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Getting Over the Stigma of a Previous Job? 678

Posted by Cliff
from the my-boss-did-it-not-me dept.
Subm asks: "Some friends-of-friends worked at a company with such a high profile downfall their past employer became a liability. They weren't involved in causing the downfall, but with the name 'Enron' on their resumes, interviews were spent defending their past employment. SCO is more focused in its industry than Enron, was and its reputation is in a downward spiral in that industry (Unix and GNU/Linux, not lawsuits, that is). SCO's staff will have to look for other jobs sooner or later, and most within the Unix/GNU/Linux community. Can good workers get over the stigma of an employer's reputation? How will working at SCO affect its staff's careers? Does anyone at SCO talk about this?"
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Getting Over the Stigma of a Previous Job?

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  • Industry? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @04:50PM (#7838548)
    SCO is more focused in its industry than Enron

    Which industry is that? scamming and defrauding people?
    • by emil (695) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:23PM (#7838997) Homepage

      Remember, the original SCO is now Tarantella, Inc., and a SCO employee of 5 years ago has absolutely nothing to do with the actions of the current SCaldera. Do such people deserve the opprobrium anyway? Similarly, should Ransom Love be blamed for the actions taken by Darl McBride?

      MCI/Worldcom was one of the early corporate adopters of PHP. If you were interviewing for an IT position and wanted a forward-thinking individual, would you pass over an ex-Worldcom employee based on the ethics problems of Bernard Ebbers and his (probably small) cabal?

      A single individual can rarely take credit for large corporate efforts (i.e. implementing an ERP system, etc.). Similarly, outside of situations where corporate officers are legally responsible, individuals should not be blamed for corporate wrongdoings.

      • by macshune (628296) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:56PM (#7839500) Journal
        Do such people deserve the opprobrium anyway?

        Yes, they do deserve the opprobrium. It's not like the employees of SCO don't know they are participating in a pump-and-dump. But then again, with the way the economy is going, I can't really blame anyone for being carefree with their nerd karma. To sum it up succinctly:

        A SCO job is better than no job.
      • It's not fair, but what is even more egregious is that so few hiring managers/recruiters have so little imagination and independent thought that they will never see beyond the headlines of the individual's former employer. I have had my share of interviews over the last couple of years and have learned that hiring managers are now on par with bank loan officers and CompUSA sales people when it comes to being creative in their positions. Okay, no offence to CompUSA sales people - my local CompUSA is the on
  • by LazloToth (623604) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @04:50PM (#7838549)
    If you can do the work, and do it well - - and you're reliable and honest and willing to take what's offered in the way of starting compensation - - many doors will open.
    • by chimpo13 (471212) <slashdot@nokilli.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @04:55PM (#7838622) Homepage Journal
      "reliable and honest" is exactly what SCO is known for. In fact, "reliable and honest" is exactly how my new Nigerian business partners describe themselves.
    • by GeckoFood (585211) <geckofoodNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:04PM (#7838749) Journal

      If you can do the work, and do it well - - and you're reliable and honest and willing to take what's offered in the way of starting compensation - - many doors will open.

      Not to be argumentative, but this is not necessarily always true.

      A past employer can be an awful liability, especially in the case of a high-profile fraud situation or a combative company. Many times if you are a former employee you are "guilty by association."

      It's somewhat similar to looking for a job and being overqualified. You have the skills, you can hit the ground running and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are the best damn candidate for the job. BUT... You have a PhD. The employer will snub his nose at you because you're overqualified. Does it matter that you are willing to take entry level and 60/hrs a week? Not really, because then they'll wonder why you're willing to work cheap.

      Yes, your past credentials and associations matter.

      • I agree. I was unemployed a few years ago, and I was told directly to my face on more than one occasion that I was overqualified for a position, and they were not willing to offer me a job for fear that I'd be too bored, and that I'd probably just leave after a while once I found a new job that was on my level.
        • by saden1 (581102) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @07:04PM (#7840239)
          Well if you kept hearing that you are overqualified why not simply say "I tell you what, I'm willing to make a commitment to this company and sign a contract for X number of years." Make a commitment to work for them for certain amount of time that way they are assured that you want leave. Obviously they have the upper hand and you are locked into the job for that period of time but if the compensation is acceptable why not take the job and make a commitment? I've always thought that having a job is better than not having one.
        • Overqualified (Score:3, Insightful)

          by yuri benjamin (222127)
          While listing quals you don't have is lying, not listing quals you do have is not lying - if they find out you just say that you were focusing on the relevant quals.
      • by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:25PM (#7839030)
        Past employers can be a liability even if they've got a positive reputation, if they refuse to say anything about you -- indeed, such a refusal can be misconstrued as covering ones' ass rather than telling the truth about an incompetant or otherwise unworthy employee.

        I spent almost 3 years working at MontaVista Software, having started off there as an intern in college. I did damned good work, porting more than 3x the number of packages slated for my team during my first three months there, and coming up with some innovated automated testing tools later on in my employment. During my last year there, as part of the Corporate Stuffiness effort, a new policy went up: No references to former employees. Not good references, not bad references, nothing. Any queries would be sent to HR, which would confirm dates of employment and last position held.

