Need your opinion



  • As you know, I work on Team-WTF in Department-WTF at WTF-Inc, which was swallowed whole by MegaCorp. WTF-Inc is now a cancer growing in the bowels of MegaCorp.

    After my discovery (during an audit of one of the systems within MegaCorp) of several items including this, some manager several levels up took notice, and decided that perhaps I could help them uncover more similar types of things. After all, they are (allegedly) fully SDLC compliant, complete with formal code reviews, etc, and things like that just shouldn't have slipped into their production environment. I'm impressed that someone in a corporation of this size actually cares. Anyway, I was invited to a sit-down to discuss it.

    For reference, I spend about half of my time sitting around while waiting for other folks to give me information as to what is needed so I can go build and test it.

    The long and the short of it is they want me to act as an independent consultant (which is precisely what I happen to be) and do ongoing deep dive reviews of their systems and report to him and his peer managers. I pointed out that a) I like my present boss, b) while I have some time, it's not enough to tackle an entire code base at that scale, and c) I wouldn't do something like that without full approval of the entire pecking order above me.

    My boss and above are included in the discussions, and they make the case that they have too much work for me to do (pity they don't know what most of it entails) and can't spare me. The other managers asked if I'd be willing to put in some extra hours that could be dedicated to their systems.

    Now don't get me wrong. I could download a source tree or two from their source control system onto my laptop and "work from home" in my spare time at work. It would increase my already stratospheric billing by more than 50%.

    It is NOT about the money (although I'd be lying if I said it wasn't enticing).

    However, I already exist in a living, breathing Pit-o-WTF <font size="-2">(TM)</font>, and the thought of spelunking through an even bigger, deeper Pit-o-WTF <font size="-2">(TM)</font> gives me pause. I admit, I have a maudlin curiosity as to what could be lurking in the depths of that place. However, I am equally fearful of it. From Jurassic Park (from memory): Their scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could that they didn't stop to think if they should. Now I'm certain there are no dinosaurs in there, but what I do find might be equally as scary, if not worse.

    OTOH, it would give me a second "job" within the company, which is sort of like job security. It would also give me something to do during all that down-time.

    I already post here quite a bit. The thought of opening up a Pandora's Box-o-WTF <font size="-2">(TM)</font> is both intriguing and intimidating.

    I am sitting on the fence. So is my wife.

    What would YOU do?



  • @snoofle said:

    What would YOU do?

     

    I would read your post.



  • You know my opinion.




  • Sounds like it's an opportunity to start change... or to have everyone hate you. If this can get you on the higher level manager's good side, I'd say it's worth the work as a long term investment in this company. Plus you get money too. But if you plan to leave any time soon, I wouldn't bother.

    Also self-servingly, it might give us double the snoofle posts, and that I would like to see. I would have thought there would be legal issues with working from home, given your company.



  • @snoofle said:

    OTOH, it would give me a second "job" within the company, which is sort of like job security.
    Third job will be the one TDWTF offers you for posting the stories.



  •  I lurk here quite a bit, but do read every sidebar every day, and yours are some of the most enjoyable reads. I say go for it, the more WTF's the merrier, and you'll be making positive change both in money and in your company.



  • I would decline it and tell them to offer that to the talented Sutherlands, knowing that he is fully capable and deserving of some extra money.

    But seriously... some things to consider... are you working at your normal billing rate?  How many hours do they want you to devote to it?  Do you have the option to put in less hours to that task if you're not feeling up to it?

    Some days when my brain is tired, the last thing I want to do is go home and dig through more code trying to figure out what the heck it's doing.  But I could easily put in 2 days on the weekend doing this type of stuff for a lot of extra money.

    Also, if that's what you would be doing in your down time, when would you post to TDWTF?



  • I bet there would be an unending stream of work to do, and no doubt it would be fascinating to see just how far down the WTF rabbit hole you can go, but this is not a healthy situation.

    In my opinion, no way.

    To me, it is a situation ripe for open ended exploitation of your time and energy. Moreover, the stress of trying to maintain working knowledge of all those systems straight while playing nice with all the managers vying for your attention would cancel out the joy associated with receiving any amount of extra cash.

    However, if you agree to the opportunity, and I am careful to call it that, I would not do so without lots of rules, limits to your time, and most importantly, the ability to 'bail out' from the extra work without penalty.



