When I grow up

Inspired by a link sent to me by a good friend (thanks, Jon), I wrote this in response...

When I grow up, I want to be a software engineer. I want to sit in a cubicle all day with headphones on, dreaming up brilliant solutions to the wrong problems. I want to spend 90% of my time fixing my own mistakes, and the rest of the time complaining about everyone else's. I want to spend all day rebooting my computer repeatedly to try and work around a problem that's Microsoft's fault, only to be told by their tech support that my data is unrecoverable and I should have backed it up more frequently than once daily. I want to be told how to do my job by people who have never done it. I want to be asked to give a two-week estimate to a four-week task, and then be reprimanded when the job "slips" to three. I want to learn a new bit of trivial nonsense every day, I want 50% of what I know to become obsolete every six months, I want to completely re-invent myself every couple of years – and I want to do this while competing with people half my age who have no life outside of their job. I want to work on chaotic skunkworks that do produce real solutions to the right problems but get no respect. I want to work on behemoth projects with reams of paperwork per line of useless code. I want to work long unpaid hours because it's built into the schedule. I want to be consumed with minutiae, and yet responsible for the "big picture." I want to spend three days on a problem only to find out I had an "i" where I should have had an "I". I want to ship products, under pressure, with hundreds of documented flaws and hundreds more that are known but undocumented, and then I want to stand behind my work in front of the person who signs my check. I want to slam my forehead into a wall repeatedly.

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