Your name is Chad, and you are a brogrammer at Big Tech Co.
You start the day by slamming a protein shake. You throw on your usual uniform: a company t-shirt, shorts, sandals, and dark sunglasses. Your biceps bulge under your short sleeves.
Your Tesla pulls into the office outside San Jose at 11am. You hand your keys to the valet and head towards the nearest coffee bar.
As soon as you step inside, your co-worker, Jimmy, sees you.
“Oh, umm, excuse me, Chad,” says Jimmy without making eye contact. “If you could just approve–“
“My dude!” you say cheerfully. “I’m so sorry about your design doc. I’ve been working from Bali the last two weeks.”
“Umm, I didn’t realize that,” says Jimmy, meekly. “Sorry.”
“I’ll get to it as soon as possible,” you say, as you stand in line for a fair trade medium roast from Guatemala. Jimmy nods sheepishly and sips a tasteless latte from the automatic coffee machine down the hallway.
You take your cappuccino and casually stroll over to team standup. Everyone glares at you for being late. Your manager assigns you a difficult task for the week. You chuckle. He thinks it’s difficult, but you have an idea.
You get back to your desk and adjust it to the highest setting so everyone can see who’s the real boss. You code up the solution in an hour.
Jimmy taps you on the shoulder.
“Hey bro,” you smile. “What’s shaking?”
Jimmy takes a breath. “Uhh, can you review my design doc now?”
“Sure,” you say. Then you phone chimes. “Hold up. The cafes just opened for lunch. Want to head over to Charlotte’s? They’re serving filet mignon today.”
The two of you walk over to Charlotte’s Cafe, a 10 minute journey each way. You overhear two other engineers passionately debating an esoteric algorithm at the next table. You do not know anything about algorithms, nor do you need to.
You get back to your desk with Jimmy.
“Thanks for lunch, bro,” you fist bump him.
“So…” says Jimmy, avoiding eye contact. “My design doc…?” His voice inflects upwards.
“Oh right my dude!” You exclaim slowly. You pull up Jimmy’s design doc. Then your phone chimes.
“Right after this meeting,” you remark. Jimmy nods. He understands. You grab your laptop and head over to the meeting room.
It’s your weekly 1:1 with your manager. You have a routine check-in. Then you ask about performance reviews, and what your expecting rating is.
“I can’t guarantee anything,” your manager says. “but I think you could get the second-higest rating in the rubric.”
“Bro, I deserve the highest rating,” you assert. You open a doc of all your achievements that map specifically to Big Tech Co’s performance review rubric.
Your manager looks it over and nods. “Chad, you deserve the top rating. I’ll bring this to calibration.”
“Don’t mention it,” you grin. “By the way, I’m going to reduce latency by 10% next week.”
“I understand. I won’t give you any extra bugs next week. Our new director is really big on engineering excellence.”
“I know,” you say. Your phone chimes. “I gotta run.”
“Meeting with our intern?” your manager asks.
“Nope. The director,” you say, and stroll over to the next building.
The rest of your afternoon passes by in a blur.
Your solution to the difficult problem causes tests to fail, so you quietly disable the tests and submit the commit. The tests were flaky anyways. Your change goes out to 100 million users later that afternoon.
You read an e-mail from the product owner. They have a dumb feature request. You shoot it down. They understand.
You crack open a cold one. Someone from HR walks by but they know who you are.
You take a break to go to the gym. You do 100 squats, 100 bench presses, and 100 sit ups. Then you start your workout.
You review another commit. You push back on the author because you suspect it will increase compile time. The author actually agrees with you. They understand.
You send an e-mail to the team proposing to use a new dependency injection system. Everyone agrees. The migration begins immediately and will finish in three days.
Then you remember Jimmy’s design doc. You pull it up on your fourth monitor. Then, your phone chimes. Another meeting.
“Right after this,” you think to yourself.
It’s time to meet the new intern.
You find the intern at her desk. She’s a pretty, young blonde from Stanford. You’re her mentor. You take a pleasant walk outside together and tell her about Big Tech Co. You give the intern some of the tips that make you a successful brogrammer. She’s a good co-worker. You think of yourself as her big brother.
Your phone chimes again. This time, it’s an urgent, ominous sound.
“Elevated error rate in cell yj” the alert reads. Surprised, you cut your meeting short and rush back into the office.
Your manager is frantic. “Can you fix this?” he asks.
“Of course, bro,” you calmly wave him off. “Go do some sprint planning and I’ll tell you when it’s fixed.”
You open your computer. The red line on the dashboard is going up. Sweat rolls down your forehead. Your mind forms an idea about what to do, but you’re not entirely sure. Your fingers dance across the keyboard in a mad whirl. You built this system. You know it better than anyone. And yet, you wonder if you can actually fix it this time. This bug is different from anything you’ve ever seen before.
Finally, you find the root cause. You roll back your commit from earlier. The error rate swiftly returns to normal.
“Chad, you’re our hero!” everyone cheers. They uncork a bottle of champagne and serve cake meant for someone else’s birthday. You spend the last hour of work celebrating your big win. Even the director swings by to congratulate you, and she’s the most impressed of all.
At 3pm, your phone chimes.
“Sorry guys, I gotta go,” you say. Everyone gives you one last high five on your way back to the parking lot.
Jimmy catches up to you on your way out.
“Hey Chad, uhh, about my design doc…” he mumbles.
“Oh dude, sorry. I’ve had a hectic day. I’ll get to it tomorrow,” you reply.
Jimmy nods quickly, understandingly. The valet pulls up with your Tesla, whose battery has been fully charged.
“Chad?” Asks the valet. You nod. You get into your car.
“See ya next week,” you say to Jimmy.
“Next week?” Asks Jimmy incredulously.
“Yeah, my girlfriend and I are going to Costa Rica. I’ll be reachable by e-mail.”
Jimmy nods. “I understand.”
You wave goodbye and drive to the airport in the gentle California sun.
You feel good because your name is Chad and you are a brogrammer at Big Tech Co.
Pingback: 100 Things I’ve Learned as a Software Engineer at Google | Sheldon's Software