mene, mene, tekel, parsin

“Here is what these words mean:

Mene[e]: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.

27 Tekel[f]: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

28 Peres[g]: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

Daniel 5:26

Big news this week was Orangemanbad Trump announced he’s running in 2024. It’s way to early. And to my ears, it sounded like old Charlie Brown was determined to try and kick the ball again, and by God he’ll do it this time never minding that Lucy has a say in this.

The other thing that I’ve been watching is the twitter meltdown.

I’ve been through this more than once in my career.

Mene Mene

My old VP had a line where he’d say in business, specifically the call centers we were building, that you are either giving away gold bars or collecting money. Works that way in tech as well. You have to have a keen awareness of your value to a company, in the big picture – and an honest one as well. And if you are on the “Gold Bar” side of things, your days are numbered, whether you realize it or not.

Because even in a woke company like mine, they measure things. No matter who you are or what you do, if you are bad for business, you won’t be doing it long. There are many at Twitter now that are in the midst of that particular moment of clarity.

I’ve been through all kinds of layoffs. The worst, by far, was Lucent where the old timers clung to the ship, and having sold off the lifeboats tossed and countless thousands of very talented people into the drink, in a shitty market no less. In my case, it was nearly a decade before my salary approached anywhere near what I was earning, even pre-Lucent.

Then there are the kind where each department has to lop a head off. The “shared pain” mode. When this happens, the technical talent is usually hired back (quietly). There’s a good reason for this. As one boss of mine told me – “Guys like that don’t walk into your door every day. When they do, you hire them before someone else does”. You sure don’t want your guys walking into a competitior’s door with all your institutional knowledge in their heads.

Then there’s the well thought out kind. The company I worked for premerger, prepurchase, did this. Usually, the first to go were non performing sales staff, and usually the VP of sales. Then they’d prune excess throughout the company. What they wouldn’t touch is engineers or technical staff. Why? Because they are hard to find and expensive to replace. Even if you can find them, it’ll take months for them to spool up. See above regarding “Institutional Knowledge”

In Twitter’s case, there’s a boatload of superflous expense going on. Free meals? Really?

I watched a youtube of this girl showing a day in her life a twitter. Nothing she did indicated any sort of value was being produced. This looks like a lot of tech companies I see these days where they appear to be daycare for millenial women.

God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.

This is why when I mentor younger people I tell them to build value fast. I call it ‘shock and awe’. You want to have the company you hired to wonder how they did without you. Your goal is to be among the core group that gets things done.

In my past lives, this was easy. Professional services, like being a field engineer, generates money. Usually lots. Skilled labor, especially in IT and telecom is highly profitable. These days it’s harder being profitable as I find myself on the giving away gold bars side as the business I’ve supported for fifteen years is denuded by the rainbow borg.

Before I got married, I was riding around with a future brother-in-law, an electrician, and asked how one made out in a small town during a recession.

“Let me tell you what happens when things slow down. If you have a skill, you’ll be fine”

We’re heading that way again. To a place where I’ve been at least three times before. Only this time, it’ll be worse for many, like some of the twittertards I’ve seen thus far. It’s on thing to be light on a desirable skillset. It’s yet another to lack any work skills at all.

It’s even worse when you’ve come to believe you’re worth upwards of six figures with this lacking skillset.

I’ll save that point for another time. I’m trying to figure out how to explain overcompensated diversity workers in this environment.

One thought on “mene, mene, tekel, parsin

  1. It’s one thing to be a shopkeeper in a Potemkin Village and to lord it over the peasants, and a whole other thing to realize it IS a Potemkin Village.

    Funny how the phrase “And the meek shall inherit the earth” keeps echoing in my ears…


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