Y2K Weather Report # 8 - A Y2K spring. 
Author Message
 Y2K Weather Report # 8 - A Y2K spring.

   Cory Hamasaki's DC Y2K Weather Report # 8
          "A Wonderful Mainframe Spring"
    (c) 1997 Cory Hamasaki

The Cherry blossems are blooming, spring has come to Washington DC and
CIOs at local companies are starting to panic, "Where did all the
mainframe programmers go?"

The job ads are always off on a holiday weekend.  Lots of people are out
of town, too busy stuffing their faces, loafing, to read the job ads.
I ate so much on Sunday that now (1,005 days, 24,135 hours, aka Monday
morning) I'm still full.

This Easter Sunday, the Washington Post computer job ads were off but,
this Sunday, there was a difference.  We are 1,006 days to Y2K and
there are 13 pages, hundreds of ads pleading for thousands of
programmers and other computer specialists.  As usual, and as I have
been careful to state, the majority of ads are for Pee Cee, Dee
Bee, Cee Wee Nees.  (SQL or Access clickers on PCs or C/C++
programmers.)

A year ago, there weren't any Mainframe, COBOL, MVS systems programmer,
PL/I or S/370 assembly language ads in the Post.  This weekend, there
was a full page in all, about 20-30 ads.  Here are a few of the more
interesting ones, the Post is online at http://www.*-*-*.com/

CDSI, a nice big quarter page ad, COBOL, MVS, VSAM, No salaries. CDSI is
a services company with a long history in the area. http://www.*-*-*.com/

MTI, the quarter page next to them, MVS systems programmer, to work at
the treasury. (Lots of money there.) email: mtiinc.com

Price Waterhouse, another display ad, looking for COBOL, legacy systems
redesign, and Year 2000. http://www.*-*-*.com/ <you can't dress like a geek
when you work for the waterworks.>

The Centech Group,  I don't know anything about them but they have been
around for a while. They're staffing data center operations, MVS, JCL,
CICS, http://www.*-*-*.com/

Unisys - Another nice big ad, Object COBOL <whatever the f*&# that is>,
CICS, SOM Objects on MVS, Legacy systems,
http://www.*-*-*.com/ , Work for a nice big
Dilbert-esque company, eat donuts, spend lots of time looking out the
window or do cutting edge mainframe work.  Any job is what you make of
it. This one might have some possiblities.

Computech - an ad the size of the palm of your hand, COBOL-CICS,
multiple programmer, team leader, systems analysts, programmer-analysts
at multiple projects.   http://www.*-*-*.com/ <no money listed,
show me the money.>

Lots of small ads for COBOL.  Hit the Post's web page and run their
search engine.

Intervise - Tiny $200 ad, just says Ten COBOL needed immediately in
Reston.  Reston is the burbs, lousy factory food, dorky people, Facist
building codes, "That's the WRONG shade of orange for the front door."
If you can live under those conditions, contact Dori or Michelle at

I got these from the Baltimore Sun, these are all nice sized display
ads.

The Baltimore Sun, COBOL, CICS, Baltimore MD, Fax: (410) 783-2559.

Giant Food, Giant is a big grocery chain, COBOL IDMS, Landover MD, Fax:
(301) 618-4958.

First Data Corp - COBOL, ALC, JCL, to slave on credit card applications
in Hunt Valley MD, http://www.*-*-*.com/

Rite Aid - COBOL, CICS, Rite Aid is a drug store chain, jobs in
Hunt Valley, MD, Fax: (717) 975-5954

Maryland, COBOL, big, old corporations, two in Hunt Valley. Someone is
raiding them, who could it be and what are they doing with the
programmers?  Alien {*filter*}s?  White slavery?  Press gangs of
COBOL-heads locked in dungeons, or did a recruiter show up with a big
bag of money?   In all, Rite-Aid, Giant, First Data, and the Baltimore
Sun, are looking for dozens of COBOL-heads.  Our friend from India
would suggest that there is no demand.  Bennet, Anonymous, and others
say this is just hype.   Tell that to the technical directors of these
and other corporations.  I've been in their shoes, it's terrifying. It's
one thing to have a full staff of technical specialists and a smoothly
running data center.  It's another to be short 20 people, to be working
your people 6 days a week.

