Tunnel Rat posted on June 27, 2007 17:22

As the my team huddled tenatively around the DVD player, I played the scene from Casino where Sam (DeNiro) fires the redneck running his slots. Classic DeNiro...

Sam: Now you're insulting my intelligence. What's the matter with you...?
Redneck: I think you're overreacting.
Sam: Listen, you fuckin' yokel. I've been carrying your ass ever since I got here. Get your ass outta here.


I let the scene play out for a few more lines, and turned off the DVD.

Get your ass outta here!
Godamn, I wanted to say those words to Charlie, and the TAC also. In fact, I wanted all of them out.

"Man, I love that movie," I told the boys, smiling. They looked back at me, shocked. It was like I had just shown them a hard-core bestiality video. Fuckin' pussies.

I leaned against the conference table.

"Now, don't get me wrong, nobody's getting fired. But I do need to make a few things clear. We got a lot on our plate, and there's huge pile of work to be done by the end of the year. So I just want to let you guys know that I'm counting in you..."

Silence, and some shoegazing.

"...And I've been in places where companies lost faith in thier development teams. It happens quickly, and it ain't pretty." I scanned their faces for any hint that I was getting through to them. Nothing. I was embarassing them, and they didn't like it. I continued anyway.

"I've seen guys tapped on the shoulder, and then never seen again. I've been in shops where they outsourced the whole operation to Indians -- guys I liked to work with were kicked to the curb..."

"What, is there uh problem?" Burning Man asked.

"No, not yet, but we have a lot of work to do." I checked the clock -- I only had a few minutes left before I lost the conference room.

"Oh, and one more thing -- this company has a pretty good deal going for some of you guys with this 9-80 deal, and I'd hate to see someone on my team cause them to pull that privilege." I needed to let them know that I was on to their shit -- their coming in late, leaving early, and in general, being royal jerk-offs.

Charlie rolled his eyes. Mr. Coffee looked like he was running late for his daughter's basketball game. The TAC was confused. The three Asian guys all had something in common -- they weren't listening.

I have a theory that most Asians think white guys are stupid. I mean, after all, while most of my cracker friends and I were trying to score some good bud or fingerbang Suzy Rottencrotch, guys like the TAC were cramming for a Trig exam. Most didn't even get laid until they were well into their twenties. I don't think the TAC had ever even smelled pussy. So, by default, I was some kind of idiot in there eyes, unless I proved otherwise.

The tree hugger spoke up again. "What, is somebody on this team taking advantage of that policy?" whined Burning Man.

"No, just a heads up." I started packing up. "Thanks a lot guys."

Now, I don't care of someone comes in, kicks ass, bitches and moans, but generally, gets the damn job done. They can work two hours a day for all I care. But these clowns were far from productive. When they did get something done, it looked like a stinking, runny pile of feces...

...the TAC, with his stored procs that had more lines than the manuscript for Infinate Jest...

...Mr. Coffee, who built an entire web app with hard-coded links to a stylesheet that resided only on his computer, and then did nothing when the CIO called to inform him that he could see nothing but a black page...

...and Burning Man -- with his pretty hair, CD collection, and ignorance of the most basic IT concepts...

..and Charlie...fuckin' Charlie...

Hiding, dodging, slacking, engaging in all sorts of mastrubatory coding exercises that accomplished nothing -- I was sick of it. And I've been carrying their sorry asses since I got there, and like DeNiro's character, I was tired of it. I was ready to get my weekends back and my life in order. By then I didn't care what my team thought about my antics. I was in full frontal assault mode, and I was going to clear this damn tunnel.

The crap had started to seep into my family life again. The night before, after several glasses of wine at dinner, my wife and I had gotten into it after I started bitching about work.

"What is with you?" she had asked. "You get these jobs, they work you to death, and everybody you work with is an asshole. Maybe you're the one with the problem!"

Well, she did have a point -- I was an asshole. But I got the job done. These guys on my team where assholes, and got nothing done. But that was about to change.

I just had to make an example out of one of them, and Charlie was it. And that train had left the station.

When I came in the next day, Mr. Whiteboard called me into his office.

"Don't worry about Charlie anymore," he told me. "Everything will be taken care of next week"

Fuckin-A! Now we're talking, I thought to myself.

"Thanks. Look, I'm sorry about all the trouble I've stirred up. I appreciate your support."

"Ok," he said. He stared at me blankly. The meeting was over.

I was stoked. Charlie was on his way out. I could get some things done now. And since the Online Query App was out the door, I wasn't going to have to work this weekend. I called my wife and made plans for dinner.

