The aggressive job-seeker

In the late 1970’s, when I started programming big iron (IBM mainframes), there were far more programing jobs for experienced programmers than there were experienced programmers. Also, a programmer’s salary tended to double in the first five years–provided he changed jobs. You see, companies had some rigid ideas about how much of a raise an employee should receive each year (sub-inflationary), so programmers typically hopped every year or two for a 20% raise.

Among all of this action, there was one guy who went the extra mile to ensure he landed the optimal job. Rumor has it he accepted two job offers at the same time. He spent one week at the first job while calling in sick at the second one. The second week he worked the second job and called in sick at the first one. At the end of two weeks, he stuck with the job he liked best, and quit the other one. The recounting of his escapade, particularly over a few beers after work, was the subject of much laughter, and while we admired his moxie, I am not aware of another programmer who tried this approach.

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