• BK (unregistered)

    no-one will read this comment ...

  • RBoy (unregistered)

    The problem with Lunch & Learns is that when I'm on lunch, I spend my hour trying to forget that I have to go back to work in a bit.

    You might as well make me come in on a Saturday morning for a meeting while you're at it.

  • Anon (unregistered)

    I thought maybe the "never take these books" sign might have been a cunning exercise in reverse psychology in order to encourage developers to take the books and actually read them. Along the lines of the "DO NOT SEND" SMS package.

    Also, I hate people who think it's a good idea to hold meetings during lunch. Lunch is a break when I eat my food, I don't want to work during it. In fact, aren't there labor laws about requiring breaks (from work)?

  • DOA (cs)

    ...and now we know what happened to the original developer. In time Tal will leave and another will one day stumble on this. And the cycle will begin anew...

  • Voodoo Coder (cs) in reply to RBoy
    RBoy:
    The problem with Lunch & Learns is that when I'm on lunch, I spend my hour trying to forget that I have to go back to work in a bit.

    You might as well make me come in on a Saturday morning for a meeting while you're at it.

    Maybe, consider a different line of work...?

    Not saying that you need to be all "YAY WORK!" about it, but dreading going back to work sounds like an abysmal life to me. Personally, I read stuff like Pragmatic Programmer and Code Complete on my lunch (tried doing it at night, before bed...but found that heavy reading before sleep made for bizarre dreams and forgotten material).

    I don't know any GOOD developers who would oppose free pizza AND a chance to get better at their trade. Plenty of crappy ones, sure. Good ones...none.

  • StDoodle (unregistered) in reply to Anon
    Anon:
    Also, I hate people who think it's a good idea to hold meetings during lunch. Lunch is a break when I eat my food, I don't want to work during it. In fact, aren't there labor laws about requiring breaks (from work)?

    Only a minority of States have laws regarding lunch breaks. However, your main point is still valid. Give employees the option of free donuts during a morning meeting during time that would normally be spent working, and you're likely to get a bit of interest. Ask them to give up their lunch hour for the meeting, and you'll get much less interest. Never saw why this was so difficult to grasp.

  • jonnyq (cs)

    You mean the existing employees didn't want to spend their lunches in a class organized by the new guy?

    There are good ways to get discussion going among developers and learn from each other. This is not one of them.

  • ubersoldat (cs)

    Let me translate it to you: Lunch Time, gotta go!

  • Voodoo Coder (cs) in reply to ubersoldat
    ubersoldat:
    Let me translate it to you: Lunch Time, gotta go!

    Time is an illusion. Lunch time, doubly so.

  • Anonymous (unregistered)

    Ahh, bless. Another young go-getter tries to spread knowledge and good practice, only to have his hopes dashed by the unavoidable scourge of every workplace - staff apathy. He will inevitably fall into the familiar routine of doing as little work as physically possible and soon he will hold so much contempt for his co-workers that he will wonder why ever tried to help them at all. We all start off like Tal and we all end up - right here.

  • AC (unregistered) in reply to jonnyq
    jonnyq:
    There are good ways to get discussion going among developers and learn from each other.

    Do tell.

  • bjolling (cs)

    He never looked book and doesn't afraid of anything

  • Ranxerox (unregistered)

    Been there, done that. Back in the late 80's, early 90's as I remember. The only more thankless job than organizing this type of thing is running a neighborhood association. The only one who read anything was ... me.

    Won't make either of those mistakes again.

  • Neil (unregistered) in reply to Voodoo Coder
    Voodoo Coder:
    RBoy:
    The problem with Lunch & Learns is that when I'm on lunch, I spend my hour trying to forget that I have to go back to work in a bit.

    You might as well make me come in on a Saturday morning for a meeting while you're at it.

    Maybe, consider a different line of work...?

    Not saying that you need to be all "YAY WORK!" about it, but dreading going back to work sounds like an abysmal life to me. Personally, I read stuff like Pragmatic Programmer and Code Complete on my lunch (tried doing it at night, before bed...but found that heavy reading before sleep made for bizarre dreams and forgotten material).

    I don't know any GOOD developers who would oppose free pizza AND a chance to get better at their trade. Plenty of crappy ones, sure. Good ones...none.

