Do all the things like ++ or -- rants, post your own rants, comment on others' rants and build your customized dev avatarSign Up
Get a devDuck
Rubber duck debugging has never been so cute! Get your favorite coding language devDuckBuy Now
Search - "...work up the nerve to write this"
I’m kind of pissy, so let’s get into this.
My apologies though: it’s kind of scattered.
For @Root? Fucking never.
Maybe if I wanted to be a business major my mother might have cared. Maybe the other one (whom I call Dick because fuck him, and because it’s accurate) would have cared if I suddenly wanted to become a mechanic. But in both cases, I really doubt it. I’d probably just have been berated for not being perfect, or better at their respective fields than they were at 3x my age.
Support being a dev?
Not even a little.
I had hand-me-down computers that were outmoded when they originally bought them: cutting-edge discount resale tech like Win95, 33/66mhz, 404mb hd. It wouldn’t even play an MP3 without stuttering.
(The only time I had a decent one is when I built one for myself while in high school. They couldn’t believe I spent so much money on what they saw as a silly toy.)
Using a computer for anything other than email or “real world” work was bad in their eyes. Whenever I was on the computer, they accused me of playing games, and constantly yelled at me for wasting my time, for rotting in my room, etc. We moved so often I never had any friends, and they were simply awful to be around, so what was my alternative? I also got into trouble for reading too much (seriously), and with computers I could at least make things.
If they got mad at me for any (real or imagined) reason (which happened almost every other day) they would steal my things, throw them out, or get mad and destroy them. Desk, books, decorations, posters, jewelry, perfume, containers, my chair, etc. Sometimes they would just steal my power cables or network cables. If they left the house, they would sometimes unplug the internet altogether, and claim they didn’t know why it was down. (Stealing/unplugging cables continued until I was 16.) If they found my game CDs, those would disappear, too. They would go through my room, my backpack and its notes/binders/folders/assignments, my closet, my drawers, my journals (of course my journals), and my computer, too. And if they found anything at all they didn’t like, they would confront me about it, and often would bring it up for months telling me how wrong/bad I was. Related: I got all A’s and a B one year in high school, and didn’t hear the end of it for the entire summer vacation.
It got to the point that I invented my own language with its own vocabulary, grammar, and alphabet just so I could have just a little bit of privacy. (I’m still fluent in it.) I would only store everything important from my computer on my only Zip disk so that I could take it to school with me every day and keep it out of their hands. I was terrified of losing all of my work, and carrying a Zip disk around in my backpack (with no backups) was safer than leaving it at home.
I continued to experiment and learn whatever I could about computers and programming, and also started taking CS classes when I reached high school. Amusingly, I didn’t even like computers despite all of this — they were simply an escape.
Around the same time (freshman in high school) I was a decent enough dev to actually write useful software, and made a little bit of money doing that. I also made some for my parents, both for personal use and for their businesses. They never trusted it, and continually trashtalked it. They would only begrudgingly use the business software because the alternatives were many thousands of dollars. And, despite never ever having a problem with any of it, they insisted I accompany them every time, and these were often at 3am. Instead of being thankful, they would be sarcastically amazed when nothing went wrong for the nth time. Two of the larger projects I made for them were: an inventory management system that interfaced with hand scanners (VB), and another inventory management system for government facility audits (Access). Several websites, too. I actually got paid for the Access application thanks to a contract!
To put this into perspective, I was selected to work on a government software project about a year later, while still in high school. That didn’t impress them, either.
They continued to see computers as a useless waste of time, and kept telling me that I would be unemployable, and end up alone.
When they learned I was dating someone long-distance, and that it was a she, they simply took my computer and didn’t let me use it again for six months. Really freaking hard to do senior projects without a computer. They begrudgingly allowed me to use theirs for schoolwork, but it had a fraction of the specs — and some projects required Flash, which the computer could barely run.
Between the constant insults, yelling, abuse (not mentioned here), total lack of privacy, and the theft, destruction, etc. I still managed to teach myself about computers and programming.
In short, I am a dev despite my parents’ best efforts to the contrary.32
Wrote my friend Sam a letter when I was still working in support. I think it still holds up today.
I understand that you will join us in our overseas office. Congratulations on landing that job. It’s good steady work. I’ve been doing it for the last ten years.
Your still young so maybe I can give you some little wisdom that will help you in your working years to come.
Let me begin by shedding some light on phone calls.
I try. I really do try Sam. But it is getting so hard for me to hold back the rage that builds up during certain phone calls. Especially the ‘Sorry, I just don’t know anything about computers! -giggle-’ ones.
Those are the times that I have no access to what they see. I’ve no team-viewer, can not take over that screen in any other way. And why-oh-why can I not take over that terminal session dear Sam? It’s because the caller can not double-click an icon or find a terminal session number.
And what is the reason for this? Because they ‘just don’t know anything about computers! -giggle-’. This is a sort of get-out-of-jail-free card. Beware of these callers Sam.
There is nothing so nerve-wrecking then finding yourself at the mercy of people describing Internet Explorer (do not even get me started) as ‘the big ‘E’, if they use Chrome for their webmail then they most likely will say ‘Mail’ if they mean Chrome. There is no logic Sam. That is just the way these people work.
They will suck all enjoyment out of your work. They will make you want to hunt them down in dark office hallways and show them your tears Sam. Because cry you will.
Sure, I understand that not everyone can be tech savvy. Why, if everyone would be, where would that leave us? No. I love the technologically challenged. They put the fiber in my internet. They make me LOL for real. After the initial anger subsides anyway.
But just below that well-willing folk, on the other side of that border… there they dwell: Management.
Nice cars, suits and iphones Sam. First thing a new manager will require is a brand spanking new business-card. It will hold his/her new title. Then an iphone or overpriced android model will follow suit.
Then they will barge into your office, holding it like it’s the next best thing since sliced bread.
Any manager will automatically assume that you will drop anything you are doing at the present moment to acknowledge the presence of greatness. Failing to do so will result in awkward yet fulfilling situations. I recommend that you do not take your hands of the keyboard and give only the slightest of nods after 5 minutes of complete silence and glaring.
Well… you feel the glare. You do not glare yourself. You do not break eye-contact with the monitor. It does not even matter if you are typing for real or not. I once clicked away happily for 5 minutes. I just typed ‘he is still there’ over and over again. Do not break down Sam. This moment will decide your relationship with this individual.
After the nod there will be a flood of words aimed in your general direction. You can disregard anything that is said. It boils down to ‘can not operate device’.
You then take the device from this person and put it next to you on your desk. You’ll ask the name of this simpleton, write it down on a sticky-note, slap that on the phone. Then you’ll write a random date in the not so near future on another sticky and hand that to the bewildered person in front of you.
It will usually utter some incoherent words about ‘needing, time or but’ (I find that ‘but’is a word they like. They tend to use it three or four times consecutive before you usher them through the door).
Now you’ve won Sam. Well… not really. But it will feel good, I can guarantee that.
This must do for now. A new suit is glaring at me for the last five minutes.
Felt good to do something productive with this time.
P.s. I just noticed that there is some foam around his mouth. So if you encounter this, don’t worry: it seems to be perfectly normal.13