Apologies for the Rant.
A few years ago in between jobs I spent 3 months hanging out in Madgaon, Goa. Sounds like a lot of fun, and it was. But when money used to run out, We’d have to go find work and for me and some of my friends it meant going to Madgaon Docks and work on daily wages as Longshoreman. Basically that meant Moving loading unloading stuff, fixing minor mechanical issues, operating cranes et al. It was intense physical work in the hot sweaty Goan sun. It was not fun but it had to be done to support my lifestyle. For a day of hard work I’d get paid almost the same amount i get paid what I’d get in an hour’s work as Computer Programmer, actually lesser. Being a Longshoreman is easy, everybody in decent physical shape can do it, and there is no talent required here.
It was easy to recognize, that some people cared about doing it right read piling stuff up correctly, and not taking extended tea and lunch breaks) and some people did not.
That was the time I realized despite the tough conditions, people want to care about what they do. That’s when I started to realize appreciating what you do, and not do it just for the money, which is what I’d been doing.
At my current job I regularly meet a ton of run of the mill programmers , just doing enough to get the job done, without a thought about craft. It’s not really hard to program badly, anybody who can Google, and Stackoverflow can easily write something that works. But you really need to care about your craft to make it work well, and not pile stuff on top of other stuff and just get it done, especially when we are getting paid so much for what we do.
When i mean care for the craft, I have very little idea of what it means but i have a few heuristic questions
- Is it exactly what the customer was looking for?
- Am I making the right technology choices knowing what I know about the Project?
- Have I made it Better than it already was(Faster to run, easier to read, specific to the need)
- There is no 4th Question.
If Knowledge is Silver, Outlook is Gold, and IQ is just lead weight”. -Alan Kay