Remember when HCL boss Vineet Nayar started this rhetorical race war?

When questioned about his firm's US hiring, Information Week reports that Vineet Nayar, the CEO of the Indian outsourcing giant HCL Technologies, showed he can stereotype with the best of them, telling an audience in NYC that most American tech grads are 'unemployable.' Explaining that Americans are far less willing than students from developing economies like India, China, and Brazil to master the 'boring' details of tech process and methodology, the HCL chief added that most Americans are just too expensive to train

Well, in the second article in as many days, slumdogs have been deemed -- wait for it -- dumb and unemployable.  So if Americans are too fat a lazy to work in IT and only a fraction of Indians are worth hiring, who the fuck is working at HCL these days, Brazilians and Chinese? 


Only 25 % IT graduates readily employable: Nasscom

DELHI I BANGALORE: At 25, and with a computer science degree from one of the top regional engineering colleges , Sandesh Kumar considered himself to be the luckiest among all his batch mates when he was picked by Infosys Technologies last year. But within three months, Kumar realised the initial training at Infosys' sprawling Mysore campus was getting nowhere. "I actually sucked at everything - communications, language and understanding about some of the latest development tools," Kumar says [OMG, THE RARE HONEST SLUMDOG]. "The company was kind enough to flag early that I might face hurdles ahead and I decided to quit," he adds.

While Kumar's unemployability is an extreme case, of the 550,000 engineering graduates passing out
[FROM WHAT, THE STENCH OF THEIR OWN BO?] every year, anywhere between 10% and 25% cannot be readily employed by any technology firm in the country . Software lobby Nasscom says only 25% of graduates working in IT are readily employable, while it is roughly 15% for back-office jobs. Growing gaps in skills needed for computer science graduates to start coding at the earliest is nothing new, but India Inc's modest progress in dealing with the problem is what marks the seriousness of the issue. India's $60-billion outsourcing industry is already spending almost $1 billion a year on readying these graduates, picked up from different campuses. But only marginal headway has been made with the percentage of employable engineering graduates moving up by just a per cent over the past six years to 25%.

"I did go to a private institute in Hyderabad for a three months refresher course, but they taught us more of the same. It didn't seem to help at all," agrees Kumar who joined a multinational tech support centre in Bangalore last month. While Nasscom believes a quarter of the engineering graduates are unemployable , consulting firm Aspiring Minds paints a gloomier picture. In an employability study conducted last August, the firm found that merely 4.22% of engineering graduates are employable in product companies and only 17% in IT services. On its part, Nasscom says India's large pool of engineers makes the employability percentage look even more daunting. "Comparison of India's employability percentage with other nations is not fair.

The talent pool in those countries is much smaller, and the quality of education has been much higher. The right to education bill has just been passed in India, and it will take time for it to show results," says Nasscom vice-president Sangeeta Gupta. Nasscom has started two common assessment tests, which set a common benchmark for employability especially for students from tier 2-3 engineering colleges. "The 45-minute evaluation tests you on analytical, comprehension, writing and verbal skills. If a person is not good in voice, good analytical skills will get him a job in the BPO function in an IT firm. We have also started the train-the-trainer programme for universities," she says.

"The percentage of non-engineering graduates in the pool of IT and BPO firms is also rising steadily. Companies are not complaining of any dearth of talent, as there is a large pool of three million graduates available to them a year, of which the industry's demand is about 240,000 only per year. We don't see a dearth for talent in future as well, though there will be competition from other sectors," she adds. Tech employers such as Adobe, the world's biggest maker of graphic design software, says a stronger coordination between campuses and companies is needed. "The issue is real but not too much of a glaring problem for us as we go to the Tier I institutes where the curriculum is uptodate and our experience has been good. But in other technology schools it is a problem.

The curriculum is stuck in a time warp and there is very limited exposure to the industry," says Jaleel Abdul, senior director, HR, Adobe Asia-Pacific . "The best practice would be to let students learn from the industry and have strong university programs. Several of our senior technical team go to colleges as guest faculty and students come for internships, that helps a lot. As a result of most colleges not being in touch with the actual requirements, companies have to make a lot of additional investments in training which can be avoided," he adds. Sanyukta, an engineering student set to graduate next year, says she had tough time finding a course that taught software testing-a growing, multi-billion dollar business for Indian tech firms.

"We need premier institutes to offer such courses, most of my batchmates are doing crash courses in testing from smaller private institutes," she says. Some tech executives, however, play down the employability issue. "When you have such a big pool, these challenges will exist and I would say that going forward training will become core to companies. This will help us realign skills to business needs as and when needed and not wait for an institute to offer graduates in a particular discipline ," says the CEO of one of the top 10 software exporters. He requested anonymity because his company is under a silent period.

Apart from investing more in inhouse training, IT companies have also started looking at non-engineering graduates for carrying out simpler tasks. As technology firms automate their commoditised service offerings, they do not necessarily need engineers to perform all tasks. Instead, they are increasingly hiring non-engineering graduates for testing software applications and managing computer infrastructure of their clients in order to do more with fewer staff and at lower wages than computer engineers. From nearly 10% of their current workforce, non-engineering graduates could now account for nearly 20-25 % of the staff at companies such as TCS,
Wipro and HCL, over the next one to two years. Multinational rival Cognizant already has almost 20% of its global workforce who are non-engineering graduates.

Meanwhile, efforts made by Nasscom and other educational institutions are expected to improve employability for IT engineers to 30% over next few years. "I wish our institutes were situated inside these IT companies or vice versa. It can help bridge the skill gap," Kumar says



tunnel rat posted on August 14, 2010 21:11

Readers, please forgive me for exposing you to this horrid display of Hinglish, but if you have the patience, I urge you to read this blog post from a veteran of the IOR (Indian Outsourcing Regime):

If only the writer could rename it "Slumdog Eat Slumdog" !