    I thought good coders were the ones that stay up until butt o'clock coding some an easter egg into Ubuntu, then drags himself into the office half asleep and dines and ditches on the newbie's lunch and learn.

  • Anon (unregistered) in reply to Voodoo Coder
    Voodoo Coder:
    I don't know any GOOD developers who would oppose free pizza AND a chance to get better at their trade. Plenty of crappy ones, sure. Good ones...none.

    Sorry, I don't like pizza, so a lunch meeting with free pizza means a lunch meeting where I go hungry and have a headache all afternoon. I hate people who think they are doing you a favor by removing your ability to choose your lunch.

  • someguy (unregistered)

    Hey now, what's wrong with a base class that EVERYTHING inherits from?

  • anon (unregistered)

    So did he at least remove the sign (and help himself to a book)?

  • RBoy (unregistered) in reply to Voodoo Coder
    Voodoo Coder:
    RBoy:
    The problem with Lunch & Learns is that when I'm on lunch, I spend my hour trying to forget that I have to go back to work in a bit.

    You might as well make me come in on a Saturday morning for a meeting while you're at it.

    Maybe, consider a different line of work...?

    Not saying that you need to be all "YAY WORK!" about it, but dreading going back to work sounds like an abysmal life to me. Personally, I read stuff like Pragmatic Programmer and Code Complete on my lunch (tried doing it at night, before bed...but found that heavy reading before sleep made for bizarre dreams and forgotten material).

    I don't know any GOOD developers who would oppose free pizza AND a chance to get better at their trade. Plenty of crappy ones, sure. Good ones...none.

    Oh noes, is someone who does not know who I am, what I do for a living, or anything about my job is calling me a "crappy" developer?

    Oh Noes!

    Let's look at my lunchtime options. A: Go Home

    1. Watch TV
    2. Eat something freshly made
    3. Listen to something that's NSFW
    4. Anything else I want to do in the Privacy of my own home.

    B: Do some shopping/errands C: Go for a nice walk, drive, etc.

    But according to you, if I was a good programmer, my best option would be to hang out in the breakroom eating my lunch during a power-point presentation.

    Yep, I can see how only people who sucked at their job that they hated would want to do anything entertaining on lunch.

    And you know what? Your job must suck if you have to use time off the clock to have the time to openly discuss things.

    Me, I'm free to stop in anyones office and talk about solutions to (almost) any problem. Or how to improve (almost) anything. I don't need a presentation to start a conversation.

    But again, I must suck and work at a horrible place.

  • da (unregistered) in reply to Anon

    aww. and you are such a mooch you couldn't bring a lunch yourself, lunch has to be on someone else's dime?

  • John (unregistered)

    Where I work, they have a similar thing where everyone is invited to a technical talk, lunch vouchers are given out for the company cafeteria (which is pretty good, actually), and it's even video'd and put on the company internal website.

    It's very popular - maybe 100-200 people at a time turn up. It depends on the topic.

    John

  • Jamie (unregistered)

    The Real WTF is that the guy stopped doing these when he had a budget to buy books and have catered lunches.

  • Jeff (unregistered)

    I was told there would be pizza in here

  • RHuckster (cs)

    So the sign on the shelf was there because nobody would attend a class? I don't get it.

  • Anon (unregistered) in reply to RHuckster
    RHuckster:
    So the sign on the shelf was there because nobody would attend a class? I don't get it.

    I assume the sign was there so somebody didn't walk off with the book right before the lunch time talk, hence leaving the presenter without the book they are supposed to be talking about.

  • Roger Dodger (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • biziclop (unregistered) in reply to AC
    AC:
    jonnyq:
    There are good ways to get discussion going among developers and learn from each other.

    Do tell.

    Coffee breaks.

  • Michael D. Hall (unregistered)

    Had a slightly different problem once. The developers I was working with were all junior-ish and were hungry to learn. There was no problem getting them together for a L'n'L, on their own dime. But that was while my manager was away, once he got back from his Disneyland vacation he put the kibosh on the sessions. His reason they "brought too much attention to our group." My group was created with the intention of improving the development process, so that excuse was a non-started. Then he said it was because we didn't get permission from the junior's manager, which I did, so strike two. Then he just pulled rank and did a passive-aggressive, "we'll talk about it after X is done". The real reason, and I'm not inferring this, it's a fact because he did it before at a previous company we coincidentally worked at before. He didn't like the idea because it wasn't his and didn't have the juevos to admit it.

