My story feels like a long story but I’m going to try to keep some of this short. I build software for a very specific market - my job grew out of fairly entrepreneurial roots and we were bought out by a competitor a number of years ago. People really like our product and it is still going strong.
But I’m going nuts. I do 99% of the coding. All day, I get calls about bugs, asking for new features, configuration changes, printers off line, networks not working. We have technical people but not enough or they’ve been re-directed to other places. It means the programming I have to do is constantly interrupted with trivialities and I feel like the quality of what I produce is suffering horribly. So much so that I’ve considered telling the
There is another programmer but he does almost nothing. The last project I gave him was three years ago and he hasn’t delivered so much as a status report yet. Why is he still here? He was an original partner and also a good friend; badly injured awhile ago. I keep waiting for him to step up but I’ve got growing resentment over the lack of help. I’ve talked to him, doesn’t seem to help. He won’t be managed. My other course of action, which I’m dreading, is to go the owner and tell him I need help, which will dredge up some tough questions.
Why don’t I leave the job? The fringe benefits are awfully good. I can work anywhere I’ve got Internet; for the summer at a lakefront cabin in a boreal forest. And at 56, I’m not likely to find such a posh and reasonably well paying gig. Going back to a cube farm terrifies me.
But I’m tired. My todo list grows by impossible numbers on a daily basis. Sometimes I just want to put my head down and cry.
And today, I had a customer call me who demanded a feature in their software. I’d emailed yesterday saying I’d look into it. I explained it would take awhile. They then insisted that it is a feature that should have been there already. As if that would make it magically appear.
I explained further that the software has been designed over years with input from numerous people and that this is the first time it had come up. I would look at it but I couldn’t do it in a rush because that would potentially introduce bugs and, right now, I’m too busy with other support and development issues to take that kind of risk. Not only that, I’m two weeks away from vacation and I don’t want to throw an unstable version at them that might have a problem crop up while I’m away. They then told me that if I’m that busy it must be really crappy software.
My heart is racing just typing this.
I have ideas about what I need to do to get this under control but I’m going to leave this open ended.
Thanks so much for listening.