Anyway, H/T to the commenter who passed this along.  Here are some nuggets:

"What was I doing? From dawn to midnite , was seeing some code in monitor written by some oldie and then do classic s/w engineer move of "Ctrl+C" and "Ctrl+V" in another place with additional alphabets and submit 4-5 documents of 30-40 pages each describing like a TV megaserial with too many repetitions of the same dialogue and review it for around a week with too many "leaders/managers" and atlast send it my onsite co-ordinator who just fwds with same move of "Ctrl+C"s his/her name and signature and "Ctrl+Vs" in all places which has my details."

[That is what we crackers call "Curry Code" here in the States]

"Backbitting, Backstabbing, Bootlicking , Humiliating, Cheating ,plagiarism and Nullifying arent signatures or expected qualities or survival kits for the role."

[No!  Indians are honest and humble, from what I've been told]

"Indian IT firm would be the only place where you use your teammates as your personal assistants and make them run your errands even your personal errands and promise and give away awards,promotion, and excellent rating for performing your personal duties. If a resource says that he cant handle and have work ,he would be stamped and quarantined as underachiever, underperformer."

[All of you slumdogs will be quarantined when the Super Bug explodes]

tunnel rat posted on March 12, 2010 10:06

NY set to replace IT consultants with state workers

Legislation could add up to 500 IT jobs; calls for bypassing H-1B workers

Patrick Thibodeau

March 11, 2010 (Computerworld) New York State has embarked on a plan to shift a number of jobs filled by IT contractors and consultants to the state payroll as part of an effort to save millions of dollars.

"As many as 500 new state IT jobs may be created under a new in-sourcing program that was recently approved by the legislature and backed by Gov. David Patterson.

This law creates "term appointments" for state IT workers, which strip away some hiring and firing rules that apply to permanent workers. The maximum tenure for "term appointments" is five years.

The state estimates that it can save approximately $25,000 annually for each contracting position that is shifted to the state payroll. The annual savings is pegged at as much as $15 million, but that estimate is contingent on whether the contracted positions can be replaced.

"I think most managers here would be very happy if we didn't need to outsource," said Mark Leinung, deputy director for state operations, said yesterday in a presentation to state managers that was made available on the Web...

...The state has contractors now using H-1B visa holders, but the state is recommending that any state agencies "avoid hiring candidates who require visa adjudication" to the term positions..."


Tunnel Rat posted on December 22, 2008 13:53

I’ve got the blogging bug again, and now I have some time to finish the saga of my jobs at SIAN (Sweatshop In A Nightclub) and more. I can’t wait to write about how was able to extort $6,000 of unpaid wages from a bankrupt dot-com that tried to stiff me. I told you, I am like the Zodiac Killer, emerging from periods of dormancy to inflict terror, or in my case, politically incorrect rants about the work I do.

I’ll get to that soon enough, but for now I wanted to fantasize about being able to send a real resume to a prospective employer. We all know I.T. resumes are bullshit, so what if I didn’t care, and could just be honest with folks. It would look something like this:

Eye T. Grunt
Upyours St.
Bumfuck, FU, 66666




Early 1980’s:
· Yada-Yada High School 1 – Expelled after driving ’72 Pontiac
through school fence. Twice.

· Yada-Yada High School 2 – Graduated with B Avg. Started
programming computers.

· WhatEver Junior College – Dropped out after 1 ½ years of
taking engineering classes. Learned how to program in BASIC and flunked
Beginning GPA: 3.5. Ending GPA: 2. something.


Mid 1980’s

Custom cabinetmaker, draftsman, installer – 2 years:

· Learned how to operate power tools under the influence of alcohol. Held five
jobs for various companies run by rednecks and burnouts. Fired once for wrecking company truck by getting it stuck in a drive-thru car wash.

Commercial cabinetmaker, salesman for general contractor – 4 months:

· Underbid jobs in order to not get fired and finally terminated when invoices came in. Moved back home and signed up for Marine Corps

Late 1980’s to early 1990’s

United States Marine Corps – 6 years:

· Infantryman, Humvee driver, anti-tank assault-man, radio operator.

· Slept in dirt, carried huge pack while getting dragged around by handset. Disciplined numerous times for things like sneaking women into barracks and drinking on duty.

· Achieved Expert on rifle range after a night of no sleep and excessive beer consumption. Learned to walk for eight hours straight with a 60-lb pack and a hangover, while chain-smoking.

· Busted to Private after getting hit by car in Korea while on liberty and charged with multiple violations of the UCMJ. Restricted to ship for 45 days with loss of pay and extra duty.

· Spent nine months overseas during Gulf War I. Jumped into stolen Humvee with three other Marines and drove from Saudi port to Kuwait City to take pictures of dead enemy after cease-fire. Almost court-martialed after telling big black Gunnery Sergeant (AKA, ‘My Boss’) to “shut the fuck up” after night of drinking in Dubai. Charges dropped. Awarded Combat Action Ribbon.

· Promoted to Corporal and transferred to Marine Corps Air Wing. Got desk job buying supplies and computers for military training academy after being disciplined for writing nasty letter to the Commanding General’s Office. Learned how to fix computers and write Excel macros.

· Awarded Good Conduct Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, and promoted to Sergeant. Honorably Discharged.

Mid 1990’s
Systems Engineer – 1 ½ years:

· Got job at small company after lying about “extensive, but top-secret” computer experience in military. Sent to big companies to fix servers and setup networks. Turned into programmer after mentioning the acronym “SQL” in a meeting. Starting hacking Access applications. Quit after fellow worker acted like a know-it-all geek while insulting my programming skills.

Independent Consultant – 6 months:

· Made a good living hacking Access programs for small businesses while I went to night school. Earned Bachelor’s Degree after 13 Years.

Permanent Employee – 1 Year:

· Programmer at Big-Fucking-Real-Estate-Company. Worked on legacy migration project that was three years behind schedule.

