Shall we tell a little story? That has a subplot, community service information and better living through chemistry? Oh go on then, why not.

What are you changing?
Who do you think you’re changing?
You can’t change things, we’re all stuck in our ways
It’s like trying to clean the ocean
What do you think you can drain it?
Well it was poison and dry long before you came

Software development then. In the abstract, of course. It isn’t what you would call a nine-to-five tied-to-the-desk-for-those-hours kinda deal. If we were to talk about me, well, I get up with the family, (leaving for work after my eldest has left for his work, though) and am at my desk before seven thirty in the morn. That is just me, if we had to talk about me. I may not be a morning person (despite that previous statement), but I tend to do my best work in the morning. If we were to talk about me at the other end of the day, I tend to leave between half five and six. But enough about me. Back to the talking about software development.

It’s hard to believe your prophets
When they’re asking you to change things
But with their suspect lives we look the other way
Are you really that pure, Sir?
Thought I saw you in Vegas
It was not pretty, but she was

Most programmers don’t need to be in the office for what other desk-jockeys might consider to be core hours. Unless we have a meeting, or a call of some import, the rest of the world need not see us, nor know we even exist. Veritable code gnomes, in fact. But, for perception’s sake (note that phrase, I may use it again), and sociability, we do have some overlap with the nine-to-five-norm-ers. In all my time (and I have to refer to my time here, as the story abstraction seems to have deserted me somewhat at this point, but it will return so I can tangentially disguise what I am talking about) as a coder, I haven’t come across anyone who hasn’t really pulled their weight, shirked their duty nor dossed for extended periods of time. All hard-working, results-producing honey bees the lot of them. Things get done. The code-gnomes hammer the leather of the development shoes, to try and munge some metaphorical children’s tale.

But she will wake up wealthy
And you will wake up 45
And she will wake up with babies
There but for the grace of God, go I

I can summarise the past few paragraphs: I come in early, leave late, get work done. As do others. (NewNewWork generally has a full compliment of coders by 8am, and certainly quorate by nine.) No problem. However, at this point I better drop into obscure references to disguise the meaning. Different teams chill in different ways. One way many programmers find of allowing those mega-branes time to cool down is to involve themselves in a little light deathmatching. Maybe, one might say, something like Quake or one of its many derivatives. Perhaps Quake 3 Arena, it being open source (cheers. ioQuake d00dz) and all. So those who are linux-enabled can join in. This is not an unknown happening in offices up and down the land.

What am I fighting for?
The cops are at the front door
I can’t escape that way, the windows are in flames
And what’s that on your ankle?
You say they’re not coming for you
But house arrest is really just the same

None of this is detrimental to any department. Coders are, by and large, a sensible socks, sandals and bearded lot. They aren’t fourteen, just wanting to play video games all day long. They may play them over lunch, maybe, and say, just before they go home every evening. To wind down, give the brane some space, and laugh at the pitiful attempts of the n00bs (and, as it happens, be ganged up upon by everyone else BUT STILL END UP FIRST.) And, you know, managers see this too. They get the work done, the coders are happy, the company benefits, everyone wins. (Except in Q3A. There can only be one winner.) But the others. Do they see games being played during their core hours and get upset? Do they? But those others aren’t coders.

Like when you wake up behind the bar
Trying to remember where you are
Having crushed all the pretty things
There but for the grace of God, go I

There are those who aren’t coders. There are those who don’t understand what we do. There are those who don’t understand how we do it. There are those who won’t take the time to change their perceptions. There are those who don’t understand. We need the break, the space. And we need this break and space at the SAME TIME EVERYDAY. Change bad, y’see. Don’t make me start counting primes. I don’t wish to say people are petty. It might not be that. I don’t wish to say that people are jealous. It might not be that. But we work differently. We act differently. Yes, there is one rule for you and another for us. Of course there is. How can there not be?

This in no way constitutes me giving in to the negativity, I merely tell the tale. All negativity has been, in the words of the prophetess, restricted. Oh, and as I have went on so much, I won’t continue with the secondary rant.

  1. Ah, yes. The old cry of “.. but they spend all day mucking about ..”. A common misconception by smaller-brained office types.

    I’ve been lucky to have worked for enlightened people. To some extent this is also true of my current job - though politics lurks here, too. It’s OK to work hard; it’s OK to relax - but it’s important to be seen working hard.

    An ex-colleague once announced to the team that if we see him staring out of the window, or sat on the sofa daydreaming, that he is in fact waiting for simple ideas. He encouraged us to do likewise. This, we understood. Management, less so.

    T’will ever be thus.

    Raymond Lesley
    Tue 30 Oct, 4:48PM

  2. Those people who detract you, who envy you, who irritate you (and me)…

    Pay them no mind - i say.
    Hell will never be full til they’re in it - my Dad would have said.

    Nice duck.

    Tue 30 Oct, 5:48PM

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