  • @OP:

    Typically, nobody listens to the guy that brings the bad news. Have you asked yourself why this manager wants you to "review" their code?



  • @snoofle said:

    I am sitting on the fence. So is my wife.

    What would YOU do?

     

    I would advise you to go ahead and put in the overtime. And then I would sit next to your wife.

     

     



  • @snoofle said:

    What would YOU do?
     

    If I was not required to actually cope with the WTFs I find, just to report them, I'd go for it. And ask Alex to create me a subdomain here. And maybe pay me royalties based on how many articles I post there.

    Then probably buy a luxury yacht after two or three months.



  • @SEMI-HYBRID code said:

    @snoofle said:
    What would YOU do?
     If I was not required to actually cope with the WTFs I find, just to report them, I'd go for it. And ask Alex to create me a subdomain here. And maybe pay me royalties based on how many articles I post there.Then probably buy a luxury yacht after two or three months.


    Agreed. Fixing their presumably huge and WTFy codebase would be death. If it's only finding the WTFs and doing code review on new code, i'd probably do it...

    On another note, you seem to be getting less careful with the details, watch out with that. I'd not like to see you fired for breach of confidentiality (or some such), we really need our almost-daily fix of WTFery from you ;)...



  • @snoofle said:

    "work from home" in my spare time at work

    Bad idea.



  • I would send you my resume, seems like you'll need some Java ninja-champion-scientist to tackle at this. As a bonus, I would forward you all the WTF's so you can post them here and win some dev-cred.



  • @snoofle said:

    As you know, I work on Team-WTF in Department-WTF at WTF-Inc, which was swallowed whole by MegaCorp. WTF-Inc is now a cancer growing in the bowels of MegaCorp.
     

    I'm going to read the whole post in a bit, but I just wanted to quote this gold.



  •  If The Snoofle cannot handle it... who can?



  • @ OhNoDevelopment said:

    Sounds like it's an opportunity to start change [and] have everyone hate you.
    @ OhNoDevelopment said:
    If this can get you on the higher level manager's good side, I'd say it's worth the work as a long term investment in this company. Plus you get money too.
    @Mark Bowytz said:
    [However]I would not do so without lots of rules, limits to your time, and most importantly, the ability to 'bail out' from the extra work without penalty. [Otherwise] there would be an unending stream of work to do [and it would be an] open ended exploitation of your time and energy.
    @swayde said:
    Fixing their presumably huge and WTFy codebase would be death.
    @SEMI-HYBRID code said:
    If I was not required to actually cope with the WTFs I find, just to report them, I'd go for it.
    @swayde said:
    On another note, you seem to be getting less careful with the details, watch out with that. I'd not like to see you fired for breach of confidentiality (or some such), we really need our almost-daily fix of WTFery from you ;)...



  • @AndyCanfield said:

    @snoofle said:

    I am sitting on the fence. So is my wife.

    What would YOU do?

     

    I would advise you to go ahead and put in the overtime. And then I would sit next to your wife.

    @snoofle: can you send me a picture of your wife? Currently I'm only imagining AndyCanfield sitting on a fence.



  • @snoofle said:

    they want me to act as an independent consultant (which is precisely what I happen to be) and do ongoing deep dive reviews of their systems and report to him and his peer managers.
     

    Have you asked to what end?

    Your story sounds like you're going to be searching for and identifying areas to address with a view to creating improvement opportunities. Others may see you simply as fault-attacking, and people often don't like their failings exposed.

    I think it's an interesting challenge and - given you've exposed many WTFs before - that puts you in a prime position to go searching for more. But:

    1. you'll have to ditch your existing workload to concentrate upon it - else you won't have the time
    2. you'll have to ditch your existing duties to focus upon it - else you won't be truly impartial
    3. you'll have to cope with a change in culture and perception of your role within the organisation - else you'll be viewed as a troublemaker.

    I suppose another question is: how long do they expect you to do this for? Is it a fixed-term contract just to create drivers for change? In which case, look at it as a short-term defect-detection task then draw a line under it. If it's ongoing, you'll either stay until:

    • all issues above a certain priority are discovered (and possibly fixed) - quality has dramatically improved and you are no longer required
    • someone decides they're sick of hearing bad news and shooting the messenger is a good way of achieving silence.
    I know answering a question with another isn't good practise, but maybe some wider considerations could sway your current perch upon said fence.