  • LunchBunch (unregistered)

    Coax them in with pizza and lock the door. Ha!

    Seriously though, speak to people beforehand, find out what interests them and then choose a topic that appeals to them. It may not be exactly what you wanted to share, but it gets people in and provides a platform for you to steer them towards some topics that they didn't even realise were relevant to them.

    Prove the concept first, then the content.

  • Ancient_Hacker (unregistered)

    You had a SHELF?

    At my PPOE I tried to set up a "resource center", as almost everyone was woefully clueless about anything, and there was no training program at all.

    There were lots of empty cubicles, but apparently we could not put books in any of them.

    A bookshelf was promised, but it never showed up.

    We would have KILLED to have a SHELF..

  • Leo (unregistered)

    At least he got the "provide food" part right. We have "lunch and learns" here, but you have to bring you own. Obviously, nobody bothers to go.

  • rfsmit (cs) in reply to John
    John:
    Where I work, they have a similar thing where everyone is invited to a technical talk, lunch vouchers are given out for the company cafeteria (which is pretty good, actually), and it's even video'd and put on the company internal website.

    It's very popular - maybe 100-200 people at a time turn up. It depends on the topic.

    John

    Good for you. Really, really good for you.

    Like many others, I've tried this kind of thing before multiple times, and it just falls by the wayside because... well, no good reason. Just apathy.

    I even tried to make it a non-attendance thing, by setting up a company wiki at my last and current jobs. Even after I seed it with a wide range of stubs and some full articles, nobody uses the damned thing as intended. They just complain about lack of content. It's a wiki! Sheesh!

  • Zach Bora (unregistered)

    I do not see the wtf in this... of course there will be freelancers if you provide free food. This happens with any domains and societees.

    The people would stay if it was their boss doing the presentation, but since he's "just another developer" they aren't forced to stay and pretend to listen.

  • Lars Vargas (cs) in reply to BK
    BK:
    no-one will read this comment ...
    I actually read your comment. Thanks. Good stuff. I learned a lot.

    But it's 12:30 and I have an important call I need to be on.

  • Paul (unregistered) in reply to RBoy
    RBoy:
    Voodoo Coder:
    RBoy:
    The problem with Lunch & Learns is that when I'm on lunch, I spend my hour trying to forget that I have to go back to work in a bit.

    You might as well make me come in on a Saturday morning for a meeting while you're at it.

    Maybe, consider a different line of work...?

    Not saying that you need to be all "YAY WORK!" about it, but dreading going back to work sounds like an abysmal life to me. Personally, I read stuff like Pragmatic Programmer and Code Complete on my lunch (tried doing it at night, before bed...but found that heavy reading before sleep made for bizarre dreams and forgotten material).

    I don't know any GOOD developers who would oppose free pizza AND a chance to get better at their trade. Plenty of crappy ones, sure. Good ones...none.

    Oh noes, is someone who does not know who I am, what I do for a living, or anything about my job is calling me a "crappy" developer?

    Oh Noes!

    Let's look at my lunchtime options. A: Go Home

    1. Watch TV
    2. Eat something freshly made
    3. Listen to something that's NSFW
    4. Anything else I want to do in the Privacy of my own home.

    B: Do some shopping/errands C: Go for a nice walk, drive, etc.

    But according to you, if I was a good programmer, my best option would be to hang out in the breakroom eating my lunch during a power-point presentation.

    Yep, I can see how only people who sucked at their job that they hated would want to do anything entertaining on lunch.

    And you know what? Your job must suck if you have to use time off the clock to have the time to openly discuss things.

    Me, I'm free to stop in anyones office and talk about solutions to (almost) any problem. Or how to improve (almost) anything. I don't need a presentation to start a conversation.

    But again, I must suck and work at a horrible place.

    One catered lunch every two weeks != all your lunch breaks, and all the lunch breaks of your children, and all the lunch breaks of your children's children, forevermore, into perpetuity, for the rest of your life, amen.

  • Code Dependent (cs)

    My team has a regularly scheduled team meeting once a week. It lasts an hour. Generally the first five minutes are spent on any announcements our manager has, plus idle chit-chat. After that, we go around the room and 17 people get the chance to talk about any problems they're having with their projects. Generally, it's not a discussion of problems so much as a summation of where they are in the project.

