Originally posted at https://onemikro2nd.blogspot.com/2016/03/extraordinary-driven-passionate.html
Recently spotted on the Internet:
- Extraordinary DevOps Leader
- Remarkable PHP Engineer
- Imaginative iOS Developer
- Passionate UX/UI Designer
- Seasoned Python Developer
(Really! I didn’t make these up.)
I wondered if I’d qualify for any of those, whether I possess the necessary qualities, even supposing I have the requisite hard skills…
No, I don’t think I am extraordinary. Most humans are not extraordinary. Most humans are pretty ordinary. That said, I’ve certainly done some unusual things. The most unusual was probably dropping out of my corporate programming and design job, with all its advantages of good income, city lifestyle and boringboringboringboring to live out in the sticks on a rural smallholding, trying to be self-sufficientish, growing my own food, supplying my own water, brewing my own beer, and learning. Always learning…
Yes, I confess, I have been driven.
Back in late 1999 into 2000 I did a gig that involved me living and working in Switzerland for about six months, on and off. Not in Switzerland as much as in one particular Canton that has (I was told) specific IP treaties with various other parts of the world that were (I was told) essential to the success of The Venture.
I was accommodated in particularly upmarket lodgings — an apartment in the same building that housed the offices and personal home-away-from-home of one of the Money Principals of the venture — a person of the 0.0001%. Lovely views of the lake, famous Alpine peaks visible in the distance, clouds permitting. I had some lingering contractual obligations back in Cape Town that required me to commute between Switzerland and SA every fortnight. Business Class, naturally, at the expense of The Venture. Man, I accumulated a lot of frequent-flier miles that way.
Each time I landed back in Zurich, The Venture’s minions would arrange for a taxi to schlepp me from the airport to the office. And what a taxi. Not some grotty yellow clapper with slightly sticky seats and cigarette-infused upholstery, oh no! A Mercedes limo, all leather and walnut, and Herr Geissler’s pidgin English offering to take me via the scenic route as I reclined in luxury in the back watching through the blacked-tinted windows as the chocolate-box chalets went whooshing by. The trip from airport to office took around forty minutes, unless we took the scenic route.
One time, though, something went wrong, and the minions failed to arrange for Herr Geissler. Some communication breakdown. By now quite familiar with the ins-and-outs of Swiss travel, I simply took the train. There’s a station right beneath your feet at Kloten Terminal B. To my delight I discovered that, even with a change of trains at Zurich Hauptbahnhof, the trip took only twenty-two scenic minutes by rail and Swiss chronometer, and deposited me a pleasant, three-minute walk from the office. After that I took the train whenever I was given the choice. I never commuted with Herr Giessler again, except for one last, wild time. But that’s another story altogether.
So: Driven? Yes, I’ve been driven. And I prefer the train, thank you.
Yes, I sometimes get passionate… occasionally I’ve been tempted to get passionate with other people. It has usually not ended well.
The thing about Passion is that it’s all hot-bloodedness, sweaty palms, thumping heart, furious emotion and throbbing other bits. And bloody short-lived. Is that really what you’re looking for in an Android Developer? Or would you rather hire someone who will see the project through the inevitable rough patches where your client suddenly and unreasonably invokes the corporate lawyers’ jotts and tittles and throws a cast-iron spike through the limpid clarity of your gifted UX designer’s heaven-inspiring vision, rewriting the spec into something dreamed up by the by-blow offspring of Dante Alighieri and H P Lovecroft on bad acid after a hard night jamming black-metal and burning Norwegian churches?
If that’s really the sort of Passion you’re looking for, I think I’ll pass.
Is there a single human-being on this Earth, of average intelligence or better, who is not imaginative? Just watch a small child persuading its parents that, No, I am NOT tired, I do NOT need to go to bed just now. Hell, even my dogs are imaginative when they’re trying to persuade me to take them for a walk.
Then, too, I have been known to make claims of being a Writer (I don’t say Published) of Science Fiction stories. That certainly takes some imagination. But then I had lots of practice. I learned from a Master. I went to a really strict Boys’ High School, you see, along with my best mate, Roy. And Roy was one of the Naughty Boys. Constantly getting into trouble with the powers that were. More than half the time it was not even his fault and he was merely an unwitting victim of circumstance. He had some sort of genetic predisposition towards attracting trouble to himself. Consequently he became a Master at Talking His Way Out Of Trouble, and, along the way, I learned a whole lot from him about the art of fabricating stories. I learned, too, that the stories often don’t need to be particularly plausible. Just good enough for the people who want to be able to pretend to believe. And that’s all it takes for Science Fiction.
So: Imaginative? Yes, I think I’ll own that one.
I am never quite sure of the word “remarkable”. Does it mean that I’ve done something that other people find odd enough to want to remark on, or does it mean that I am “able” to make “remarks” about odd stuff, thus being remark-able? I suspect (duh) that when you say you’re looking for a Remarkable Engineer you mean the first sense – you want someone who is “remark”-worthy. The trouble is that you don’t say what they should be remarkable for… is it their dress-sense, the oddly clashing colours, pink shirt and purple neckscarf topping olive drab pants rolled up to the knees that they think make some sort of declaration of disdain for the world of conventional fashion and the sheer quantity of metalwork rivetted through the flesh of one ear so as to cause their head to lean markedly to one side? I’d certainly remark on that.
Not that I’m pointing a finger, mind. Not me. Very tolerant, I am. Peoples lifestyle and dress choices are their own, and frequently the least interesting thing about them. After all, it is pretty certain that I do or have done some things in my time that might give other people cause to remark on me. Like the sleeveless Afghan goatskin I affected back in the earliest of my student days. At least until the blackened pinhole burns multiplied like some ebonite ur-acne. That was probably remarkable. At least, the smell probably was.
So: Remarkable? Yeah, I’ll ‘fess up to that one, too.
Well, “phenomenal” is the adjectival form of “phenomenon”, which one dictionary defines as “an appearance or immediate object of awareness in experience; a thing as it appears to and is constructed by the mind, as distinguished from a noumenon, or thing-in-itself.”
I have long held the theory that the practice of software development (writing programs, to be less pretentious) is exactly the Practice of Magic. I mean, look at the Sorcerers and Wizards of fable and fantasy. (It is entirely Terry Pratchett’s fault that I always want to spell Wizard with two Zs.) No, seriously, I am not even joking, here. The Sorcerers and/or Wizards (delete where not applicable) confine themselves to smoky dungeons/high garrets/dark towers, surrounded by piled-high stacks of grimoires, crafting intricate and eldritch spells in arcane and incomprehensible languages. Enchantments that, upon release into the world, wreak havoc, mayhem and general confusion. (I believe we call it “Disrupting Entrenched Monopolies”.)
So I contend that software is all “a thing as it appears to and is constructed by the mind”. By that measure, then, all software is Phenomenal. So, in using the word “phenomenal” in relation to writing code, you said nothing at all.
Seasoned? What does that even mean — a “seasoned” developer? That I’ve been left out in the Sun too long? That I smell a bit ripe? I don’t want to know.
I can chuck some salt and pepper over myself if you like. Chilli flakes, even. MSG. Is that seasoned enough?
While it was not specific to any of the positions you advertised, in puffing up your dev group you invite me to “work with an absurdly talented group of people…z”
I think I’ll join the circus then. The Bearded Lady. The Dancing Bear. The Siamese Kittens. The Sword Swallower and the Tattooed Map Lady whose Ass Can Be Seen From Her Elba. Absurd and talented, all. Maybe they need a Scrum Master…