        So: I decide that I've had enough of the Bay Area and move to Texas; MontaVista decides they don't need the management overhead of an additional remote employee and lets me go. When trying to find new work (halfway across the country in a city where I had no contacts), the refusal to give out references hurt. A lot.

        Which is not to say that there's no happy ending. I'm now employed at an underfunded, understaffed startup making some really amazingly neat software going out for a first release in the very near future. (Live in Austin? Good with Java? Willing to work mostly for stock? Demangle my email address and get in touch).
        • thats called "normal". You can get personal references, but not corporate references.

          you should have been able to talk to your supervisors, etc. in order to secure personal references, but never ever expect a company to make a statement one way or the other about you.
      • by stevew (4845) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:31PM (#7839091) Journal
        There was a great story that took place years ago (during the 1970's aerospace crash) where a guy with a Phd consistantly got turned down for every job he applied for because he was "over qualified." So he modified his resume, while still telling the truth ;-)

        He put under education - High School.
        He put under Hobbies - BS,MS,PHd.

        His first interview with the modified resume - the guy doing the hiring states "We approve of hobbies ;-)" He got that job.

        Some times it's how you put the resume together!

        • I had something remotely similar to that happen to me.

          A few years back I was looking for a mid-level IT job. I had several years of good experience and a single MS certification for WinNT Server. I had been leading my resume with the cert. thinking people would want to see it, but then one day I took a closer look at it and realized I was making a big mistake. With the cert. just sitting there all alone at the top of the resume people were probably thinking, "gee, why doesn't this guy have a full MCSE,"
      • Overqualification usually has a few problems:
        1. You're worth more than they're willing to pay for the position. You'll stick around just long enough to find a better paying job, or get promoted.
        2. They know that you know how much you're worth - the guy just barely qualified doesn't. This is bad for them from salary negotiation standpoint.
        3. You may be more qualified than your boss. No boss wants to hire someone he believes will get promoted before him.
        4. The company doesn't want to pay any more than they have t
      • by IANAAC (692242)

        Does it matter that you are willing to take entry level and 60/hrs a week? Not really, because then they'll wonder why you're willing to work cheap.

        I've been in the position of having to interview people with such qualifications. They ALWAYS act as if they are only there to get a salary once again (even if they say the low salary is OK -- it's only temporary to them). The second the market opens up, they're gone. This isn't sour grapes. It's a fact. Someone who's had a lot of training expects to

    • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@@@comcast...net> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:06PM (#7838788)
      Reality check, the dot com bust, H1B visa influx, mass outsourcing and overall failure of the tech industray has resulted in many highly skilled, educated, certified and talented people having to take jobs outside of the field. I know people with 20+ years experience that can't land any job in tech whatsoever. It is supremely naive to think that jobs are available for those who are willing to simply go get them.
      • Reality check, the dot com bust, H1B visa influx, mass outsourcing and overall failure of the tech industray has resulted in many highly skilled, educated, certified and talented people having to take jobs outside of the field.

        Are we talking about the same industry here? In most of the place I worked at, there were a good half dozen MCSE 2000 Losers that didn't know jack shit about Active Directory, Networking, or anything else covered on those god damn test.

        The problem is NOT the abundance of "highly s
    • If you can do the work, and do it well - - and you're reliable and honest and willing to take what's offered in the way of starting compensation - - many doors will open.

      Yes, but ... ... a company that will willingly hire someone with doubtful ethical qualities stands to lose alot. The risks are quite substantial, and the reward for hiring an ex-SCO employee vs. hiring someone with a less tainted background is negligable.

      Of course, not all risks are created equal. Hiring an ex-SCO employee could be hir
      • by |>>? (157144) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:22PM (#7838981) Homepage
        Anyone still working at SCO, knowing what is widely known now, isn't someone with the kind of ethical or moral foundation I would want within my ranks.

        You leave no room for the concept that a current employee has a job, gets up in the morning, goes to work, does their work, goes home, goes to bed just so they can get money to pay the rent.

        Sorry, SCO denizens. There's no work for you here, at any price.


        If I worked at SCO, I don't think I'd want to work for you...
        • You leave no room for the concept that a current employee has a job, gets up in the morning, goes to work, does their work, goes home, goes to bed just so they can get money to pay the rent.

          And what, exactly, do you think it is that Saddam Hussein's prison guards did? Or Enron's accountants? Or Darl McBride?