    It's a perfect time to have a 45-50 minute presentation, and we've used it that way on occasion. Since it's a mandatory meeting and the boss is in attendance, nobody will be slipping out a few minutes into it. It's on the clock, and there's no expense for meals.

  • Populus (unregistered)

    I understand this was a voluntary program, but I too like taking a 30 min break from work to NOT THINK ABOUT WORK. It's unbelievably helpful when I do return to work because my head is clear.

  • RBoy (unregistered) in reply to Paul
    Paul:
    One catered lunch every two weeks != all your lunch breaks, and all the lunch breaks of your children, and all the lunch breaks of your children's children, forevermore, into perpetuity, for the rest of your life, amen.

    If Pizza = Catered to you, you must be a cheap date.

    And anyways, my wife might be home at the same time as I come home for my lunch break. So it could very well be the lunch breaks of my children...

    Lunch and Learns are really just a bad patch on a bad corp. culture. If it's important enough to do, it's important enough to do when everyone's still on the clock. If it's not, well, the it's not. Again, in this situation, the lunch & learn can be avoided alltogether with just an open culture. Why schedual a meeting to talk about your job when you can just stand up, and talk to them anytime?

  • RBoy (unregistered) in reply to Code Dependent
    Code Dependent:
    My team has a regularly scheduled team meeting once a week. It lasts an hour. Generally the first five minutes are spent on any announcements our manager has, plus idle chit-chat. After that, we go around the room and 17 people get the chance to talk about any problems they're having with their projects. Generally, it's not a discussion of problems so much as a summation of where they are in the project.

    It's a perfect time to have a 45-50 minute presentation, and we've used it that way on occasion. Since it's a mandatory meeting and the boss is in attendance, nobody will be slipping out a few minutes into it. It's on the clock, and there's no expense for meals.

    Same thing here. We discuss issues that we are having, issues that customers are having, and talk about needed training.

    And then the week after that, we have a similar conversation with another department involved regarding other issues that they deal with.

    Open communication, it's an amazing thing.

  • rfsmit (cs) in reply to Roger Dodger
    Roger Dodger:
    Since then, he’s come to learn how deep-seeded the noninterest in improvement had become.

    To whom it may concern:

    The phrase is "deep seated".

    I'm glad you did do diligents on that.

  • Tzimisce (cs)

    I read a blog post awhile back (sorry, I don't remember whose) that said that a developer's continuing education is that developer's responsibility. Not your employer's, not the government's, but yours.

    Learning new things is not only job security, it's also avoiding being a COBOL programmer at age 55.

  • Derek (unregistered)

    The biggest problem with this is the fact that a free lunch was given away. Don't even offer lunch. Encourage employees to self-improve and those that want to will. It would be helpful if it was during paid time as well rather than at lunch. I always find it a good break to get away from work so I come back refreshed - I don't dread my job, in fact, I love my job. It's just nice to get a mid-day break.

    Maybe instead of doing it company wide, start with a small group of developers on a project by project basis. Then based on how successful it was for that project, it could spread around to other groups and projects as well.

    But Kudos to Tal for at least trying.

  • ClutchDude (unregistered) in reply to RBoy
    RBoy:

    Oh noes, is someone who does not know who I am, what I do for a living, or anything about my job is calling me a "crappy" developer?

    (snip)

    But according to you, if I was a good programmer, my best option would be to hang out in the breakroom eating my lunch during a power-point presentation.

    Yep, I can see how only people who sucked at their job that they hated would want to do anything entertaining on lunch.

    And you know what? Your job must suck if you have to use time off the clock to have the time to openly discuss things.

    Me, I'm free to stop in anyones office and talk about solutions to (almost) any problem. Or how to improve (almost) anything. I don't need a presentation to start a conversation.

    But again, I must suck and work at a horrible place.

    Calm down. You didn't read the punchline. You obviously take up opportunities to learn or improve yourself during the work day. The problem is that companies don't provide time for programmers to meet or do something besides maintaining status quo.

    If you feel confident enough in your skills that are being learned/honed on company time, then by all means continue doing what you are doing. From what I read, lunch & learn was completely optional and not everyday.

    Me? I know there's a lot of people that are unemployed who'd like my job. I'm going to do what it takes to not only keep it but excel at it. If it includes hearing ideas from my coworkers while I'm munching on a turkey-cheedar sammich, then I'll do that.

