Monday, September 3, 2007

Job Description: Boring

Life when you're a computer programmer sure is sweet. You get to stare at a lifeless computer screen for the majority of your working life, talk in a completely justifiable nasal voice, and understand those strangely unsettling jokes on the Internet referred to as 'nerd humour'.

Yep, the fun never stops for us code monkeys. There's just one thing that I'm yet to get a proper handle on: being able to to discuss my job in a social setting. Take the following as a rough example. The scene could be any bar where you have just recently been happened upon by a comely lass of questionable virtue. It happens a lot, trust me. Us programmers must give off some kind of musky scent that attracts 'da ladiez'. An 'odor de coder' if you will.

her: So, what do you do?

I'm a uh... a computer programmer.


Which has many additional benefits such as knowing the quick-key to bringing up your desktop.

Do you know the quick-key for escaping without ever having to talk to you again?


You see my predicament. Its not that I can't be thoroughly engaging, its just that I can't be engaging on any social, personal, emotional, or theoretical level. Like, big deal!

Recently I've decided that the best way to combat the problem is to engage in a little process I like to call 'complete dishonesty'. Originally I was just going to reinvent myself as a Harley Davidson riding bounty hunter called 'bruiser' who wears cutoff denims with the reckless abandon of someone who 'just doesn't give a crap about having warm arms', but lately I've come to the realisation that the whole thing will be so much easier if i just steal someone else's identity. It will give the ruse an air of realism, and has the added benefit of saving me countless hours in development time. Everyone gets ice cream!

So, thanks to Jared's Dad and a great story that he told us over daintily held scotches in the Soho district of London last night, I am now a courageous firefighter who used to work in the second response truck in the fire department of Hobart, Tasmania. Pretty cool, eh? Here's some background on my coolness:

One night while we were sitting around playing cards in the station, the alarm suddenly sounded: A fire had broken out during the renovations of the Theatre Royal. Being part of the second response truck, we arrived at the scene to see that things were slowly sliding out of control. The fire was being fought hard on the lower levels of the building by the first team, but it wasn't hard to see that the flames were climbing toward the roof at an alarming rate. The dense, hot air forming toward the top of the building needed to be cooled, and quickly.

Noticing that the outside of the building was covered in scaffolding due to the renovations, I immediately signaled to the rest of the team to get the hose ready for a roof-based position. It seemed an obvious choice at the time, I knew my way around these kind of structures from working odd jobs in construction over the last few years. Once I'd climbed to roof level, I threw down the retrieval rope and pulled up the hose as soon as it was safely secured. By this stage, the fire had vented through the roof and the air around me was a howling wind of sucking , super heated oxygen. Corrugated iron sheets were being torn off indiscriminately and thrown skyward by the thermal currents, coming precariously close to shearing me in two. Kneeling down, my eyes a blur from the chocking clouds of black smoke, I turned on the hose and pointed the flow of water down the flaming turret.

After 6 intense hours (that seemed like 1), we managed to save the Theatre. During the struggle, a opportunistic photographer from the local paper took some pictures of the 'hero on the roof' who managed to 'thwart the fire and single-handedly save the historic Theatre'. I'm sure the boys at the station would have been none too pleased had those photos ever come to light. To this day I still haven't seen them.

You know what, this is never going to work. I think I'll just stick to 'single handedly saving the database' from the evil grasps of the 'stored procedure bug'.

I'm more of your 'ones and zeros hero' kinda guy anyway.

Small article on the Theatre


Jo said...

Just tell her you're a "digital input specialist".
When she looks confused, show her what you mean.

eleanor bloom said...

Sadly I would actually like to know the quick key for my desktop.

I could have used your hero skillz the other day when I tried to change blog templates to a freebie that deleted all my links and widgets. A fireman would have been useless then (other than to get my mind off my distress of course).

davey said...

Jo: Sleezy... i LIKE it! I was also thinking I could say that I'm an engineer, and just neglect to mention that I do software rather than tall, architecturally important buildings. Is being an engineer highly on the hot stakes? I have no idea.

El: Windows-D for desktop honey. :) Yeh I noticed that your template was giving you some hassles, was it one of the ones that comes with Blogger or something you picked up somewhere else? Really like the new one tho, suits ya.

Mars said...

i'll take your 'computer programmer' and raise you to 'i work in insurance'.

way grosser.

maybe you could hook me up with jared's dad and we'll come up with something better. i'm thinking... maybe like... a pilot. like in top gun. woo!

Jo said...

If I met you in a bar and you told me you were an 'engineer', I'd be thinking "You know - I BET he's a computer programmer".

Are guys impressed by girls' job descriptions? Or should I just keep giggling and starting pillow-fights?

Hungry Hungry Hypocrite said...

Try looking like a bikie but being the complete opposite, that sends the ladies a'runnin!

G: "So what do you do?" (expecting "I dismantle old cars with a rock, but my real love is stealing things!")