With a full staff, you can sit around, take trips to SHARE and GUIDE,
take afternoons off to shop at the mall.  When your staff is down, you
are under the gun, the user departments are screaming for your head, the
CEO is giving you funny looks (and calling Source EDP for a replacement
for you), next thing you know, you're working 2nd shift and someone else
is going to SHARE.

Who's raiding them?

I suspect Systems Alliance in Hunt Valley, check them out
at http://www.*-*-*.com/ .  It could also be SYSCOM in Baltimore, Fax:
(410) 539-7774.  Both are running, "We need COBOL-heads" ads.

Doesn't matter who's doing the raiding today.  Tomorrow, someone,
bigger, faster, richer, will do it to them.   We'll use this to get our
share. My recollection is that COBOL and other applications salaries
were frozen at about $50-60K for the last 10-15 years and there were
some hard times in the late 1980s.  I have COBOL-head pals who were
burned in the mid and late 1980s, salaries frozen for 3-4 years,
right-sized to the unemployment line, insulted at interviews.

It's time to get our salaries to the right level.  If you're dragging
down $65K/year, you're not doing bad. Spiff up your resume, in your
cover letter, state your salary expectation as $85K or $90K, what ever
you think it will take to get you to quit, if it's $110K, put that down.

Don't ask for too little or you will go on a bunch of pointless
interviews.  You don't have time to waste talking to HR people
and companies that think this is 1988 and there are lots of programmers.
Last year's 50-60K is now 70-80K and will be knocking on 100K by the end
of the year.  You'll be giving up some benefits and 'vesting' when you
leave, someone will pay for that and that someone is not you.

Don't think that because you are 100% vested that you are a free agent.
Next year's $5,000 pension contribution will be 100% vested only if you
stay,  you may not receive any contribution at your new company.  The
first $7,000 at the new job makes up for the pension money that you will
lose.  Your new employer knows that and can pay that to you as part of
your increase.  ($5,000 lost pension, $2,000 lost tax deferral = $7,000)

The trim back on vacation from 4 weeks to 2 is another real salary hit.
You will need several thousand dollars to make up for that.  Going from
$65,000 to $75,000 is a lateral.  That's why you need and deserve
$85,000 or more.

When you get that offer for $85K.  Walk into your boss's office and
tell her, "Samantha, I've been with the company for while and haven't
really had an increase for 3 years.  It's time to raise my salary."  Sam
will have a gut-churn, sphyncter clench and will say, "Well, I
could put you in for a $4,000 increase a few months early.  That'll get
you up to $69K by early summer."

Look at Samantha and tell her straight out, "No Sam, I have an offer for
much more and I will not continue to subsidize this company.  IT
salary costs are only 2% of our corporate revenues.  This company could
triple all IT department salaries and still make a profit."

"It will cost $5,000 in advertising, $20,000 in recruiter fees,
$10,000 for interviewing and handling the paperwork, and a minimum of 3
months salary and benefits, $40,000, while my replacement comes up to
speed.  I've done the analysis and it will cost $85,000 to get to where
we are right now.  I've enjoyed working here and have lots of friends in
the firm, so I am willing to work out a compromise."

You're trying to get Sam to say, "What will it take to keep you?" and
you're reminding her that when you leave, all your friends will want to
come with you.

If you have an offer for $85K, tell them you need $90K to stay.  If you
don't get it, you'll have to settle for the $20,000 increase.  In this
scenario, you have not taken a counter offer, you have taken control of
the situation and have put them on notice that you understand business
and money.  You have earned their respect.

