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Worst Working Conditions You Had To Write Code In?

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the 150-of-us-in-a-shoebox-in-the-middle-of-the-road dept.

Programming 1127

sausaw writes "I recently had to write code in a hot dusty room for 20 days with temperatures near 107F (~41C); having nothing to sit on; a 64 Kbps inconsistent internet connection; warm water for drinking and a lot of distractions and interruptions. I am sure many people have been in similar situations and would like to know your experiences."

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1127 comments

My experience (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559137)

Disclaimer: I work for IBM.

I am one of the employees who recently faced a tough choice - be laid off, or move to India and be paid a lower wage. I chose the latter because I have my youth and no obligations such as family or property.

What a mistake that turned out to be!

I was hit with an olfactory assault the second I stepped off of the plane. The air was hot and thick with stink. When I left the airport I saw that the dusty roads were soaked through with urine. Emaciated dogs with their teets hanging down to the ground begged for food and then urinated on my leg. The lower-caste Indians did the same. I got a chuckle from watching buzzards land on a nearby shitwagon with no regard to the stench, only to drop dead after the occasional Indian walked by.

The workplace was worse. It was a large, stamped metal shack with no air conditioning, with cable spools for tables and footstools for seats. The usual stench was there, so I made concessions with my boss to import a gas mask from Europe. It didn't last long, Indian stink renders charcoal filters useless in a matter of hours and they were expensive - each filter cost two hours' pay! Numerous communication problems drove me insane. Indians talk like, "boogabudabootabata" and of course the hotel I was staying at didn't have a shower (Indian culture does not mandate bathing, and so the concept is alien to them).

But the last straw was when I drank from a public water fountain only to see everybody laughing at me. Turns out I was drinking from the communal bidet. I got on the phone with my boss in the US and begged to come back. I now work at IBM HQ as a janitor. My new job is, literally, to deal with shit all day and I still find it preferable to living in India. But your mileage may vary.

Re:My experience (2, Interesting)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559383)

Coding deployment logic for cfEngine, in the raised-floor DC, immediately under the LOUD chiller, next to the obsolete SGI Challenge. I leaned against it for warmth.

Laugher in cube next to me (4, Insightful)

Sybert42 (1309493) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559141)

Those guffaws are annoying.

Re:Laugher in cube next to me (5, Funny)

zepo1a (958353) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559229)

The laughter is fine...As long as they are not doing your code review! :)

Hmmmmm (5, Funny)

gentlemen_loser (817960) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559143)

I once had an office mate that LOVED Kenny G. I think those were pretty horrific conditions...

Re:Hmmmmm (4, Informative)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559259)

Try having to sit across from a guy who loves Hanson and can't stop talking about how the industry is full of lies about Vista, the best operating system ever created. I wanted to use his head to stress test the impact rating of windshields in the parking lot. Sure would've relived my stress.

Re:Hmmmmm (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559339)

Try having to sit across from a guy who loves Sarah Palin and can't stop talking about how the government is lacking without her as VP, the best politician ever. I wanted to use his head to stress test the impact rating of windshields in the parking lot. Sure would've relived my stress.

Re:Hmmmmm (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559441)

Try having to sit across from a guy who can't stop bashing Sarah Palin 6 months after she lost an election. I wanted to use his head to stress test the impact rating of windshields in the parking lot, but I realized it was too vacuous to be effective anyway.

Re:Hmmmmm (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559493)

Try having to sit across from a guy who loves Sarah Palin and can't stop talking about how the government is lacking without her as VP, the best politician ever. I wanted to use his head to stress test the impact rating of windshields in the parking lot. Sure would've relived my stress.

Oh no, we're entering infinite recursion!

Re:Hmmmmm (5, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559539)

Try sitting across from Sarah Palin, who keeps asking me if I'm going to run for president next year. I wanted to explain to her that not only was I not a politician, not a republican, and not old enough to be constitutionally eligible for presidency, but next year is not an election year. So I did. She said I wasn't thinking like a maverick.

Re:Hmmmmm (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559359)

Bah! That's nothing that headphones won't cure.

There was this one time when I was trying to code, and this gorgeous woman was fawning all over me. She kept taking articles of clothing off and cuddling up to me. I tell you, it was awful! Do you have any idea how hard it is to code with a beautiful naked woman throwing herself at you?