· Learned that contractors make better money and corporate work sucks. Became good at hacking, messing things up, and acting like I knew it all. In short, being a typical FTE.

Independent Visual Basic Programmer – 3 years:

· Recruited out of Big-Fucking-Real-Estate-Company to help another contractor/drinking buddy write Visual Basic program for client he found on CompuServe. Worked out of house, writing bad VB code and over-billing client.

Late 1990’s

Contract Programmer – 9 months:

· Placed at Giant-Fortune500-Company. Tasked with writing VB reporting application. When asked by FTE if I would use a “class” to accomplish some of the program functionality, responded by saying “sure, I can give you a class on programming VB.” As a Visual Basic programmer, realized I knew nothing about real programming.

· Spent entire length of contract teaching myself the basics of Object-Oriented Programming while working unsupervised for clueless project manager (AKA, ‘My Boss’). Left when Giant-Fortune500-Company underwent massive reorg and FTEs who had been programming at company for years started begging me for leads or side-work.

Independent Web Developer – 3 months:

· Learned ASP/Javascript/HTML while working out of the house for my consultant/drinking buddy during dot-com boom.

Contract Web Developer – 6 Months:

· Hired to build e-commerce web site for restaurant delivery company that was probably funded by the mob. Learned n-tier development and COM+. Contract terminated after company refused to pay more than the $30,000 that they were told the site would cost and bigshot consulting company got stiffed for $50,000.

· Spent 3-months trying to get last timesheet signed by bigshot consulting company, and eventually redirected their web site to nasty bestiality/tranny website. Received last pay check within hours.

Contract Web Developer – 1 Month:

· Placed at Big I.T. Consulting Company to work on web site. Told to screen H-1Bs programmers and then train them after they were hired.

· Ignored demands to use company standard components and wrote my own code, stating that “error handlers aren’t really necessary if the code is good.” Terminated with half-day notice by team lead (AKA, ‘My Boss’) who said “we need some heavy hitters here [like our permanent employees]”

· Vowed personally to never get fired for being a bad coder, especially one that could be replaced by an H-1B or an FTE.


· Went back to take to school and spent thousands on extension classes, seminars, and books to learn .NET.
Early 2000’s to Mid 2000’s

Contract Web Developer – 1 ½ years:

· ASP and Visual Basic Programmer for Huge-Payroll-Outsourcing-Company. Joined team of 12 developers, with half being FTEs who were COBOL programmers being retrained to be Web Developers. Wrote massive amounts of code while FTEs sat around, took long lunches, and tried to deny access to databases.

· Engaged in verbal altercation with Vietnamese contractor who sent email to team and all bosses calling me an “idiot.” Contractor eventually laid off by my project manager and fellow drinking buddy (AKA, ‘My Boss’).

· Watched as aforementioned FTEs were escorted out of building by security during layoff.

· Offered full-time position by sharp middle-aged white manager, who was fired the next day.

· Got into verbal altercation with his replacement, (Army vet and former COBOL programmer with no web experience – AKA ‘My Boss’), when he tried to tell me how to write a javascript function. Developed further resentment of U.S. Army.

· Last one of team of 12 to be laid off as project was turned over to Indian off-shore company (Infosys).

Contract Programmer – 8 months:

· Forced to take a job at Big-Ass-Food-Conglomerate during bad economy. Sat in training room for one month doing nothing. Told to write dynamic SQL, Visual Basic, and listen to nasty FTE mainframe programming lady (a fat Serbian Nazi Jew Hater) with bad breath explain legacy system to me.

· Moved to different floor, doing little while project stalled. Watched as team of Indian (maybe Pakistani) offshore consultants botched SAP migration and had communal lunches of stinky food.

· Had verbal altercation with incompetent Indian female programmer who was hired by her Indian husband, the head of applications development (AKA, ‘My Boss’).

· Reassigned to work “Operations” in windowless room with six other programmers, mostly Indians. Offended another female Indian programmer when stating that India is the only developed country that still has the plague, and that you can get your dental work done on the street for very little money.

· Left to take first job that would get me out of curry-smelling, windowless programming dungeon.

Contract To Hire Programmer – 1 Year:

· Hired by Big HMO to develop Visual Basic applications. Told it was a 3-month contract, but did nothing for three months. Spent time reading confidential mental health records in claims database and searching for names of people I knew that may be suffering from homicidal tendencies.

· May or may not have saved some private claims information to a thumb drive in case it would prove useful in the future.

· Accepted position with pathetically low salary because the economy sucked, and I liked the manager, a big black guy (AKA, ‘My Boss’) from back East who used to work for EDS.

· Finished projects in weeks that were budgeted for months by fascist PMO in love with waterfall model and RUP. Watched as long time FTEs bullied and harassed various other FTEs.

· Given .NET project by boss and lunch mate, infuriating team of long-time FTEs stuck with maintaining legacy systems in obsolete languages.

· Convinced boss to bring in hot-shot Microsoft evangelist and .NET consultant to teach me ASP.NET and VB.NET. Completed .NET application while being sabotaged and badmouthed by cliquish, incompetent team of developers, analysts, and project managers.

· Reassigned to another project. Got into verbal altercation with nerdish team lead who sent email to team and management that expressed his view that I was “stupid and uncreative.”
· Quit after being unable to get lateral move out of claims division.


Permanent Employee, Web Developer – 1 ½ years

· Left Big HMO to work for ultra-cool “Web-Design Firm.” First big project was working on web sites for Giant-Computer-Company. Developed serious carpal-syndrome issues after working 16-hours days with manic-depressive account executive bitch screaming in my face.

· Spent Thanksgiving holiday working on web site for equine-faced motivational speaker client who “had to get the new site up by Christmas so that he could sell videos and colon-cleansers.”