You want to get your salary up to market rates as soon as possible.  The
alternative is to go independent so that you can receive frequent salary
adjustments.

While $90K is a lot of money to us working stiffs, companies are used to
paying 2-3 times that amount.   If all the mainframe programmers came in
tomorrow and asked for twice their salary. By noon, we'd have our
increases.  Since we don't have a union, we've been underpaid for years.
We are just getting our fair share.

Don't let them pull the 100% vesting and 4 weeks vacation bull on you.
While those are real factors, they still have to prove themselves to
you.  Don't{*filter*}er about salary; they might want to know exactly what
your offer is, that is none of their business. If HR did its job, it
would know what the market rates are.  The only number they need to know
is what it will take to keep you.

After you leave, Sam and the other managers will be appalled at the
salary demands they'll get in response to their ads, but that's what
they get for being too dumb for words.  

Smart managers would have been reading these Weather Reports instead of
surfing over to alt.sex;  they would know that if all their people get
$30,000 raises, they will get a $40,000 raise.  By moving your career
along, they move theirs.  It's important to keep the people and buy the
talent because there are 1,005 days until Y2K blows everyone's
production system to pieces.

What am I doing about all this?  It's been over two years since I worked
as an employee.  I've been workin' contracts since 1994.  I did it
before in the early 1980's but was crushed by the recession and a couple
sleaze-bags from Rockville who stole the contract from my prime.  I
heard later that they ran their company into the ground; we had a party
at the Harvest Moon Chinese Restaurant on Route 50 to celebrate.  The
Harvest Moon has a great Chinese plum wine, we laughed until tears came.

I've had to work for people who were as dumb as ...

read more »



Fri, 17 Sep 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Y2K Weather Report # 8 - A Y2K spring.

Quote:

>    Cory Hamasaki's DC Y2K Weather Report # 8
>           "A Wonderful Mainframe Spring"
>     (c) 1997 Cory Hamasaki

> The Cherry blossems are blooming, spring has come to Washington DC and
> CIOs at local companies are starting to panic, "Where did all the
> mainframe programmers go?"

Corey,

I just got a handful of orders from Ford. Typical orders for Cobol used
to range from salary grade "G", "H", to an occasional "I". (I always bid
them at least 1 grade higher, w/out any problem.) This latest batch is
salary grade "J!!!"  They want 5 years experience Cobol II, CICS, IMS
DB/DC, DB2, .... Ford Motor Company is not in a panic mode - due to
forward thinking - 85% Y2K compliant. But my gut instinct tells me that
they are looking for some heavy dudes (dudettes?) to whip all the
mediocre programmers in line as the clock runs down.

The good news...Ford Motor company has loosened the purse-strings and I
have successfully lobbied my company to cut the margin. Bottom line...
the market is forcing Cobol programmer wages UP!!!  

Regards,
Steve Wray Recruiter "Urgent things are seldom important. Important
things are seldom urgent"



Fri, 17 Sep 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Y2K Weather Report # 8 - A Y2K spring.


A lot of bad, bad advice.

Quote:
> The Cherry blossems are blooming, spring has come to Washington DC and
> CIOs at local companies are starting to panic, "Where did all the
> mainframe programmers go?"
> A year ago, there weren't any Mainframe, COBOL, MVS systems programmer,
> PL/I or S/370 assembly language ads in the Post.  This weekend, there
> was a full page in all, about 20-30 ads.  Here are a few of the more
> interesting ones, the Post is online at http://www.washingtonpost.com

> CDSI, a nice big quarter page ad, COBOL, MVS, VSAM, No salaries.

