On Monday, my old boss (who’s now a software architect) fussed at me.
She wanted me to do some analysis of old stuff to determine where I should do a particular fix; I wanted to let my PM (“Product Manager”) tell me where he wanted to do it.
She let me know that she thought that I should be acting smarter than I was acting, that my response didn’t “inspire much confidence”, and that she didn’t want my team to hear me talking that way – that that would be a “very big issue”.
I don’t like looking at other people’s complicated stuff.
My immediate response was to tell Ethel that it’s time for me to quit now. Ethel’s immediate response was….less loving and caring than I would have hoped 🙂
So I thanked the ex-boss for pointing that out, and told her that I would take a look at that, and went back to work and did go look at the old stuff.
But that’s not what’s fun for me.
To be honest, I realize that I’m at my best when I’m building something brand new. The high spots of my career have been when I’ve run off and done large designs – pretty much by myself – and then implemented those designs – or, at least a large portion of them – in a white fevered, heads-down nirvana of coding.
What I’m NOT good at is looking at other people’s code and figuring out what they were thinking – especially when the code isn’t documented, or there’s no design document or other supporting stuff.
Now, I’m willing to admit that, probably, that’s what MOST developers are good at. I think that most of us want to do new stuff, instead of fixing old stuff; better at coding new than fixing old, or troubleshooting “why does this code WORK, but not work FAST?”
And the worst part is that, for the next six months, my team doesn’t have any new feature work – it’s all “technical debt” (performance enhancements or retrofits) or “production support” (yep – BUGS).
Well, they pay us to work precisely because it’s not fun, I reckon – but it’s more fun when it’s fun, and it’s a lot less fun when it’s frustrating – or even terrifying. So here I go.
Then, this morning, during my quiet time, I was reading some Emmet Fox, where he said that if one is not getting a particular problem solved through prayer, it probably means that there’s some unforgiveness going on – something between me and God that needs to be addressed.
I’ve read that passage a lot; but this morning, I said, “Okay, gee – if that’s the case, what could it be?” And I was only able to think of one situation as still being “unforgiven” – seemed like I’d been able to forgive the individual parties just fine, once I’d found my part, but that that situation kept coming to mind
It was when I got fired from Go Daddy.
So I looked at that situation again, afresh. And I had a new realization.
When I changed jobs, from Performance Engineering to Development, I thought I was doing it because development was more fun, and I knew that Performance Engineering was changing; when I went to work at GD, I was the “Performance Engineering” department, and had invented my own job, and was at the top of my game – presenting at TechFest, mentoring loadtest efforts by the individual teams, and generally had it my own way.
But I realized that I’d been out of development for years, and that I was, at heart, a developer – so I prayed and consulted, and took a job that, as it turned out, didn’t fit – in a team where I didn’t fit, with a culture that didn’t fit me.
And got fired, two years later – with all the turmoil that resulted, lifestyle changes, and lost of a lot of stock options.
So, this morning, I took another look at that situation, and BAM got hit in the face.
When I said that “Performance Engineering was changing”, I now realize that my boss had said that my role, as it was, wasn’t going to exist anymore – that, instead of being the Load Test guy, with Loadrunner and Webload skills, a growing library of tests and routines that I had written, and a growing corp of Junior LoadTest Engineers asking me for advice…
…that I’d be moving into a role that was much more proactive; analyzing and troubleshooting code and architectures from all these different teams, using a set of skills and tools that was all about analysis and troubleshooting and triage, rather than building stuff with tools that I knew.
And then I realized that my boss, eight years ago, was presenting me with the same set of choices that my ex-boss was fussing at me about on Monday.
And I had chosen to run away.
Well, I’m certainly willing to run away again – but now I’m in northern Montana, where there are no other jobs to run to, and I now have a MUCH more limited skill set, having used a proprietary development platform for the last 5.5 years. So the only running away that I can do, is to retirement.
And Ethel wasn’t in favor of that.
I would spend more time talking about this now, but I can’t – I have to go fix a bug. Then work on some performance enhancements.