Monday. Formulation of the problem
Nine thirty-one minutes in the morning - I'm at work. Actually, we work from ten to seven, but on Mondays I prefer to arrive early - I like our office while there are no people in it. I walk slowly past the tables - some are littered with printouts of specifications and some diagrams, others are completely empty. There are computers on some tables, others are empty. Under some tables there is a change of shoes, in front of others there is not even an armchair. Yes, we have more than half of the tables empty - this is in case of the reception of new employees, or business trips of someone from other cities and countries. After all, we have a large international company with development offices in Omsk and Kalachinsk and a head office in Cyprus. We occupy four floors in a modern office center. True, right behind our building the ruins of some kind of aircraft factory begin, and on the day of our salary we try not to go there.
My table is in the corner, between the plastic partition and the wall. An air conditioner hangs right above me, and when it gets really hot outside, I have to bring a sweater from my house so as not to freeze. In my opinion, the best air conditioning is a simple open window, but in our office the windows do not open. I think the architects of this building heard of nervous exhaustion among office workers, and decided to minimize the number of suicides. But the view from our twelfth floor opens up gorgeous. It’s a pity, most of the time I close windows with blinds - so that sunlight does not glare on the monitors and does not blind my eyes. Therefore, we always have fluorescent lights on.
Some guy greeted me by the hand and sat down at the next table. He sat here last Monday, a week ago, but I still don’t know his name - we are working on various projects. Yes, by the way, I am working on a project called Integrated Corporate Solution - in short, KOKORESh. This is a very complex system consisting of many modules, tens of layers and hundreds of thousands of source code files. The system is so big that no one knows what it does.
Twitching the mouse, I brought the computer out of sleep mode and launched the browser. Last Friday, our project manager, Yegor, went to potential customers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A meeting on Skype is due to take place today, in which, according to tradition, our entire department will take part. Of course, only Yegor and the group leader - Kostya will speak there. All other ten participants will turn off the microphones of their headsets and will be lazy to read twitter and contact.
Closer to noon, the rest of the staff of our department approached. While everyone greeted and talked about how suddenly Friday had changed to Monday, it was suddenly lunch time.
After lunch, I received a letter of invitation to the status rally today at 4 o’clock. This means I have two hours to watch videos on YouTube, because during a YouTube rally it’s impossible to watch - Skype takes up almost the entire channel.
At half past four the incoming call was blurred. I quickly put on my headset, pressed the green answer button, and turned off the microphone. The project-mediator was hard to hear. Something constantly thumped from the pipe, it seemed that drums were beating somewhere near him.
- Good afternoon, colleagues! He began, “I must say right away that we do not have electricity here, and the battery of my laptop is almost dead.” Our partners are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, they are very ... they are extremely friendly, I am sure that our large international company has good prospects here. We should be persistent, and move forward continuously. The will to win is the main thing, and together we will achieve a lot, because our future, and therefore the future of our large international company, depends on each of us. We must strive for success, and, constantly improving, it is impossible to achieve ...
Then the connection broke. An awkward silence fell.
I thought that Congo is one of the last countries where cannibalism has survived, and that now is just the time for dinner. But he decided not to undermine the corporate spirit.
Kostya was the first to speak:
- So, it turned out that there is no electricity in the Congo. But this will not prevent us from introducing our Integrated Corporate Solution. Our task is to develop a non-volatile module for our system. Our architect Grisha will prepare the architecture. So, Grisha?
Grisha smiled. A slightly beveled nose gave his smile a unique charm. Once in his youth, he practiced judo and was well-built, but now almost all of his muscle mass has turned into fat.
“I commit myself to prepare the architecture of the non-volatile KOKORESh by tomorrow morning,” he said solemnly and smiled again, to consolidate the effect.
“Excellent,” Kostya clapped his hands, “tomorrow we’ll get there early, because we don’t have much time for the project - until the end of the week.”
“I was thinking, in such a situation, you can give them all the bills,” I joked awkwardly. Everyone laughed together.
The rest of the day we drew on the marker board of our African partners. Unfortunately, someone stole a black marker, so we painted them in green. Suddenly, the working day is over.
At nine, I was already sitting at a working computer and reading the news. Of course, until eleven no one from our department was in the office.
Towards noon, architect Grisha came with collapsed posters under his arm. While he greeted everyone and told how he was standing in traffic, lunch time suddenly came up.
After lunch, Kostya called everyone into the meeting room.
“So, the architecture of the solution is ready,” with these words, Grisha unfolded and hung two posters on the board.
I looked at them and sighed heavily, covering my face with my palm.