When I came in on Monday, Charlie's cube was empty. The little snake didn't even say goodbye. Maybe he was escorted out of the building on Friday. He was sure worthy of it.

But now, I had to clean up his shit. All of his unfinished work would need be prioritized, rescheduled, and eventually, coded, mostly by me...

...I had to buy some time from Ferris and the other stakeholders. Man, it was a lot, and then there was that Suicidal Caller thing that the clueless, gayish CIO wanted done...

...and that Archive tool...

...and I had to get the TAC back on track...

...plus, Burning Man was going to have to set up the new servers by himself, after he learns what IIS means...

My phone was ringing -- it was the HR lady.

I got fired that afternoon.

It was like I had chased Charlie deep into to the tunnel, had him cornered, and at the last minute, he pulled the spoon on a grenade that blew both of us up.

I saw the ad for my old job on Dice the next week:

Title: Supervisor, Applications Development
Skills: VB.NET, ASP.NET, SQL Server
Tax term: FULLTIME
Pay rate: Market

The ideal candidate will have experience supervising the work of others as well as knowledge of developing and making changes to applications in Microsoft technologies such as ASP, ASP.NET, C#.NET, AJAX, VB 6.0, MS SQL Server, Web Services and XML.

Examples Of Duties: This position will provide first level supervision which involves accountability for assigning, coordinating and evaluating the work of subordinate staff.

1. Develop and make changes to applications in Microsoft technologies such as ASP, ASP.NET, C#.NET, AJAX, VB 6.0, MS SQL Server, Web Services, XML etc.
2. Design and develop, with the help of DBA, MS SQL Server database objects (tables, stored procedures, functions, etc.)
3. Develop software that meets requirements and provides desired functionality.
4. Work with consulting group and technical resources to analyze requirements and define solutions using Visio, Visual Studio etc.
5. Test implemented software changes to ensure functionality, stability and scalability.
6. Develop and deliver required technical documentation.
7. Participate in project and design meetings.
8. Resolve complex technical issues.
9. Follow defined software development methodology.

Mr. Whiteboard was going to have hire another SAD.

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Tunnel Rat posted on June 26, 2007 17:16

I Predict a Riot. I couldn’t get that song out of my head.

For days I had been driving into work at TCTSRN, listening to that Kaiser Chiefs song about hooligans and condoms. And I was starting to sense that something was building.

...I Predict a Riot…

Mr. Whiteboard had started to give me the stink eye after I mocked his habit of changing code in stored procs and rolling them straight into production. We weren’t really seeing eye-to-eye on the whole Charlie debacle, either. I had show him the HR paperwork after I wrote Charlie up for sitting on his ass instead of resolving a major production break, and he had done nothing. I started to sense that he was up to something, but couldn’t figure it out.

...I Predict a Riot…

Because when a shitbird IT manager starts feeling pressure, they tend to resort to all sorts of tricks to protect their turf. That is how, in spite of overwhelming evidence of their incompetence, they manage to retain power for years. And they don’t like to be threatened with exposure of their incompetence.

...I Predict a Riot…

And I had threatened Mr. Whiteboard.

TCTSRN had a Compliance Department and it was their job to ensure that the company was not playing fast and lose with patient data. They audited things and responded to confidentiality issues. But most importantly, they said it was the responsibility of all employees to report privacy violations.

When the last prod break happened, Mr. Whiteboard should have notified the Compliance people and at least given them the heads up that there might have been a breech.

But he had done nothing.

...I Predict a Riot…

Man, I was ready to stir up some shit.

At my next meeting with old shovel face, I asked if he had done anything about that HR paperwork I had given him.

He looked at me. Blankly. “You mean that CAR form you wrote up for Charlie?”

“Yeah, isn’t it supposed to go to HR or something?”

“I’ll take care of it.” He didn’t sound too convincing.

I picked it up a notch. “You know, we had some privacy issues on that last production break.” I leaned forward, lowering my voice. “Do we need to notify the Compliance folks?”

He knew what I meant – I could get him fired. He stared at me. Blankly. I thought I could see my reflection on his forehead.

“I’ll take care of it.”

The meeting was over.

...I Predict a Riot…

So, I had dropped a veiled threat to my boss, and was working on getting one of the turds on my team fired. The rest of the boys needed some attention. They just weren’t getting the hint.

Projects were undone, trouble tickets three months old were still open, and they still hadn’t given me any documentation detailing the applications that they thrown into production over the years. Bastards.

