6 August 2011

Diaries of a New Employment

SkyscraperI have got a new job. My last employer, sort of a startup, went bankrupt. That's particularly sad, because they offered "Research Days". Similar to Google Friday, you were allowed to work on a random topic one day in a month. One day is not much, still it's so much more than other companies offer. The new one is big. After some nasty times at big companies, I'm not sure if big is good for me, but still I have to try.

(Sort of a) Diary
Since first of July I've been working there. Some friends asked me how am I doing. So here is my diary. It's biased because I'm too strict. To be fair - everything looks good. I'm not dying from excitement, but it's ok. I have to get used to it.
  • Day 1 - Shocked. It's my first day and I'm already totally shocked. A senior team member commits production code containing System.out.println because he doesn't bother to remove them. Later another team member doesn't know Eclipse's "Compare With/Each Other" function. I feel like running away.

  • Day 4 - Déjà vu. I'm the new guy in the team and the new guy is supposed to update the development setup documentation.

  • Day 6 - First Blood. Out of curiosity I take a brief look at the existing code base: There are more than 7000 classes with about 600000 non commenting source statements. There is all the classic legacy stuff you would expect to be hidden in such a large code base, e.g. methods containing up to 700 lines, many empty catch blocks and much more. But my favourite findings are the 60 Java source files which have been commented out completely. (I didn't know the Java compiler allowed empty files without any class declaration.)

  • Day 8 - Deadlock. I'm supposed to add information about myself to the internal directory. To edit my entry, I need to fill in a valid phone extension, which I don't have yet. So I try to get one but the phone extension registry would not give me one because my directory entry is incomplete.

  • Day 11. For two hours I'm unable to start my e-mail client. I'm trying all kind of workarounds but it just wouldn't work. I'm getting desperate. In the end it turns out that there is an internal application to clean up and restart the mail client which finally solves my problem.

  • DiaryDay 12. Today I saw the first person wearing shorts in the office. I was already getting stressed by being the only one wearing t-shirts and shorts among many people wearing suit.

  • Day 14 - Hope. We are preparing a list of refactorings that would improve maintainability of the code. I stay quiet because I'm the new one and don't have all the information. I'm glad when another team member proposes what I wanted to say. There is hope.

  • Day 15. The project manager wants to give me responsibilty for the continuous integration build. I cringe because setting up and maintaining the build is cumbersome and boring. Fortunately my manager objects that "there are other important things for Peter to do". +1 for saving me.

  • Day 18 - Public Relations. I know it's a waste of time, but I'm stubborn and ask the person responsible for PR/communications about the mode and support for publishing and presenting. I never got an answer.

  • Day 20 - Coder from Hell. A senior colleague does not care for compiler warnings because "he knows what he is doing". Well he should know better, especially as we are tasked to clean up some legacy mess that exists because of people like him. Anyway he doesn't give a shit about clean code. I haven't met such a kind of a developer before.

  • Day 22 - Print a Page. I need to print a page. This is usually not a problem. I install the printer driver, print the page, go to the machine and find that the device is out of order. Then a colleague tells me that it's broken all the time. Where is the next printer? So I find the printer on another floor, install, print, go there and find that the room containing the printer is locked. Ok, I repeat the whole schema with the printer of another floor, go there - but it's not "there". I can't find this bloody printer. I repeat with the printer on yet another floor, go there - and finally I'm able to collect my printout.

  • Day 28 - Long Line. I just found a single line of code containing 2881 characters. Yes, a single line. That's by far the longest line I have ever seen and it's even way beyond any long lines recorded by fellow craftsmen.


Andreas Petersson said...

thanks for sharing! now i remember again why i like small comapanies :)

rjahn said...

Great diary :)
Software Development could not be worse - back to the 90s

Peter Kofler said...

Thank you both for participating. It's not as bad as it looks. This company is one of the better working large corporates. I had expected much worse ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hey, similar experiences at my new company, but at least I got a new project of my own to start from scratch, and the colleagues do actually engage in conversation and are receptive to ideas. I suppose you can improve your own situation by pushing your suggestions in a friendly way.. Despite of all this, congratulations to your new job!

Anonymous said...

Hmm hopefully my OpenID server is setup correctly now.. Sorry if not.