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"You need to help me with this crap!"
Alicia, the new hire, dumped a stack of design documents onto Jaimy's keyboard, and stood over him, arms crossed.
He hit 'undo', and looked at the docs. They were for a complete ERP system with a 'high-importance' bounty-- a new initiative by management to get programmers 'invested' in their work.
"That's ambitious for your first project," he said, "Maybe you should start with a less intricate feature, to get you experienced with our code?"
"I work a computer just as hard as anyone with your 'experience'," Alicia air-quoted at him. "Don't misunderappreciate me like they did at my last job."
"My apologies," Jaimy replied, hardly wanting to be 'that guy' who won't help the juniors. "What are you stuck on?"
"This," she said, smacking the design docs, spreading them across his desk, "It's all written in some stupid code. How am I supposed to type it up if it doesn't make any sense?"
He blinked, a bit confused. The only code she gestured at were actual printouts of the codebase. Maybe she hadn't come from a VB shop? "What language did you use at your last job?"
"English, obviously," she scoffed.
Jaimy laughed softly-- only to see her stern, pale face draw into a deeper frown. She hadn't been joking.
"What do you think, that because I was a secretary, they forced me to speak Mexican, and I've become un-literate in American?"
"What? No!" Jaimy said, hands up. "I meant did you use Java? Perl? Which computer language did you use?"
"'Computer language'? Not everyone knows your fancy made-up terms for common words," she stated bluntly, "I used Excel."
Jaimy blinked. It wasn't his job to question anyone's qualifications-- but had Management actually hired her as a programmer? Still, it's a poor workman who blames his tools. She was on his team now, and her problems were his problems.
"Well, did you use macros in Excel?" he asked.
"Well, if you can figure those out, you can program. VB is like Excel, but different..."
He showed her the VB equivalent of the macros she knew, and demoed those she didn't. He checked out the code for her, showed her how to start a new project, set up the GUI, access the code-behind, the syntax of VB code structures, and how to commit it when she was all done.
It was significantly more work than he'd normally do on someone else's project, but they got it in before the bounty deadline.
His own project's timelines slipped, but it only took a few days of unpaid overtime to catch up. Surely it would all be worth it to finally have some extra help onboard.
Over the month, Jaimy kept an eye on Alicia's check-ins to the code base-- of which there were quite a few. Though she breezed through project after project, her code wasn't exactly-- well-- ideal. He could chalk that up to forgivable foibles of a junior programmer. He did some tweaks and some rewrites, keeping comments and notes as he went along. He compiled them into a helpful guide, and emailed it to Alicia along with some tips about how to improve her craft.
A minute later, she stormed his desk.
"Stop putting your name all over my hard work!" she fumed.
"I only put in some helpful comments and fixes," Jaimy replied soothingly. "Just making sure all the code runs as smooth as possible."
"Don't try to steal my bounties. I'm finally being given the salary I deserve, and all you did was change, like, a few lines out of a thousand!"
A 'few lines' made the difference between the code just compiling and, well, working. Rookie mistakes-- but he'd been a rookie at one point in his life, too. "Just doing my part to make sure everyone looks good," he replied calmly, going for 'encouraging'.
"I don't need it," she shot back. "Have you even looked at the end-of-month productivity report? Your numbers are pathetic next to mine. How the hell did you even get anything done before I got here?"
"I get a lot more work done when I only have to do my own work," he said, his encouraging tone slipping a bit. "But now, well, this is a team environment, and teams run on two-way streets. You really need to decide how your-- talents-- will benefit the whole team."
She nodded. "You know what, I will."
Come Monday morning, he wasn't surprised to find Alicia packing her desk.
"If you want a letter of recommendation… " Jaimy offered.
She waved him off. "I don't need one. I already know my quantity of work's what this team needs to strive for. Management agrees-- they made me the new Head of ICT to shove this goddamn slackfest back into shape."
Jaimy scrolled though the .doc file. He wasn't sure what the code was supposed to be, but there was plenty of it. He looked up at the scruffball, one of Alicia's new hires. "If you want me to review your code, I need to see the VB files, not a .doc file, ok?"
"But I'm Word certified," the kid scoffed, crossing his arms.
"Just--" he swallowed the defeat, "Just use Visual Studio, ok?"
Jaimy watched him huff off to his desk. He hardly recognized the office anymore. Where once there had been former co-workers, there was now a sad mix of empty cubicles and unfamiliar faces, all wearing ID tags from the same placement firm Alicia had come from.
His introspect was interrupted by one of the new hires looming over him.
"Yo, where’s the key for Vision Studios 2005?"
"Umm, we use Visual Studio 2000," Jaimy replied. Management wouldn't pay for any software made after the year 2000.
"Well I could only find a torrent of 2005, and the keygen doesn't work."
Jaimy just stood up and, without even locking his computer, walked straight to Alicia's office. He closed the door behind him.
"If we don't hire some programmers," he stated, getting direct to his point. "We'll never meet this month's deadlines."
"Oh, stop your panty-twisting," she threw back, starting a new game of Hearts. "I'll call my placement agency."
He could have sworn he'd said 'programmers'. "Maybe we should-- diversify our hiring pool? Use a different agency?"
"I get a referral bonus from this one."
"I'm concerned those you've hired might not have all the required qualifications," he suggested.
"'Qualifications'?" She slammed her laptop closed. "I'm not going to waste company money on useless crap. Elitists like you just want to hog all the jobs to yourselves with your fancy pieces of paper, but I did the job just fine without one."
"While I think it's-- flabbergasting-- that you rose to your current position," Jaimy said in the slow and diplomatic tone of one who doesn't really want to curbstomp the kitten, but will. "I think it'd be a wise investment-- if only to save on training costs-- to hire some people with a few years of programming experience."
"What training? You said it yourself, this job's just like using Excel. It's just glorified data entry. If they can type, they can program-- and the faster the better."
And with that, Jaimy decided to put his programming experience to good use by typing up a resume-- the faster, the better.
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