Under qualified, over qualified wombling free

Nearest hits so far,

  • shift work at a warehouse, trouble shooting software and hardware – score someone more suitable
  • Low code, over qualified, might do a runner if offered a better job, well doh!

Thanks to the Great and Glorious Educational Empire, my skill set is some what unique as it has been a hand to mouth coding exercise rather than being able to study something in depth (or god forbid even trained in). Keep being ask why I  have moved over the last 3 years, and I have nearly got the tale off pat. It id a tale of personal tragedy, avarice, long journeys, and quite frankly bizarre employment practices.

Job that nearly kills you, bruises that wont heal

After being strictly honest about the skills I had, I was hired, but my chances of success were greatly diminish by what I was asked to do and the fact that those setting the time scales did not understand the job. The first thing was a simple form through a vue.js interface. Having not worked with vue before I had no idea what it was capable of but I knew that the backend was built on an Entity frame work and that the data structure was set up to allow the questions to be held in the database. My initial attempt going from the only other form on the page was to bring the questions to the front using the API via an AJAX call. This was in fact the correct way of doing it but what I didn’t know about was vue’s ability to accept a JavaScript promise. If there had been anyone to go too with my questions or any of the other developers had had an inkling  I am sure that I would have completed the task successfully, unfortunately the example code I had had the form built into the template so this was the only pattern I had. I had spent too long trying to do thing properly and the project manager was getting tetchy so I went for the hack, built the form in the template and handled the consequences on the API (which I fluffed due to mounting time constrains).

In between this,  I taught myself closed captioning (vtt) from other examples lying around,  and debug some of the associated issues. Reacquainted (from limited experience) myself with node, gulp and sass.

When the lead developer returned he ripped into my hack which I agreed with as I had not wanted to do it that way in the first place, and found an error, which could have been spotted by peer review, but that was not the company culture.  Someone aware of these facts could have pointed me in the right direction but no one was available so I did what I could.

The second task that put me in the firing line was a linear project which the client decided needed to be dynamic. The code had been supplied by a third party and briefings given to a co developer, but not directly to me. As I understood it the company policy was that the designer was always right and we developed to the designers concept, unfortunately changing from linear to dynamic invalidated that concept and the third party had used a single form of navigation that played the audio for the next slide off a button on the current slide, the page also had to be responsive. Again I tried to do a best in class version and again time constrains worked against me and despite working late, I miss the deadline. Then I was told where the bug list was, and the designer was still working on the concept after this point. The lead was now furious he obviously thought he had hired a clone, but I was always honest about where my skills fell down and where I would need help and guidance especially when the house style was a bit unique. The long and the short of it is I was left floating then given a  task that had too sharp a learning curve within the timescales.

The old man and the see…

Right that’s another company with a vet who has been there since the year dot, they have formed the system chosen the technology and worked in their own  dialect/idiom. These giants of the programming world are now beginning to get long in the tooth, and are naturally looking at the succession. Rather than training someone up they start looking to buy in talent or worst use managers from a different area (such as catering, hello the Great and Glorious Educational Empire), again why is internal promotion so frowned on? As usual it is all about dead men’s shoes. Which can cause a panic in the board room, also known as the under the bus scenario (this unfortunately did once occur, a sad loss in a RTA left a large hole in the management structure).

Here is my theory, the programming teams are too talented and in demand to take someone off the front line to be moved into an more overseeing role. So the pool is reduced to those individual that are not actually necessary to the production (project appologi.., sorry, managers anyone?), who from a management point of view seem to have a handle on things. When the brought in “talent” (and I use the word advisedly)  proves not to be a clone and the vet feels they are not in full control, and the pure resentment in the team of someone parachuted in can make thing entertaining, no names no pack drill 🙂 ( I fully own up to making a cods of things but a lot of it cause by naivety, not that that is an excuse, or is it?).

End of the road/pier show

After the boss (oh look another grizzled old vet…sorry) decided to take the problem project off me he presented me with a Gridview, and wanted me to solve an issue. Of course I know of Gridviews but I found them awkward  and haven’t used them for years, this apparently was a test, and I was later called to the office and given my marching orders. The problems were caused by my lack of knowledge of the company systems, out of date skill set and a very stupid mistake that was only picked up when data was building with in the system, no peer testing, no proper UAT just a project manager sitting on my shoulder demanding it was done. I want to get back to a proper agile working environment even though I have worked like this before I now deem it unsatisfactory.

The whole experience has been unsatisfying, from only finding out about the bug list by chance very late on, jobs weren’t assigned to me so I had no links to the boards, to being expected to be an expert in languages I have barely touched. Co workers too busy with their heads down to point me in the right direction to a quite frankly mystifying server structure. Sure I can do this stuff. but not at the speed that the project managers seem to think. I think a lot of the criticism I had of the militant arm of the Civil Service carries on to this lot, a close knit/cliquey  team that have worked together for a long time. It would appear this could be my issue with modern working practice, I hope not. Again I could feel sorry for the poor bugger who took over from me at the Great and Glorious Educational Empire, but  as there was no development that particular bullet was dodge (my old stuff is still running as of now).

I  gave up a bad commute but relatively stability for a job where the working practices meant that my chances of success were greatly reduced. I still think the company is fantastic, a great bunch with some excellent ideas, it is the realisation that is fraught, with plenty of time given to design  but none to fulfillment or fixes relying on very experience and knowledgeable front end developers to plaster over the crack, and usually getting away with it, but I was not a fit, I could have been if I had been allowed to get up to speed but apparently 31 working days is enough (especially with Crimbo in between) so one month out of a potential of six, to learn a full system, I spent 18 years understanding and constructing a less involved system, but might have been doesn’t count. Onward…

This is getting silly

Well this is the 4th company that has hired me on my CV which I hasten to add actually describes things I have actually produced, and full interview process, then once employed decided I don’t have the skill set they were looking for! Either I have got the ability to fake sincerity, or there is something broken in the way these companies are hiring, which is odd because this last lot writing online courses on this very subject.

HR is a dark art, but obviously darker than I thought. Though obviously they hired me for my charm and people skills! I suppose I sound plausible and it all looks rather good on paper, but because I have been unconventional in my route to production, I don’t seem to fit their required pattern. I think people should start considering hiring the person not their supposed knowledge.

Any way, have been told by my line manager to stop being negative in our morning stand ups, but the reason I am is that I am cross with myself for not being able to sort something that on the surface looks fairly straight forward. I do suffer from relaying on my internal critic to get me through the day.

There goes another one…

I don’t seem to be settling. This was just a couple of miles too far (90 mile round trip) which would not have been too bad if it weren’t for the limited route choice. I think being offered the job on the spot negated my experience of travelling as I remember not holding much hope of getting it in the first place and was a bit shell shocked, and with my usual bravado thought I had been commuting to commuting to Chippenham how bad can this be?