The six stages of grief (bug fixing)


As a life-long developer, I’ve had my fair share of code errors and tragic “improvements” come across my desk. But as a functioning member of this global community of masochists. I would like to share my tried and true method to dealing with these requests in the healthiest way possible.

1. Denial & Isolation

I get that we want to write great code all the time. But in a world with non-developers and people using IE 9, that is not a reality. When you get a bug report from a client or PM the first step should always be to delete your JIRA account, sign out of slack and tell yourself that this isn’t happening. You’re 100% sure that this is just an issue with their network or firewall. You may even flush the server cache and proudly declare that it’s fixed forever.

2. Anger

“You know what, this is so typical of <client>, always getting in over their heads and making it our problem!”

Yea, we don’t need clients, why can’t they just be happy that they have a website? Why does it magically have to work all the damn time? In this Orwellian 2017 of terror, we can’t always get what we want so just stop touching the damn site already.

3. More Anger

Since the client isn’t around to be your personal punching bag, its time to start lashing out at every man, woman and child you’ve developed a relationship with over the course of your adult life. The more personal the attack, the quicker you will get through this phase and don’t you dare stop to consider the consequences of this totally reasonable melt down.

At this point you can start feverishly pushing code to your production server with vague, angry commit messages in hopes that the server will realize the gravity of the situation and get its shit together.

4. Alcohol

Did any of your Hail Mary CSS changes that fix your javascript bug? Didn’t think so. Before you do the ol’ git rm -rf and thank your boss for the time you’ve shared, you might as well go out with a buzz.

It’s time to take an extended lunch break at 10:30 AM at the darkest dive bar you can find. One where the bartender can’t see the tears as you cry into your cocktail. Maybe there will be a snake infestation or mass food poisoning at the office while you’re gone and you can take the rest of the day off.

PROTIP: Leave your phone on your desk to get everyone up to your level of sheer panic. Not being around to look at those emails will save your battery and maybe your boss will think you’ve been abducted and let you off the hook!

5. Pornography

When humans encounter a stressful situation, its typical to fall back to our basic instincts.

When you’re talking about the modern web developer trapped in an impossible situation, this involves browsing hardcore smut in your hip open-floor-plan web shop. The dirtier the better. The kind of shit that would make even the creepiest sysadmin uncomfortable. Anything to get as far away from a critical thinking mindset as you can.

6. Acceptance

With your career ruined and your professional network burned to the ground its time to look to stack overflow for help. There you will quickly find someone who has been through a similar spirit quest and has come out the other end enlightened.

With borrowed code in hand you can quickly patch this life-wrecking bug and right the sinking ship, proving that you are in fact a titan walking amongst mere mortals.

Its been a crazy few hours, I’ll admit. But with the website working and your co-workers having a group cry to escape the horrors they’ve witnessed, you are well within your rights to take the rest of the day off.

11:00 AM comes bright and early, and you need your beauty sleep in case another client has the balls to break their website.

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