Well (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559149)

I once had to write code on a palm pilot while I walked 15 miles uphill in the snow while naked with a pack of wolves and two grizzly bears stalking me.

Re:Well (5, Funny)

Theoboley (1226542) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559263)

you forgot to mention you had a T-Bone steak tied to your ass.

Re:Well (4, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559367)

You had wolves and bears? We had to survive on macaroni and cheese!

Re:Well (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559433)

My brother used to have a job like that, but the wolves caught up to him, and then the grizzly bears took him from the wolves. We didn't find out what happened until months later though. First there were the knawed bones and then some scatologist found a pile of grizzly dung and there, atop it, were the remains of brother's hand - still clutching the palm pilot. Dedicated coder that he was, he apparently continued to type even as he was being digested. His last line written was exit(EXIT_FAILURE);

Re:Well (4, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559583)

while I walked 15 miles uphill in the snow while naked

Meh. I had to debug some code on the set of a porn shoot. Before the viagra era. You want to talk about pressure to perform? God forbid you can't fix the code and recompile within about ten minutes... then your set time is wasted ($$$) & you need to bring everyone back in a few hours once the "actor" can perform again. That's when I learned you really need a stable of male performers ready to go.

You call that bad... (1)

Reber Is Reber (1434683) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559151)

That's like a Tuesday afternoon for me.

Re:You call that bad... (3, Funny)

Nos. (179609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559257)

If you're Tuesday afternoons are 20 days long... you're going too fast.

Worst (1)

zepo1a (958353) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559173)

The damp, dark innards of my parent's basement.

Re:Worst (2, Funny)

wagr (1070120) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559209)

Sorry, that sounds like Best to me.

Itsatrap!!! (4, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559179)

You had water?!

That's your cue, geezers.

I got that beat (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559183)

...had to write code in a hot dusty room for 20 days with temperatures near 107F (~41C); having nothing to sit on; a 64 Kbps inconsistent internet connection; warm water for drinking and a lot of distractions and interruptions...

I'll go you one better - I once had to maintain Perl code.

Re:I got that beat (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559299)

I'll go you one better - I once had to maintain Perl code.

Oh yeah? I had to scale a Ruby on Rails application.

Re:I got that beat (1)

knewter (62953) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559467)

Sir, my hat goes off to you.

Keyboard behind an industrial fan (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559185)

You had to move your hands in between revolutions and very quickly type. No time for comments and indentation and occasionally it would cut your hands off.

It was back in Nam. (4, Funny)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559189)

I still have nightmares of those endless tendrils of code wrapping around my ankles... it's too hard to talk about, man. Just too hard to talk about.

Come down to earth... (1)

bytethese (1372715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559205)

Wow, what's it like coding on Mars??

In the same room as an ultrasonic cleaner (5, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559211)

At a client. Ok I was debugging something and to be fair they did warn me not to spend too much time there, but it took a while to set things up.

Nasy experience actually, I could feel my nerves being a bit frazzled even the next day.

15 years or so ago (5, Informative)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559225)

Working in industrial automation. Installing a machine, and tweaking the code. An un-airconditioned plating shop in Oklahoma, in August, in a heat wave. So 100F+, near 100% humidity. Sometimes hanging above a vat of nasty chemicals while debugging with an oscilloscope.

Fun times.

Re:15 years or so ago (0)

Shimmer (3036) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559351)

"Tweaking the code"? We don't do that in a production environment, do we?

Re:15 years or so ago (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559669)

Yeah, I've heard that's how it looks outside academia.

Re:15 years or so ago (5, Interesting)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559631)

Working in industrial automation.

I can attest to this. Although I am not a programmer, and don't know the parent personally, I once spent some time as an industrial engineer.

I've seen programmers write pieces of code using nothing but a piece of plywood across the top of a garbage can for a desk. Keep in mind, many factories don't allow chairs on the factory floor, so all the work was done standing up. Not to mention the other horrible working conditions that come with factories.

Although, I do seem to remember those programmers most of those programmers going freelance and making some big money.

Dev Environment (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559233)

..... windows. Nuff said. :D

Obligatory (0, Redundant)

aztektum (170569) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559239)

Walkin' to school, uphill, both ways, in a blizzard.

Re:Obligatory (2, Funny)

bytethese (1372715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559315)

Don't forget about the time our parents beat up a grizzly bear with a looseleaf notebook...

