Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Contemplators vs. thinkers on their feet

"But what about pair programming" said someone about my anti-open-plan office rant. I HATE PAIR PROGRAMMING. I am a contemplator, not a thinker on my feet, so I detest all actions that force me to behave in a way that stresses me out. If I have to code in front of someone else I turn into a gibbering wreck, or my brain totally freezes and and I utter whatever crap I need to in order to bring the horrible ordeal to an end as soon as possible. It does not matter if the other is a close friend or someone that I have never met. For the same reason I am totally useless at whiteboard coding interviews. My brain works by taking information in, thinking about it for a while and making progress while I contemplate during a run or a cycle or a swim or peeling some garlic. I can't think on my feet immediately and answer: as a contemplator my brain is simply not wired up that way. I don't want to sit in an open plan office because I am not going to do that pair programming, I don't want to go to that brainstorming session because in the heat of the moment I have nothing to say, I don't want to take that whiteboard coding interview because I *will* fail (I have failed at my *own* favourite interview question), I don't want to listen to that conference talk because I am going to get nothing out of it. I do know that as a contemplator I can do great work appreciated by others, but in a very different (and more solitary) way. Sadly, our industry is geared up for only thinkers on their fleet Gladiators and not contemplators that take the time to mull it over, think it through, explore alternatives, map out the pros and cons and integrate with decades of experience to find patterns – things which are tough for anyone to do in the heat of the moment. I don't expect anything to change so I thought I would just have a therapeutic rant about it and see if anyone else feels the same way.

The original Facebook post has some interesting comments by others.

Death to open plan offices

My head is abuzz with ideas during this holiday in stark contrast to my workplace open plan desk where the noise level and distractions inhibit any creativity in me (I maintain one is either typing or thinking but never both at the same time). I often end up working from home (a short walk from my office) when I need to think hard about how to solve or problem or if I need to be extra productive. Open plan offices might be necessary for things like cost savings but let's not pretend they are like that by choice because it improves programmer productivity or collaboration: I don't buy that for a second. I sit with people around me wearing headphones to try and cancel out the office noise level and I communicate with them with Google Hangouts. If I want to have a technical discussion with the person sitting next to me I have to book a conference room. One day I hope to get a job again where I have an office with a door that shuts and a nice big whiteboard to help me think.

The original Facebook post has interesting comments by others.

Contemplators vs. thinkers on their feet

"But what about pair programming" said someone about my anti-open-plan office rant. I HATE PAIR PROGRAMMING. I am a contemplator, ...