HHH: "Well I'm a political speech writer, but I was a journalist until a year ago."

G: "...sorry, I just meant to ask you the time"

jezzism said...

there was nuffin dainty about those scotch glasses davey, nor the way we were holding them. nice story telling though. you really captured the moment.

davey said...

Mars, funny you should say that! Last week I attended a wedding in Scotland, and was stuck at a table where I didn't know anyone (except the deranged Welsh photographer that I'd met on the train 2 days prior, and I was trying to avoid his maniacal gaze as much as possible). We set about asking all the usual, boring questions.

Me: I'm a uh, a computer programmer.

Her: Ooo! That's a relief, because I'm a civil servant.

Guy overhearing us on the left: They must have lumped us together guys, because I'm an accountant!

Me: (pumping fist) Losers unite!

Jo, that is so depressing. Confound these women and their hightened social senses! I have to admit, I'm a sucker for a woman that works with kids (or works in a library, or has a beautiful smile, or remembers my name, or asks me to 'pass the salt').

I believe I am unhealthily intimidated by women in highly paid corporate roles, but I'm sure it's only an insecurity thing on my behalf.

Please don't stop the giggling thing. :)

HHH: WE HAVE A WINNER! Totally going to roll with 'I dismantle old cars with a rock, but my real love is stealing things.' Hilarious, and completely beguiling, I'm certain. Thanks my man.

eleanor bloom said...

It was a freebie from elsewhere:

But glad you like this one. I'd probably get sick of the other pretty quickly anyway.

Thanks for the tip too. Makes me feel quite the expert now. Never know when I'm going to urgently need to see my desktop of Randy de Puniet stripping off his riding leathers.

OK, at the moment it's a cheetah (and soon to be that lovely car pic you sent me). Just wishful thinking re last MotoGP race I viewed - so happy he crashed and suddenly felt a little warm. His work off the bike is much better than on. Heh.
Am I sounding the rev-head lately or what?

Judy P said...

One of your best yet Davey! Thanks for "feeble" link - very intriguing

Judy P said...

Did I say "feeble"? You know I meant fussy.

davey said...

Feeble, fussy.. it's so hard to keep up with other people's idiosyncrasies these days anyway...

Fussy/Eden has a great ongoing (not to mention v. witty) pseudo-rivalry going with Matthew Baldwin, creator of the incredible Defective Yeti.

see the action here:

and it's follow up here:

Blomster, my dear, words cannot express how overjoyed I am that you are falling for a guy called 'Randy'.

Really only setting yourself up here you realise.

Jo said...

I did mean to originally say "nice post", but I was too caught up with my work at the children's library, Davey. Pass the salt. *chortle*.

Anonymous said...

I think i used the word Binary (cant even spell it) and you said that was in the ball park? The thing about your job is that really what you do is fucking amazing, I mean you know how shit works, I mean really works, I still dont really get how a fax works, or a phone, or the INTERNET, so I think when you tell people they need examples - like, you could say, you know when you buy something on the internet and somehow your account gets charged and you end up with some new cool thing arriving on your doorstop - well you know to get all that happening, I dont think that was a very good example and i am sure you could come up with a better one. come on you ARE a cyber Cowboy baby! anyway you could just not mention computers and talk about DjING, MTV and music stuff instead maybe drop in oh and i know how to program a computer too! Genius. love susie x

The Man at the Pub said...

It depends who you are a computer programmer for.

The CIA could make you more interesting (or get you attacked depending on what pub).


CSI - Logan City?

Milly Moo said...

Hmm, don't stress too much Davey. I work in 'administration' (hence my hatred of Cardigans) and Love Chunks is a meteorologist. He has actually said he's a 'public servant' at parties to avoid being shoved into a corner and forced to explain el Nino or why someone's daughters' wedding was rained out when the forecast had been for fine weather.....

I must say, my worst job (thankfully just a vacation one) was a cucumber polisher - thank god I was too young to have to demonstrate THAT skills to blokes in bars!

davey said...

Jo: Thankyou! Please model your librarian look on Rachel Weisz circa 'the Mummy' k thx.

Susie: Ha! Thanks mate, appreciate it. It's not all that brainy though, it's just that some people seem to get it more than others I find.

Will get the that DJ/Music thing soon. :) x

MillyMoo: So Chunks goes the OTHER way? Woah, that's a bit of a revelation. Pretty interesting job most certainly, but I can see why he attempts to hide it.

YOU WERE A CUCUMBER POLISHER?! I never even knew that such a glamorous position existed! Damn those year 12 career advisers and their short-sightedness.

HHH: I think Milly's giving you a run for your money...

davey said...

MATP: Speaking of the CIA, I watched 'The Good Shepard' the other week. It has been critically acclaimed as being the most realistic CIA movie ever made.

Assuming this is correct, we can then deduce that were I to pose as a CIA programmer, I would be long, drawn out, boring to the point of idiocy and complicated.

The mute girl was hot though. Meow!

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