So I read this article today about how the tech industry is too elitist and thinks everyone who’s good is already rich and can follow their bliss until the cows come home waiting for the olympian software companies of the world to come hire them. I just wanted to provide a data point from Stack Exchange. I’m not gonna bloviate that we’re all rock stars at Stack Exchange (I wouldn’t even describe myself like that) but here’s the list of schools attended by all the programmers and sysadmins at Stack Exchange:

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Before I faded a crazy counter offer and got my dream job I worked in finance. I was going on interviews in 2009 having been laid off from my second job after the 2008 collapse. This was back in the days when I was still using contingency recruiters to find jobs. They’re a natural fit for finding finance jobs because banks and hedge funds have money they’re willing to spend on recruiters when they aren’t swimming in it (artists rendering on the right), or spinning it into thread for their golden parachute side business.

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On Counter Offers

Last I left you, dear readers, I had just been given an offer to work my dream job at Stack Exchange by Joel. I accepted the offer on the spot, and went home walking on air. What do you do when you get the offer for your dream job? You go home, crack open a bottle of wine and write your resignation letter. Achieving a dream is really liberating. I’d written a resignation letter before, but it wasn’t like this.

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Matt recently wrote his story about how he got his job at Stack Exchange and I thought it was such a good idea that I’d go ahead and write my own. This is my long rambling account of my path to my dream job. Getting bit by the bug I was a physics major. I spent the summers of my college years at the 88” Cyclotron at UC Berkeley helping in the preparation, execution and analysis of medium energy nuclear physics experiments.

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In my previous post I outlined one reason why I think employee referral bonuses aren’t good: They distort the incentives for referring someone into the company in a way that can’t possibly be good. First off, my thanks go out to everyone who read that post. Some people refuted my argument in various ways and I thought I’d take a look at a couple of them. Refutation The First: Bonus Size Matters This is correct.

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So, I read this story yesterday about the employee who referred a friend and got screwed out of his referral bonus. People on Hacker News argued about “Name and Shame” and who was right and wrong but the first thought that popped into my head was “employee referral bonuses are pants on head stupid.” Forget about this particular case and the collateral problems it’s causing. The employee referral bonus is just an intrinsically bad idea.

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Jason Punyon

Chaotic Good w a splash of Data. Data x2. Stack Overflow. He/him.

Principal Developer at Stack Overflow