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Controversy was recently courted as Southern California Edison (SCE) prepares to cut their own staff while looking to meet their staffing needs with offshore employees skilled in the field of “IT” or Informational Technology. This has been the second major utility company in the United States to take this path towards providing services to its consumers while holding current rates at consistent levels. SCE does not disclose the exact numbers of expected lay-offs, but the LA Times reports that it is in the hundreds.  Utility companies tell their consumers that these moves are necessary as a hedge against inflation and to keep their services at rates that their customers can easily afford. Critics claim that the use of foreign workers is the first step to using an entirely foreign workforce and promoting large scale unemployment amongst American citizens. Often this has been seen as a conflict between national and international workers for the same jobs, salaries and careers.

It has been noted that this State of California utility company, much like other corporations that hire foreign workers does so primarily when there is a shortage of national citizens that can perform these jobs well. IT workers that are brought in with H-1B Visa work permits usually are college educated and hold expertise in technical areas and studies that local employees may not be especially trained in. Once again, critics decry the fact that these employees are not hired directly. On shore contracting companies operating in the continental United States are directly hired by the utility companies. These contracted companies then serve as “middle-men” and hire a wide range of foreign workers with H-1B paperwork so that they can move to the United States. The workers then perform a variety of jobs instead of American workers who were either born in the country or have achieved American citizenship on their own.

Needless to say, the amount of visas issued in a given year is a concern for U.S workers in various fields but particularly in Information Technology. As large corporations stack the employment deck with foreign workers who put in the hours for a fraction of the pay-rate for local employees, local IT professionals are finding it more difficult to find work nationally.  They encounter rejections, endless interview processes or low –ball offers from companies and recruiting agencies looking to fill positions at a bare minimum cost for coveted skill-sets.  


Meanwhile, an H-1B worker is a worker brought in on a temporary basis with a visa allowing them to work freely in the United States. Much like a student or travel visa, it is issued for on a calendar oriented basis.  Applicants who successfully renew the visa for an extended period of time can expect to work in the United States for up to ten years.  Although U.S companies hiring these employees may pay them less than their local employees, the salaries earned by H-1B Visa workers are almost always higher than these workers would earn in their own country of origin.

Both sides can agree on several issues. When it comes to these H-1B Visa workers, their assignments are generally of a contractual nature and require them to reside in this country for a period of months to years. However it is also an accepted fact that while they are in this country, they are responsible for paying rent, utilities and all other living expenses. As residents of the United States on a permanent basis, they are also liable for taxes on any salary they have earned while living here.

Dr. Norman Matloff, a professor at the University of California, Davis and writer on political matters believes the shortage to be fiction. In his writing for the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, he claims that “there has been no shortage of qualified American citizens to fill American computer-related jobs, and that the data offered as evidence of American corporations needing H-1B visas to address labor shortages was erroneous. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) agrees with him and describes the situation as a crisis. Likewise, other studies from Duke, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Georgetown University have disputed that in some years, the number of foreign programmers and engineers imported outnumbered the number of jobs created by the industry

I’ve been a technical recruiter for several years, let’s just say a long time.  I’ll never forget how my first deal went bad and the lesson I learned from that experience.  I was new to recruiting but had been a very good sales person in my previous position. I was about to place my first contractor on an assignment.  I thought everything was fine.  I nurtured and guided my candidate through the interview process with constant communication throughout.  The candidate was very responsive throughout the process.  From my initial contact with him, to the phone interview all went well and now he was completing his onsite interview with the hiring manager. 

Shortly thereafter, I received the call from the hiring manager that my candidate was the chosen one for the contract position, I was thrilled.  All my hard work had paid off.  I was going to be a success at this new game!  The entire office was thrilled for me, including my co-workers and my bosses.  I made a good win-win deal.  It was good pay for my candidate and a good margin for my recruiting firm. Everyone was happy. 

I left a voicemail message for my candidate so I could deliver the good news. He had agreed to call me immediately after the interview so I could get his assessment of how well it went.  Although, I heard from the hiring manager, there was no word from him.  While waiting for his call back, I received a call from a Mercedes dealership to verify his employment for a car he was trying to lease. Technically he wasn’t working for us as he had not signed the contract yet…. nor, had he discussed this topic with me.   I told the Mercedes office that I would get back to them.  Still not having heard back from the candidate, I left him another message and mentioned the call I just received.  Eventually he called back.  He wanted more money. 

I told him that would be impossible as he and I had previously agreed on his hourly rate and it was fine with him.  I asked him what had changed since that agreement.  He said he made had made much more money in doing the same thing when he lived in California.  I reminded him this is a less costly marketplace than where he was living in California.  I told him if he signed the deal I would be able to call the car dealership back and confirm that he was employed with us.  He agreed to sign the deal. 

Much of success is about performance. It’s about what we do and what we are able to inspire others to do. There are some simple performance principles I have learned in my life, and I want to share them with you.  They really bring success, and what it takes to be successful, into sharp focus. They are also the basis for developing and maintaining an expectation of success.