· Left company Christmas party early after watching head account executive rub junior account executive’s crotch. Came in next day to finish shopping cart for equine-faced motivational speaker’s site. Alone.

· Spent a month cleaning up hacks after equine-faced motivational speaker’s company delayed the launch of site because “it wasn’t like Amazon.” Got into verbal altercation with junior account executive because of scope-creep.

· Worked on massive data exchange project for Giant-Computer-Company with no specs and tiny budget. Posted 5,000 lines of code written by fellow employee (AKA ‘My Boss’) in my cube with the heading “Worst Code Ever Written.”

· Secretly bought $7,000 of software with own credit card and deployed it Giant-Computer-Company’s web site so that I could get the job done.

· Called Senior Account Executive the “C-Word” and prepared to quit. Fired the next day, ensuring one month’s severance and reimbursement of my $7,000 after threatening legal action.
Permanent Employee, Applications Developer – 1 week

· Hired by Small-Medical-Claims-Clearing-House-Company because senior developer “was not happy.”

· Witnessed HIPAA violations, bootlegged software, and high school students dealing with confidential medical data. Observed numerous “Boy-Toys” prancing around office.

· Fired by gay owner (AKA, ‘My Boss’) because senior developer decided to stick around.

· Reported company to every agency known to man dealing with software piracy and medical confidentiality. Posted numerous derogatory statements about company on internet.

· Received phone call and threatened by gay owner of Small-Medical-Claims-Clearing-House-Company that I “would be sued for millions of dollars.” Suggested to gay owner of Small-Medical-Claims-Clearing-House-Company to insert his own penis into his own alimentary canal.

Permanent Employee, Director, Applications Development – 6 weeks

· Hired to lead team of four, maybe five, or as few as two developers for quizi-government heath-care agency. Stabilized web sites, re-wrote code, and engaged in verbal altercations with Vietnamese programmer (AKA, ‘Charlie’) who was sabotaging my efforts.

· Threatened to report Director of Applications Development (AKA, ‘My Boss’) for lax security of the agency web site and letting ‘Charlie’ do whatever he wanted. Fired the next day, along with ‘Charlie.’

Independent Contractor – 3 Weeks

· Hired by fly-by-night consulting company to get web site finished. Forced to work on Pentium III computer that was at least 15 years old. Demanded new equipment and dealt with abusive project manager (AKA, ‘My Boss’) while learning C#.

· Finished web site and walked into bosses office and quit.

Contract Programmer – 3 Months

· Placed by agency at Giant-Japanese-Tech-Company. Assigned to finish time-tracking application that was almost finished. Spent duration of contract blogging, learning C# more, and answering questions on Experts-Exchange.Com.

· One of four Anglos on a floor of hundreds of Indians, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Chinese. Explored origins of Aryan Brotherhood prison gang while surfing the Net constantly.

· Achieved Guru status on Experts-Exchange.Com for answering hundreds of questions while billing full-time for Giant-Japanese-Tech-Company and doing nothing for Mr. Nguyen (AKA, ‘My Boss’), who reported to Mr. Nguyen, who had no less than six direct reports with the last name of “Nguyen.”

Contract Programmer – 6 Months

· Placed by agency to work for soon-to-be-defunct dot-com company. Told to write two-file extracts in six months and was done in six weeks.

· Learned more .Net on dot-com company’s dime while spending at least one hour a day engaging in verbal altercations about politics with rabid liberal gay contractor in the next cube and dealing with obnoxious Indian programmer that would stand over my shoulder, commenting on my code in a thick, curry-scented accent.

· Met all deadlines, wrote code that passed peer-review and was deployed to production, while being verbally harassed by female DBA suffering from menopause or PTSD.

· Offered full time job by highly respected manager (AKA, ‘My Boss’) and declined. Told by manager (Navy Vet, EOD) to let HR know in my exit interview that previously mentioned DBA was a “fucking cunt” and that he could not retain good people with her around.

Contract Programmer – 1 year

· Placed by agency to work on web site remotely for company based in another state. Waded through tons of hacks, stabilized site, and delivered solid enhancements and new applications without specs (unless ‘build an accounting system’ can be called a ‘spec’).

· Worked 10 hours/wk while billing for 40 hours/wk for 14 months for team that I had never met in person. Engaged in numerous side-projects, spent time at the gym, took my daughter work everyday and rode my bike consistently while meeting all deadlines and deliverables.

· Terminated after getting into verbal altercation with alcoholic, chain-smoking bimbo (AKA, “My Boss”) in weekly conference call over the fact that it was not my fault that her nebulous demands and random complaints did not constitute “project management.”

Independent Web Consultant – 3 Months

· Created new web site for bankrupt dot-com that offered to share office space so that I could work on side projects for my out-of-state client.

· Racked up $6,000 of billable hours while launching new site for corrupt dot-com. Fired after verbally altercation with CFO, who refused to pay for work done.

· Shut down site via numerous back-doors after CFO tried to turn over development to another firm, stating that “I would get my money like all the other vendors” who were owed $250,000.

· Sent hostile email to dot-com shareholders, threatening to mass-email 35,000 subscribers of web-site, asking for donations for my unpaid work.

· Engaged in verbal altercation with company’s lawyer, and received full payment via Fed-Ex the next day after signing non-disclosure agreement.

Consultant – 6 Months or so until I get fired

· Hired by consultant/drinking-buddy/poker-pal/long-time mentor to help his client (AKA, “My Boss”) -- whom had I known for over 10 years, and was my manager at aforementioned ‘Big-Fucking-Real-Estate-Company’.

· Directed to “keep things running until said manager (AKA, “My Boss”) could shit-can primadona 27-yr old programmer who may or may not quit any day.”

· Dealt with gang of passive-aggressive snakes (AKA, “My Team”) while trying to keep multiple web-sites from crashing. Daily.