  • @snoofle said:

    Decided that perhaps I could help them uncover more similar types of things.
    When I read this I saw it as an opportunity for the creation of "Snoofle corp." to provide professional spelunking services to high value customers. They want your expertise but that doesn't necessarily mean that you have to personally provide it. If you know people who have the same vision as you and you can trust their work then this could be a case of Opportunity knocking. However I do recognize that it takes a different mentality to run a company with employees than it is to be an independent contractor.



  • Some men are born to WTF, others have WTF thrust upon them. You sir, have a uniqure talent not only for spotting stupidity, but for slapping it into submission; whether it be silicon or carbon-based. Use it.

    There is a risk you are jumping into an even deeper pit; but there is also the chance that the guy who approached you is not the only one who cares and this may be a ladder out in disguise.



  • If you think you can take on the extra load, go for it.

    Disclaimer: I don't have a wife.



  • @snoofle said:

    Pandora's WTF-box/pit/mixed metaphor

    You are a contractor, right? Well, subcontract! Hire someone to do your normal work, and then go on this code diving suicide mission.



  • Oooh. So you are going to be the guy who is pulling down everyone's pants and pointing at the brown stain on their underwear. This looks like a political landmine with a 20 megaton yield. If you go down this road you will definitely make enemies, at the very least among those whose WTF-ery you discover and possibly in the ranks of management.

    I would not take this on as a "Lone Ranger". I'd lead a group doing this as part of a "new" initiative to improve code quality and prevent "things like this" from happening. With full support from top management. (Mid and lower level management don't matter; if the Big Bosses are on board they'll either fall in line or find a new job. Possibly at Walmart.)

    Thomas



  • Many years ago I did consulting for a consulting agency, doing telephone interviews of their applicants. I thought it was very responsible of the consulting agency to spend a little money to ensure that they would not be embarrassed by sending an unqualified programmer to a client. And it was good for me, it was a 1/2 hours work at a time, off hours and the agency paid quickly. This little bit of extra money worked well until I had to tell them that a particular candidated was totally unqualified and would be an embarassment. Despite the fact that this is what they hired me for, they didn't actually want to hear that. And my little extra income ended.

    The new gig is very risky; 50% more is not enough. If you do decide to take it, you should work on acquiring other customers and making a real business of it.



  • Beware of work life balance.  Remember your wife is far more important than any piece of extra work.  If you go for the new work opportunity, odds are the people who you will be code reviewing, will not likely receive you warmly.  They will likely see you as an outsider, only in it for the money, and a consultant (which as everyone knows are completely incompetent),  So unless you are sure you will be welcomed in the new position I would not recommend it.



  • One on side, you've got extra money (a LOT of it), extra job security, and extra opportunity (as described by others in this thread). You've also got something to keep you busy in your work down-time.

    On the other side, you can't look at more evil all day without feeling its effects. This is going to affect your stress levels at work and at home. That's going to affect both you and your wife and kids (who I believe you've said in the past are your reasons for staying at WTF-Inc in the first place).

    I'd also worry about the extra work spilling over into actual work-from-home, which will, again, affect your family.

    As a husband and father who has passed up opportunities to take higher-paying positions with more responsibility because it would affect my time and relationship with my family, I'd turn this down. I know that I have trouble leaving my job at the office (not the work itself, but the mental baggage that comes with it), so I know that this job would pull me (and therefore my family) down. If you think you can separate things better than that, then maybe it's worth it for you, but I know it wouldn't be for me.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @snoofle said:

    What would YOU do?

    Based on everything you've posted so far, I'd say it's the perfect opportunity for you. I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole myself, but then I wouldn't work there in the first place.



  • @Anketam said:

    Beware of work life balance.  Remember your wife is far more important than any piece of extra work. ...

    This.

    Don't even start on the other considerations before this one is cleared.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    On second thought, this may be a good time to seek help for your WTF addiction.



  • Gotta agree with the ones who say not to let this interfere with your home life.  If you're already making enough to live comfortably on--and it sounds like you are--then you ought to count your blessings and be satisfied with that.  Isn't that the reason you're working in the first place, to provide for your family?  Well, you're successful at that already.  Congratulations!  And once you step onto the road of "I want more for the sake of having more," you never reach the end of it.