With the atmosphere thoroughly polluted by Mr. Whiteboards foot dragging and Charlie’s belligerence, I had nothing to lose. I was going to fire things up a little bit.

...I Predict a Riot…

The morning of my weekly staff meeting, I dashed out to the local Blockbuster video store to pick up a special movie. I found it on a rack of older titles – Casino.

I got back to my desk a few minutes before the meeting and loaded the DVD into my portable player. I queued up the scene where DeNiro is about to chew out the redneck who was running the slot machines. I was getting tired of my team insulting my intelligence, and nobody could make that point better than DeNiro…

Oh, shit, I just lost my train of thought…My manager just snuck up on me while I was blogging…wanted me to sign my termination letter…it’s my last week at this gig…

…Damn, I have to finish this up later, maybe after I leave my current contract in a few days. I don’t know why I should even worry - I turned down their offer to go perm and have been, for all intensive purposes, sitting around for the last two months…having to smell Bababooey’s lunch and trying to look busy, blogging, maybe even doing a little bit of moonlighting on their dime…

…Fuck it – what are they going to do, fire me on my last week?

…Let the blogging continue in earnest…

My team shuffled in to the conference room. Charlie and his dingy white shirt and bell-bottom slacks. God, he looked like he belonged in the motherboard aisle at Fry’s. Mr. Coffee and his, um, Starbucks cup. The TAC, probably still trying to figure out how to stream HTML out from a stored procedure. And Burning Man, with his lavender hair and old Doc Martins.

“Hey guys, I have little treat today. It’s a scene from one of my favorite movies.” I turned on the DVD player. “Now this movie is rated R, so you guys don’t mind if there is some adult content, do you?”

Burning Man looked scared. “Like what, Nazi stuff?”

Geez, what a fuckin’ hippie. What is it with people like him? Why, if you have hair cut about your shoulders, and dress fairly conservatively, and show up on time, and also happen to be a white middle-aged male, you're assumed to be a fucking Nazi?

“No, just a little cussing, that’s all.”

I rolled the tape…

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tunnel rat posted on June 25, 2007 16:14

Gee, I must have pissed off some CEWPs (Curry Eating Wage Pirates), because the day after I posted my last blog my ISP got hit with a massive DOS attack that shut it down for a few days.

Now, I’m not pointing any fingers, but it wouldn’t surprise me if some CEWPs in Bangalore or some other open sewer of a city in India got together and slammed my ISP’s servers after reading my post. That would be typical of a culture that spent their time and energy developing nuclear weapons instead of fixing their decaying infrastructure that forces men to piss in public urinals in full view of female passerby.

I can’t believe these offshore companies are even trying to recruit American programmers in the U.S. I keep getting calls from thick-accented Indian recruiters with unpronouncable names, wanting me to work on contracts on the other side of the country. And if you mention that maybe working for Indians may not be the best scenario for an America developer, you are met with outright indignation, albeit in broken English. Maybe they are starting to get some push back from American clients who find themselves forced to deal with shoddy programmers who can barely speak English.

And evidently, the Indian diet evidently has caused some issues in the American workplace, as this post from Craiglist’s best shows.

But enough about the CEWPs – I need to wrap up the
TCTSRN thread.

Six weeks into my gig at that non-profit, where I was SAD (Supervisor, Applications Development), I finally had my chance to get rid of Charlie.

We had launched the Online Inquiry App, and it took all of a day for the Senior Business Analyst who gave me the specs and tested the app to figure out that it was broken. Like, major security, HIPAA violations broken. Like, anyone could see confidential patient data which they did not have authorization to see. It had something to do with the hacks buried in the login process. Easy fix, and it would only take a few minutes to correct the issue.

But there was one problem -- I wasn’t around when they found out about the bug.

I was spending the day in Leadership For Results training class with a bunch of ladies, and one or two male middle-managers, doing role-playing games and other worthless exercises dreamed up by HR consultants.

By the time I got back to the fourth floor that afternoon, all hell was breaking lose. Mr. Whiteboard was running around dealing with some other production break, and the analyst filled me in about the nature of the Online Inquiry App problem.

“Did you tell Charlie?” I asked her. As worthless as he was, he could have fixed the bug pretty quickly.

“Yes, I told him this morning.”


“I haven’t heard,” she told me before rushing off to put out another fire.

I made my way over to Charlie’s cube. He wasn’t around. Neither were Mr. Coffee, or the TAC. It must be Starbucks time for the Asian developers, I thought.

