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First of all we would like to begin with 2
apologies. The first one is sent to all women developers out there. The second apology is to all women out there. We
are really not sociological experts or pretend to be. This
post is written from the experience and view point of 2 male programmers.
So how does your work as a software developer affects
your relationship? Developing requires a different set of skills from other
professions and makes you adopt some unusual behavior. This influences your relationship in strange ways.
Working together on the family PC - Or how do I
always get into trouble?
Working together on the family PC...Well, you
and your wife operate the PC a bit differently. I don't see my wife opening the
command line to copy files. Surprisingly, I didn't receive any positive
feedback when I brought up my fabulous idea to install a double boot on our
family PC so WE can enjoy the new UNIX based media center. Things can
get hairy, especially when we need to accomplish a very routine assignment. I
remember the nightmare called "Picking up Photos from the Wedding".
Filtering best wedding photos (300 out of 2000, WOW that photographer really
overdid it), while my wife only used the mouse really killed me there.
"How was your day honey?" - Or
"You never tell me about what you actually do"
Communication. That's the key word in
relationship, isn't it? Well, you come back home and your wife asks, "How
was your day?" A laconic answer will get you into trouble. On the
other hand, I don't think she will be interested in the new search engine you
recently integrated. So what's left to talk about? Office gossip. You really
can't have enough of that.
Delving into the PC after work hours - Or why
did I start with this media center?
Developers are technical fellows. As
such, they read tech blogs, install open source code on their family PC, adopt
sophisticated media centers, and try to stretch out the limit of technology
when possible. The problems with such activities is that it takes a long time,
you try them at home and not at work, and you are drawn into them with no
warnings. You don't know what you are getting yourself into. You read a blog
post telling you there is a new streamer for your PS3. You say - I'll give it a
try. You find yourself configuring your router while you have guests sitting in
your living room with your wife. How many times your wife suddenly wake you up
with "Did you hear what I was saying? Can you stop with the computer? I am
talking to you and you are stuck to the screen". Developers are capable of
sitting 10-12 hours a day in front of a computer. A simple "Let me just
check the latest headlines at WIRED", could lead to 3 hours of PC time at
home, trying to hack to the neighbor's Wi-Fi with the new Mozilla plug-in, just
for the fun of it.
Zombie mode - Or normal people are able to
conduct a conversation at 20:00 o'clock
Our job requires tremendous brain effort and
almost zero physical effort. After such a long day you go into what we
call the "zombie mode". You come back home. You are in the "zombie mode". It is
hard for you to...well, to communicate. Yes dear wife. This has nothing to
do with us being us being distant or snobs. We simply processed too
much information for one day and we need some time to reset. I am
sure at some point in the future this phenomena will be more documented but
until then... please be patient.
Tech Support - Or Why can't you be more supportive?
It's true. Most people we know assume the years
we spent at the University, the books we read and the software we developed
must have prepared us to help them use Word. The problem is that when your wife
is on the other side of the line you have to answer. So you find yourself
wondering in the middle of the office trying to teach her to send a fax from
your home computer.
Buying Gadgets - Or don't say I am not spoiling
"You know how much technology can improve
our life. So why did you get upset when I go and buy the new laser directed, Bluetooth
controlled, vacuum cleaner?" Yes. We love technology and sometimes we buy
cool top of the line gadgets that we can live without. But at least you take
comfort in the fact that we never spend money on clothes...
Cleaning house - Or why is there a new tool-bar here?
You open up the browser. There are three new shining tool-bars installed. How did they get there? When you
a new software you overcome all those annoying traps to install junk on
your PC. However, your wife doesn't. She will tap the next button like
crazy, leaving no tool-bar behind. Developers are usually pedant,
control freaks when it comes to our machines. Cleaning up after your
wife becomes a daily chore.
Small breaks - Or "I am really working here"
Anyone who ever worked from home knows it. You tell your wife you are
really working. She takes a look at the screen and finds you in Reddit
(again). "I thought you were working", she says. "I am", you answer (but
you still get the long face). Developers need those small 30 seconds
breaks. We are working, but we need to lift our head over the water to
catch a breath.
To sum things up, we would like to dedicate this post to our beloved
wives, and wish all you developers out there prosperous relationships.
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