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29 July 2003 @ 05:36 pm
One more thing they don't teach CS majors at college.  
At work, I often have to say "no". Somebody may come to me with an idea, request, or demand, and I will have to explain why it won't be done. Unlike college professors, managers often have NO clue about what is feasable, and just know what they want.

School teachers select projects that they know are feasable, but challenging. Well, the good ones do. Work projects range from the ludicrously easy to the simply impossible, going through many, many shades of intractable. Slowly, I've learned not to promise anything until I have a good idea how the task can be accomplished. If I think it is going to be far more difficult or slow than the manager intended, I have to tell them up-front. Make sure your manager knows how hard you will have to work, make sure they know what is difficult or nearly impossible.

They will ask you for software that can cure cancer, send and receive email, automatically update itself, send pages to the sysadmin when it breaks, balance their checkbook, answer the phone and purr like a kitten. It's your job to disabuse them of their mistaken notions of what is simple, so that when you deliver your best effort it is slightly better than they expected. Then, add in something simple and unasked for like tooltips or sortable DHTML tables to give them a pleasant surprise.
(Deleted comment)
St. Sean the Amusedseanb on July 29th, 2003 05:42 pm (UTC)
Well, I usually just double it. Still, it's enough for the "miracle-worker" reputation.
Auto-defenestration has never been this funm00t on July 29th, 2003 10:15 pm (UTC)
I *REALLY* hated that about my job at ImageX. I often had 5 projects running at once, 3 or 4 of them solo projects that lasted 2 - 3 weeks for upper management that I don't get to say no to. They'd come to me with a list of demands and I'd say "I'm really busy (on the project that will make or break this company that all the other devs are workong on) can you maybe hold off on it for a couple weeks?"
So they'd bug my manager.
And they'd tell me to squeeze it into my schedule.

Then the DBA would get irate when I asked him to add an index to a very large table in order to prevent the query (which they'd surely run once a minute to get 'up to the moment' data) from destroying the live database.

Then they'd stick me on proprietary shit (WebMethods) that DIDN'T WORKWERIQ#$YOU#$ until 8 phone calls and 15 patches later [and that was just the thin client].

So yeah. I was somewhat frustrated at times.

Pages to the sysadmin isn't so hard as long as you've got access to a mail package in some form or another. Just tlel the sysadmin to get a pager that has an email address:)


<img src="sean.jpg" title="This is what owns you.">

The End.
GryMorgrymor on July 30th, 2003 01:17 pm (UTC)
Hmm, sending email is easy enough, receiving it is a bit more anoying (and probably a bad idea), autoupdate is dangerouse, balance their checkbook?!? Answering the phone is easy, doing it usefully (provideing a response other than the "I'm a modem and I'm ok!" tone) is hard. Purring like a kitten? Not so hard, but probably pointless and anoying.