The first poster, entitled "KOKORESh", depicted a blue rectangle, and next to it - a battery. The second poster, signed by ENECOCORESH, depicted a single blue rectangle.
- On the first poster you see the architecture of an existing, volatile solution. The second is the architecture of a non-volatile solution, ”Grisha said joyfully and, turning to us, smiled as if he did not understand the meaninglessness of his own work.
- Great, Gregory! Well done! - Kostya praised him. - How did you manage to create such an architecture in such a short time?
“Well,” Grisha was embarrassed, “okay, Konstantin.”
“Well then,” Kostya smiled, “now it's up to the small thing — it remains to implement this architecture.”
“Bone, wait a minute ...” I said, “computers will not work without electricity ...”
“Listen, I certainly appreciate you as a specialist,” Kostya replied with a frowning eyebrow, “but your business is implementation, and architecture, here it is,” he pointed to the posters, “is ready.” Well, why is it so complicated? Write a program, and that’s it. You say it won’t work without electricity. Have you tried it already?
Honestly, I have never tried to turn on a computer without electricity, but the basic knowledge in its device told me that it would not work.
“No, I haven’t tried ...” I answered.
“Well, you see,” Kostya laughed. And everyone laughed as well, except for me.
When the rally ended, it was already five o'clock.
Immediately after the rally, Grisha and Kostya went away without saying goodbye to anyone. I sat at my computer and thoughtfully flipped through the Contact. Behind the partition Sergey was desperately typing something on the keyboard.
“And yet, they need accounts,” I said thoughtfully. Sergei stopped tapping the keyboard, grunted gruntly behind his septum, and seemed to sprinkle it with saliva.
“Listen, what are you doing there all day?” I asked Sergey.
“I watch movies,” he answered honestly.
- How so, you all day typing something on the keyboard. I thought you wrote the code, - I was surprised.
- I specifically disable Klava. And I knock on the keys just like that, to maintain the working atmosphere in the office.
Suddenly, the working day is over.
I came to work at nine forty two and started reading fresh tweets. I specifically read almost a thousand people - by the time I read a fresh portion of tweets, new ones are already appearing. At about half-past ten Sergey came. I managed to notice the moment when he, putting on his headphones, turned off the keyboard and began to knock on the keys.
Late in the morning, at about twelve o'clock, Kostya came up to me, and, bending over, said quietly:
“Listen, this ... With your experience, with your knowledge, I want you to be the eldest.” Take patronage of Sergey in this project. Moreover, you will only work together on it. And I beg you, finish it on time.
I just sighed. Well, how can I explain to him that the project, in principle, is not implemented? What architect Grisha is a fool with help, and therefore smiles so? What project manager may have already been eaten by the people of the Republic of Congo? What, in the end, without electricity, no electronic device can work?
- I believe that computers will not work without electricity. Congo Aboriginal people need bills, ”I said, intentionally loudly and clearly. There was a tense silence. It became especially clearly audible that Sergey almost did not press the space bar behind the partition.
Finally, Kostya broke the silence:
“Come on, work, I won’t bother you,” and quickly went off somewhere, calling Grisha with him.
Suddenly, it was lunch time.
After lunch, I decided to get down to work.
“Seryog,” I said to my neighbor from behind the partition, “let's find a place in the code that consumes the most electricity?”
“You see, we already did that,” said Sergey. At the sound “p” in the word “you understand”, saliva flew out of his mouth and hit the septum. Still, it’s good that they are standing here.
- Well, when did this, do you remember the task number? Commit in sv?
- Now ... - Sergey hesitated, - it was KOKORESH-4920 task.
I tried to open a task with this number in the bugtracker, but I received a message that I do not have rights. Since there were no Bones in the visibility zone, I wrote a ticket to the helpdesk to give me rights.
After one hour and twenty minutes, they answered me that they can give rights only if the application is confirmed by the project manager. I wanted to answer that they probably already ate it, but then I thought that I didn’t really need this task.
Instead, I decided to write a letter to all those interested in the project with the goal of informing them that computers do not work without electricity. I clicked the "write a letter" button, but then a standard error message appeared: "Outlook has performed an invalid operation and will be closed." “Okay, not fate. I'll try tomorrow, ”I decided, and turned off the computer.
Suddenly, the working day is over.
Thursday. Once again development
Arriving at the office, the first thing I wrote was a letter.