                                                      ^^^^^^^^^^^^

I've covered the issue of employers not quoting rates.  If an
employer quotes a rate, then under equal employment opportunity
(EEO) this will open that employer to claims by unpreferred job
applicants for equal pay - something that makes the employer
convulse.  (Bear in mind: females are considered to be unpre-
ferred job candidates!)  The employer solves the problem by
throwing the ball into the court of the job applicants and
getting them to quote the rate.  Remember, the job applicants
are on the selling side of the transaction, and when the bidding
of prices is strictly limited to the selling side, then the only
way that that bidding can go is DOWN!  The bidding will settle
at a price which will equal the perceived value of the least
preferred job candidate per the assessment of the "cheapest"
employer for *his* particular least preferred job candidate.
If the sellers' downward bidding should overshoot this target
on the downside, then employers will bid it back up to that
target.  (This will happen only in theory.  The country will
first be reduced exclusively to small businesses which will be
exempt from equal employment opportunity due to virtue of
having too few employees.  These small businesses will have no
need to employ computer programmers.)

[balance of original post snipped as bad influence]

The advice that I would like to give all in the reading
audience is this:  corporate management is going crazy, and
it is not just in the data processing department.  If you
have a tolerable job, I say, "Hang on to it," for you know
not what horrors await you elsewhere.  There are two factors
to consider in combination: the first being the turn-of-the
century deadline rapidly approaching and the second being that
crazy and corrupt management will not hire a capable person
unless absolutely DESPERATE.  The combination of these two
factors will have you walking into a situation where you will
be whipped to do ten years' worth of work in 10 minutes, and
then when you are finished, your reward is going to be:
"Hit the road, Jack, and don't you come back no more, no more,
no more, no more."

The Treatise on the Downward Wage Equalizing
Effects of Equal Employment Opportunity is available at:
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/3982/

"Government enforced wage equalization will work only
in the downward direction" - despite any initial
appearance to the contrary!  And the most shocking
thing of all is that the least preferred worker does
not even have to be awarded a job for many phenomena
to occur.



Sat, 18 Sep 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Y2K Weather Report # 8 - A Y2K spring.


Quote:

>>    Cory Hamasaki's DC Y2K Weather Report # 8
>>           "A Wonderful Mainframe Spring"
>>     (c) 1997 Cory Hamasaki

>> The Cherry blossems are blooming, spring has come to Washington DC and
>> CIOs at local companies are starting to panic, "Where did all the
>> mainframe programmers go?"

>Corey,

>I just got a handful of orders from Ford. Typical orders for Cobol used
>to range from salary grade "G", "H", to an occasional "I". (I always bid
>them at least 1 grade higher, w/out any problem.) This latest batch is
>salary grade "J!!!"  They want 5 years experience Cobol II, CICS, IMS
>DB/DC, DB2, .... Ford Motor Company is not in a panic mode - due to
>forward thinking - 85% Y2K compliant. But my gut instinct tells me that
>they are looking for some heavy dudes (dudettes?) to whip all the
>mediocre programmers in line as the clock runs down.

>The good news...Ford Motor company has loosened the purse-strings and I
>have successfully lobbied my company to cut the margin. Bottom line...
>the market is forcing Cobol programmer wages UP!!!  

>Regards,
>Steve Wray Recruiter "Urgent things are seldom important. Important
>things are seldom urgent"

OK you COBOL-heads in Motor City.  It's put up or stop whining time.
I don't know what kind of bucks Steve is talking about but you should
call/email him and find out.

Here's my free advice.  <which is worth what you're paying>  If Steve
has decent rates/salaries, it makes sense to go with him.  We have
3-5 good years and you need an prime/front/job shop that understands
what's coming down and will lobby the clients for you.  There's no way
to get absolute top dollar all the time but if Ford is cranking up the
bucks now, they will probably match, track, pace the market over the
next 5 years.

The win-win is if Ford is willing to pay 90% of top dollar and adjust
rates every 6-9 months, Steve's company trims margin but makes it up
on volume and quality (they can bill more for real programmers v. 90 day
wonders.) and the programmer gives up 10% for a gig with repeat business
and paid overtime.  AND the programmer sticks with the job, building on
his experience with the application.  If rates spin up, don't panic and
bail, tell Steve so he can work the client.

