cs492 - Spring 2017

Societal Implications with Computer Science

rpe04 -- Ambition


In an company or industry that is expanding aggressively there are always open jobs senior to yours. You can expect a career of continual advancement. When growth is lower many careers top out. Topping out does not go well with the culture of youth that is so pervasive in Silicon Valley.

Team A. The Veteran.

You are a highly qualified and well paid software engineer. Although well rewarded, you are uncomfortable that younger brasher engineers may soon be managing you. At your evaluation you ask the CEO for a promotion, but are turned down because you do not socialize well with your younger colleagues. Angered, you resign on the spot. The headhunter tells you that at thirty-three you need plastic surgery to brighten the look of your eyes. But even with brighter eyes you feel out of place sitting with newly graduated engineers while waiting for interviews and feel over the hill.

Team B. The Challenger.

Just out of college you are employee number seven at a hot startup. HR asks you to interview candidates for a senior engineer position. Peeking into the waiting room you see the usual hoodie-wearing candidates plus somebody you know and respect, trying unsuccessfully to look twenty-five. You know his expertise and experience would be a great asset. But the product that assures the next round of VC, which will substantially increase your net worth, is late. You wonder if he has what it takes to do the all nighters with the young workers at your company.

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