I truly don’t understand how anyone could get any real work done with someone sitting closer than most spouses in bed. It’s one constant interruption even if you ignore the hideously uncomfortable proximity. I can’t concentrate during interruptions.

In my case it was a corporate lickspittle I absolutely could not stand, one of those ultra-obedient people that Microsoft has favored since the early days.

My father had just died, they were trying to push me into a blowup with a series of aggravations of which the pair programming was the piece de resistance; they had their first layoffs ever coming in a few weeks and were trying to get as many as possible to quit to soften the PR impact of layoffs. It was sadistic. It worked. I quit.

When you tell me it can work, I’m sorry, I just can’t believe you. No I am not calling you a liar but your experience of writing code must be unfathomably different from mine. I’m one of those weirdos who can enter a Flow condition easily but I need to be alone and uninterrupted. I produce a lot, I learn very fast, I’ve been at it 30 years. I had one onsite gig after that, at the end of which I moved out of the country. That last one was OK, everyone was cool, but I won’t ever work onsite again. I’m not a social programmer. I work on teams with very high-level divisions, never on the same code.

This was a LOT worse than wasted time. It was in January 2009, two days after I buried my father, and I am currently in counseling trying to put it behind me. Almost eleven years later. I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD as a result of those three hours which is astonishing to me; I’m no delicate li’l flower, I bench-press 300 lbs at age 65, I’ve been in three near-fatal car accidents that I don’t think about for years at a time, but not a day has gone by since that horrid session when I haven’t had to bite my knuckles and try to calm myself.

The condescending Indian creep had the fucking nerve to go to my whiteboard and start to explain polymorphism to me, something I had understood when he was breast-feeding.

When I told him I absolutely could not do it anymore he ignored me and as soon as I arrived at my office, after no sleep, he came in and pulled up the chair as if we were going to do that shit all day. I told him to get the hell out of my office, NOW. You say it matters who the other developer is, I detested this guy. But I couldn’t do it with someone I loved working with.

Next day I went to my manager’s office, took his scissors from his pencil cup, and threw the two halves of my cardkey on his desk. That was my sixth gig at Microsoft and I’ll never work there again.

I’m doing technical writing right now. I’ve worked remotely since 2011, I like it, I get tons of work done. Remote software work is out of fashion again, I could make major bucks if I was willing to relocate and work onsite but I am unwilling to do either. I can write, I put in for a writing gig and I was hired in less than three days. MPP is growing logarithmically for me and is now a real source of income.

I’m tracking what kind of work is open to remote and learning new skills; I’d rather do servers and databases and maybe remote will come back but agile would drive me stark raving mad. Sprint retrospective, daily scrum, Jesus Christ.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store