· Almost fired for locking inept Persian bimbo developer out of SourceSafe after she returned from maternity leave and started removing my code that had resolved major production bug.

· Almost fired again for walking out during major production release when previously mentioned gang of passive-aggressive snakes (AKA, “My Team”) tried to blame deploy problems on my web code.

· Engaged in verbal altercation with most-likely-gay DBA who told manager (AKA, “My Boss”) that everything wrong with the release was my fault. Sent home for the rest of the week by manager.

· Retained until further notice by manager -- whom I had known for over ten years -- (AKA, “My Boss”) after verbal warning and pleas not to “piss off the team” and assurance that I would be around until I found another contract or the end of the month, whichever comes first. Shook hands and gave manager (AKA, “My Boss”) the “don’t every try to fuck me again” look.

· Resumed development, declined invitation to sushi lunch with passive-aggressive snakes (AKA, “My Team”), updated resume and began interviewing for next gig.


Posted in:   Tags:
tunnel rat posted on July 30, 2008 16:36

Two weeks into my new gig at the Sweatshop In A Nightclub (SIAN), I started to have physical problems.

First, a tingling in my fingers, followed by a numbness in my wrists. Shoulder pain. A stiff neck.

At first, I chalked it up to the long hours. The project I was working was an under-bid, under-planned set of enhancements for a big client, SIAN’s bread and butter. The client was a big computer company – let’s call them Pewlett Hackard.

And, as I was soon to find out, this was how all the projects at SIAN worked. I would spend 10-12 hours a day working on a web page, and an account executive (either Baby Huey or Ms. Account Executive Whore ) would stomp into our three-man office and throw a stack of printed screen shots on a desk. The pages were covered with red marks.

“PH wants these change made ASAP!!!”

So I or one of the other two developers would take a few of the pages and start hacking the changes in. I worked with two other guys – Cowboy and a total nerd that I shall alias at a later date. The nerd was such a piece of work that I am at a total loss for an appropriate nickname.

I mean, how do you come up with a moniker for a guy that can only be described as a “forty-something tech school grad with coke-bottle glasses who goes on vacations with his mother and drives a 15 year old import that he thinks is a bitchin’ ride and plays guitar in his Catholic church and has probably never been laid and used to work in the defense industry for, like, twenty years, and is a big hot head, and thinks Amiga was the greatest fuckin’ system ever made – and had been working at this place for seven years, and is the only one that understands the PDF generation code that he hacked together for THE BIG CLIENT, so NO ONE CAN FIRE HIM, and wears jeans and plaid shirts tucked in and the belt is pulled all the way up to his solar plexus, and thinks PHP is the ONLY language worth programming in, and the all this .NET shit is crap, and he’ll be dammed if is going to deal with shit like version control…”

You get my point.

As for Cowboy – you know what I mean. A hacker. Rockstar programmer who knows all. There is one in every shop, if not a shop full of them.

The kind of programmer that names all primary keys “id.” So when you are trying to figure out his in-line SQL, none of it makes a bit of sense because it all look like “Select, from tblShit a, tblCrap b Where”


Bastard did not even have the fucking courtesy to spell his variables properly. “Customer” would become the “Cutsomor” property. The “Assigned” field would be either the “Assding” or “Assnigd” parameter.

Whatever, baby. “’CAUSE I’M A COWBOY!”


I was asking (aksing?) him about some of his code once, and it was full of these charming examples of illiteracy.

“Oh, just so you know,” he said, “when I’m in the zone and really coding, my spelling gets kinda bad. Just so you know.”

Thanks for the heads-up, butt-wipe.

Now, for those assholes out there who want to pull the “YOU’RE A HYPOCRITE” card and point out my grammatical faux-pas --- fuck you. I am writing a blog. Not code.

Anyway, some of the changes were cosmetic. Others were wholesale redesigns of pages, menus, functionality. Whatever.

This would go on until about six at night, when most of the company would go home, except for the developers and the account managers. Someone would order in food, and we would take a break around the bar, eat, and drink a few beers. Then it was back to work, usually until around nine, when we would do a build and the account executives would screenshot the whole site and get their red Sharpies out. They would then present the site to the client in the morning, and the whole cycle would start again.

At first, it was kind of cool. Exciting. Wow, I thought, this is like working at a dot-com. And I could drink at work!

But it got old quickly.

The most dangerous thing in my business, other than a fellow programmer walking in with a machete or an AK, is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It can end your career. So you have to be careful.

So, after a couple of weeks, I took a tape measure to my desk.

Holy shit, it was 38 inches high! And the cheap, trendy, IKEA chair they had me in had NO HIGHT ADJUSTMENT.

“Dude,” I asked Cowboy -- who was in the same kind of chair, and would code with his keyboard in his lap and his feet propped up on his desk, “what is with these desks? They are so fuckin’ high.”

“Yeah, when they turned this stage into offices, they paid some Mexican to come in and do the construction. He ran an electrical conduit across the room about waist-high, so they wanted him to build the desks above that so that it would look, like, smooth and shit. So we got high desks. Don’ bother me, I kinda dig it.”

He went back to his coding.

Man, I thought, I gotta take this up with the boss man. ASAP.

Posted in:   Tags:
Tunnel Rat posted on July 20, 2008 16:34

I once worked at a place that was a converted nightclub.

Green concrete floors. Disco ball. Speakers hanging from the rafters. A bar that served as a break room and kitchen, even stocked with booze.

A stage that had been turned into two large offices with four workstations in each one. The sys admin worked in a DJ booth upstairs, and it overlooked the cubicles that had been built on what used to be the dance floor. He kept a few tropical fish tanks in his office. I called him Fishboy.

Very hip. Trendy. Dot-com chic. Young staff. Casual attire – t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops. A half-mile walk to the beach.

Wow, how cool, you might be thinking.

