Warning: Epic Rant Ahead

Not so long ago, I was a rare breed - someone who enjoyed their job. I could go into work every day, and help to invent cool things. And after the inventing there would be a lot of development and testing, but it’s all stuff that needs to be done to turn an idea into a thing that someone will actually buy.

But in the last six months or so, I’ve started liking it less and less. I never get the chance to be involved in the design of anything anymore - I don’t get to be creative. In fact, the components of my job at the moment can be summarised thusly:

1) Fixing bugs in other people’s code.

2) Fixing bugs in other people’s hardware.

3) Fixing bugs in other people’s documentation.

The project I’m working on is already massively delayed and over budget. The new absolute deadline is in two weeks’ time, and we’re still fixing major show-stopping bugs. If the hardware and documentation were perfect, we could spend six months testing this software. But those are a mess too. And somehow we’re supposed to deliver a professional product and demonstrate it to the customers in two weeks.

It looks ugly. It’s badly designed. It’s badly managed. Most of the programmers distrust Subversion. The paper folder of bug reports has disappeared, we’re beyond the stage of logging problems - we don’t have time to do anything but fix them.

Wait, “we”? Sorry, “I”. I’m now the only programmer left on my part of the project. I’m of the third generation, twice removed from the people who wrote most of the code.

I get up at 6.15am for this. I get home at 7.30pm for this. And, this weekend, instead of seeing my girlfriend and son who I’ve not seen since Sunday… I’ll be working. There’s apparently a pretty big chance I’ll be needed next weekend too.

I do wonder, is there somewhere out there I can earn actual money, doing actual engineering rather than sacrificing 12 hours a day, 7 days a week flogging a dead horse?