Everyone wins.  No one's a pig, the job gets done, and we all end up
with a pile of cash.

The problems are the clients who don't understand or believe what's
happening.  I've been lobbying my prime for the last 6 months.  Telling
them to work the client.  Today, I heard that another of my prime's
employees has quit and they are in damage control, "How much should we
counter?  The last one we counter'ed got a counter-counter offer.
Where will this end?"

I've been telling them, get the d*mn rate up, pay bonuses, once the
programmers start talking to other companies, you're in a heap o
trouble.  

I'm currently in rate negotiation with my prime and our client.  If they
were smart, they would offer me more than I'm asking, just in case, just
for insurance, just to put the golden hand{*filter*}on.  Instead I'm hearing
some whining about my $18/hour increase.  We'll see.

Cory Hamasaki       http://www.*-*-*.com/
HHResearch Co.      OS/2 Webstore & Newsletter
REDWOOD      



Sat, 18 Sep 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Y2K Weather Report # 8 - A Y2K spring.

Quote:

> I just got a handful of orders from Ford. Typical orders for Cobol used
> to range from salary grade "G", "H", to an occasional "I". (I always bid
> them at least 1 grade higher, w/out any problem.) This latest batch is
> salary grade "J!!!"  They want 5 years experience Cobol II, CICS, IMS
> DB/DC, DB2, .... Ford Motor Company is not in a panic mode - due to
> forward thinking - 85% Y2K compliant. But my gut instinct tells me that
> they are looking for some heavy dudes (dudettes?) to whip all the
> mediocre programmers in line as the clock runs down.

> The good news...Ford Motor company has loosened the purse-strings and I
> have successfully lobbied my company to cut the margin. Bottom line...
> the market is forcing Cobol programmer wages UP!!!

> Regards,
> Steve Wray Recruiter "Urgent things are seldom important. Important
> things are seldom urgent"

So what does a salary grade "J" get someone?
--
Later,

Patrick




Sat, 18 Sep 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Y2K Weather Report # 8 - A Y2K spring.

Quote:


>>    Cory Hamasaki's DC Y2K Weather Report # 8
>>           "A Wonderful Mainframe Spring"
>>     (c) 1997 Cory Hamasaki

>> The Cherry blossems are blooming, spring has come to Washington DC and
>> CIOs at local companies are starting to panic, "Where did all the
>> mainframe programmers go?"

>Corey,

>I just got a handful of orders from Ford. Typical orders for Cobol used
>to range from salary grade "G", "H", to an occasional "I". (I always bid
>them at least 1 grade higher, w/out any problem.) This latest batch is
>salary grade "J!!!"  They want 5 years experience Cobol II, CICS, IMS
>DB/DC, DB2, .... Ford Motor Company is not in a panic mode - due to
>forward thinking - 85% Y2K compliant. But my gut instinct tells me that
>they are looking for some heavy dudes (dudettes?) to whip all the
>mediocre programmers in line as the clock runs down.

>The good news...Ford Motor company has loosened the purse-strings and I
>have successfully lobbied my company to cut the margin. Bottom line...
>the market is forcing Cobol programmer wages UP!!!  

>Regards,
>Steve Wray Recruiter "Urgent things are seldom important. Important
>things are seldom urgent"

And do you get a raise here Steve?  I sure hope so.  I have been
crying in my beer for you, crocodile tears of course, since that last
post you made a while back on top salaries for recruiters.  I would be
surprised in half of Vikrams guys in sunny Bangalore on that
miserable stipend you revealed.  

I doubt if this will tempt me from San Ramon... but I wish you well.

MJL



Mon, 20 Sep 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Y2K Weather Report # 8 - A Y2K spring.