          Unethical behavior is unethical, regardless of how the unethically obtained money is spent. A company hires an unethical person at their own risk. Hiring is as much about risk management as it is
      • by dhandler (577511) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:23PM (#7838989)
        ... one can pretty much reduce their willingness to stay to a few possiblities, all negative qualities in a potential employee: Unethical: they stay because they value their income above personal ethics cowardice: they stay because they fear change more than hanging on to an ever-more untenable situation... Oh Yeah! I am sure that most of the overworked, underpaid staff who have no choice but to live from paycheck to paycheck and whose main concern is, "If I lose this job, my kids lose thier medical insurance," are just stupid, unethical or cowards. Before you jump all over this with, "I am talking about the programmers/techs, not the whole company..." Enter the real world - most people (programmers/techs/support, even admin assnt's) do not have the luxury of letting their ethics win out over a paycheck - especially when they are simply the innocent crew of a ship steered by a lunatic.
        • by Rinikusu (28164) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @06:56PM (#7840163)
          Bull. Fucking. Shit.

          Define fucking "underpaid". Most fucking IT people I know make > $10/hour, and they fucking bitch relentlessly about how they live paycheck to paycheck. Guess what, pal? At $10/hour, they're making MORE MONEY than a good majority of the citizens in this country. NO FUCKING SHIT. I used to be there, making minimum wage, living in a shit-hole, eating ramen and rice. But you know what? If it came to that or being a fucking coward because my Employer was an unethical piece of shit and I knew it, I'll be back to ramen. YOU choose your lifestyle. When you realize that a stupid movie called "Fight Club" was right on several points (you are not what you own, you are not your string-bean couch, you are not what's in y our wallet) and learn to live on LESS (and you'll find you appreciate those things even more), then you don't have to worry about living "paycheck to paycheck" because you've reduced your living expenses considerably. Do you really need that $400 SUV out in the driveway? Do you really need that 1600 sq ft house with the 1 acre yard? No, you don't.

          Imagine this stupid scenario: You find out your company is doing business selling 12 year old little boys and girls into the sex trade. You need your paycheck. Are you such a fucking coward that you'll stay, just so you can keep earning a paycheck? What's that? You don't care? Fuck you. You're a fucking coward.

          Wake up America.
      • It's possible - just possible! - that SCO's employees don't read Slashdot at work and aren't aware of the complete hatred of their employer in this forum. After all, there's not exactly a groundswell of backlash in the regular newspapers or network news.

        You also missed one important possible attribute that a SCO employee may have: the desire to feed his kids in a bad job market. The idea of explaining to your children why they're having to move into public housing and buy milk with coupons might be enough to make someone want to stick it out until their idiot CEO is replaced by someone more rational.

        Talk about morality all you want, but given the current IT career options, it could be suicidal to quit a full-time job. If you're blind to the possibility that there may be good, talented people at SCO, then that's a shame.

      • Missed one.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:25PM (#7839026)
        • Desperate: They stay because they have to provide for their family but can't find a job because no one will hire a SCO employee.

        • Re:Missed one.... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by // (81289)

          Desperate: They stay because they have to provide for their family but can't find a job because no one will hire a SCO employee.

          ...and if such a person presented themselves to me, right now, wishing to leave SCO because of the way SCO is behaving, then I would indeed consider that person on their merits, and give them credit for trying to get out of such an ethically untenable situation.

          However, if they wait until SCO is crushed to a pulp, my reaction will be rather more circumspect (ie they can get st

      • Unethical: they stay because they value their income above personal ethics

        My personal ethics would put feeding my children above working for a lying, litigatious employer. Idealism only goes so far when the house and college educations are on the line. It's only been some months since SCO has started to persue its new business model, and with a job market like todays it's not easy to find a job even in that period of time. Also, It's not like SCO is killing people. SCO is not that bad.

        Many software
    • You haven't been in industry very long, have you? May I suggest you read something like Scott Adams' "Dilbert and the Way Of The Weasel", it may prove enlightening. Or just pay close attention next time you're in the cube farm.

      I'll just put it this way - if there ever was such a creature as a reliable and honest worker, he was walked over, ripped off and had the crap kicked out of him years ago by his unscrupulous, self-serving cow-orkers and incompetant managers.
  • by Pendersempai (625351) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @04:50PM (#7838559)
    Harsh as it may sound, perhaps it would be better if they couldn't get over having SCO on their resume.

    Perhaps that would motivate employers to quit as soon as their company starts being vastly evil, which would in itself be a motivation for companies not to be evil.

    Thoughts?

    • That doesn't solve everything though. Suppose you'd been working at Caldera for the last 5 years. Even if you quit the minute they started the lawsuits, you've still got that name associated with yours.
    • Perhaps that would motivate employers to quit as soon as their company starts being vastly evil, which would in itself be a motivation for companies not to be evil.

      On first thought, that sounds quite plausible. But on second thought, i know and you know that if someone bails out of a $25/hr job, the company will be more than happy to try to hire someone into it (read: inexperienced newbs or immigrants) at $9/hr.

      All and all, that will have a detrimental effect on everyone in the entire industry, as we s
      • These days professionals don't form unions. They form associations.

        Have you ever heard of the AMA? It's union for doctors but it's called the American Medical Association.

        Another prominent example is the Bar Association which is a union for lawyers.

        There is nothing wrong with banding together to fight for your interests.
      • by marick (144920) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:14PM (#7838896)
        "However these days, most unions are ridiculous beauracracies (sp, i know) that wince financial support from both employers and employees for their own gain, under the muse of taking care of both sides...."