“Good afternoon, colleagues!” - I began my letter, - “I propose to simplify the task from developing a non-volatile implementation of KOKORESh to delivering a ready-made solution in the form of wooden bills. The main argument in favor of this solution is that our customers do not have electricity. In the absence of electricity, not a single hardware-software complex can work. In addition, I express my doubt that users who have never seen a computer will have enough qualifications to work with KOKORESh. ” I reread the typed text several times, added the signature of the recipients - the group leader Kostya, the architect Grisha and the project manager Egor. Although, honestly, I don’t think that Yegor is still able to read anything. Sighing, I, for the sake of faith, added a copy of the regional manager, Andre Eduardovich Belokryly,
By the way, after one unpleasant incident at my previous work, I always write a letter first, and only then add recipients. Then one of my many bosses asked me how soon I could finish work, and if I needed to wait for the data to be unloaded from the collision. I wanted to write “yes, it seems to me that I have to wait for the data to be uploaded”, but the letter went exactly in the middle of the word “it seems”. In general, I had to urgently look for work, and even the worst recommendations from the previous place. Except for a large international company, they didn’t take me anywhere. And now I'm here, forced to write a program that does not require electricity.
Suddenly, it was lunch time.
After dinner, Kostya called me to his place.
“You know, your decision about the score was not so bad,” he said quietly.
“So then we will still introduce accounts to the Papuans?” - I was surprised. It is unbelievable that my letter could change an already hidden decision!
- Hush, hush, listen. Unfortunately, resources have already been spent on working out the non-volatile KOKORESHA, which significantly exceed the cost of your solution with accounts. So you yourself understand that it’s in your interests not to tell anyone else about accounts, otherwise it will turn out that we were wasting resources. You're a smart guy, catch it? A non-volatile solution is almost ready. According to my estimates, we should finish it today. Therefore, if today does not work out, you will have to work hard tomorrow, and do not plan anything for the weekend. Well, you have to keep within, there is a little essentially left there.
Kostya was silent for a while, and, in order to encourage me, he added:
-You know, I used to program myself. There you just need to write a couple of lines of code, can you really do it?
In the evening, an answer came from Andre Eduardovich himself. The substantive part consisted of one line: “I consider the situation when ordinary developers deal with architecture issues unacceptable. In further discussion of the issue, I see no reason. ” And then the signature is eight lines long.
I went to the window. Low gray clouds crawled across the sky, and of them an indefinite substance fell to the earth. Somewhere on the horizon were huge pipes and radio towers. “I wonder if it's summer or winter?” - flashed through my head. For us office workers, the change of seasons is purely formal. Summer differs from winter only in that in summer we wear sweaters in the office so as not to freeze under the air conditioning, and in winter to run from the entrance to our Ford Focus. We try, work every day, although we do not produce anything. Our activity leaves no traces in the world around us, although this is probably better, because everything we do is bad. So what are we doing here? The answer is simple - we are making a career.
Many people mistakenly believe that the Russian word "career" comes from the English "career" - "profession". But this is not so, what kind of profession can an office worker have? A profession can only be for those who produce something. The office worker is exclusively engaged in the mental destruction of himself. The word "career" comes from the Italian "cariare", which means "cause decay." Only someone who has never seen a healthy young man or a beautiful young girl fall into an office, after five or six years, turns into a limp creature with empty eyes, a double chin and flabby muscles.
I was suddenly angry. No, not even anger. I wanted, like the hero of Michael Douglas from "Falling down", to take a gun and kill. To shoot all bureaucrats, all capitalists, all middle and top managers, search engine optimization specialists, and, of course, human resources employees. I felt the blood rush to my head, and my thin fingers clenched into fists by themselves. But then I remembered my unpaid loans, and anger gave way to apathy. What, in the end, does it matter to me whether it is possible to complete the work I have received or not? I’m paid money not for the result, but for the time I spend here. My work is akin to prostitution. By the way, I wonder if line managers get pleasure after communicating with their subordinates? ..
And then I realized what I should do. Tomorrow morning I will do my work in the best possible way.
Suddenly, I left ten minutes before the end of the working day, without saying a word to anyone.
Friday. Release date
Kostya came to work in the early morning, at about half-past ten, and the first thing he came up to me.
- Well, what is the status of the project? He asked sternly.
“Ready,” I answered calmly.
“And show me,” Kostya asked sternly.
- Of course. Look, - and I opened the folder in which there was one executable, and twice clicked on it with the mouse. For a second, the cursor turned into an hourglass, and a dialog box appeared on the screen with the message “Non-volatile KOKORESh cannot be launched in an volatile environment”
Kolya's face smiled in a satisfied smile:
“Well done!” This is just what is required. And we will order a non-volatile environment from the supply department until they buy it ... If they buy it at all ... Listen, does it work without electricity?
- Offend, I'm a professional! - smiling, I answered.
While reading chips, no, the working day ended, as always, unexpectedly.
This story, along with many others, can be read in the book IT AS IS