  • Chelloveck (unregistered) in reply to Leo

    Huh. We have "lunch and learns" here, too. They're infrequent, maybe once every month or two. Sometimes food is provided, sometimes it's not. Regardless of that, the sessions are always pretty well attended. We have maybe 50 developers on-site, and the lunchtime sessions tend to bring in 25 or so.

    I can see how they'd get tiring if we had them more often, but as it is they make an interesting change of pace.

  • Code Dependent (cs) in reply to rfsmit
    rfsmit:
    Roger Dodger:
    Since then, he’s come to learn how deep-seeded the noninterest in improvement had become.
    To whom it may concern:

    The phrase is "deep seated".

    I'm glad you did do diligents on that.
    Have patients with him. He's a grammer notsie.

  • Anon (unregistered) in reply to Zach Bora
    Zach Bora:
    ... of course there will be freelancers if you provide free food.
    The word you are looking for is "freeloaders". You're welcome.
  • nonny nonny (unregistered)

    It might help if he brought in someone external.

    "Hey, fellow coworkers, some of you who have been working here decades longer than I have! Come to my seminar, where I will teach you about good coding practices!"

    versus

    "Come to a seminar about better coding practices, hosted by this expert we brought in from an outside company, the same expert that trained our competitors last week, so we should maybe make sure we stay on top of things too."

  • DaarkWing (cs)

    I agree that lunch and learns can be a valuable learning tool. My previous company had them once or twice a month. The format used a different presenter on different topics each time. These sessions got 20-25 people to each one (and this was a group of around 35). All this and it was bring your own lunch.

    But we were a young company and most everybody was eager to learn. Management was also reinforcing a culture of constant learning and improvement.

    Now for those whose lunch break routine is so sacred to them that they cannot take two hours a month away from their DVR'd watching of last night's Survivor (or NSFW late-night Cinemax clip) then I truly feel sorry for them. Nobody is asking people to live and breath your work, but just a little extra to improve your skills and raise the quality of your product.

    Oh noes... oh noes indeed. Or in the words of Robin, "Holy grumbled 'oh noes' of sarcasm, Batman."

  • Lego (unregistered) in reply to RBoy
    RBoy:
    Voodoo Coder:
    RBoy:
    The problem with Lunch & Learns is that when I'm on lunch, I spend my hour trying to forget that I have to go back to work in a bit.

    You might as well make me come in on a Saturday morning for a meeting while you're at it.

    Maybe, consider a different line of work...?

    Not saying that you need to be all "YAY WORK!" about it, but dreading going back to work sounds like an abysmal life to me. Personally, I read stuff like Pragmatic Programmer and Code Complete on my lunch (tried doing it at night, before bed...but found that heavy reading before sleep made for bizarre dreams and forgotten material).

    I don't know any GOOD developers who would oppose free pizza AND a chance to get better at their trade. Plenty of crappy ones, sure. Good ones...none.

    Oh noes, is someone who does not know who I am, what I do for a living, or anything about my job is calling me a "crappy" developer?

    Oh Noes!

    Let's look at my lunchtime options. A: Go Home

    1. Watch TV
    2. Eat something freshly made
    3. Listen to something that's NSFW
    4. Anything else I want to do in the Privacy of my own home.

    B: Do some shopping/errands C: Go for a nice walk, drive, etc.

    But according to you, if I was a good programmer, my best option would be to hang out in the breakroom eating my lunch during a power-point presentation.

    Yep, I can see how only people who sucked at their job that they hated would want to do anything entertaining on lunch.

    And you know what? Your job must suck if you have to use time off the clock to have the time to openly discuss things.

    Me, I'm free to stop in anyones office and talk about solutions to (almost) any problem. Or how to improve (almost) anything. I don't need a presentation to start a conversation.

    But again, I must suck and work at a horrible place.

    Excellent progress!

    Knowing yourself, and your situation in life, is halfway to getting your problem solved.

  • mainframe web developer (unregistered)

    Tal sounds like a noob. IN the old days the best tried and true way to get folks to take personal time for training is at a bar. Don't offer free pizza. Offer free beer. You get much more participation. With enough practice, you will even get the older developers to share war stories.

  • Dennis (unregistered) in reply to Anon

    That's why they call your employment status "exempt".

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