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Search - "volunteering"
tl;dr; I've worked 117.5h/week for a month because of a project lead that doesn't understand what I do despite countless attempts at explaining
So, once a year I do this large project for a voluntary organization, it takes me about 80h (and this is of course on top of my normal work and voluntary engagement (60-80h/week))
This year, I realized I don't have as much spare time as I used to, so I emailed the project lead several months in advance like "hey, you know that I do all my work on this before the rest of you start working on it, and you know I need you to sit down for about an hour and put together the list of things I need to know to get this done properly. Could you please do that a bit earlier than usual, a week or two extra would make a big difference", they replied "absolutely, no problem!"
Time went by, and about two weeks before I wanted that info I emailed a small reminder. Shit me not, a month later, after a countless amount of reminders I finally get a half finnished version of the list I need, note that this is two weeks before I'm supposed to be done. Which is fine, it's the usual timespan, not what I hoped for as I hoped for an extra two weeks, but not too late either.
Then shit starts to happen
I reply to the list I've gotten with some requests for the project lead to complete some of the information, to which I receive multiple replies with different answers to the same questions, okay, that's fine, I'll just use the last answer.(?)
So, I finnish the thing on time, clocking out on a total of 117.5h of work per week, two weeks in a row. Still fine, it's just two weeks.
I arrive at the release meeting, and is greeted by the project lead handing me two papers with the words "we haven't been able to look through your work yet to make sure it's like we want it, but we sat down yesterday and here's a list of how we want things to be". So I remind them that the thing is supposed to be done that day, and that it takes me 80h to redo, and those papers will require me to redo everything from scratch. To which the project lead responds "but it doesn't have to be finnished until December, right?"
That is not true, not at all, in any way.
See, there are 600 people that depend on this project, and they need, yes, need to be able to access it from the day it's launched every year. That is an absolute requirement.
So after trying to tell this project lead, for multiple years, how much time I devote to this project (for free) every year, during a short period of time, and after trying countless times to explain why it has to be done when the project is released, I became quite irritated.
So, during the two weeks that have passed since, I've been receiving about 200 emails from people wondering why the thing isn't finished yet and why they can't use it. (forwarded every single one of them to the project lead) and have been redoing it all during the past two weeks, from scratch.
I'm finally done, I released it yesterday, finally! I accompanied it with a bitter email to the project lead.
Because seriously, this is the worst respect for both my time and the people that should use the project's time in all of those years I've been doing this. This year, I've been ignored multiple times; they've shat on my work because it didn't live up to their expectations, even tough they never told me their expectations; I've been misinformed etc.
And now it's starting to get to me, this is the first weekend in a month when I've been able to shut down my laptop, sit down, drink a cup of tea, read a fricking book, chat with some friends etc, and most importantly, sleep. Signs of the stress I've had for a month now is starting to remind themselves.
And there's this little though nagging me in the back of my head: if the project lead would've worked for an hour in September I would've had to do half the job I ended up doing, on double the time. I hate realizing that they don't give a shit about my part of this, even tough I do half the work.
Then why do I continue, year after year? Because I feel that those 600 people that benefit from this really deserve it! But why does there have to be a dick project lead in the middle that makes me feel sick working on the thing I love the most!
So, as I'm not really used to ranting like this, i have to add that I really have no point with this rant. Just had to get it off my chest!13
I had been a "hobby" programmer for well over a decade, with my primary career being in repair or a "technician". I had taught myself dozens of languages because it was fun, but never really accomplished much.
I was laid off from my job as a technician and I found myself listless and without purpose. I started doing development again on random things to pass the time and I ended up volunteering as a developer for a game I had played for years.
At the same time I had an uncle who encouraged me to consider software as a career. These two things gave me the confidence to apply for a local software job I saw on Indeed.
They called me pretty quickly, and I was brutally honest. "No, I don't have a degree. I'm self-taught. I have no professional experience really."
I got a proficiency exam anyway and I took it - apparently doing well enough on it that the CTO called me a week later. We had a long talk and I finally asked him why he called me.
He told me that while a degree means something, the passion to learn this job means more to him. It was a month before I was offered the position, and I graciously accepted it.
We had a call about my compensation before starting. It was rather low, but we both agreed that my skill level was quite an unknown.
A year later and my pay was bumped up a sizable amount. My skills are defined now and growing rapidly as new challenges are sent my way. I went from a naive hobbyist to a professional in a short period of time.
I realized that I was always a professional. I had a desire to learn and a desire to do things the right way. I may not have known what to call things. I didn't know some of the design patterns I had used over the years were standards that had names and meaning.
I basically work two jobs now. My full-time job and also on the game that helped propel my career forward and gave me the confidence to reach for it.