    More money is always nice to have, of course.  If you're absolutely certain that you can do this without it negatively impacting your life outside of work, then go for it.  But if there are any doubts, listen to them.  You're not in a position where you need to take risks like that just to get by.

     



  • Can you learn something from this? If so, go ahead and take the job.



  • @OzPeter said:

    When I read this I saw it as an opportunity for the creation of "Snoofle corp." to provide professional spelunking services to high value customers. They want your expertise but that doesn't necessarily mean that you have to personally provide it. If you know people who have the same vision as you and you can trust their work then this could be a case of Opportunity knocking. However I do recognize that it takes a different mentality to run a company with employees than it is to be an independent contractor.





    +1




    This is also my first reaction. Consider taking this opportunity to provide the workload you'd need to ramp up a small team (say two or three others) of people you trust with a three to six month contract. Work with MegaCorp to make this happen - they would probably be in favor of the idea. Work it out so that after a month or so, you extract yourself from day-to-day coding / spelunking half the time to devote yourself to finding the next contract and/or growing the consultancy. Wash / rinse / repeat. Over time you can commit your time 100% to your growing business - maybe keeping yourself involved in the technical day-to-day some amount either because you like it, or to stay connected with your employees and what they are doing.




    Of course, this only applies if business ownership is something you're interested in. If not, go smaller scale and find a friend you'd enjoy working with and just bring them on with you.



  • The monkeys just got out and they have wings.

    Putting them back in the barrel won't be easy.

    Here is nothing you don't already know.

    IF you decide to take this work it's important to make sure they have goals and that they are written down. It's that setting expectations thing. That just goes in with the what you were saying about getting buy-in.

    Also, I suggest you don't do it alone. Get an administrative assistant, one that works for the company, to handle the documentation and the political stuff. Also get a coding assistant. Maybe a junior coder, that can learn. I'd go with an exceptionally intelligent individual that can take a joke. You would direct this person to handle the mundane stuff like creating unit tests that should exist and trying all the different permutations of how the fix to the WTF might be done. They could also handle the conversions on the code if it's a patterns issue. They could also do the research to backup the choices you make and suggest be implemented.

    Oh, yea. Don't forget to ask for access to the corporate jet and the condo on Maui.

    MArk B.



  • @SteamBoat said:


    Also, I suggest you don't do it alone. Get an administrative assistant, one that works for the company, to handle the documentation and the political stuff. Also get a coding assistant. Maybe a junior coder, that can learn. I'd go with an exceptionally intelligent individual that can take a joke.
    I smell a sitcom!



  • @snoofle said:

    I am sitting on the fence. So is my wife.

    What would YOU do?

    It really depends on where you get your job satisfaction. If you're mainly motivated by being able to look back at the results of your work and say "I did that!" then run! away! very! fast! because given the way your org operates you should be sure by now that some moron is just going to fuck it all up again the instant you turn your back. But if you're mainly motivated by the enjoyment of exercising and extending your own skills, then keep on keeping on.

    Personally, I would have had enough of the Augean shovelling several years ago. But given that you haven't, then in your position I would flip a coin. Then I would give myself one chance to disagree with the coin's decision. Then I would abide by the result of that process and stop worrying about whether or not I'd done the right thing.



  • I would try to convince management to assign a decent developer, and train him in order to do your bidding.

    Not only would you guarantee your job, but stretching your reach unto other systems indirectly.



  • NecrooooooooooohhhhhHHHHHH!

    What did you decide in the end, snoofles ol chum?



  • I am casually thinking about a greasemonkey script that colours thread elements, like the title, based on how old the thread is and when the latest post is, so that old threads visibly "age".


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dhromed said:

    greasemonkey script
    Wrong place - we'd need something server-side, not client side.



    The only people who would use it, would be far more likely to be exactly the ones that don't need it, and vice versa.



  • I don't think I've mentioned it, but I've thought about many times: older posts/threads should have an overlaid div with [code]background-image: url('spiderwebs.png'); opacity: <proportional to age>;[/code]



  • @PJH said:

    The only people who would use it, would be far more likely to be exactly the ones that don't need it, and vice versa.
     

    Wisdom.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.