Becoming Bill Lumbergh After Ridiculing His Type

Backseat driving a Software Developer

David Asch
Career Paths

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Gary Cole as Bill Lumbergh in Office Space (1999), giving passive aggressive advice to a worker.
Micromanaging like Bill Lumbergh. Gary Cole in Office Space (1999). Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

The only thing worse than a disengaged CEO is ours, who slavishly but haphazardly pummels the company’s software product and grouses about an error only he can reproduce.

The CEO is kind-hearted and won’t complain directly to the software developers. So, he grumbles to me, the acting Chief Technical Officer, and I bellyache to the software developers.

Classic Ronald Reagan trickle-down economics.

Becoming insufferable

An exasperated software developer walks me through his code, demonstrating all the logging he’s implemented to catch the null pointer exception our CEO keeps encountering.

The log files indicate the presence of a null pointer, but its cause remains a mystery. In the code, I spot an array with an index value that appears to be a string. When I question it, the developer politely informs me that it’s a key-value lookup structure that didn’t exist 35 years ago when I was a ‘C’ programmer.

The moment I uttered my “helpful” debugging advice, I experienced déjà vu all over again, to quote Yogi Berra.

I became like the people I used to ridicule.

“I thought our software was…

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David Asch
Career Paths

Founder of the Management Consulting Company https://10xPrinciples.com. Available for consulting, podcasts, and speaking engagements.