Absolute worst? (5, Funny)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559255)

My last Employer actually expected me to write code in the morning! We are talking pre 10am here. I still have nightmares...

Re:Absolute worst? (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559411)

My last Employer actually expected me to write code in the morning! We are talking pre 10am here.

Err, is this also pre-first-pot-of-COF2E2?

Re:Absolute worst? (5, Funny)

schon (31600) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559527)

pre 10am

Whoa, woah, woah...

Since when was there a 10AM?!?!?!

Why is this being posted everywhere? (5, Informative)

almost_lunchtime (1370619) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559273)

Please (1, Informative)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559429)

Mod parent informative

Re:Why is this being posted everywhere? (5, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559497)

Obviously a masochist is doing a thorough job hunt.

Re:Why is this being posted everywhere? (5, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559617)

Or a sadist in management looking to see what they can get away with.

Not coding, but... (5, Interesting)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559275)

A paralegal I worked with was sent to do a document review at a Client's industrial site. She was in a small, metal shack filled with boxes of old documents. While she was working away, half a dozen guys in full hazmat suits came in. They were as shocked to see her as she was to see them since the building was condemned and they were there to clean it out!

Re:Not coding, but... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559591)

Sounds like the beginning of an interesting porno...

thats easy... (1)

nih (411096) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559277)

Vista

Under pressure (5, Insightful)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559289)

No matter the physical environment, nothing is an intense and scary as the pressure that mounts above you as you attempt to code on a customer's premises, on production code, trying to find a problem you didn't cause and barely understand, with no connectivity and no source control and no opportunity for QA.

Re:Under pressure (4, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559729)

Somebody mod this guy up. The customer is pissed at you because you represent the company, your boss is pissed at you because his revenue will go down, support is pissed at you because they have to stay late, and R&D is especially pissed at you because everything works in their lab.

Then again, if you do fix it, you get to be the hero. Not sure how many years that kind of stress takes out of your life though.

Ha! I have you all beat! (4, Funny)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559301)

I write automation software for sewage treatment plants, and sewage pumping stations. I could describe incidents that rival goatse.cx of old.

Floaters any one?

Cheers
 

Re:Ha! I have you all beat! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559577)

I write automation software for sewage treatment plants, and sewage pumping stations

in.... COBOL?

writing code in NASAs vomit comet (5, Funny)

carn1fex (613593) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559305)

I was having to write code to debug radar problems while on board one of NASAs P3 Orions (not technically The vomit comet but close enough)... in a thermal suit where the ambient temperature would go below zero at high altitudes then they would perform corkscrew dive maneuvers at some serious G-force to point the nadir looking antennas above the horizon back down to 300ft above the ocean where the temperature would spike over 100 degrees and the turbulence would throw you from the seat if not for the 6 point restraint. And the korean grad students were barfing their tuna fish sandwiches everywhere so the whole place smelled as can be expected. YOU KNOW NOTHING OF PAIN.

Re:writing code in NASAs vomit comet (4, Funny)

nametaken (610866) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559553)

Thread closed, you win.

Factory floor... (5, Interesting)

Gooberheadly (458026) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559335)

I once had to write code sitting on a metal stool in an aluminum rolling plant in Muscle Shoals Alabama in the summer. The background noise level where I sat was well over 80db, and the noise peaked at something over 130db when the machine was in operation. My connection to the embedded device was a 9600 baud serial line, and the code/compile/test cycle took 30 minutes on a 25mhz AT&T server running SVr3. Every time the guys on the rolling line wanted a break, they kicked the server until it reset and they had 15 minutes to go smoke. This would of course happen in the middle of me editing code.

Aside from the 110 degree temp in the plant, 100% humidity, and horrific noise level, I had to wear a dust mask to try and filter out the particulate matter from the grinding work down the line. When I'd shower at night the drain would turn a matted grey color.

My only memories of Alabama are horrible. Other than the ribs, of course.

Spare me. (5, Interesting)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559337)

As many here can attest, it only takes one bad boss to make working your conditions analogous to hell on Earth. I would argue that in the worst cases, your setup would be welcomed on a daily basis if got away from their boss that is not worth the dirt they walk on.

Under management (2, Insightful)

wagr (1070120) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559341)

Not quite the same environmental conditions, for me it was working under a boss who is not responsible for the final product and gets bonuses for cutting costs.

