Tuesday, January 25 2011
In addition to the web projects I build for people as doomed efforts at speculative development, I do occasionally take paying work. But there is a problem with web jobs, particularly those on unfamiliar frameworks: there's no way to adequately know before you begin how much work there will end up being. Back in the spring, I made a very serious underestimation of the work required to add a "platform" and a "billing method" to a company's wildly baroque (and completely undocumented) code jungle. That project is still not done, but I have to keep working in order to get that second 2.5 thousand dollar payment. It's pathetic. Happily, at least, there have been extended breaks from the work as various other dependencies (there are people working on this as far afield as Hungary) muddled through their fraction of the job. But one can never predict when precisely the work will fall back in my lap. Last week it began to come fast and furious, and it really fell on me hard today.
Usually this particular company leaves me alone to do my work in peace. They know I'm a self-starter and that if I have a question I will ask it. But this one project manager there has apparently decided that I need to be ridden harder, and he's taken to calling me at regularly-scheduled intervals throughout the day to ask where we are at. I find it infantilizing and vaguely infuriating. Such treatment seems at odds with the maddeningly complex job of debugging bugs in their software ecosystem. It's like asking a nuclear physicist whether or not he was sure to wipe his butthole until there was no more brown appearing on the toilet paper. Still, I very much want to get my final payment for this project. And I have a feeling this company is going to need me in the future, since I now know a lot more about their environment than any possible replacement. I'll just be sure to name a better price next time.
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