The Five Principles of Performance

1. We generally get from ourselves and others what we expect. It is a huge fact that you will either live up or down to your own expectations. If you expect to lose, you will. If you expect to be average, you will be average. If you expect to feel bad, you probably will. If you expect to feel great, nothing will slow you down. And what is true for you is true for others. Your expectations for others will become what they deliver and achieve. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

2. The difference between good and excellent companies is training. The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is to not train them and keep them! A football team would not be very successful if they did not train, practice, and prepare for their opponents. When you think of training as practice and preparation, it makes you wonder how businesses survive that do not make significant training investments in their people.

Actually, companies that do not train their people and invest in their ability don’t last. They operate from a competitive disadvantage and are eventually gobbled up and defeated in the marketplace. If you want to improve and move from good to excellent, a good training strategy will be the key to success.

Anonymous reprint from Quora (career advice)

Occasionally we come across a unique profound perspective that makes one stop and really listen. The following advice is one such as this.

  1. Small actions compound: Reputation, career trajectory, and how others perceive you in the workplace can come down to a handful of things/moments that seem inconsequential/small at the time but compound. Random Thought: Redwood trees come from small seeds and time. With every action you're planting small seeds and these seeds can grow into something bigger (sometimes unimaginably bigger) over time. Don't let small basic mistakes sabotage your reputation because it only takes a few small snafus for people to lose confidence/trust in your ability to do more important tasks. Trust is a fragile thing and the sooner people can trust you the faster they'll give you more responsibility. Some Examples: Being on time (always) or early (better); spending an extra 10-15 minutes reviewing your work and catching basic mistakes before your boss does; structuring your work so it's easy for others to understand and leverage (good structure/footnotes/formatting); taking on unpleasant schleps/tasks (volunteer for them; don't complain; do it even when there's no apparent benefit to you)  

  2. Rising tide lifts all boats: Fact: You don't become CEO of a multi-billion dollar public company in your 30s based purely on ability/talent. Your career is a boat and it is at the mercy of tides. No matter how talented you are it's a lot harder to break out in a sluggish situation/hierarchy/economy than a go-go environment. Even if you're a superstar at Sluggish Co., your upside trajectory (more often than not) is fractional to what an average/below average employee achieves at Rocket Ship Co. There's a reason Eric Schmidt told Sheryl Sandberg to "Get on a Rocket Ship". I had colleagues accelerate their careers/income/title/responsibility simply because business demand was nose bleed high (go go economy) and they were at the right place at the right time to ride the wave. Contrast that to the 2008 bust where earnings/promotions/careers have been clamped down and people are thankful for having jobs let alone moving up. Yes talent still matters but I think people generally overweight individual talent and underweight economics when evaluating/explaining their career successes. Sheryl Sandberg Quote: When companies are growing quickly and they are having a lot of impact, careers take care of themselves. And when companies aren’t growing quickly or their missions don’t matter as much, that’s when stagnation and politics come in. If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.

  3. Seek opportunities where the outcome is success or failure. Nothing in between! You don't become a star doing your job. You become a star making things happen. I was once told early in my career that you learn the most in 1) rapidly growing organizations or 2) failing organizations.  I've been in both kinds of situations and wholeheartedly agree. Repeat. Get on a rocket ship. It'll either blow up or put you in orbit. Either way you'll learn a ton in a short amount of time. Put another way; seek jobs where you can get 5-10 years of work experience in 1-2 years.

  4. Career Tracks & Meritocracies don't exist: Your career is not a linear, clearly defined trajectory.  It will be messy and will move more like a step function.

  5. You will probably have champions and detractors on day 1: One interesting byproduct of the recruiting & hiring process of most organizations is it can create champions & detractors before you even start the job. Some folks might not like how you were brought into the organization (they might have even protested your hiring) and gun for you at every turn while others will give you the benefit of the doubt (even when you don't deserve one) because they stuck their neck out to hire you. We're all susceptible to these biases and few people truly evaluate/treat folks on a blank slate.

  6. You'll only be known for a few things. Make those labels count: People rely on labels as quick filters. Keep this in mind when you pick an industry/company/job role/school because it can serve as an anchor or elevator in the future. It's unfortunate but that's the way it is. You should always be aware of what your "labels" are.

  7. Nurture & protect your network and your network will nurture & protect you: Pay it forward and help people. Your network will be one of the biggest drivers of your success.

Tech Life in Louisiana

Nicknamed the Pelican State, Louisiana has long, hot, humid summers and short, mild winters. Although, the state is a leader in natural gas, salt, petroleum, and sulfur production, it also produces sweet potatoes, rice and sugar cane. New Orleans, which is a major musical tourist attraction, has recently been exercising its technological muscle by growing rapidly in Information Technology.
It is not easy to do something good, but it is extremely difficult to do something bad. Charles Eames
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Software developers near Baton Rouge have ample opportunities to meet like minded techie individuals, collaborate and expend their career choices by participating in Meet-Up Groups. The following is a list of Technology Groups in the area.

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A successful career as a software developer or other IT professional requires a solid understanding of software development processes, design patterns, enterprise application architectures, web services, security, networking and much more. The progression from novice to expert can be a daunting endeavor; this is especially true when traversing the learning curve without expert guidance. A common experience is that too much time and money is wasted on a career plan or application due to misinformation.

The Hartmann Software Group understands these issues and addresses them and others during any training engagement. Although no IT educational institution can guarantee career or application development success, HSG can get you closer to your goals at a far faster rate than self paced learning and, arguably, than the competition. Here are the reasons why we are so successful at teaching:

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