        Nice speculation, but where's the evidence to back it up?

        I was a member of a new union of Teachers Assistants at UC Santa Cruz a few years back, and after we went on a 2-week strike, the school negotiated with us, and we got a real contract with medical, dental, and optical benefits (which didn't exist before this particular contract). Plus a guarantee of binding arbitration in case of issues with a particular professor. (such as sexual harrassment or overworking by the professor).

        Before we had this contract, professors were requiring their TAs to grade 40-50 hours a week in some cases even though the contract was for 20 hours per week. And the students couldn't say no, since it was the accepted system and their only source of income while a student.

        For these TAs, anyway, the union was an invaluable thing.

        So there's my union story. What's yours?
      • On first thought, that sounds quite plausible. But on second thought, i know and you know that if someone bails out of a $25/hr job, the company will be more than happy to try to hire someone into it (read: inexperienced newbs or immigrants) at $9/hr.

        Yeah, I thought about that -- but if inexperienced newbs or immigrants can do the job adequately for less, then the company would already have replaced its workforce with them.

        On the other hand, if the newbs or immigrants they would hire are less capable,

      • "...the company will be more than happy to try to hire someone into it (read: inexperienced newbs or immigrants) at $9/hr. All and all, that will have a detrimental effect on everyone in the entire industry..."

        Yes, but this is a little more short-term thinking. Companies these days are doing everything humanly possible to cut the bottom line. They're making really stupid decisions to take more money from their customers while giving them less and taking more and more control over their product after it
      • these days, most unions are ridiculous beauracracies (sp, i know) that wince financial support from both employers and employees for their own gain, under the muse of taking care of both sides...

        To me, the "problems" with unions is comparable to the "problems" with democracy: if your democratic nation/union is filled with apathetic ill-informed citizenry/members, corruption will not be a surprize. However, the solution is not to install fascism or anarchy, but rather to educate the citizenry and expunge

    • by AssClown2520 (695423) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:05PM (#7838766)
      I have interviewed alot of people in the past years. Some of these people have worked for competitors that I have had little to no respect for. That does not matted though. What I think hurts more is having job durations of six months at a dozen locations.

      The items I look for in hiring are:

      1. Attitude - People can aqcuire knowledge and skills, as long as they have a decent attitude.
      2. Loyalty - If your previous employer was involved in something illegal or you were seriously underappreciated at your old job that is one thing, but to leave a decent job for a bit of a raise shows where your loyalties lie.
      3. Skills - Depending upon the job a certain set of skills is going to be required. But I would let this item slide a tad in return for a positive attitude.

      If you are honestly doing your job and have nothing to do with any corrupt or questionable business practices, would you really want to work for a place that blacklists you based upon your commited work to a percieved "unethical" orginization?

      • "Loyalty - If your previous employer was involved in something illegal or you were seriously underappreciated at your old job that is one thing, but to leave a decent job for a bit of a raise shows where your loyalties lie."

        Actually, I would give kudos to a person, if they were in a situation to where they could not advance and were not able to barter for a raise. There are some companies out there that will not give "raises", but merit increases, and if you don't switch jobs, you usually don't get a rais
      • Loyalty - If your previous employer was involved in something illegal or you were seriously underappreciated at your old job that is one thing, but to leave a decent job for a bit of a raise shows where your loyalties lie.

        Yep, with myself. The notion of corporate loyalty is dead. I mean, most companies will fire me and the whole department to save a few bucks, so why shouldn't I with a clear conscience leave when it's to my own gain?

  • by burgburgburg (574866) <splisken06@[ ]il.com ['ema' in gap]> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @04:51PM (#7838565)
    "Working for SCO? No, of course not. What was I doing during that time period? Heroin. Lots of heroin"

    At least that's something respectable.

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @04:52PM (#7838582) Journal
    With SCO accusing the OSS world of stealing their IP, many companies will be a bit fearful of hiring a tech. It is not beyond reason that evil axis may be trying to place programmers to introduce SCO (or someone elses) code.
    The other issue that I see is anybody from Management should probably be avoided. These are the ones that took down Caldera, Unix, and SCO.
  • by brokeninside (34168) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @04:53PM (#7838587)
    I recall watching a news magazine program where they mentioned that certain former Enron employees were being snapped up right and left by other energy trading firms after the impending bankruptcy was announced. True, their salaries were much lower than at Enron, but they were still well above average for the industry.

    I'd imagine that pretty much the same would hold for SCO employees. If nothing else, being a former SCO employee makes the question "why did you leave your last position?" very easy to answer.

  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @04:54PM (#7838605)
    There's a big difference between leaving when you can still claim moral justification and leaving when they finally kick you out.

    I wouldn't have a problem with hiring someone who worked for SCO if they were looking for a job now. But I'd have a different opinion if they were looking after SCO goes broke (or whatever happens).
    • by edwdig (47888) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:13PM (#7838874)
      What if they're in debt and need the money? If my options were work for SCO or don't have a place to live, I'd work for SCO.

