How bad could it be... ?



  • I went for a job interview recently. They mentioned they had their own language. Talking to the recruiter I kind of assumed it was a case of some sort of custom scripting sitting on top of the core of a system written in a more common language. I go in, talk to them and get given a technical test with some of it and no... it was apparently all written in this custom language, which looked like the bastard child of Visual Basic and bad C++. By "all" I mean database, form-based GUI, everything. Then the guy mentioned it was laced with globals and had previously had issues with magic numbers...

    The recruitment agency called me back with an offer. The money isn't bad and I'm skint... I've got to give them a call back in the morning. Please convince me that rejecting it is doing the right thing... :|



  • @Pockets said:

    They mentioned they had their own language.

    xu lo bangu cu pu du la .lojban.



  • Is it COBOL language?

    In Houston?



  • No, it's not just obscure like COBOL it's literally an in-house language that's based on a version of BASIC made in the '80s by that company's previous parent company that they've ended up extending into this weird monster VB clone thing. Like, imagine VB6 and a giant mush of pointer shenanigans and such from C++.

    I kind of feel like I ought to accept the job because I'm out of work atm, but I know that I'd end up quitting within a week. I can handle the WTF on a "get things done" level, but it'd wind me up something chronic.



  • If you're studying language design and evolution, maybe you should consider not rejecting it.



  • I, uh, hope this isn't in Portland... i mean, I like the place I work, but that sounds waaaaay too much like it for comfort. Did it look anything like ^THING(BLAH,BLEEH,BLORG)> ?



  • That's a tough call. I feel the out of work urgency, but something like that, you worry about getting stuck in their proprietary nonsense and setting yourself back for the future. If you legitimately have nothing else, accepting is the right thing to do, though. Do you have a family (sounds like no)?


  • area_pol

    Getting experience in something that's worthless for the whole market minus one company? Bad idea. Well, except if you want to work there forever.

    I did something like that in the past. I worked for a company that has its 'custom framework' for just about everything, every project type, technology, protocol, common code block, was wrapped in it.
    After some time I was a master 'custom framework' programmer, and I felt great about it. But then I wanted to move on and work somewhere else (where they pay money, not food stamps) and it became obvious (at the interviews) that I have trouble doing the simplest things. Took me quite some time to relearn everything.

    TL;DR; It's an empty investment, don't do it.


  • SockDev

    @Pockets said:

    it was apparently all written in this custom language,



  • @Pockets said:

    The recruitment agency called me back with an offer. The money isn't bad and I'm skint... I've got to give them a call back in the morning. Please convince me that rejecting it is doing the right thing... :expressionless:

    This is a career dead-end. You basically tie your fortunes with this one company. You better hope they never go out of business, or close down your department, or decide to replace software with an outsourced offer from an Indian company.

    Look at those teary eyed IBM veterans, who are now getting kicked back into the job market with skillsets 20 years out of date. That's you in a decade or two if you accept the offer.

    Unless you're literally starving, RUN AWAY.


  • area_pol

    @cartman82 said:

    Unless you're literally starving, RUN AWAY.

    Or tell them "Your offer is a career killer. Pay me shitloads of money or I'm out".
    [spoiler]Leave them after a year and write all about them on tdwtf.[/spoiler]



  • @cartman82 said:

    This is a career dead-end. You basically tie your fortunes with this one company. You better hope they never go out of business, or close down your department, or decide to replace software with an outsourced offer from an Indian company.

    This.

    If you're looking to keep a job for a few years, you've got to choose something that's got some marketable material for your next job. If you find yourself wanting (or needing) a new job in the future (something very likely in this day and age) your prospective employers won't be impressed with a language nobody else uses, especially if that language has flaws that require anti-patterns and other bad habits to work around. If any job you seek is decided between you and someone else who has more relevant experience, they'll more likely choose the other guy.



  • @Pockets said:

    No, it's not just obscure like COBOL it's literally an in-house language that's based on a version of BASIC

    I ask, because I worked at a company that did just that, but with COBOL. They made up their own COBOL and had it compile into C++.



  • It's not in Portland, but they've got an office there I think. Maybe its the same company. US HQ in IL?



  • That's looks too much like M/MUMPS for comfort...



  • Thanks. I just turned them down. I knew there were alarm bells going off, it's just hard to say no when the people seemed nice and the money wasn't bad but it's the right thing to do really - just helped to have it in writing.



  • COBOL isn't as obscure as it should be. There are trillions of lines of Cobol still running at thousands of firms.



  • And there's also this unfortunate thing called COBOL .NET which breathed some new life into it.


  • SockDev

    @mott555 said:

    COBOL .NET



  • Fujitsu needed the money! They didn't inhale, they did not have sex with that woman (more than once), they only did it so their customers could interoperate with the rest of the CLR goodness...



  • @Pockets said:

    Please convince me that rejecting it is doing the right thing... :expressionless:

    Not only is rejecting it the right thing, but also burning down their office.



  • Because there is a class of programmers that don't want to learn anything new the company is afraid of the risk of letting them learn anything new.



  • Well, the particular product is only really developed in this office I think, but it really does sound similar.



  • Or for a more classic approach:



  • @Pockets said:

    Thanks. I just turned them down. I knew there were alarm bells going off, it's just hard to say no when the people seemed nice and the money wasn't bad but it's the right thing to do really

    Good for you. I would have done the same thing. And all of those who pointed that experience on an obscure language is a dead end, I totally understand it. In my business there's Roku, with their weird thing of a language. It's not bad, but all the experience you gather on it is not going to open any doors in the future unless you stick to doing Roku apps.



  • @TwelveBaud said:

    they did not have sex with that woman

    BS! BS2000 even



  • Do it. Take the job. Get the job security and get the big raises and look for better and saner jobs.



  • It wasn't FogBugz was it? Wasn't whatever the hell that was written in (Wasabi?) some kind of bastardized, in-house VB?



  • @Pockets said:

    but it'd wind me up something chronic.

    As in, you'd need to smoke lots of chronic to get through it?

    Well, I've long asserted that the industry-wide decline in software quality coincided with the introduction of urine testing... might be worth trying! Ballmer Peak FTW!



  • @mott555 said:

    And there's also this unfortunate thing called COBOL .NET which breathed some new life into it.

    [wibble] o_O
    WHAT?! Who did that? WHO?! I need to hunt them down and kneecap them!:facepalm:
    Sometimes ... our people ... I swear ... no common sense =_=



  • And here I thought ADD ONE TO COBOL GIVING COBOL was meant as a joke...

    On a side note, while I was looking for link to to original newsfroup post, I learned that the author, Bruce Clement, now lives as Julia since around 2005. I am beginning to wonder if there's something in the coffee or something. Seriously, when I first started considering my own gender issues, one the things that I noticed was how disproportionate the number of Trans folk in the IT industry was. While the usually quoted figure in the overall population is around 0.2%, I have seen estimates more than a magnitude higher for computer programmers and computer scientists. It definitely a thing.

    There are probably several social and psychological dynamics at play here, including the differences in visibility - ironically, the same online disinhibition effect that causes the GIFT phenomenon also makes it easier for some people to open up about personal issues on line than they would F2F, meaning that there's a greater chance that someone who is doing a lot of online things will be willing to come out, both online and IRL. IME, it is also the case that a lot of LGBT folk in their childhood and adolescence realize that they are different in some way without necessarily understanding how they are different, which causes some (like me) to withdraw into solitary pursuits such as, well, programming.


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