I figured someone would get around to this.

You can call me a bigot if you like but you’d be wrong. I called out our locations to underscore that we were a distributed team. Did I need to mention I’m in Vietnam?

As for the pronunciation, it’s germane. I’ve been working with Indians for three decades; were I a bigot it would have shown up long ago. I’ve worked with some really great Indian programmers, and the two best managers I ever had were both Indian.

But there is a work ethic issue I have run into way too many times to dismiss, a tendency to do the least they could get away with. The ones who don’t work this way are great. The ones who do work this was are infuriating. At Microsoft I took over a project that six Tata “senior software engineers” had worked on for a year. It crashed before showing a window. Manager asked me if any of it was salvageable; open any source file, look 20 lines in either direction, find memory leaks. Garbage. And they demanded to get paid. I rewrote it from scratch in 4 months all by myself and I am not a genius.

Perhaps I should have drawn the connection in my text but I was seeking to avoid exactly what you accuse me of: L’s code sucked, it was the least he could get away with. If the client even FOUND the API it was a 200.

And the same with his English. Just barely good enough. Learn the word but don’t bother learning which syllable takes the accent. As long as he could be understood, whatever struggle we had to go through to understand, that was as hard as he was going to try.

I live my life in a tonal language in a country where maybe one foreigner in a thousand ever tries to learn the local language at all. It would never cross my mind not to, and I didn’t learn “just barely enough.” I can speak both major dialects because if I do something I want to do a good job.

L approached both his work and his communication with a just-barely-enough attitude. He not only did the least he could get away with, he was aggressive about it. Oh, this guy does detailed checks for errors? Well I’ll fix that. 200, 200, 200.

I was responsible for the crypto. You can’t do crypto with an attitude like L’s.

But all management cared about was keeping things nicey-nice.

And were I a bigot what the hell am I doing living in Vietnam and married to a Vietnamese?

I’m all about mentoring, but it didn’t take long to figure out this guy would not have listened. I wrote pages to him about the branches and why their arrangement was wrong; he responded by pasting two irrelevant lines from the Git docs, lines about one-hour fixes that addressed nothing I had written. He thought he knew it all.

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

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