Yeah, cool -- if you like working without specs, version control, a stable network, a QA environment, and some of the other luxuries found in a decent IT shop.

When I first started, I shared an office with two other developers. It took me a few hours to realize that I couldn’t run a local web server, because I didn’t have local admin rights to my own workstation.

“Uh-uh, the network guy (Fishboy) doesn’t allow it,” one of the other guys said. “Said people will load stuff on their system and shit, so he just locks them down.

“Did you guys tell him that you need to run local web site to properly develop in .NET?” I asked.

They shrugged. “Uh, we’ve been asking for a long time. But he’s the owner’s brother. Enough said.”

Nice. The owner’s brother ran the network, and didn’t care what the developers wanted. I’d have to try to persuade him.

“And what’s the deal with SourceSafe? You guys don’t use version control?” I asked.

“We used to code everything in PHP. You don’t need version control with that. I just made copies of my source files.”


“But since you’re doing everything in .NET, you can use SourceSafe, right?”

“Yeah. But Fishboy won’t let us set up the archives database on the network. Says it would take up too much disk space,” one of the guys told me.

Man, this was going to be weird….

Posted in:   Tags:
Tunnel Rat posted on July 17, 2008 16:39

"...We only said goodby with words..."

Actually, I just wrapped up a gig working off-site for a flaky outfit that has left me with plenty of blog fodder.

One minute I was bouncing emails and IMs with the bimbo that was my, uh, how should I say project manager ("possibly alchoholic over emotional dipshit unstable bimbo without a clue" would be a more a more appropriate title), and the next minute my recruiter calls and tells me my contract is terminated immediately.

"Doesn't surprise me," I told him. "My boss was getting pretty irrational lately. Personal issues I think."

"Yeah," he said, "she does seem like an emotional person."

So just like that, I was back on the street, facing the prospect of going back to the chain gang.

It was a nice a run, lasting over a year, and I never spent one minute on site. Never even met the boss/bimbo or anybody on the team. All virtual.

Ah, but the stories that I've got, geeze...

Nothing like working with a middle-aged, pig-headed, non-educated chain smoking housewife trying to run an IT department out of her house to make things interesting.

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

I just hated the bitch.

Uneducated, non-technical, paranoid, delusional bimbos just should not be in the business of managing complex web applications. Dealing with them tends to kill my buzz.

More on her and my year working in my flip-flips and shorts later...

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tunnel rat posted on November 20, 2007 19:28

This will be one of many posts to come about my experiences at SINC (Sweatshop-In-a-Night-Club). It actually was a nightclub that had been converted into an “Interactive Media” company. The disco-ball was still hanging from the ceiling, and the old bar served as the break room – and when I started, it was always stocked.

I took the full time job at SINC because the money was good, they were desperate for someone with .NET experience, and I needed out of Session 9 (the one-year job I had working at the Behavior Health division of a major HMO).

I spent almost two years at SINC – a pretty long stint for a guy like me. I worked like a galley slave, and had to fight a daily battle with narcissistic, egotistical “creative” types, and incompetent, lazy, sloppy “techy” types whose idea of Object Oriented Programming was Clipboard Inheritance (copy code to the clipboard, past it one or more times as needed in other classes, and repeat).

SINC had a bunch of dot-com characters straight out of central casting:

  • Ms. Account Executive Whore

  • SAASH (South-African-American Sexual Harasser)

  • Fishboy

  • Cowboy With Tourette's

  • La Terminatrix

  • Baby Hughey

The place was a seething cesspool of outrageous drama, with people sleeping with each other, former employees stealing clients, staff getting fired on the spot, employees quitting in a huff and walking out, Friday-afternoon booze-filled poker games in conference rooms, constant gossip, outrageous deadlines, posturing, posing, fly-by-night coding, lies, dead rats, compulsive tossing of rubber objects, potlucks and catered lunches, too much work, not enough work, and above all, wanton overindulgence.

You get the picture. Maybe.

My nemesis at this place was Ms. Account Executive Whore. She was a self-important, insecure, highly unstable primadonna who ran around the place with a phone headpiece on, constantly talking, sometimes to two or three people at a time. Bitterly divorced with a young son that she was training to be a vegan, she was the epitome of an environmentally-sensitive, Republican-hating, finger-waging, progressive prig bitch.

If you didn’t put a soda can in the recycle-bin, she gave you the stink-eye, if not a lecture. Plus, she constantly changed her mind and lied about deliverables and deadlines, so it was impossible to figure out what the hell was going on with her projects.

And as I would find out later, she used to have sex with the SAASH, her boss, when they would go on business trips. Thus her moniker.

One day I got this insant message from scatterbrained Ms. Account Executive Whore:

Ms. Account Executive Whore: I can't enter vagina


Everybody at SINC made heavy use of Instant Messaging. They used, actually abused, it for everything. Specs, bug tracking, QA, code -- everything was sent via IM. If you didn't respond to your IM, the sender would be at your desk ASAP. Most people carried on 3 or 4 IM chats at a time. Sometimes people would lose track of whom they were chatting with.

Of course, I passed a screenshot of this message around to the whole department, including the SAASH, with the subject line "Odd message from [Ms. Account Executive Whore]." Pretty soon the whole place was howling.

A minute later, Ms. Account Executive Whore came running into my cube.

"YOU ASSHOLE! Didn't you know [Cowboy With Tourette's] and I were testing the dirty world filter on that website?"

I flashed her a perma-smile, put my headphones on, and went back to work.

Posted in:   Tags:
tunnel rat posted on October 28, 2007 19:17

I headed south Monday morning, back to The Box. This would be the first day that Dogboy was gone. It could finally start making some changes.

But when I got to the medical claims clearinghouse, I saw him and his dog Blake still occupying the office that I thought would be mine as of Friday.

I hadn’t even logged in when The Captain called me into his office, and shut the door.

“We’re going to have to let you go,” he said.

