I survived the first week at CLS without going postal.
It's not that bad. Just odd. But they leave me alone and let me code. There are way too many deliverables to get done, and the usual geek pissing contests just aren't going to happen on a project like this.
I like the fact that there is one architect, and what he says goes. The hierachical Indian culture has not been corrupted by the American concepts of flat teams, where anybody's idea is just as good as someone else's. I have seen so much of this self esteem crap in I.T., where the lame-ass project manager has to give equal weight to the junior hack or the primadona developer, it just makes me want to puke.
At CLS, they just huddle around a workstation or whiteboard, throw up some ideas, and the architect makes the call.
So I come in early Friday because I had to drop the wife off at the airport. Who do I see standing outside smoking a cigarette but the team lead, one of the guys that interviewed me. Very Westernized, but timid. I think I've said two words to him all week. I don't know if he is a technical lead or a paper pusher.
We say our good mornings and I try to open the front door. Locked.
"Oh, you don't have a fob?" he asks. I shake my head and he lets me in.
Isn't the team lead supposed to give me a fob? Or does he not expect me to be around for long? Shit like this just makes the token honkey paranoid.
I get to my cube and get busy. No sign of life except for the cleaning crew and a couple of "debelopers." BTW, the cleaning people are the only Mexican's you'll ever see in a curry shop. I walk around the building in case there are any management types around, so they can see that Casper gets in early and works hard.
The rest of the team straggles in around nine-ish. I go to get my third cup of espresso (they have a very cool coffee machine), and what do I see in the tiny break room but my whole fucking team, munching on pastries. OMG, it was like I had walked in on a circle jerk, uninvited. Eight "debelopers" and a Sikh PM, staring at me like I was a freak.
The Sikh PM finally speaks up. "We have pastries brought in every Friday," he says, smiling. Sikhs are cool Indians, for the most part. But I guess you don't want to piss them off, or they will have you killed, like this Canadian towel head did when his daughter married the wrong dude:
And they carry knives -- it is part of their religion. I suppose they come in handy when you want to stab some cracker programmer in the back, hahaha. Just kidding. Please don't burn my house down, all you Sikh activists out there. This ain't India, and we don't burn people's houses down just because they say something we don't like.
I smile, make some small talk, and get my coffee.
It was just weird. Very awkward.
Sometime in mid-morning, I get an email from the lead, the guy that let me in. It went something like this (I paraphrase):
Subject: Friday Outing
I know we have all been working hard lately to deliver this application. Let's take a breather, knock off early and meet for dinner and drinks at 4 today. I urge all of you to make it.
I so fucking freaked. I text my wifey, and a few friends:
ME: The team is going out for drinks and dinner
after work. I'll be the only honkey. Should I go?
WIFE: You have to go.
ME: What if I get drunk and start talking
about my blog?
(Wifey is a little freaked out, with the economy the way it is, and her husband's career getting decimated by the waves of cheap labor scamming the H-1B system and driving down his wages.)
So I decide I have to go. No biggy -- I am man of the world and have been around many strange and exotic peoples in the course of my Marine Corps adventures. Mostly having sex with their prostitute daughters, but let's not get picky.
I figure they'll go to the one of the bars at the nearby mall, I'll have a couple of drinks, and bail early to pick up wifey at the airport. Around 4-ish, the team starts knocking off work and bullshitting in Hindi. I know the moment I am dreading is coming -- the invite to happy hour.
Sure enough, the team lead comes by, with the architect by his side.
"Care to join us?" he asks.
"Sure!" I started gathering my stuff. "Where are you guys headed?"
"Probably [insert name of seaside Mexican restaurant in hip coastal town here], " he says.
That place? The one full of trendy yuppies, and hot chicks with fake tits? You gotta be kidding me. I am SO not walking into that bar with a gang of geeky Indians, I think to myself. I have to think quick to extricate myself.
"Ah, bummer, that's the opposite way, and I have to pick up my wife at the airport tonight," I tell him.
"Next time, then," he says, relieved.
"For sure!" I tell him.
Man, that was close.
To be continued....