Partially Employed!

I’m now partially employed. I found 2 separate part-time contracts, for 1-2 days of work per week each. It’s better than nothing, but it isn’t the same as full-time employment.

The contracts are interesting. One is doing financial calculations on a consulting basis. The other is doing maintenance and bugfixes on lousy PHP/Javascript/jQuery code someone else wrote. I’m also providing mentoring and training for a junior programmer who works there full-time. There was no handover from the previous programmer, just “Here’s the source code. It’s your problem now.” We had to get the hosting vendor to reset the Linux root password, so we could get full access to the server. We’re probably going to manually reset the mySQL database root account, because the logins+passwords in the code don’t have DBA permission.

It is interesting that almost all employers treat me as a clueless unemployable loser, and now I’m showing a junior programmer how to work. I’m assigned all the problems he couldn’t fix himself. He appreciates the help and education, rather than feeling threatened by me and the need to backstab me. I couldn’t get a job involving Javascript or jQuery because I haven’t used them before, but I’m fixing bugs in Javascript and jQuery code at my new job. (The owner thought his website was PHP, but actually it’s mostly Javascript, with a little PHP. It’s written in “single page app” style. (Yuck! More on that later.)) Even though I haven’t used Javscript and jQuery before, I haven’t had any problem learning enough to troubleshoot bugs. Fixing someone else’s code is a lot harder than writing new code from scratch. I’ve spent much more time digging through the code, than looking up how Javascript or jQuery work.

Now I have a problem for what to do. Do I look for a 3rd contract for 1-2 days of work per week, or look for something full-time? If I find something full-time, I’ll have to drop the part-time contracts. However, both part-time contracts are likely to last only a few months maximum. Given that it took me so long just to find anything, I’ll keep looking and I’ll worry about that problem if I find something.

3 Responses to Partially Employed!

  1. Anonymous Coward July 2, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    > Fixing someone else’s code is a lot harder than writing new code from scratch.

    You are absolutely right. I had one job that was a complete car crash.

    There was one idiot in a senior position that wrote the most badly designed, rubbish, buggy code.

    Despite having decades of experience and a list of successful, brilliant pieces of work launched, he just used me to debug his awful code – one bug at a time.

    It was a complete waste of my time. The months rolled into years and I found myself achieving nothing. It was a slow motion car crash. You can’t fix a stupid silly design by fixing one bug at a time.

    So I wrote a lot of software from scratch in my own time and on my own equipment. The results were a big improvement.

    I wrote high quality code in a fraction of time devoted to fixing his buggy mess.

    For doing that work, I just got knifed and slagged off. No good deed goes unpunished.

    • For this project, the website 95% works, and only needs some bugfixes. A complete rewrite is beyond the scope of hiring me part-time. Based on my estimate, it would take me somewhat less time to just fix the bugs, than rewrite it cleanly. Due to the “single page app” style, a gradual refactoring is not possible. (A proper cleanup would make each screen in the website a separate URL.)

      I know that I’m only there part-time on a short-term basis. It is good to get some Javascript/jQuery experience. It isn’t hard. I don’t see why people make a big deal out of requiring people to already have experience in Javascript, jQuery, and whatever stupid framework they’re using.

  2. Anonymous Coward July 4, 2013 at 5:30 am

    It is great news that you are working again.

    You have already tried to get full-time employment for a single employer. I am not fit to give advice as I gave up on this route several years ago. I do miss working with other people, but like you, I was disheartened by the long interview process, doing technically well, but not getting jobs for no good reason.

    I you can hook up with more employers needing occasional work (maybe one month per year) and there ends up enough of them, you could eventually get full-time work spread across many different people. Think of it as an early start to running your own consultancy business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>