      What if you have a sick family member, and need the health insurance the company provides you?
      • Life isn't fair. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by khasim (1285)
        If they're looking for a job BEFORE they lose their job at SCO, that's one thing.

        If they're in debt that bad, they could be a risk. Do they have a gambling problem?

        Health insurance is tricky. They can continue their coverage in many cases, but they'll have to pay for it.

        That's why being proactive is important. I don't want some idiot who can't see what's coming because he's too busy worrying about his gambling debts.

        If his life is THAT complicated (high debts, sick family member, etc) then he NEEDS to b
  • Wow, even corporate drones are being typecast.

    "Sorry, I can only picture you in a corrupt company role."
  • by tekiegreg (674773) * <tekieg1-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @04:54PM (#7838611) Homepage Journal
    Granted I've done HR work in my past, I would think the following:
    • Chief Financial officer of Enron: Not hiring
    • Poor grunt at Enron who had no clue what hit him: Could look past that to his real experience.
    • Lower level accountant at Enron: My get some questions asked in an effort to determine their position in all the mess
    Obviously many don't think that way and wouldn't touch an ex-Enron employee with a ten foot telephone pole and I really feel sorry for them.

    However for every door closed there's a door open, consider writing a book about the mess or posing for playboy for example (they did a women of Enron IIRC)? You get the idea there...

    IMHO there's always an opportunity for you...just look....
  • I see that as an advantage if they quit before the company crashes'n'burns as it enables you to answer the 'why are you considering leaving your company' ( = 'why aren't you loyal?') question with a bombproof 'I don't agree with the ethical stance my company is taking'.

    Now, if instead you wait till the company has gone bust, well, it gets much harder to defend yourself, you can always go the 'bills to pay, couldn't leave' route but it's not as convincing.

    Companies like Enron where the rank'n'file probably
  • Employment stigma (Score:4, Insightful)

    by miketo (461816) <miketo@nwliERDOSnk.com minus math_god> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @04:54PM (#7838616)
    I'd say it depends. I worked at one company, and then several years later was applying for work at its direct competitor. The stigma didn't carry over (they offered me a job); instead, they were far more interested in what I had done and how it matched up with the job opportunity. They went out of their way not to ask me questions that tread on possible NDA (non-disclosure agreement) territory.

    Unless your friends-of-friends are actively involved in upper management (director level +), they shouldn't have problems. If they are involved in upper-level management, then they already know several executive-level headhunters who will find them new jobs in a hurry. Sucks, but that's how it goes when you play at that level.
  • by faust13 (535994) <contact.hanshootsfirst@org> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @04:55PM (#7838620) Homepage
    It's tough moving away from a former employer. I recently left a position to pursue better opportunities. My former employer (really the owner) was furious that I had the gaul to leave. They threatened me with lawsuites, they harrased me. They just couldn't let go.

    I gave that company three long hard years, and developed some absolutely killer applications for them. Now, if an prospective employer calls them, they make me out to be some malicious, spiteful Developer who left them high and dry. Three years of stellar work... down the drain.

    With that said, I guess the best advice is that employment is like a marriage, you need to check them out, just as much as they do you. Else your left with stigma of the former employer, either you on them, or them on you. Either case, it's not good.
  • Don't send resumes to places like this. [damagestudios.com]
  • SCO's staff will have to look for other jobs sooner or later, and most within the Unix/GNU/Linux community

    I think it's safe to assume that (1) probably not many people at SCO have much expertise except legal, (2) SCO's former Linux experts may not want to try getting hired by IBM or SuSE, or they might become eligible for disability in very short order.
  • McBride? (Score:4, Funny)

    by SuDZ (450180) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @04:56PM (#7838631)
    So is McBride looking to get out while he can and using a Ask Slashdot article for tips?

    SuDZ
  • Silly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KilobyteKnight (91023) <bjm@nOSPam.midsouth.rr.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @04:56PM (#7838637) Homepage
    That is just silly.

    It assumes prospective employers will look at a qualified job applicant and say, "No, I just can't hire this person because he used to work for a jerk. Even though he had no control over the legal matters of his employer, somhow I have to take it out on him."

    Come on people, be realistic.
  • You can get over the stigma of working for an employer like SCO by quitting your job as soon as the employer "goes bad".

    If you stay with them for a long time, the obvious conclusion would seem to be that you either approve of your employer's conduct or that you are really desparate for a job. Either way, it is not a recommendation.
  • Seems like they would have already replaced the technical staff with more lawyers by now.
  • by Henry V .009 (518000) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @04:58PM (#7838660) Journal
    Do what everybody else does: Lie. They can't check everything. Half the employers that you work for shouldn't even know your real name.
  • The initial reaction I always see from the zealots is "Don't hire any of them!" and that always makes me a bit sad to know that this will be the first thing that a person that has worked for a company like SCO will more then likely have to overcome.
    Having been in a bit of this position, I can say that the best approach is to put things in the context of doing the job that is given to you to the best of your ability. While your job may not be popular par se (imagine trying to land something after having the
  • by downix (84795) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @04:58PM (#7838671) Homepage
    In most employment contracts found at such firms as SCO, these employees would be banned from working in a similar field for a specified period of time, correct?
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:01PM (#7838718)
    Simple. Replace "SCO" with "Whorehouse Piano Player".

