Hiring the Unhireable

Hiring the unhireable: Working 9-to-5 and the whole IP thing to start

Part 13 of 16

Nine To Five Is Crap.

“Please be creative from when you punch in until you punch out.”

I’ve seen a lot of that over the years. Problem solving is not linear, and you cannot put it into the confines of a clock.

Geeks do not work nine to five.

I often don’t wind down to 10pm or 11pm. My wife and I might be watching TV or a movie and she notices me get up. “Where are you going?” “I’m going to my office.” She says, “You’re not going to be long are you?” And I say, “No, dear, I’m not going to be long.” She gets up to make the coffee the next morning, and I’m still plugging along. That’s the nature of geeks.

Image from Pixabay

It’s part Asperger’s; it’s part ADD/OCD – the whole spectrum of creativity. It’s part of our dedication to security. We must give our geeks something other than nine to five. They cannot live within that kind of restriction. They may come into work and do 57 hours straight and you won’t see them for a week. So what? Did they get the job done? Too many say no, “you can’t do that. You must clock in at nine and clock out at five. It’s up to you to make sure you’re creative when you show up at nine.”

Oy vey! It doesn’t work like that. There’s certainly more flexibility in some offices these days, but basically we’re still a daytime society. We need to get over it.

IP – Intellectual Property – Ownership

Too many companies claim ownership of whatever their tech staff creates. The IP, Intellectual Property, is automatically owned by the hiring entity. I think organizations should be a little less greedy. How about a few common sense give-back guidelines to make your techs feel like partners versus indentured servants under impenetrable Work For Hire agreements?

“What you create and bring to use as part in your job is yours. Even if you update and improve the code (tool, etc.) while working for us (here, at home or on the road), it’s still yours. We own none of it.”

I believe the common word here is ‘inventory’. Why not create a distinction between what the company clearly owns the rights to, and those intellectual assets that are clearly and fairly owned by the ‘employee’? Another layer for HR/Legal. Sure, but it’s the right thing to do. Just keep it simple or you’ll back where you started.

“Anything you create on behalf of the company, for our internal or customer use, is ours. So, be careful and don’t include your code into our code. We would inherit it.”

“You need to build a tool? It’s yours, unless explicitly part of a company project.” Techs often can do it faster if they write their own little tool that could actually automate (e.g.) tasks to help get that job done.

We need to make a distinction between everything you do when you’re on company time or premises and everything you do while you’re working at home. A lot of folks aren’t going to work for places that are that are overly restrictive about IP ownership, which is just one more reason that folks can move over to the dark side.

Do Criminal Organizations care about IP? They just want to get the job done. Simpler business model.

HR and lawyers. Get creative and be fair.

Finally, how about including a few percs for the odd-ball, Unhireable geeks you should be hiring? You might be surprised what they would appreciate. Companies give ‘em to everyone else – why not the folks who maintain the underpinnings of the planet?

Part 12: Sending talent to the ‘Dark Side’
Part 14: Perks for geeks

Winn Schwartau is the CEO of The Security Awareness Company, the author of Information Warfare, Pearl Harbor Dot Com (Die Hard IV), and the upcoming Analogue Network Security.

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