“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
– George RR Martin
What might be considered rare for the industry, I’m what’s known as a “lifer”, having worked as a software developer at MIBAR in my first and only job out of college. This coming October will mark the end of 35 years here and as a testament to the company, that’s not such a rarity here. In a company of approximately 25 employees, nearly a third have been here 30 years or more. While I’m personally not the sentimental type, I can appreciate the appeal of an environment which fosters such loyalty from employees and customers alike.
Except for those who have become teachers, just about all of my friends and family work or worked for large multi-national corporations. When I hear their stories about the endless meetings and office politics, I can’t imagine it for myself after working in this place for so long. So, if you ever hear me utter the words, “let’s take this offline”, “I don’t have the bandwidth”, or “deep dive”, just shoot me. You’ll be doing me a favor.
A friend of mine recalled that when I was five years old, I wanted to be a mortician. Five. Even at that age, I guess I didn’t want to work with the living, so it’s remarkable that I didn’t wind up as one of those anonymous cubicle drones. Still, I suffer from what I’d call “early onset curmudgeon”, but that’s part of my sarcastic charm. Ask anyone.
As for what I do, I’m the guy who turns words into code, concept into function. Part of that job is to think a few moves ahead to determine the viability, sometimes even the feasibility, of a request and accurately assess how long it would take to accomplish, because time is money. Often, this has the unfortunate consequence of having to explain my thought process to others in terms that doesn’t make their eyes glaze over or worse yet, require a Zoom meeting. Ideally, at the end of the process, after the salesperson has sold the requirement and it’s been broken down into well-formed technical specifications, I can put my head down, crank up my music, and be left alone to do what I need to do with minimal additional intervention. To anyone who knows me long enough, this is no grand reveal and I make no apologies for it. I guess that’s the mortician in me. You’d be cranky, too, if computers had been telling you for forty years that your code is missing a semicolon, has a comma out of place, or mismatched parentheses. Maybe that’s why I’m always correcting other people’s grammar online.
Nevertheless, despite a certain level of emotional detachment, working at MIBAR is a unique experience and one which, from the stories I tell others, cannot be fully comprehended by my corporate circle of friends with their impersonal, multi-tiered management structures and org charts. Companies like that may have billion-dollar bottom lines, but they tend to have something else…turnover.
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
– Dr. Seuss