    When your interviewer asks you what on earth a whorehouse was doing repackaging and integrating AT&T SYSV code, tell him it you were actually working at SCO back when SCO was a software company with a mediocre UNIX distribution, and that you left when you saw the writing on the wall when its then-CEO said Linux would never amount to anything.

    Then say "But there's still less stigma that comes with saying you were a whorehouse piano player."

  • by richg74 (650636) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:05PM (#7838759) Homepage
    I think the difficulty of getting over an unfortunate employment history depends a lot on the nature of the person's job, and the overall circumstances.

    From what I can tell from the published reports, the "smoke and mirrors" approach to financial disclosure was pretty pervasive at Enron. I think anyone who has experience of that kind of trading business would regard someone who claimed to have known nothing about it with a rather skeptical eye. (I know I would. Although I'm a geek, I do also have an MBA and spent ~20 years working in IT on Wall Street. Had I worked at Enron, I feel certain I would have known something fishy was up -- there just aren't that many secrets in that culture.)

    SCO/Caldera, on the other hand, did have a legitimate, although not very successful, business before they entered the litigation industry. If I were hiring, I wouldn't touch any of the management with a bargepole, but a Unix support tech who just did a competent job is a different story.

    In any case, in any interview, all you can do is to tell the truth (emphasizing your good points, of course), and hope that the interviewer will take things on the merits.

  • SCO (Score:3, Interesting)

    by KaLoSoFt (696839) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:05PM (#7838764)
    Actually not everyone at SCO will have trouble finding a job after they bankrupt. I don't think their developers aren't good at theit job. It's just the hyperabitious and hypergreedy CEO who's ruining them and he'll be the one which will have real trouble finding a job.
  • Change careers- (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:07PM (#7838792) Homepage Journal
    I did work for some time for a firm that was crooked (in a big way), it took me some time to find out about it, but when it finally struck me (I was basically offered a Ferrari to look the other way), I quit.

    Took some time off from working, and did a career change. In retrospect, probably the best thing I have ever done job-wise.
  • by Ryouga3 (683889) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:09PM (#7838819) Journal
    Someone from SCO isn't going to have trouble getting a job another UNIX company. SCO is tame compared to Enron, Worldcom, Adelphia, K-Mart (ops, not retail), and Anderson consulting. Fraud gets attention, not copyright lawsuits. The person who submitted article included SCO to go along with the SCO bashing we've seen in the last few months on Slashdot, but frankly, the general public doesn't care about these esoteric hissy fits.
  • Resume Madness (Score:5, Interesting)

    by |>>? (157144) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:13PM (#7838878) Homepage
    IMHO you have got to be a first class moron if you determine whom you hire based on their previous workplace.

    While that statement could be seen as inflammatory, perhaps I should share two examples to clarify my strong feelings on the subject...

    • I was team leader for a computing help desk when we needed more staff. Our two candidates were a computer guy and a girl who had never touched computers, but had worked in bars, managed horses, run her own horse training company, and decided she wanted a change. She did a three month computer training course and applied for the job. I hired her because of her people skills, not her computing skills or her past employment record. With all her horse and bar skills, she was the best helpdesk operator we ever had.
    • These days I run my own company and I needed a graphic designer. The one I now have is a professional industrial fisherman but has great design skills. As a fisherman, his past employment was irrelevant.

    My point is this: If someone comes from SCO with a skill set that I need, they'll get the gig. If they prove to fail at their skill, they're likely to loose their job.

    As an employer I care about results, not politics.

    Will I hire Daryl? If I need a scum-sucking-bottom-feeder - or was that a fish?
    • by El (94934)
      With all her horse and bar skills, she was the best helpdesk operator we ever had.Do you really get a lot of horses and drunks calling the help desk?
  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:14PM (#7838888) Homepage
    ...or high in the financing department doing the number juggling, just focus on what they actually did. There's not much else you can do. Even if they knew that their sector wasn't going that well, it's not too uncommon in a big company. Unless they were in a position to know that the entire company was tanking, well they did their job, did it well (hopefully) and are not to blame.

    If they need to defend it from before it started showing up in the press, try to show that you couldn't have been in a position to know (hopefully). And if they need to defend it after it became known, well you needed to put food on the table. You hadn't done anything illegal, weren't doing anything illegal, and you were getting a paycheck.

    But if they were in positions that are suspicious, that might have known or at least suspected, or that even just sound as if they'd know that much, well... no, then they're out of luck, even if they're completely innocent in all this. People will always wonder.

    At least, that's how I'd attack it. It might go against the common "I was so big and important and had all this responsibility" show-off you usually do at job interviews, but in this case I'd try to make myself seem small and insignificant.

