Joel has just posted a new article that freshly opens old wounds.
Thanks to some Google Cache diving I've found the entire contents of my original post from 06/29/04:
I'm going to use Joel Spolsky as a whipping boy for my frustrations with the job search. Some would say that I should be gracious that he conceded to replying to me personally. He is, after all, some would say, a giant in software development.
A GPA is not objective. A GPA doesn't really say much without knowing where the GPA comes from. Joel Spolsky apparently stopped reading my resume as soon as he saw the 2.8 GPA just as I assume every other national company I sent my resume to did. I swear that the real problem here is grade inflation. Joel Spolsky tells me that most of the resumes he gets are from people with 3.8-4.0. I would bet that I've worked harder than the majority of them. I would also bet that the majority of them have dealt with a majority of teachers who believed that a 3.0 was average. At UofL most of the Art and Sciences School and Business School teachers do. On the other hand, a good third to half of my GPA is from teachers who strongly believe that a 2.0 is average. As far as they are concerned, my GPA is .8 above average. Most of the companies that deal with Speed on a frequent basis understand that. Both of the interviews I've had have respected that. The problem is, how do I show that I'm more than just a GPA number? How do I play ball at a national level?
Of course, part of what angers me is:Joel Spolsky wrote:Otherwise you're going to have a career working at the counter of Enterprise Rent-a-Car, which likes people with low GPAs because they don't expect to make much money.
He won't even give me the chance to compete. He won't even give me the benefit of the doubt. Then he insults my work ethic, my intelligence, and my overall worth. Sure, this sentence is at the bottom of a paragraph of “free” advice that I should take a semester off and work at getting a 4.0 that semester, but the entire context just makes it feel even more patronizing.
Even just looking at my resume, I can point out a number of cases where I fought hard and did everything I was asked to do. One example, alone, is my work experience at Paramount's King's Island. I worked my tail off, and did every task to my fullest ability (the stories I can tell about trash duty at the Festhaus, for instance).
How can I prove that I can compete against any 3.8-4.0 from another school if I can't even get you read my entire resume? Or to take a glance at some of the other stuff I've done? Or to take the time to understand the College environment I am in? Instead of using some arbitrary quantification that changes from school to school and teacher to teacher, give me a chance, damn it!
Again, my frustrations aren't solely at Joel Spolsky, I've sent my resume to a few other companies with less success (so far, only a single “form letter” send off). The entire job searching process seems too automated and impersonal. I'm trying to fight, I'm trying to compete, but I feel like I'm not even being given a fair chance. Some of my friends have said I should probably just sit down, shut up, and take what I can get. Am I out of my mind for looking for something more than just unappetizing gruel? Am I egotistical for thinking that I can compete against any 3.8-4.0 from another school if given the chance?
I wouldn't even have so much of a problem if GLI was attracting software companies faster. None of the other engineering disciplines have to fight so much to prove their worth, because the grade inflation situation is slightly under more control and because there is a much larger good ole boys network of Speed Grads in those fields.
Plus, the comment from 6 days later:
Well, I just found his resume. 3.891 from Yale. Fine. However: It appears their CS degree is not an engineering degree and it is not ABET accredited. I wouldn't think to mock the great ivy-league, but truth be told, at this point, I'm skeptical of all degree programs, simply because I already don't trust national rankings.
I have half a mind to pull out the entirety of Joel's condescending prick of an email to me (as well as the surrounding context) just to further anger me. Luckily I don't have to because the new article provides plenty of new material that further cements Joel Spolsky in my mind as being a huge jerk.
Probably most interesting is the long rant on how awful his Dynamic Logic class was and why he dropped it and decided not to go for graduate courses. He then tries to use that as evidence that you should stick to programming-intensive courses and away from all those hard theoretical courses that can't possibly help your programming skills.
...that is, after he's already given his speil on Cultural Anthropology and how that "boring" class he got an A in proves he can can do "boring" work. I'm just floored at the stupidity and hypocrisy of that. My Engineering program here has a heavy focus on the theoretical side of things. (The belief being that you can find the practical stuff anywhere.) It's a focused five year Master's program. I'm expected to put in the graduate effort, from day one. I've fought tooth and nail through the grimiest, dirtiest trenches of The Calculus and survived. I've stayed this far because as much as I sometimes whimper about how I'd prefer to be a more practical program just to take the easy way out... I'm here for the challenge of the high theory. In fact, the real degree I want, which doesn't exist, is even more theoretical than the one I am in. He even has the gall to mention point blank the Lamda Calculus as one of those theoretical courses that doesn't really matter. Obviously he isn't dealing with some of the same programming circles that I am, because the thoughts and theories of Lamda Calculus are extremely in vogue right now. One program I've been using and plan to use more is written entirely in a Lamda Calculus-derived language called Haskell.
Finally, his talk of his summer internship just sickens me. All I wanted was an internship and instead he decided just to lecture me on how much better he is than me because he had a higher GPA in College.