As for my hobby? I turned to electronics and the maker community. It's a nice marriage with my programming skill set, and I never knew how rewarding a blinking LED would be. :)4
Just went to the pet asylum to look for a cat. There was a shy black one (eh, maybe not a good first but Moar Blacker, Moar Better 😋) and a black and white one which was very open towards me.
Probably I'll get the latter, and build some food, water and litter dispenser systems for it with motors and my esp8266 boards 🙂
The lady who was volunteering there and showed me around had an interesting story though.
Apparently both of those aforementioned cats were wild cats (so they don't come from a proper household or anything). Except that black and white one which apparently came from some rather retarded people.. think average Facebook user.
According to her those previous owners came there with 2 cats including the black and white one as "extremely wild, we found them in the forest, put them in cages (because everyone carries cat cages in their car every day, right?) and brought them here". Nice excuse for average Facebook user level of retard I have to say 😜 but it's not very waterproof, you know?
But on average the people that they get there are even worse than that.. some get a great initial meeting with a cat, but then leave them there because they don't like the stripes on a paw or something stupid like that. As she put it: "you're not fitting pants in a clothing shop, are you?! 😑"
Had to try hard to not burst out in laughter from that description 😂
Point is, the average customers there are awful.. apparently she was very grateful to have a rather down-to-earth customer like me and my home supervisor (who helpfully drove me there 🙂) for once. So terrible clients.. they're everywhere!
It really taught me to be mindful of the hardships of people in any profession who deal with clients.18
The entire reason I became a developer was so that I could one day build something that I can say has/had a handful of users, that I could build something that helped save someone's life, that helped someone in their time of need.
That reason was fulfilled when I built my only successful and proudest project during a cold night in 2011. I was 16 at the time, and here in South India, there was a major cyclone affecting a portion of our country (Chennai/Tamil Nadu). A lot of my family were in affected areas, and I didn't know what I could do being so far away (around 400kms/250mi away, in Bangalore).
I stayed up all night to build what was then known as ChennaiRains.org. It was a simple website, a directory and a safe house for everyone's information. Whoever needed help, whoever was ready to give help, whoever was volunteering their travel, their time. I didn't think it would help much. I just wanted to make a small difference.
Next morning, after the hangover of the all-nighter I pulled faded away, I see that the website went viral after a few shares on Twitter. The community was so supportive of my little project to help my family and friends. It caught a peak traffic of a million users overnight, no ads, no money made from this, I just earned the experience of a lifetime. It eventually helped a lot of people in need, connected a lot of volunteers and victims.
It has been the epitome of my life. It's the reason I still develop applications to-date, even if they are simple. Somewhere out there, someone needs it, and I want to be able to help to them :)4
@localhost Here's the setup I use when volunteering at my church. Room for another developer but when it's just me I use synergy on both machines. Not always by the all the windows. The wheels make it easy to go anywhere in the building.8
During my first year of working, I was offered to work part-time at another company. I actually took it to my supervisor and asked for his advice.
He began with a sigh, he knows that I like programming so much and wants the job because I wanna do more programmings. He gathered his thoughts and said calmly, "Look, I cannot stop you if you want to, but think about this, you already are doing programming for five days a week here. Take those extra times you have to develop other parts of yourself. Go learn public speaking or something" or something along that line.
I gave it a deep thought, took the advice, and rejected the offer. I eventually went on to commit myself on volunteering for the next two and a half years, and secured a promotion about a year from that conversation because my supervisor sees improvements in my communications with others and my soft skills in general (unlike programming, you can't volunteer in an organisation without speaking to people).
Sometimes we programmers only wanna code that we forget that what we're building are for humans and involves other humans. You wanna be the best at work? Try to grow on your horizontal axis, too.1
Another client thinking we are volunteering clairvoyant devs. They don't say so in the mail exchange that their problem isn't fully resolved yet, and then call annoyedly that this absolutely can't wait until tomorrow. And they don't want a a service level agreement either that specifies we guarantee a certain response time. Yep, this is totally how things work.2
Seeing how cool the community's work stories here, and how they know a lot and how they work in organized companies makes me feel like an absolute piece of shit who's lacking a lot of industry skills.
Remotely working for a startup that lacks any sense of organization, CTO is a volunteering web developer who never shows up. A lone wolf I am. I never signed to be a lone wolf. A product that is based on an absolute garbage product that is in turn based on another utter garbage product. It feels so much pain every time I have to deal with that garbage that I end up watching some stupid anime instead. Decent salary for a junior, very friendly people, and a very empowering non-profit cause but still... technical side is just shit and I don't think I can keep with this.
I'm currently volunteering as a student assistant at my school, and today I've gotten the same question 20x. What question do you ask: "Why doesn't ^ return the power of the 2 numbers?"
It turns out that last week they've had a Math class from a new teacher (no programming experience) who said that if you want the power of 2 numbers you have to use the ^ operator...
