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Had a definite week from hell... a bunch of prod issues that only I could fix (that's a whole other rant for another day!)... a piece of code totally kicking my ass for days... a hosting environment that was unstable seemingly every time I needed to do something in it (and that killer piece of code could ONLY be properly tested there, naturally!)... a service that my app depends on flaking out with no indication what the problem was and another team responsible for it that is based off-shore so aren't responsive when I need them to be... a metric shit-ton of procedural bullshit dropped on my head... an immense amount of stress due to the lead-up to a prod rollout next month that absolutely CANNOT fail without huge ramifications for the business but not enough help to ensure it gets done.
But, with all that said, I DID manage to get that killer piece of code working late on Friday after slamming my head against the wall for over a week on it (and ultimately re-writing it from the ground-up on Thursday and Friday)... so, the week of hell ended on a high note at least, which is always a Very Good Thing(tm)!2
I HAD typed up a big, long rant... but then I deleted it because as much as I WANT to rant today, I realized I'd prefer to still have a job tomorrow (yeah, I know, could always do a throwaway account, but fuck that). It's just one of those days in paradise.7
I have my IntelliJ builds set up to make either a pleasant ding or an unpleasant gong sound when my build succeeds or fails respectively (it's a multi-minute build, so it helps when I'm off doing other things while waiting on it). I think I'm going to spend all day tomorrow trying to get Nandor from "What We Do In The Shadows" saying something like "Hooray!" and "It is broken" for success and failure. I'll have to re-watch all the episodes so far, but I'll pay that price gladly. I feel like that would make my life immeasurably better and will be well worth my time to my company, right?1
All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by... plus UltraEdit, Directory Opus, and a command prompt!
Writing my 13th tech book... which is nice and all... but this pandemic, plus absolute shit weather for weeks, is hammering my motivation. All I want to do is sit on the couch under a blanket and hammer my Netflix queue. But, I signed a contract, I have deadlines, so gotta get my ass moving (and fight to ensure this lethargy doesn't show up in the prose). As my daughter says: the struggle is real.4
Spend nearly a full eight-hour day working on a piece of code that, while not at all trivial, would have taken probably two hours start to finish if not for the constant stream of interruptions bombarding me...
...but then, 10 minutes before quitting time, build and run it for the first time...
...AND IT FREAKING WORKS!
I'm never more scared than when ~1000 lines of code works the very first time it's run. Makes me want to check if I've signed any documents presented as a "deal" by a guy with a fiddle in a southern state :)8
Server admin: "When do I need to make this config change for you?"
Me (in my head): "You mean the one I put a note in the change request ticket about in ALL CAPS and surrounded by asterisks saying 3pm (aside from the scheduled time field that the ticket requires), and the one we then subsequently chatted about where I reiterated the criticality of the timing about and the one I copied you in the email chain about that said the time in big, bold letters the time? THAT config change?!"
Me (IRL): "3pm, please."
(does not inspire confidence, though better to be asked then they just go off and do it whenever the mood strikes I suppose, which HAS happened)3
This is more just a note for younger and less experienced devs out there...
I've been doing this for around 25 years professionally, and about 15 years more generally beyond that. I've seen a lot and done a lot, many things most developers never will: built my own OS (nothing especially amazing, but still), created my own language and compiler for it, created multiple web frameworks and UI toolkits from scratch before those things were common like they are today. I've had eleven technical books published, along with some articles. I've done interviews and speaking engagements at various user groups, meetups and conferences. I've taught classes on programming. On the job, I'm the guy that others often come to when they have a difficult problem they are having trouble solving because I seem to them to usually have the answer, or at least a gut feel that gets them on the right track. To be blunt, I've probably forgotten more about CS than a lot of devs will ever know and it's all just a natural consequence of doing this for so long.
I don't say any of this to try and impress anyone, I really don't... I say it only so that there's some weight behind what I say next:
Almost every day I feel like I'm not good enough. Sometimes, I face a challenge that feels like it might be the one that finally breaks me. I often feel like I don't have a clue what to do next. My head bangs against the wall as much as anyone and I do my fair share of yelling and screaming out of frustration. I beat myself up for every little mistake, and I make plenty.
Imposter syndrome is very real and it never truly goes away no matter what successes you've had and you have to fight the urge to feel shame when things aren't going well because you're not alone in those feelings and they can destroy even the best of us. I suppose the Torvald's and Carmack's of the world possibly don't experience it, but us mere mortals do and we probably always will - at least, I'm still waiting for it to go away!
Remember that what we do is intrinsically hard. What we do is something not everyone can do, contrary to all the "anyone can code" things people do. In some ways, it's unnatural even! Therefore, we shouldn't expect to not face tough days, and being human, the stress of those days gets to us all and causes us to doubt ourselves in a very insidious way.
But, it's okay. You're not alone. Hang in there and go easy on yourself! You'll only ever truly fail if you give up.44
Use Maven, they said... it's better, they said... you don't have to manage dependencies yourself, they said...
...only now I've spent three days in hell trying to figure out why Maven keeps insisting on sticking INCOMPATIBLE JARs in my WAR that causes a breakage when deployed. No matter what I do it still sticks stuff in the WAR that shouldn't be there!
Like, I'm not a lazy cunt, I can manage my own dependencies! I know what's supposed to be there, oh, and by the way, everything fucking works when I build with Ant instead and I'm in full control of what winds up in the WAR.
So, basically, instead of the "hassle" of having to download JARs myself, I've now got the hassle of dealing with Maven trying to be more clever than me.
I know which I'd rather have, especially right now. ARGH!
You know, any time someone says "this is an industry-standard and that's why you should use it" my first thought is "hmm, which of these buildings is tallest and will ensure a quick death when I inevitably jump off of it?" MOST ESPECIALLY when the company just decides X is what everyone is going to switch to, regardless of what they're using now and regardless of how many YEARS it's been that way and working perfectly. Nope, doesn't matter, just get onboard the freight train, and if your productivity takes a hit, if you start missing deadlines dealing with shit you didn't have to deal with when using the "worse" tools, well, I guess that doesn't fucking matter, does it?!
And that's not even talking about the fact that the Maven build takes almost four minutes, which is just about 4x as long as the Ant build it replaced, each and every fucking time I make a change.
Look, I'm sure there are solutions and I'm sure I'll find them next week because I always do... and I'm sure there's some tweaking we can do to improve the performance... and it's not like this is my first go-round with Maven, though it's probably the most complex project I've ever tried to do with it... by my fucking dear god this is a nightmare, and it's not a nightmare of my choosing.
I'm disgusted, tired and defeated, three things I never get when it comes to technology. Congratulations Maven, you're on the verge of breaking someone who doesn't get broken. Another day like the last three and I'm not gonna need Stackoverflow, I'm gonna need a bus schedule so I can figure out exactly when to step off the fucking sidewalk!10
Just posting on devRant because I have a few hours to kill thanks to another Veracode scan :(
I mean, I could probably go manually read all the source faster than this thing works.