    Kjella
  • by digrieze (519725) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:14PM (#7838890)
    They should simply be asked: Did you do your job to the best of your ability whether you agreed with management or not?

    If they say yes, hire them, anyone that'll do a good job there will do a good one for you.

    If they say no, I did my best to sabotage their antiGNU efforts show them the door and say thank you very much for taking your time to come down, then warn your buddies at lunch just in case the guy ever shows up at their business. If they have no more personal integrety than that you can't trust them enough to hire them, they'll do the same thing to you as soon as the coffee vender puts in a blend they don't like, their favorite candy is out at the machine, etc.

    You hire people to get work done, not to go off on their own prima-donna crusades.

  • by Simonetta (207550) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:23PM (#7839000)
    It isn't working for a 'tainted' company that's the problem in the today's 'restructuring' of the tech industry, it's the former managers or bosses that can be a real obstacle to future gainful and productive work.

    For example, during the 1990's I worked for a small five person company that was the North American distributor of a computer-controlled machine made by a German company. I got good performance reviews all the time. Then one partner retired and the other decided to cut back on the work. The German company sent over a guy to run the North American 'division'. After about six months he had fired all the previous employees.

    Now whenever I apply for a new job, the HR people call this guy and he goes on about what a worthless jerk I was to them. I'm not sure why he continues to do this nor do I know how to get around the situation.

    I suspect that it's a German:American cultural dissonance. Do your job well 99.9% of the time and the Americans will exclaim what a valuable and productive employee you were: fuck up 0.01% of the time and the Germans will focus on this forever.

    The Americans of European background are usually indentical in appearance to Europeans and this often masks deep and strong cultural differences. Most of the European-Americans are decended from people who were told a hundred years ago on no uncertain terms to either get the fuck out of town or be killed. Or, they were so poor that they we just as good as dead so they had nothing to lose by moving to the other side of the world. This is the primary foundation of the deep differences between German-Americans and Germans (and European-Americans and Europeans in general).

    European companies should not post managers to America for their first overseas posting because there are so many superficial simularities between the two countries that it tends to encourage blindness to the strong cultural differences beneath the surface. They should first go somewhere where the cultural differences are all on the surface. After they get experience and expertise in different business climates then they should take command of the American divisions. Of course, the other way (Americans managing European divisions) also applies equally as well.

    If European-Americans and Europeans were as actually simular in culture and outlook as they are in appearance then they would have not fought two giant wars with each other in thirty years.

    Anyone have any insights into this situation?
  • by indiana al (735067) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @05:47PM (#7839378)
    How many times have we heard "I was just following orders"?

    Integrity is the willingness to do what is right even when no one is looking. I have deliberately made choices knowing I would lose my job and career but did so anyway because it was simply the right thing to do. So it should be with the SCO employees.

    I am the CIO of my company. What do you think the chances of any post-SCO-implosion employee being hired by me? Slim to none.

    I'm sick and tired of people who know only about situational ethics.

  • by hpa (7948) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @06:05PM (#7839630) Homepage
    For a company that very suddenly turns ugly, like SCO, there is only one piece of advice: get out quickly. If you get out within a reasonable amount of time, the entire defense you need is "management changed the company and I wanted no part of that." End of story. The longer you stick around, the harder you're going to be able to claim to have nothing to do with it.

    Enron is more unfortunate, because management there defrauded not only investors but their own employees; in the case of SCO there is no secret to anybody what kind of shit they're pulling.
  • by serutan (259622) <snoopdougNO@SPAMgeekazon.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @06:39PM (#7840014) Homepage
    The updated version would go something like this:

    Dear Abby,

    My mother, an alcoholic, is currently serving a life sentence for murdering my father after discovering that he was selling child pornography to support our family. I'm helping to raise the illegitimate child of my sister, who is in drug rehab and currently appealing a prostitution conviction. I spent most of my youth in foster homes and on the street, supporting myself and my cocaine habit by robbing the elderly. Finally I took a high school equivalency exam, enrolled in college and learned computer programming. I am now making a good salary working as a developer at Microsoft.

    Recently I met a really wonderful girl. She is caring and loving, and I want to have a serious relationship with her, but I am afraid that if she finds out more about me she won't want to see me again. So the question is, should I tell her that I work for Microsoft?
  • Methinks (Score:4, Funny)

    by iantri (687643) <iantriNO@SPAMgmx.net> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @06:44PM (#7840054) Homepage
    The poster is a SCO employee!! Burn him!!
  • by abulafia (7826) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @06:59PM (#7840194)
    I see a lot of people asserting various viewpoints that mostly amount to (Sorry if I shorted yours - I'm going for a simplication here): "Feeding my family is ethically a greater good than supporting an evil employer".

    I absolutely agree - let me say that up front. Given a such a choice, I would feed my family first.

    Ethics, however, is a deeper topic than either/or in a given situation. While it is true that companies go bad (like SCO), this is somewhat rare, I think. At least, most of the companies I've worked with both as a consultant and as an employee (more than 100, easily) rarely was much more than disingenuous on the edge cases. When they were more than that, I was among many that pitched the argument in the other direction.