Quote:
>    Cory Hamasaki's DC Y2K Weather Report # 8
>           "A Wonderful Mainframe Spring"
>     (c) 1997 Cory Hamasaki

> Maryland, COBOL, big, old corporations, two in Hunt Valley. Someone is
> raiding them, who could it be and what are they doing with the
> programmers?  Alien {*filter*}s?  White slavery?  Press gangs of
> COBOL-heads locked in dungeons, or did a recruiter show up with a big
> bag of money?   In all, Rite-Aid, Giant, First Data, and the Baltimore
> Sun, are looking for dozens of COBOL-heads.  Our friend from India
> would suggest that there is no demand.  Bennet, Anonymous, and others
> say this is just hype.   Tell that to the technical directors of these
> and other corporations.  I've been in their shoes, it's terrifying. It's
> one thing to have a full staff of technical specialists and a smoothly
> running data center.  It's another to be short 20 people, to be working
> your people 6 days a week.

> Cory Hamasaki       http://www.*-*-*.com/
> HHResearch Co.     OS/2 Webstore & Newsletter
> REDWOOD            (410) 280-1942

Hi Cory:
I have written/sent fax/e-mailed to all these companies about my services.
I told them in no uncertain terms that I will get them as many COBOL
programmers as they want. (And I was talking on-site.)  If they were really
desperate, they would have contacted me with a sense of urgency.  Very few
did and their typical demeanor could not be described as "desperate."
(There are still almost 3 years left and we got things under contol in our
shop, etc.etc.)  Programmers shortage is good for my business, but I
haven't experienced it.  I have been running this business for the last 6
months and I have seen the demand gradually picking up.  But, has the world
run out of COBOL programmers?  No, not when I still have as many as you can
possibly want.

Vikram "the entrepreneur" Kulkarni



Mon, 20 Sep 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Y2K Weather Report # 8 - A Y2K spring.

Hi Cory,

Quote:
> Everyone wins.  No one's a pig, the job gets done, and we all end up
> with a pile of cash.

Providing the job is interesting.. I'm quitting this place at the end of
my contract, because I'm not enjoying it - I don't want to work here
anymore, so I'm moving on. Money isn't everything.

Quote:
> I'm currently in rate negotiation with my prime and our client.  If they
> were smart, they would offer me more than I'm asking, just in case, just
> for insurance, just to put the golden hand{*filter*}on.  Instead I'm hearing
> some whining about my $18/hour increase.  We'll see.

No-one is indispensable - you (generically) may be good, but there will
be someone else out there willing to come in and pick up.. It just
depends whether the company is prepared to take that risk.

--
Andy Styles.

 My opinions are exclusively my own. No-one else wants them. (<sniff>)



Mon, 20 Sep 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Y2K Weather Report # 8 - A Y2K spring.

[snip]

Quote:
>I've been telling them, get the d*mn rate up, pay bonuses, once the
>programmers start talking to other companies, you're in a heap o
>trouble.  

My last employer was not taking Y2k seriously. As the Y2k Paul Revere in the
shop, I knew what the market was (the other programmers, through my efforts,
were just starting to become aware of what was going on in the world outside
our 4 walls). I explored it and was compensated with a very nice pay increase
and the rewards of working in a shop that is taking Y2k seriously. Meanwhile
the other programmers were saying "what's up with that?" and starting to read
the jobs newsgroups. Then, unbelievably my former employer starting talking
about downsizing and outsourcing (a concept which they have since discarded).
But this, along with my move, got others to stop thinking and start acting.
They too started looking around. A couple of weeks ago, I got an invite to a
farewell lunch for two longtime programmers. I've learned that the majority of
the rest of the shop are also looking.

Cory offers good advice. Once your people start looking around, you're going
to be in deep doodoo. My former employer can attest to that ... it is like a
dam has burst there. Best you keep them happy BEFORE they start looking!

Quote:
>Cory Hamasaki       http://www.kiyoinc.com
>HHResearch Co.      OS/2 Webstore & Newsletter
>REDWOOD      

Peter


Mon, 20 Sep 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 
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