Just a Programmer

Sometimes people ask me what I do for a living. Usually I tend to pause and think, real hard, becuase the people asking me this aren’t programmers. They use computers, but are mostly limited to a Windows machine, writing in MS Word and browsing the Internet, mostly for Facebook.

I often start off with: “It’s a bit complicated to explain … “, by which time I’ve lost most of the people in the room listening to me. Sometimes I say: “I’m a software architect.”, because people seem to know what architects do for a living, they draw houses, design stuff and drive SAAB’s. Much like dentists. The prefix “software” however does confuse people.

In reality I’m just a programmer with a little bit more responsibility. A day starts with coming in to the office, or sitting down in my home office, connecting to the company VPN, meanwhile planning loosely the day and my goals. All while checking status of e-mail, our IRC channel and the issue tracker for any recently reported/updated issues in my fields of responsibility. Somewhere around there I have a pretty good idea about what must be done and in what order. So I write it down, in no particular order, on folded A4 sheets I use for TODO lists and start working. About 20 minutes into that, when I’ve just reached The Zone, I get interrupted for an impromptu meeting, or telco, which in turn always leads to another meeting, which in turn runs over and suddenly it’s 16:00 (4 pm) and I have 45 minutes to complete a days work before picking up the kids from school.

Or … you can apply that same crazy to a day when trying to fix a simple bug, finding another horrbile bug and fixing that first, leading to a minor redesign in need of a refactor, which in turn gives me a pain to merge since during the time I tried fixing that minor bug my collegues have done multiple changes to the same files I’ve been working on.

That’s what I do for a living. And yes, I know it’s not sustainable work conditions. I’m working on that, it’s on the TODO list …