Workplace diversity

The Olympics won’t reduce the distance of a race for non-Nigerians in the name of having a more diverse pool of gold medallers, so why should companies go out of their way to hire from minority groups and in the process, discount qualifications of legitimate candidates who just happen to belong to the majority.

Majorities in the workplace aren’t necessarily the product of unfair cultures and practices in the industry. The politically unfortunate truth is that certain groups of people will be better suited for certain types of work. Reasons could range from situational to genetics. Not all people are the same. Asians are generally better at math based subjects, so it is only natural that more math based work is done by Asians. No conspiracy theories here, just having the best man doing the job for the best results.

There are definitely minorities who aren’t being treated fairly when it comes to hiring practices, but that’s a different issue for companies that have biases. Hiring should not try to compensate by intentionally looking within minority pools, or even feel bad just because a large percentage of their team is made up of a specific classification of people. To do that is basically adding yet another bias to the list. Instead, periodically conduct objective reviews of the candidate selection process. Are selection criterias directly related to expected job performance? Are the same grading scales being used for every candidate?

Politics aside, to hire the best man for the job is always the best thing to do for productivity. Companies already know this, and I’m pretty sure that most are simply hiring the best people for the job. I believe that a lot of diversity politics are driven by individuals accusing the system of being broken and unfair when they can’t achieve something shiny they really want. For example, feminists often accuse the tech industry of having a gender bias because there is a disproportionate lack of women. But it is also true that many women simply don’t take interest in the subjects that the tech industry operates on. Conversely, the nursing field has a disproportionate lack of males maybe because most men don’t feel as strongly about providing care for others. No biases, no conspiracies, just different people being different, doing what they like and do best.

How true is that?

When people give advice based on exaggerated backgrounds it really gets under my skin. For example, if an inexperienced startup gives hiring advice to another in the context of being a more experienced one, then the receiving startup could potentially be hiring terrible candidates because they were fed a bad idea.

The system and culture we have in place today is one where trust plays a huge role. Resumes, portfolios and online profiles are all built based on a person’s own claim of his qualifications. Any person can simply state himself to be a veteran, then provide insights without the audience ever knowing the difference because advice seekers often don’t know better to tell the good from bad in the first place. In a free-for-all environment, like in forums where posts go unvalidated and words come as-is, this is a huge problem. Bad advice passed from one party to another under the pretense that the provider knows what he’s talking about can end up costing the receiver.

All people want to look good, so it’s only natural for people to inflate their statuses, experiences, and probably also their ego. GitHub is a step in the right direction for the software engineering space. Contributions from everyone are tracked and profiled down to every change that was ever pushed. It doesn’t matter what any individual self proclaims; work is measurable so audiences can evaluate for themselves instead of taking the individual’s own word for it.

Not all work and experiences are as measurable as code though. Management and domain-specific knowledge are some examples of qualifications that are hard to capture. A solution that throws red flags when someone is trying to pass off as being more qualified than they actually are would be nice, basically a BS catcher.

On this day

Dreams be weird

Sometimes I get these weird dreams in my sleep. One time I was a little electron bit running through a terrible piece of javascript. And I was just so tired of being passed into callback after callback. And then another time I was sitting at a table, then suddenly some force dragged my whole body towards the right side of a really big room. Apparently I broke through the wall and did a lot of damage. Then after some investigation, turns out the culprit was a float: ; property attached to me. Nothing to see here, carry on.

Optimistic

Life was suspended and put on hold over the past recent months. It was a helpless and depressing position to be in, and I would never wish for even my worst enemies to have to deal with a fate like that. But after all the struggles, waiting and frustrations, things are finally different now. I still feel pretty upset about the entity responsible for putting me through that phase, but nonetheless positive about what the future holds.