Tricks of the Trade

Helpful tips for anyone stuck in a cubicle (especially if you happen to be a developer).

  1. There’s a good chance that some of your colleagues will simply start copying and pasting your code, which is fine…as long as they give you some credit. In order to protect yourself from credit theft, be sure to pepper your code with little jewels of watermarking, like this one:

    // This function allows me to provide ‘B==D’ to one of your parents
  2. Have an unlisted number or an untraceable call app at the ready. When a chatty neighbor starts hanging out at your desk with no end in sight, use your handy tool to call their office phone or smartphone. While they’re distracted and/or away, make your way to the bathroom or hide promptly under your desk.
  3. Always befriend at least one person on the DevOps team. It’s easier to accomplish if you know of his/her nemesis, so you can constantly talk shit about them in your ally’s presence.
  4. If you wish to become invisible to a tiresome manager, just be sure to adorn your work area with various performance charts and graphs. As the perfect workplace camouflage, it’s impossible for the brass to focus on you amongst such pretty, shiny distractions.
  5. Put the mandatory sounds of your smartphone to good use. If you catch one of your junior developers goofing off, feed their paranoia and get them back to work by stealthily invoking the audible click of your camera several times.
  6. Always start a software project with random calls to “sleep()” scattered throughout your code. (Or, if you have frequent code reviews, put them in a somewhat innocuous place, like a “log()” function.) Whenever your boss demands better performance, request a few days of development time and remove the “sleep()” calls after your impromptu vacation.

Peter Bolton is the author of Blowing the Bridge: A Software Story and has also been known to be a grumpy bastard on occasion.

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