advertising positions. Second, while I'm very happy at my current job, I've kept half an eye on the classifieds just to keep a sense of where things are at: while I'm not seeing a huge volume of ads, the size of the high tech section has gotten bigger and has stayed there for a while. Also, there are intermittent ads for startups, there are ads for hardcore programmers, and I'm finally seeing some of the first blanket 'looking for skill X/job title Y/skill set Z' ads by techincal recruiters that I've seen in a while. Third (and this is the one that really sent up flags), King County just a.) reclassified their IT workers jobs and job titles, b.) gave everyone an across-the-board raise, and c.) made the raise retroactive to January 2003. How do I know this? For a mercifully brief period, I was an "Analyst/Programmer" for the county. How brief? Let's just say that excluding short-term contract work, it was a "personal best". It sucked, I hated it, I left, life got substantially better. Well, this weekend I got a letter from King County HR containing a check for my pay raise (even though I haven't been there for 2 years), and notifying me of my new job title of "Senior Applications Programmer" (which is much more accurate). They made this decision in June, so my guess is that they're having problems attracting and retaining IT people. Can you imagine getting a lump sum for 2 years' worth of a pay increase all at once? I wasn't there very long, so my check wasn't huge, but it wasn't entirely insignificant either. And I wonder... would that kind of lump sum be an incentive to stay, or would some see it as a windfall to be exploited? Sort of "Woo-hoo! A 2 or 3 month cushion! I can quit now!".

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