I worked for QVC (3, Funny)

revjtanton (1179893) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559355)

I only did network and system admin stuff but it was QVC...there were TV's all over the floor tuned in to watch Joan Rivers peddle here warez in HD!!!!...oh the horror...the horror...

I wrote code in the Army (3, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559369)

Think of your worst day - hot, dusty, grimy, no showers - now add the possibility you'll be shot at.

Punctuate that with actual gunfire.

Near you.

No, I'm not kidding.

Re:I wrote code in the Army (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559645)

I once worked for a guy whose previous job had been to set up battlefield data centers for the Army. Smart guy, but his management style wasn't that effective with our more prima-donna-type software engineers. Perhaps if he'd had the authority to send them to the stockade...

I never thought to ask him what kind of applications you run on battlefield servers. For that matter, what kind of code do you write on a battlefield?

Hmm, in this economy, I need to keep my options open. Does the Army need tech writers? Never mind, I'd never pass the physical.

Re:I wrote code in the Army (2, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559725)

mostly windows/exchange even on the classified stuff

you have to know how the army works. everything is a task, with the more complicated tasks being broken into sub-tasks. everything is assumed to be simple to do since it's just a task.

Re:I wrote code in the Army (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559701)

And the funniest thing? You volunteered for it!

Re:I wrote code in the Army (4, Interesting)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559721)

I'm sorry but I have to call BS on this. My brother previously worked with the Pentagon and my other brother codes in the Army. I myself was with military intelligence (make the jokes while you can) and the civilians NEVER were in the line of fire. And they were the ones who code for the military. No one codes in the line of duty; you may have to edit a configuration, change the settings, setup a terminal, etc... but as any coder will tell you, that's NOT coding. Changing a config file is not coding. System administration is NOT coding.

Maintaining a deploy of an app built on an MVC framework with a replication database backend... now thats coding.

I'm sitting in downtown Seattle (1)

melted (227442) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559373)

And I could go for a 107 degree office and warm water right now. I'd even agree to sit on the floor. Weather is ridiculous here this year. Or any other year for that matter.

Prayer meetings (5, Interesting)

NineNine (235196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559385)

I was on-site at a clients' place of business for a few months and I had to endure weekly prayer meetings. Not just the run-of-the-mill prayers, but the owner of the company would speak in tongues. I tried to skip them, but somebody would always come to retrieve me and I was told that they were mandatory.
If I wasn't a contractor, I would have sued their asses off for every nickel they're worth.

Three letters... (1)

DarrenBaker (322210) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559387)

V. B. A.

I should be getting hazard pay.

Look, you're going to have to face reality (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559395)

You will have to move out of your Mom's basement someday, and there are worse things she can do than turn off the air conditioning and remove the furniture in order for you to get the hint.

It's for your own good.

You've got me beat (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559413)

My worst was three weeks waiting for the office furniture to arrive. We had old PC cases for stools, propped the monitors and keyboards on top of PC cases, and coded hunched over. :)

Write code or do programming? (2, Interesting)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559419)

Must it be about places where we are actually typing, or can we include situations where we were writing a program in our minds for later entry? I sometimes wonder what people think as they walk by while I'm typing with my eyes closed.

Debugging Java in Sub-Zero (3, Informative)

virtigex (323685) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559435)

I was working for a car company on a project for communication between vehicles and infrastructure. The end-of-year demo was in Michigan in January. Because of the cold, I had to deal with car batteries failing, in addition to bugs cause by GPS inaccuracies. Oh and failing hands, because of the temperature. My boss, holding down the fort in California, was please that the demo was a success, but what really cracked him up was the fact that I came down with the flu after the demo.

Once had to code on a Vista machine (2, Funny)

GiovanniZero (1006365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559437)

It was terrible.

Well... (1)

kkrajewski (1459331) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559461)

We work from home, so about the most hazard we experience would be a cat jumping on the keyboard.

OTOH, in the realm of just annoying, is that a device emulator we use frequently takes about 90 seconds to load and can't just be left running -- you have to restart it for each recompile. It's like the testing cycle is make as many changes as possible, compile, go get a beverage or take a pee, come back, it should be just about ready to run.

My heart bleeds for you... (2, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559665)

OTOH, in the realm of just annoying, is that a device emulator we use frequently takes about 90 seconds to load and can't just be left running -- you have to restart it for each recompile. It's like the testing cycle is make as many changes as possible, compile, go get a beverage or take a pee, come back, it should be just about ready to run.