If you don't know how to program, please don't teach it!5
About slightly more than a year ago I started volunteering at the local general students committee. They desperately searched for someone playing the role of both political head of division as well as the system administrator, for around half a year before I took the job.
When I started the data center was mostly abandoned with most of the computational power and resources just laying around unused. They already ran some kvm-hosts with around 6 virtual machines, including a cloud service, internally used shared storage, a user directory and also 10 workstations and a WiFi-Network. Everything except one virtual machine ran on GNU/Linux-systems and was built on open source technology. The administration was done through shared passwords, bash-scripts and instructions in an extensive MediaWiki instance.
My introduction into this whole eco-system was basically this:
"Ever did something with linux before? Here you have the logins - have fun. Oh, and please don't break stuff. Thank you!"
Since I had only managed a small personal server before and learned stuff about networking, it-sec and administration only from courses in university I quickly shaped a small team eager to build great things which would bring in the knowledge necessary to create something awesome. We had a lot of fun diving into modern technologies, discussing the future of this infrastructure and simply try out and fail hard while implementing those ideas.
Today, a year and a half later, we look at around 40 virtual machines spiced with a lot of magic. We host several internal and external services like cloud, chat, ticket-system, websites, blog, notepad, DNS, DHCP, VPN, firewall, confluence, freifunk (free network mesh), ubuntu mirror etc. Everything is managed through a central puppet-configuration infrastructure. Changes in configuration are deployed in minutes across all servers. We utilize docker for application deployment and gitlab for code management. We provide incremental, distributed backups, a central database and a distributed network across the campus. We created a desktop workstation environment based on Ubuntu Server for deployment on bare-metal machines through the foreman project. Almost everything free and open source.
The whole system now is easily configurable, allows updating, maintenance and deployment of old and new services. We reached our main goal for this year which was the creation of a documented environment which is maintainable by one administrator.
Although we did this in our free-time without any payment it was a great year with a lot of experience which pays off now.
Well I was laid off at my last company with 6 weeks paid holiday at the end of my employment - since one of my hobbies is volunteering at the red cross as paramedic / ambulance driver, I was on duty quite often in those 6 weeks but since this job does not pay well, I had to look for something different and so I did - after those 6 weeks.
I found one quite nice job posting online at 1 am in the morning, sent my application out at 2 am and went to bed as I had a 12 hours shift at that day. I didn't really think that I'd get a reply but at 6 pm I got a call, talked to the guy and he asked me if I could come in the next day and talk to him in person and show him some stuff I did lately. I didn't really have projects to show as most of my previous work was under a NDA and so I just developed a small blog engine to show off (the main thing he wanted to see was my coding style). So I went there at 7:15pm , talked to them and at 10pm I got the contract - I signed the contract about 48 hours after I applied to the job :)2
Any one attending Google devfest,New Delhi ?
You'd find me volunteering for track 2.
We can have a Delhi Devrant meet-up!26
Ended up dong an internship for my school (not really internship, more along the lines of formal volunteering, but whatever) helping set up laptops for a statewide standardized assessment.
I made a program to log the machine's identifying info (Serial, MAC addresses, etc), renames it, joins it to the school's Active Directory, and takes notes on machines, which gets dumped into a csv file.
Made the classic rookie mistake of backing things up occasionally, but not often enough. Accidentally nuked the flash drive with the data on it, and spent a good while learning data recovery and how grep works.
Lesson Learned? Back up frequently and back up everything
I was volunteering outside my country through an association that sends you to startups that are related to your studies.
It was a three month stay, and my first time out of the country, so it was exciting and scary.
On my last month, I checked LinkedIn (it's been months since I logged in) and I had a message from a week ago, by some dude with a startup of webdev and marketing located in my home country and home city.
I replied saying that I usually don't log into LI and that I was interested in the job, sent my CV. Days went by and I had no answer back and I was like "Damn, why me? I really wanted the job". Last week of my trip I got a message back from him, telling that he was interested and that it would be awesome to talk when I got back to my city.
When I arrived, a week went by before he called me and confirm the first interview. When I went to the interview, we talked about the job, what was needed and that he didn't have to test me because he was confident on what we've talked previously that I was competent enough.
Needless to say, it's been a month and two weeks since I began and I couldn't be happier, it's not the bad ass company anyone would like to work for, but they have an awesome team, they are comprehensible and it's growing fast.
Never volunteer to be a on a board with only developers, the biggest issue this year has been coffee. God damn, I thought we'd be able to do something productive
Working with AI & ML, creating BlockChain apps with KYC. Working on projects worth of 30 milion US dollars for US clients. Got rejected from Serbian company for volunteering in help for they're services security fix.
EMT / Paramecdic. It won't even be such a change since I'm already volunteering at the red cross and spending about 24 hours per week in as an EMT/ ambulance driver (as an addition to my 9-5 job)