So I decided to wait in Charlie’s cube. I prepped for an ambush. Lock and load, bitch.

He showed up five minutes later. He looked freaked out when he saw me sitting on his desk.

“Hi Charlie.”

He said nothing as he scurried to his chair. The cube was small and L-shaped, and I was on one end looking over his back as he logged in. I had a good field of fire.

“How are we coming on that production problem?” I asked calmly.

“Wud problem?”

“You know. The Online Inquiry App.” His computer screen opened up, displaying a bunch of code that was part of his “Massive Architectural Framework” that I had told him to stop working on.

“Uh, I dun know. I havend look ad id.” He started shutting down windows on his computer, hiding his work.

“So we have a production break, and you’ve known about it since this morning, and you haven't looked into at all?” I triggered the Claymores and initiated the ambush.


“What’s the deal? It looks like an easy fix,” I told him.

“Why you giving me heat? I dond do nuding unless you tell me.” He was returning fire.

“Don’t you think this a serious problem?” I was laying down rounds in full-auto.

“I dun know.”

I started putting down some covering fire and securing the perimeter. “How about the server migration project? Where do you stand with that?”

He tried to outflank me. “I still working on dat.” He showed me a half a page of worthless specs.

“That’s all you got?”

“Uh, I don’t think I like this…You giving me heat.” He was withering under the barrage of small arms fire.

I was done bullying him. Yeah, I admit, I corned the little creep and pushed him around a bit. But I wanted to let him know that goofing around and taking leisurely coffee breaks when things were blowing up was not standard operating procedure. He was using my extensive oversight of his work as an excuse to do nothing.

But he was too clever for his own good. I had layed a trap.

Nothing intentional, but I had taken a legitimate production issue and his lack of response to it and used it too my advantage.

I had enough here to pen-fuck Charlie.

I went back to my desk, fixed the code, and rolled it into production. Not like I had to worry about a QA department to test the fix or anything.

With that fire out, I went to the HR portal and found the CAR (Corrective Action Report) form. Six pages of red-tape, but the first step in documenting Charlie’s wayward response to things. I was doing things by the book, just like the HR lady had suggested.

I got set for the next ambush. Charlie’s days were numbered.

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Tunnel Rat posted on June 8, 2007 16:24

Man, it’s hard to blog consistently. It takes a lot to drag yourself out of bed an hour early everyday and write a few interesting, coherent paragraphs.

But I found myself on some other blogger’s blogroll (Scruffy Looking Cat Herder), and that gave me some newfound inspiration. BTW, that’s a pretty good blog from another passionate developer.

I’m tempted to blog at work, but that is not very smart. For one, my manager has a tendency to walk by my cube and glance at my monitor. Like most middle-age guys, he needs reading glasses, but I think he scan my screen from five feet away and figure out that I not typing code. Secondly, it’s hard to get in the writing groove in a fairly busy office. Finally, the company may be monitoring what I am doing with their computer, although I doubt it. They can barely monitor their own web site and keep it running.

But some things are starting to get my blog juices flowing, so I am covertly typing this text inside what looks like a functional specification document with a bunch of tables and techy mumbo-jumbo. God, I wish I had my own office again.

Now, what I really want to write about is CURRY EATING WAGE PIRATES.

You know -- HI-Bs from India.

Those folks that you can’t understand because they speak and write in broken English.

The ones who make foul smelling food that they eat at their desk.

And write really bad code for a fraction of the price of an American coder.

You know, the foks who always nod in agreement, even though they have no idea what you are saying to them.

The ones that are imported by big companies that claim that they cannot find enough qualified coders in the U.S.

I am surrounded by two of them as I write this. One is really, really obnoxious, so I don’t talk to him. His name is Babo, but I like to think of him as Bababooey.

He talks really fast about technical stuff and makes no sense whatsoever. He’s a blowhard that rolls his r’s. And of course, he makes stinky lunches.

But the worst thing is that he has a habit of sneaking up behind me and reading my screen, and making asinine comments about what I am working on. I guess in his country they are used to looking over your shoulder while you code, probably because the ratio is ten programmers to one computer over there.

“Ah, a VinForms app. You shoood yoooz Vindows Presentation Framework…yada yada yada….”

And you should go back to that shithole sub-continent you came from, Mr. Stink-Boy, I wanted to tell him.

At first I was polite. Now I just ignore him, even when he stands over my shoulder, mumbling about the work I am doing. I act like I can’t hear, or say something like “what, you wanna read my email now?”

