Inbred in IT

I was thinking about the reasons that I’m continually getting a feeling of conceptual and practical stagnation when I go in to work.  One can easily say that it’s because people are stuck in their ways, but I think that there’s more to it than that.

Every so often I have conversations with people who are so proud when they state “I’ve been here for over 20 years”.  There always are people who stay at one company for a long time, but I’ve been shocked at how large that person count can be.  To top this off, the new blood that is injected into the company’s genetic makeup is scared away by dire practices, incredibly ridiculous deadlines and continual management meddling.

Here’s my theory on the stagnation.  When you spend a lot of time with the same people (let’s say coworkers for 20 years), and you don’t get regular and strong injections of new people, the idea pool doesn’t grow.  In our industry, ideas are the genes in a family tree.  If you keep working with the same ones, your family starts to get weaker an weaker genetically.  If you only circulate and implement the same ideas over and over, the IT portion of your company will begin to wither, tire and cripple.

I’m finding the that people who have been around in these situations now are blind to alternative solutions.  This is a group of people who are not late adopters, but non-adopters because they’ve never had to before.  Their world has revolved around the few ideas that have been repeatedly shared amongst themselves.  Their experience has never included comprehending, assimilating and using new ideas on any mass scale.  No matter how hard you work at describing a proposed solution, the situation and it’s validity, the blind can not be brought to see it.    Instead the only way to convince them by putting into their hands so they can feel it.  The only thing that seems to work is to circumvent the inbreeding.

Usually this isn’t well received by the inbred clique.  They’ll label you as a renegade…a loose canon.  All they’re trying to do is get you to fall back in line with their incestuous way of thinking.  They fear the things they don’t know…your ideas being the foremost on their mind.  Once you have something tangible, take the time to show the inbred masses that it works and explain it to them.  There will be naysayers.  Whether to your face or not, you and your ideas will be berated, belittled and torn apart.  Don’t worry about it.  Let the working solution stand as your testament.

So on Valentines Day I leave you with one last thought:  Inbreeding runs deep and trying to stop it is impossible, but at least there’s only a few people to screw you.