    Truly nasty companies are easy to spot: they target a market that has a weakness they think they can exploit. SCO (at least publically) thinks it can use legal attacks against Linix; Telemarketers attempt to exploit old people; credit councillor companies prey on those in debt. Most (not all, but most) reasonable companies realize they are part of a chain of commerce. Think about how your company fits into that chain.

    I believe evil employers are rare. Should you find yourself in bed with one, leave. Worse, should you be employed by one, leave quickly!

    I must say, I'd be very hesitant to hire someone who tolerated, say, Enron or SCO's behavior. I've been the part of some creepy deals, and when they crossed the line, I stopped taking part. I've been involved with startups that wanted to "grow" though non-standard methods, and I have refused to take part. What "the line" is varies for various people, but one bright line is what gets reported in the news. On a personal basis, I've missed out on some things because I wouldn't be dishonest. And that's not only OK, but very important to me. Because that's important to me, someone who facillitated massive fraud would at the very least be subject to a good, hard look. At least until the EEOC comes down with the No White Collar Criminal Left Behind recomendation.

    I suppose I can only say that if you find yourself at an ethically challenged company now, with constraints (family, debt, whatever) that don't give you much room, the single best thing you can do for yourself is to find a local company that can use your skills, think about how you can add value to their company, and go talk to them about your situation, and how you can help their situation. Odds are many will turn you down, but you will find a job with a company that doesn't fuck people over, and still be able to feed your family. And remember, for every company that turns you down, you're learning a lot by thinking seriously about the business they do.

  • New Words (Score:5, Funny)

    by Xoder (664531) <slashdot@NOSPam.xoder.fastmail.fm> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @07:01PM (#7840214) Homepage
    I propose the addition of a new entry into jargon files:

    Enroned (v. p. p.), To have one's rsum or reputation tarnished by a former (or current) employer.
    USAGE: Man, I was totally Enroned the second it hit the news that my CTO was skimming the pot I've got no chance at a good job until this dies down a bit.
  • Interview Skills (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaveAtFraud (460127) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @07:11PM (#7840308) Homepage Journal
    While you can stretch the truth and obfuscate on a resume, its a really bad idea to lie. Generally you will get caught out and things can get really ugly.

    Especially someone technical who had nothing to do with the decision processes that led to the Enron/Worldcom/Tyco/SCO type insanity should put an accurate employment history on their resume and be prepared to bring an interview back to the correct subject: their ability to perform the job they are applying for. It would be a good idea to have answers for "questions" like: "Why did you stay there?", "Convince me that you had nothing to do with their accounting practices.", etc. These will be issues for some people so be ready for them.

    Be prepared to address someone who keeps drifting back to the company and its policies directly with a "I had nothing to do with the upper management who did this stuff." This is also a good place to brown-nose a little and say that one of the things that attracted you to the company you're interviewing with is their good repuatation, etc. since this also puts your role at Enron or whoever into perspective to the person interviewing you. It should bring up for the interviewer how little control they have over such things.
  • by osjedi (9084) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @07:29PM (#7840476)

    If you work for SCO (or some other scummy outfit) and feel that this will be a liability in the future THEN QUIT NOW! Don't wait any longer! The longer you stay the worse you look. Write a long resignation letter explaining why you feel you MUST RESIGN. If done tastefully that letter elevates you above [scummy company] and reinforces your image as a person of integrity. When you apply for new jobs and the topic of your past employer comes up you can demonstrate why you felt you needed to leave. A copy of that resignation letter will stand as your proclomation of values. Express in your letter the values you espouse and what you wish you could give as an employee (don't make it about what you want to GET. Prospective employers want to know what you can GIVE) and why [scummy company] isn't compatible with the contribution you wish to make. Offer to provide a copy to the interviewer if they wish to read it. That letter will have the effect of bearing testimony on your behalf. Think of it as a character whitness on paper.

    Being able to demonstrate to a prospective employer that you were so uncomfortable with [scummy compay]'s practices that you had to leave voluntarily draws the line in the sand and demonstrates that you don't wish to be associated with [scummy company]. If you stay until the end it sends the message that you are more infuenced by greed than by principle, and that you were "one of them". That is a bad message to send to prospective employers. That's just my oppinion. (If you quit in protest and then can't find work don't blame me though).

  • Oh, don't even get me started.
  • not a problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cookiepus (154655) on Wednesday December 31, 2003 @12:59AM (#7842786) Homepage
    I am a former Anderson employee. Never had been interviewd by anyone stupid enough to think that I, in my position, had anything to do with the scandal. Unless your job is in accounting or you're the former CEO, no one is going to think you're the cause of the troubles. If they ask why you didn't immediately leave, just say that you were comited to the project you were working on and did not want to abandon your manager and team mates just because the company was going through hard times. Be sure to highlight the success of your team/division and shift the conversation from having to defend your former employer, and maybe make it sound like you have some commitment to your work in the process.

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