Bababooey once tried to suck up to me by sending me PDFs of course material he had copied from an AppDev class. He said he had all sorts of digital manuals, and showed me a ring full of thumb drives that he pulled out of his pocket.

“You vont need do buy any booooks, jus ask me, I have dem.”

I reminded him that we have copyright laws in America. He sneared and mumbled something sarcastic about China.

I sent an email to the AppDev company and said some programmer was peddling their copyrighted material, and it looked like he's in a piracy ring with his H1-B buddies, trading curry recipes, software, and digitized tech manuals. They were not pleased – the courseware runs about a thousand bucks a pop.

And the recent controversy about the Senate immigration bill really has me worked up. The politicians actually want to bring in more Bababooeys to illegally duplicate courseware, write bad code, mumble their way through the day, and nod like retards. They say that there is a shortage of skilled programmers, and the only way to solve the problem is to increase the H1-B quotas.


If there really was a shortage of developers, I would be making twice what I made 10 years ago, not 60% of that amount. And I’m a free-markets kind of guy, and don’t mind competing in the global workplace. But dirty, nasty, maggot ridden truth about Indian programmers is that they are usually horrible programmers, and for the most part, insular, passive aggressive snakes.

Part of the reason has to do with the caste system. Because of aggressive affirmative action policies inacted by the Indian government, there are a huge amount of "untouchables" that have made their way into Indian software companies. They have a modicum of education, but are severely discriminated against by the Brahmims and other upper-caste members of the society because of their poor communication skills and lack of social graces.

The offshore companies send most of these "Dalits," as they are known, to America so that they won't have to deal with them at home. So, if you find yourself staring at the blank face of a mumbling, dull-eyed H1-B, rest assured that he was not even allowed to sit in the same room with his bosses back home.

I once had a client ask me to do a phone screening of some potential contractors for a project that needed some more bodies. I talked to three, and the most adequate was a man with a pleasant Hindi accent. He was fairly articulate on the phone and answered most of my questions correctly. I recommended him to the client.

The body shop sent someone across country the next day. Needless to say, this was not the same mofo that I had talked to on the phone. This guy could not speak a lick of English. Plus, he was surly, confused, and utterly worthless. It was the old bait-and-switch. My dumbass supervisor told me to get him up to speed on the project and parked his curry-eating ass next to my desk for two weeks.

It was a hopeless cause. The guy could barely read English, much less code. Plus, to add insult to injury, I had to spend so much time getting him to do the simplest things, I missed some of my own deliverables. When the burn rate got to be too much, they let me go with half a day's notice. The firm was obligated to give my Dalit friend two week's notice of termination, so he ended sitting around for a while longer, grimacing, fumbling around with some code, and frowning at everybody else on the project until he was shipped back to New Jersey.

Honestly, has there ever been a successful commercial software product produced by an Indian company? Even the rigid Germans have SAP, but that is understandable because those guys are such great engineers, they found a way to exterminate 12 million poor souls very efficiently. Bastards.

But the Indians have nothing. All they do is send indentured servants to America, where they take up residence in poorly run IT shops. And any IT manager that thinks they are saving money by hiring H1-Bs is fucking idiot.

No, really -- if you are doing that, you are a dumbass. How do you expect to get complex applications written by people who come from a country that still has the plague? Did it ever occur to you that the thick accent that makes it impossible to understand the H1-Bs you filled your shop with also makes it hard on your native programmers, who now have to deal with a language and cultural barrier?

I have a theory. The IT managers who bring these ill-dressed, mumbling buffoons into the country and pay them below-market wages have no clue about programming. To them, tech-speak may as well be Latin. They don’t understand complex programming issues even if they are explained to them by an articulate, patient, American programmer. So it doesn’t matter to them if a musky-smelling H1-B is feeding them a load of geek bullshit. It’s all the same, so why not save a few bucks?

Sorry for jingoistic rant, but the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page said today that we need more foreign computer scientists. Sure, and we also need more editorial writers working out of some Bangalore slum – I am tired of paying so much for that paper. I think a nickel a copy is about the right price, and I am sure all those journalists with degrees from Columbia wouldn’t mind stagnant wages for the rest of their careers.

But H1-Bs are a reality, so I’ll be content to be a festering ball of rage, giving Bababooey the stink eye and relaying my numerous anecdotes about working with his ilk. Trust me, it’s not only their lunch that stinks – it’s their fuckin’ code.

Stay tuned…

- Vineet Nayar, CEO, HCL Technologies

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