Re: I Hope I Work with Mediocre People
Posted: May 2, 2005 6:52 PM
(This is a very late reply, but anyway)
> Terje Slettebø - What can I even say. Your attitude
> towards your work seems be exactly what I am trying to
> In the first paragraph YOU chose to spend overtime working
> on the code base for which you did not get paid for.
Yes, as I said, in order to get a better workday. Also, in the mean time, since (but not because of) that posting, not only did I get compensation in the form of about the same time in extra vacation, management has also recently realised that something has to be done, now (as the bugs start to affect the customers), so we'll soon start a project to "stabilise the code" - in other words, cleaning it up, etc.
> Then in the second paragraph you stated that it's "so that
> I'll eventually be able to go home at normal times, and
> have a life besides work." I really wish you the best of
> luck here. But nothing has ever led me to believe this is
> what happens when you finish, unless you own your own
I guess I'm lucky, then. Yes, I've heard lots of stories where this _didn't_ result in improvements.
> If you're working for someone else, your manager
> has probably gotten use to the amount of work you're
> doing, and will start getting upset if you finish and
> start to "slack off".
That's a danger one needs to avoid, and fortunately, we have enlightened management, who basically _don't_ want us to work overtime (especially unpaid).
> One of my friends did something like
> that. When he finished, they layed him off and hired a new
> graduate who they could pay half as much money for.
Sounds like a stupid short-sighted decision on the part of the management.
> Perhaps it will pay off for you, but what management
> should really be doing is paying you or someone else for
> the time it takes to do it.
Fortunately, they did.
> If you would have rather spent time with your family, then
> you should have. But obviously, since you didn't, you
> would have rather worked on the code. You chose not to. I
> realize you may have felt that pull of "I want this done
> right" - but it was still a choice that you personally
> made. Not one of those crappy not-really-a-choice choices
> either (like Do I take a crappy job, or do I apply for
> welfare and hope I have enough money to feed my family). A
> real choice on your part.
Naturally, it was a real choice. I gave up on other things, to get an improvement in the short and especially long run, at work (and since you spend much of your time there, and I'm not married - "family" meant parents and siblings, it mostly "just" affected myself).
> It's the third and fourth paragraph that tick me off.
> It's awfully convenient in 4 paragraphs you went from "I
> I chose to do it" to an attitude of "those 'good enough'
> bastards made me do more work instead of spending time
> with your family". Bull****. Perhaps the people who wrote
> what you're working on actually had things that would
> needed to do more than code.
They may have "saved a little time" to make version 1.0, in exchange of giving a lot extra work and problems to the people who were to continue to develop the code. Do you find this attitude a good one? Do you think it's ok to dump "crap" on the one following you?
"Always code as if the person who will maintain your code is a violent psychopath who knows where you live"
(Attributed to different people)
However, I don't think this was something intended - it was probably lack of competence/experience in structuring systems, possibly combined with schedule pressure.
My point was just that - especially in the long run - you don't save any time on doing a bad job, so if you really want to have a good, secure (as in profitable) workplace, _and_ a life, then the best you can do is to do a good job.
> Maybe they were lazy
> bastards. But either way, it was YOUR personal choice to
> spend your extra time cleaning up the code.
True, but as with any choice, you have to consider the alternatives, and I found that - despite this situation - I preferred to stay around, rather than quit (or not do extra work), because I saw, and see, a good potential for development there, both personal, and for the company.
> fyi: I seriously hope it works great for Terje
Thanks. It seems it has, and being a small company (about 12 people in total, 5 at the office where I work, including 3 developers), we have a lot of possibility for contributing to the direction of the company, and what we need to focus on. The really tricky part is that it has to make sense, economically, to do it, and we need income, as well. However, as mentioned earlier, the situation (bug count and instability) has now become so bad - each time we add a feature, something else breaks - that management can no longer ignore it, and the new software development manager, unlike our previous one, is able to see the difference between good and bad code, and to see what our real problems are.
However, your posting highlight a real issue in our industry: :/ It seems my experience is rather rare, and I've heard from programmers who have left the field, due to the conditions they have experienced.
I think much of the problems come from lack of competence in our field. As Jim Coplien is fond of saying, it typically takes 8 years to become a plumber, but how long before someone can work on your-life-critical-software? About 6 months...