we get more glory by building shoddy things
Monday, March 20 2023
This morning I resumed my work on trying to figure out the troubling data issue with that older web program I'd been working on back on Friday. It wasn't long before one of the guys whose career depends on its functioning (at another company that bought this program from Dan, a guy who is now a manager at my company) was wanting to talk to me on a phone. So I gave him my cellphone number, but of course when he tried to call me my phone did nothing at all because that's the kind of phone I'm happy to have. Eventually I called him on the landline (after first rebooting the cable modem, as it's a "virtual" landline) and he stressed to me how important it was to get the web app working. He needed to tell me this over the phone, and it seemed to calm his nerves to find a reasonable-seeming (and articulate) gentleman on the other end of the line, since it's kind of a crapshoot when you're dealing with software developers. Still, initially, at least, I wasn't having a great morning. Dan, the one who'd built the application, responded to my extensive post about it by saying that I had some misunderstanding of his application but that I had nevertheless come up with some good queries to identify the bad records.
Then in the early afternoon, the guy who'd called me earlier wanted to have a TeamViewer session to show me something. TeamViewer is an application that allows one person to look at (and control) the computer of another (it's often used by people running technical support scams in India) and I'd recently uninstalled it after it pissed me off by overlaying its stupid icon unhelpfully overtop every icon on Woodchuck's desktop. But this TeamViewer session proved incredibly helpful. The guy showed me an error that happened when a customer submitted a booking, and I knew immediately when I saw the error that a software change I'd made back in mid-February was the source of this bug. I didn't admit to this, of course, but I was able to fix the live site in about fifteen minutes just by adding an extra column to the output of a stored procedure, work done entirely from within SQL Server Management Studio. That was able to fix this problem so quickly and perfectly kind of blew the minds of the stressed-out people having to deal with it. The guy on the phone said he was extremely appreciative, adding that he "owed me big time," completely unaware that I was the one who had caused the problem to begin with. This brings up something I've noticed in the past: that, because we tend to not take ownership of our failures while trumpeting our successes (something I didn't even need to do in this case, because it was self-evident), we tend to get more glory by building shoddy things and then fixing them than we do by building things correctly to begin with.
At the end of the day, while Gretchen was out having dinner with Kate, I took a nice hot bath to celebrate the success of the workday.
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