“Excuse me?”

“You haven’t been working eight hours a day. This is a small company, and everybody is expected to do their share.”

“Not enough hours?” I asked. “What do you mean, not enough hours?”

Boss Godfrey
“Cathy has been watching you.” Cathy was the office manager that had a line-of-sight to my desk. Her office was next to The Captain’s. She was his Boss Godfrey, the road boss who kept an eye on the chain gang.

“Watching? Really.”

He leaned back in his Aeron chair, the only one in the building. Everyone else had crappy armless chairs, or even folding ones. I had brought my own task chair in on the first day. I was used to dealing with the Cheap I.T. Bastard, and dragged my own gear from shop to shop; chairs, keyboards, LCDs, whatever, except for computers. That the bastards would have to pay for, and if it was a low-budget white box with not enough RAM, I bitched until they got me a real PC.

He went on. “We can’t pay for you to take long lunches and sit outside and read the sports pages.”

Sports pages? It is the Wall Street fuckin’ Journal, you nasally-voiced collector of skinny boy toys, I wanted to say. “It’s been one week,” I countered. “Are you sure about this?”

“Yes. We had a situation like this before, and we tried to work with the guy. After 2 months we had to fire him, and he claimed unemployment. And I had to pay it. The EEOD said that we should have let him go after 30 days.”

As you should of, asshole. Too fuckin’ bad. What the fuck does that have to do with me?

And I didn’t see a damn time clock in the place.

For those that are reading this and thinking, yes, you are supposed to be at your desk at the prescribed hours dictated by the company policy…and entitled to no less and no more than two fifteen minutes breaks…and a lunch break not to exceed 60 minute….

Shut the fuck up, Shit-For-Brains.

I was hired as an exempt employee. Exempt guys in I.T. get some latitude. As long as we are in around during business hours, the employers get to bend us over fairly frequently. That means that when the server crashes on Sunday afternoon and the whole site is dead in the water and the company is losing money every minute it is down, I am the bitch that gets to stay until midnight and figure out that someone like Ringbrow checked in the wrong fuckin’ code, and now all the redirects are broken, and I have to unfuck it.

And when, for instance, when some dweeb, who is kinda in charge of the servers, the clown who doesn’t know his IIS from his LDAP, decides not to open up the SSL port, and goes home at five to get in his eight hours of Warcraft...when the site is supposed to go live at midnight...and suddenly people can't log in over HTTPS... guess who gets the call?

Me, Mr./Ms. Devil’s Advocate. So as long as I am around between 9 AM and 5-ish, most places understand this. And this whole “you’re not working eight hours a day” was a bunch of drivel. A con.

Man, the F-Bomb is flying fast and furious in the post. It’s starting to sound like a rant, which is so out of character from my usual balanced writings that analyze both sides of the situation and attempt to be as introspective as possible. Yeah, right. But I digress.

“I’ll pay you for the week.” He stood up. “Here’s your check.” The meeting was over.

I went pack to my desk and packed my stuff. Everybody gave me a Dead Man Walking look.

On the way home, I called the wifey.

“Guess what? I got fired.”

“No fuckin’ way! I told you not to take that job.”

That much is true, but besides the point. The Captain had given me an offer that was 20k more than TCTSRN had thrown at me. Yes, after weeks of interviews and counters, I had two offers on the table, and took the money.

I sped up PCH, cell phone in my ear and my chair and cardboard box of stuff in the backseat. “I can always call TCTSRN again, its only been a week.”

“Are you sure you’re cut out for this full time employee stuff? Babe, I mean, that was one week. There had to be something else going on.”

“Yeah, I think so. I think that cocksucker hired me to put some pressure on Dogboy, keep him around. Make him feel not-so un-expendable.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right – he just used you to keep that guy around. What a prick,” she said. “Oh, can you pick up the dry-cleaning?”

“No prob.”

So now it made sense. The Captain had hired me to light a fire under Dogboy, and made up a bullshit story to get rid of me after one week. Because I never really was able to get anything done in that time. The first two days was spent setting up my PC. Then I got some half-assed specs about some nebulous change to the HIPAA extract, with no timeline, and no direction.

It was all a stunt to keep his primadona programmer from bailing and talking the whole nasty pile of code dead in the water. And I was just his pawn. What a douche bag.

I still had the number for H.R. lady from TCTSRN on my cell phone. Passing by Crystal Cove, I dialed it, hoping that the offer was still on the table. One thing I needed now was another job. The market was soft, no doubt due the flood of CEWPs talking all the good contracting gigs.

The TCTSRN H.R. lady picked up right away. We chatted.

“Yes, the job was still open,” she said. “I understand, these things happen. Can you come in for another interview tomorrow? Uh. Let me check the schedule -- how’s two sound?”


“Great, see you then.”

So, there I was, no worse for the wear. I knew I was a lock for the TCTSRN job, because they had found no takers after I turned them down a week ago. It was a lot less money, but I figured that it would be a nice stable place to park my ass for awhile and get some supervisory experience under my belt and on my resume.

But of course, I didn’t know about Charlie. Or Burning Man. They hadn’t been in any of my interviews…Mr. Whiteboard has kept them locked up in the basement, and instead had some of the more impressive folks talk to me. It was all more smoke and mirrors.

Posted in:   Tags:
Tunnel Rat posted on October 23, 2007 16:06

We resume our regularly scheduled programming to bring you the rest of “The One Week Job”…

Two or three times a week, The Captain would order in or make lunch for the staff. One day it was pizza, another day he would send someone to Costco to bring back burgers and hotdogs that he would grill out on the deck of the medical claims clearinghouse.

It was his way of keeping everybody working, instead of slipping out for a leisurely lunch at 1000 Steps Beach, which was around the corner.

You see, he could spring for a lunch that averaged $5 a person, and they would be back at their desk in 20 minutes, meaning he netted an extra 40 minutes of time that would have been spent by an employee doing whatever they wanted to do.

