A Day in the Life of a Programmer

One of the huge blessings in this life that God has given me is a job that challenges my mind, and pays enough for our family to live comfortably. Because my work involves connecting remotely to servers I will never see, it doesn’t really matter where I do my work; for this reason, I am permitted to work from home quite often.

When I was employed by another company, doing a similar job, I used to work four days a week from home, only going ‘into the city’ once a week. If something prevented me from doing this, it might be a couple of weeks between visits to my office. Over time, this caused me to avoid projects on which I would need to collaborate with other employees, and ultimately that practice reduced my value to the company. In the Fall of 2002, I was laid off, and did not find regular work for another seventeen months.

When it began to be possible to work from home in this job, I was determined to be more careful. I make sure to go in to the office whenever there is any meeting that requires my attendance, and I almost never work more than three days a week from home.

A scary building to be in during an earthquake
Not my actual office ‘in the city’.

I work in a team of four, and we mostly each have our own responsibilities, few of which overlap. Still, the days I’m in the office are often festive – we congregate in the corridor for impromptu team meetings, and there is much banter and wit exchanged. We play jokes on each other, and laugh together about the latest corporate buzz-words and propaganda. Upper-level managers, visiting our corner on days when we’re in full swing, often walk away shaking their heads in bemusement.

Today was a particularly good day, even though it started out quite badly. I woke before my alarm (a fate nearly worse than death) with an allergy attack, and spent the extra time paying bills. I packed my own lunch, and it wasn’t as generous as Kathy usually provides (I often eat all three meals away from home on my commute days). I forgot my allergy meds at home, and rushed back to get them, nearly missing my train.

Sounder Commuters
Not my actual commuter train, but very close.

Arriving at work, I fretted about the size my lunch. “Will it be enough to forestall the mid-afternoon munchies?” I wondered. “I don’t think so,” I answered myself gloomily. I’m not a major source of encouragement in my life.

Several weeks ago, I scraped the last morsels from my secret jar of Nutella (the one that I kept discreetly stashed in my desk drawer) and the last of the Christmas chocolates was long ago devoured. A sad feeling welled up briefly as I sat, contemplating an afternoon barren of chocolate. I pondered the burning question of the ages: “Is life worth living without Nutella?”

Setting my face like Play-doh ™ against such maunderings, I turned to my work. It wasn’t until lunchtime, when I needed some salt for my lunch, that I opened my desk drawer.

There, gleaming in the sickly fluorescent lights, was a brand-new, un-opened jar of Nutella! The rich auburn brown of my favorite hazelnut spread was clearly visible through the translucent jar, all the way to the top. I grabbed for it, afraid it might be a holographic trick, but its solid heft reassured my tight grasp … it was real!

“A jar of Nutella, in my desk drawer,” I exulted, loudly enough to bring my co-workers out of their cubes. “Which of you did this wonderful thing?”

Me and my faithful jar
Not my actual Nutella jar.

Guilty looks abounded, but my benefactor chose to remain anonymous. “Maybe Eric brought it up,” hypothesized one co-worker, innocently. (Eric, when he chooses to reward us, usually brings donuts, and never secretly.)

There was only one thing to do, truly the only thing that can be done with a new jar of Nutella: I broached the foil seal and dove in with a spoon.

Even now, riding home on the train, the unexpected gift brings a smile to my face. It is true that I prefer to work from home on the days that I can, enjoying my family and a very short commute, but working in the city has its charm: my faithful Nutella jar, waiting patiently in that desk drawer.


Share or follow

Related posts:

6 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of a Programmer”

  1. “I’m not a major source of encouragement in my life.” I’m not either.

    But a jar of Nutella–especially one as big as you–is a wonderful thing [smile]. Good times.


  2. tim, i LOVE your sense of humor and your writing. you’re part eeyore aren’t you? i’m not my best encourager either! and i set my face like playdough more often than not. i always tell my hubby that it is my perogative as a woman. too bad you don’t have that excuse. that photo of you looks great! you’ve been losing weight haven’t you? way to go.

  3. I got a jar of nutella on the way back from Mexico and have since then been enjoying it! yummy!! I wish I could get a jar that big!

Comments are closed.