I just learned that I have it too.

Three hours of pair programming in January 2009 are as vivid as if the corporate lickspittle was pulling up his chair right now, while my several near-fatal car accidents are distant memories. The pair programming memory simply will not fade, and I talk to a counselor every week to help put it behind me.

And that was only three hours, with a guy I couldn’t stand, so condescending that in any other circumstances I would have broken his jaw.

I didn’t know I had it, but the aftershock was enough for me to leave the country a year later. And I’m not going back.

My symptoms are different from yours. I did have panic attacks for about five years, easily attributable to relocating to another country where I didn’t yet speak the language and no longer in full control of my life, but while those have stopped hardly a day goes by when the memory of the lickspittle coming to my office to resume the abhorrent work after I had told him I absolutely could not do it anymore…comes roaring back. I think that was the worst; I had lain awake all night with racing heart and ragged breathing and finally emailed him that I couldn’t continue, but he ignored me because our manager had told is to do it. Microsoft used to hire brilliant people; now they hire obedient people.

Edit: when I realized the extent of the damage the experience had done to me I looked up the people involved and it is with great pleasure to be able to report that thee manager who put me through this, two days after my father’s funeral, died nineteen months afterward in his 30s.

The pair programming Was the centerpiece of a campaign to stress me into melting down or resigning, because Microsoft’s first-ever layoffs came a few weeks later and managers were instructed to cultivate as many resignations as they could.

American Software Developer living in Vietnam. Classical musician (guitar, woodwinds), weightlifter, multilingual, misanthrope • XY

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