Chapter 94. Why Your Programmer Just Wants to Code

Marcus Blankenship

When I interviewed Jamie for a position at ZenTech, he seemed like an enthusiastic engineer. With solid tech skills, ideas for process and product improvement and a great team attitude, he was the obvious choice.

But, two years later, Jamie was “that guy.” You know, the one who wants to code without being bothered.

I should have noticed the signs. He didn’t speak up in retrospectives, he didn’t contribute process or product ideas like I expected, and his “team-friendly” interactions were usually sarcastic. He often talked about technical debt, our lack of innovation, and the “stupid” decisions holding us back. An irritating “I told you so” sentiment plagued his comments and feedback.

Jamie might have thought about leaving the company. If he did, I couldn’t tell. Although, I certainly wished he would have. But we were shorthanded, and I needed all the help I could get.

The result? Another cliché programmer who just wanted to code and be left alone.

People Are Shaped by Environment

Too many managers believe the problem in this scenario lies with Jamie. If he were a better employee, dedicated worker, or at least cared more, then this wouldn’t have happened. Right?

Unfortunately, no.

The transition from enthusiastic programmer to polarized programmer doesn’t happen overnight. But it starts sooner than you think. ...

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