The Captain was a sly little bitch.

I knew it after my first interview with him, when he said his plan was to sell the business. He was in it for the money. Ramp up a bunch of crap code, sign up a bunch of clueless doctors, play fast and loose with their claims, and then dump the whole operation on WebMB, Molina, UnitedHealth, or some other clusterfuck of a medical company that was making a killing on the sad state of healthcare.

So there I was, day three in The Box, eating a Costco burger and watching a 40’ Bayliner make it’s way to Newport. The rest of the staff was on the deck that lined the building with their paper plates and drinks, huddled in groups of two or three. The Captain pulled up a bar stool and sat next to me.

“Well, the moment has come, I told you it was going to happen.”


“Our guy gave notice today,” he said. He was talking about Taylor. Dogboy.

“Oh, yeah…When is his last day?”


“Two days?”

“Yeah.” He took a bite of his hotdog and gazed at Catalina. “What do you think, does all this stuff make sense, now that you’ve had some time to look at it?”

Not really. In fact, none of it makes sense, Captain. It is one nasty rat’s nest of shit you got here, sweetie.

But I refrained.

“Sure, to an extent, but we really need to get all this hard-coded stuff cleaned up,” I told him.


“Yeah, there’s a lot of cleaning up to do…”

He stood up, grabbing his plate. “Well, you do what you gotta do. You got him ‘till Friday.” He winked.

What the fuck are you winking at, I wanted to ask. And what the hell was I supposed to do in two days, form a mild-meld with Dogboy? Suck all the hacks that he had been throwing together for years out of his feeble little brain? Beg him not to leave?

I went back to my desk and thumbed through the HIPAA spec the Captain had dumped on me:

The map definition allows users to translate a file from the UB92 Version 5.0 format to the HIPAA 837 Institutional format, while also validating the input for completeness, as well as syntax and code validation. Additional effort has been made to provide a 1:1 mapping ratio of the UB92 fields to HIPAA 837 elements.

Jeez, what a fuckin’ nightmare. I check the code to see if they were using XML or something to map the fields, BizTalk, MapForce, something.

Nothing, nada. It was all hard-coded bullshit:

If MAP=’ HIPAA_A1_837P_to_RMAP_2_A1_837P’ Then
GOTO Update_Map837
GOTO Update_Map837P
End If

My neck started throbbing. The damn phones were ringing off the hook.


Jesus Fuckin’ Christ…

Who the hell writes GOTOs? I thought that they had been banned in 1995 or something. I checked the comments…ah, Dogboy had laid claim to this crap.

And here was Trevor, the high school kid, in this mosh pit of code, adding his pearls of logic:

IIF(RMAP_2_A1_837P = ‘23384’, IIF(RMAP_3_1_837C=’433A’,
True, False), False)

Thanks for the nested Immediate Ifs, asshole.

It was all pungent, rotting spaghetti code, hacks upon hacks.

Ringboy walked by me and nodded, on his way outside for a smoke. God, I wanted a cigarette. But I had quit years ago, replacing the habit with a daily Macanudo.

Two days later I was still clawing my way through the code. It was Friday afternoon, and I was beat.

The Captain was walking around handing out Coronas to some of the staff. Hey, I thought, maybe he wasn’t such a slimy bitch after all, letting the crew drink a few cold ones on a hot summer afternoon.

But shit, he sure was taking his time passing those beers around. He started with Ringbrow, leaning over his cube and setting the bottle on his desk and having a few words.

And then he moved on to some guy that sat in a cube between Ringbrow and me. Anthoneeee. Total flamer. There were a few on the staff – The Captain sorta collected them. Early-twenties, very fem. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Yeah, yeah, I know you guys are waiting to flame me....

But The Captain did have a lot of guys that looked like
Agador Spartacus working there.

So, I can't really agree with the homophobic charge, but I do have an issue with all those gays in the fashion industry getting to pick the models -- WTF! Who ever said a skinny ass bitch that looks like she just got out of Auschwitz is hot? Jeez -- those models look like 12-year boys! Its freakin' sick. Come on gay guys, get some models with tits and asses. We straight guys are sick of looking at what you think is hot.

So, anyway, I waited, acting like I was working, watching the Captain make small talk with Anthoneeee.

Geez, will you get on with it, asshole? I am so ready for a fuckin’ beer. All week long, with HIPAA, GOTOs, IIFs – come on already. It’s beer-thirty, bitch.

It was like a ceremony, The Captain making the rounds, letting the staff play kiss-ass (and kiss whatever else, I assumed). Screw it, I thought. I caught a glimpse of some folks slipping into the break room. I headed that way.

Ringbrow was there, cracking open his second Corona, along with a few other data-diddlers. “Hey, wassup, guys,” I said, opening the fridge.

“Not much, dude,” one of them said.

“Got an opener?” I asked.

“Na, sorry.” They walked out.

I started pilfering the drawers, looking for an opener, hoping the Captain wouldn’t come back for another round of his ass-kissing bait.

Man, this place was creepy…

Finally, I found an opener hanging off the side of the fridge, and I headed back to my desk. People were still working, sipping beers but still taking calls or diddling data.

Man, it’s five already. What is up with this place? Fuckin’ sweatshop…
The Captain strolled by, beer in hand. He paused at my desk.

“Uh, I see that you, uh, helped yourself.”

“Yeah, thanks,” I said, smiling.

He stood there, nodding. For like, thirty fucking seconds. No small talk, just awkward nodding. Bobblehead. I started nodding, and biting my lip.

Damn, this was weird…

Finally, he moved on, handing the beer to the another boy toy, a skinny guy with a streak of blond that was dyed down the middle of his scalp. “Here you go, Chaaaad, it looks like you could you use a cold one…”

I slammed my beer and logged off.

To be continued…

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