Monday, March 24, 2014

If only, if only, if only

After a large number of very rant-worthy things continued going down at work for lo these many months, I finally dusted off my rolodex, sharpened up my internal job board searching skills and got busy.

I was then a bit surprised to find myself on the receiving end of a very nice internal transfer offer, almost immediately. It’s a nice promotion for me, and more importantly puts me back into the development chair – whereas to be honest, lately, it’s felt a lot like I was a line cook at McSpeedyNoms Burgers and SQL Code or something.

Your job is to SHUT UP and CODE FASTER. We have ITEMS to deliver. NO, DON’T STOP, DON’T THINK, DON’T ARGUE! Just DO it, and if it proves to be a crap-decision, well, a) it’s not our problem, it was the requirements and b) we’ll go back and fix that in a future release.

I really can’t be like that. Doing stuff I know is going to hurt the app, stuff that is going to get me paged out of bed to deal with the inevitable failure, stuff that is going to make existing problems worse and render our app that much less usable for folks…it burns me.

But of course, my trying to put on the brakes was immediately met by having the items I’m going, “Waitasecond, guys, this is going to…” about being snatched over to somebody else to “help” me, who would immediately and with a lack of thought and/or understanding that was beautiful to behold would just do it for them.

In some ways, this is the gotcha of having a team largely populated by contractors: Of course they’re willing to do the dumbass thing you just told them to do quickly and with a big smile, even if they do know up front it’s going to lead to having to work all night during their on-call rotations.

They are paid hourly, you idiot.

It does not pay such a one to fight hard and be unpopular because of it in order to have a well-running application; especially when there is no harm to you for doing the wrong thing because you can honestly say you did exactly what you were supposed to do, see? Because, requirements said.

Can’t call somebody incompetent when you’ve removed their ability to even use any competence they have with this kind of crazy-cake development method.

Plus, knowing how to fix what inevitably broke before it even broke the first time? Elevates them to frickin’ HERO status, instantly.

It’s like the wins just keep coming, ain’t it?

And yeah, takes one to know one: I spent a looooooong time as a consultant / contractor. You don’t have to like the game, but it is how it is played…and contractors who do try to “take ownership” and “own” design and tell the people who sign their checks that they are being dumbasses…are not going to collecting those check for long.

No matter how carefully they phrase their objections so as to avoid actually calling anybody a dumbass. 

But I digress. Rantingly.

Anyway, this was about a month ago – which at the time seemed like an impossibly long time, plenty of time to do anything I could possibly want to do in terms of hand-offs and knowledge-transfers and other such things.


I have exactly three more days of work-time left before I am technically no longer working for this group. And I still have a pile of stuff up to here that hasn’t been handed off, talked about, or otherwise settled in any way.

And there are still a few folks who are very much NOT OK with me leaving.

A few of them are downright annoyed about it.

And a few others are slightly panicked about it. Which is why both last week and today so far have been spent stopping a lot and going, “There, there, no, it’ll be OK, c’mon…you guys can totally handle this, I don’t do that much around here…”

I can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen after I leave; while I’m pretty sure the answer is “nothing, everything will just keep on keeping on, just like it does today,” there’s a part of me that worries that it really won’t.

That this is cutting the team just a little too deeply; that we really are losing “the last” developer on the team who has the intensity to really stay on top of everything our beautiful – but rather demanding and occasionally irrational – application gets up to night and day.

I’m sure I’m wrong. It managed before I came along, I’m sure it will manage after I’ve gone too; and while I’m leaving her a little bit light on the seasoned backend developer / DESIGNER side, well, they weren’t going to let me be that for her anyway.

What will be will be, whether I stay or whether I go.

But of course, all I could ever really do was stand on the sidelines pointing out the cracks and saying, “Right there. There. We need to fix that. That’s a load-bearing wall, you can’t ignore cracks in it. Hello? Is this thing on mute? SEE THAT? RIGHT THERE? THAT IS BAD, VERY VERY BAD, WE NEED TO FIX THAT NOW…what are you doing? that’s going to make it worse, not better, what is wrong with you? hello? you’re ignoring me, aren’t you…ooooookay, and now the DBAs are hollering at us because the damned thing just erupted into flames and fell over…can we please fix the…what are you doing? No, you can’t just slap a patch over it, we need to…holy snot rockets, you’re gonna just patch it so it looks OK, aren’t ya…never mind ME, what do I know about anything, I’ve only been doing this shit for a hair over fifteen YEARS now, what could I POSSIBLY have picked up about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to relational databases…sure, why not, just go ahead and add more RBAR, ignore the space issues, who cares about how the tempdb is doing, WHATEVER, IT’S JUST A RENTED CAR, RIGHT?!

{rips up resume and throws confetti out window – MAZEL TOV!}


My team, I will miss. Dreadfully. And the application, too, because there were so many interesting things we could have done together. We shoulda coulda woulda, if only if only if only.

But I won’t miss any of the things that kept us from doing it.

Not even a little tiny bit.



PipneyJane said...

Good luck in the new role, Tama. I'm sure you'll enjoy it enormously.

- Pam

Ms. Packrat said...

I have this horrid feeling, from prior remarks, that Mega Bank may actually be the firm where my meager savings are deposited and if it weren't for the fact that they are all MegaBanks with this sort of thing inevitably happening everywhere, I'd contemplate moving. But it's probably useless. Hope the new position has considerably less asshattery