Solving Problems by Avoidance
Have you ever laughed hard at a good joke? Sometimes it’s just you, other times, it’s you and a bunch of other people sharing this joke, whatever the case, a good joke is always a good joke…unless of course, the jokes on you.
One of such jokes was this phone call I was on at the moment — “Yes Ma’am, it won’t be a problem, I’d have to take down the current site, remove the unneeded subdomains and upload the new one.”, I tried to explain in the lamest of terms possible. “Okay, okay, that is fine, what do you need?”, you know how you learn a lot about a person just from a simple phone conversation? I learned in the few minutes that passed that the woman on the other end of the phone was always in a rush.
For developers, getting a “job” or project to work on can come from one of two ways — “Hello, Is this Simon? I heard you build websites”…“Hello, I’m Simon (sorry Simons all over the world.), I am a software developer with a huge amount of experience I won’t want to bore you with, I build websites, mobile apps, I can build nations for the right amount, plus, I can bake really good cakes. The point is, I’m broke, any project at all, just throw it at me…please, I beg you.”
This job was the former.
“I’d just need access to the servers.”. “What access? what servers?” She asked, utterly confused. I sighed, I had almost forgotten who I was talking to. “I would need ALL the login details to ALL the sites” I rephrased. “Oh, ask Steve, he has all of those.”.
Steve was the last guy that worked on the site.
“I already did, Steve says all of the details are in your email.”
“Well, I don’t know how to find it there, just log in and do what you need to do.” She retorted.
“Ma’am, I need the details to log in. I cannot do anything if I cannot log in to your server, I cannot log in to your server if I do not have access to the details”. At this point, I was beginning to get irritated. Was she expecting me to use my telekinesis powers to gain access to the servers? I got to my PC, holding down the phone to my ear with my shoulder I pulled up my Resume, perused through just to be sure I didn’t accidentally put in “Has impeccable superpowers” somewhere in my skill sets. Nope, Nothing.
“Ma’am, can I at least have access to your email or the email it was registered with so I can find the details for you? Cause I asked Steve and he doesn’t have it.”
The next thing I heard from the other end of the phone, was going to stay with me forever.
“I don’t remember this fact. Steve handled everything.
Hack into the website and then reset it.
The Russians did not need login details to hack into America’s system. So please, do what you have to do to get us moving.”
“Sorry, What?” I stuttered. “Yes, Hack the servers” She confidently replied.
“Unfortunately ma’am, I’m not John Skeet, and even if I was, this would take more of our time. We’ll need to ask the right persons for the correct details so we don’t keep going back and forth. I’ve asked Steve and he doesn’t have it.”
“Alright, I’ll call you back.” She dropped the call.
She apparently missed the reference I made to John Skeet ( aka The Chuck Norris of Programming ). In case you also missed the reference:
The “Chuck Norris of programming” — a nickname inspired by an internet meme — has become a cult figure for thousands of computer programmers, to the extent he is occasionally pestered for selfies in his Berkshire home town. — BBC
He holds the top number of “reputation” points on StackOverflow — and has given well over 34,000 unrefutable answers on StackOverflow. So much so that some users joke: “When you search for “guru” on Google it says “Did you mean Jon Skeet?”
The problem with our job as software developers are people, tend to think we’re some sort of “Computer head” and can solve ANY problem and even when there’s none, they’d create problems and throw them at you. Developers sometimes tend to feel all great and mighty and enjoy taking on ANY challenge even unnecessary ones.
Here’s the gist: Don’t get into one if you don’t have to.
You’re a problem solver, and sometimes, the only way to solve a problem is to not get into it.
Even John Skeet would give an upvote to this. lol