You poor things. My first job we got two test runs a day, and if you made a typo on your coding pad you had to wait in line for the one working keypunch so you could correct the cards without waiting for another run to the service bureau they had punching production cards for us in the name of "efficiency".

Kids today don't even know what "desk checking" is for.

Absolute worst, as far as I am concerned. (5, Interesting)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559469)

I once had to write code is a super-small stuffy room.

That's not so bad, but I had to share it with two people who smoked like chimney. I am serious, that was before all those non-smoking laws. The two smoked close to a pack a day per person. I probably "smoked" more with these two than ever before, or after... And I am a non-smoker!!

The stench was so bad that, when I arrived at the office, and I was usually the first person to come, I would open every single window in the office to make sure some of the cold tobacco odor would go out a little bit. And I did this religiously, no matter how cold or rainy it was outside, since the smell was so bad I was that close to puking every time I would go in that room.

To cut a long story short: I had -- in about six months time -- a bronchitis, followed by a sinusitis, followed by a bronchitis AND a sinusitis at the same time! Each time, my doctor would look at me, and practically plead with me to stop working in that place.

Thank goodness, that contract only lasted for about 12 months. Most horrible conditions I have ever worked in. My hatred of smokers started in that place.

Re:Absolute worst, as far as I am concerned. (2, Funny)

bughunter (10093) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559543)

That sounds like the one occasion when I worked from home.

And I didn't have any roommates!

Re:Absolute worst, as far as I am concerned. (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559683)

Not sure why this was modded flamebait, I can relate - again before the non-smoking laws. I would go home and smelling of the stench and now I have lung cancer and I've never smoked a day in my life - at least not intentionally.

Oh Well . . . .

SARS Anyone? (5, Interesting)

FreeKill (1020271) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559471)

During the SARS outbreak a few years back, I was employed as a programmer in a hospital where there was a quarantined SARS area. As a result, the entire building was on lockdown and you couldn't enter or exit without a medical overview (they take your temperature, ask you a bunch of questions) and being suited up in a face mask and rubber gloves that were not to be removed for any circumstances... Try coding for an 8 hour day in rubber gloves and a face mask!

Worst Conditions - USAF Sub-Contractor (4, Interesting)

James-NSC (1414763) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559487)

While working for the USAF developing a PTT (Part Task Trainer) for the new "glass cockpit" on KC-135R Aerial Refueler, my coding partner and I worked at the largest non-commercial airport in the US. Our office was a 6x9 closet. We were located by the fuel station, so every afternoon when the news choppers and flight for life choppers would refuel, the ventilation system pumped AvGas directly into the "office". It would get so bad that we would have to stop working from 3-5. After attempting to work through it at first, we would get dizzy from the fumes.

The best of times, etc... (2, Interesting)

magbottle (929624) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559517)

In living room. Two toddlers and an infant to manage. Years, but they became older as time went by so it got better and worse.

Drove me nuts. Wouldn't have missed it for the world.

The screaming German client on the phone with no tolerance or understanding for Thanksgiving holiday with infant on my shoulder and a toddler heading for the basement stairs was the best, ever.

Re:The best of times, etc... (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559667)

Subtract two kids and add one wife either nagging me or hollering at the kid and you understand why I look forward to coming to a cubicle farm and working between a flatulant VHDL programmer and a logorrheic systems engineer, underneath Nerf and nano-RC airspace.

Room full of girls (1)

cachimaster (127194) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559533)

For my first job interview, many years ago, I had to do a programming exercise (A graphical delphi app) on a borrowed computer in a *room full of girls drinking*.

Now, tell me if that isn't difficult.

PS. I got the job :)

Re:Room full of girls (2, Funny)

maroberts (15852) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559613)

We'd only be really impressed if you got the girls, but hey this is Slashdot....

Re:Room full of girls (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559615)

...and have managed to steer clear of girls since. Whew! That was intense.

Is it me... (1, Flamebait)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559547)

Or does the summary sound like someone coding in their bedroom? Oh and you dont _HAVE_ to work anywhere, its a choice you make, shut up and put up.

You were in a room? Luxury. (5, Interesting)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559571)

I once had a job at a wireless ISP where I would regularly troubleshoot disfunctional rooftop routers located on an antenna mast. This sometimes left me balancing my laptop on top of a ladder in order to connect to the crashed device, which was particularly fun on high buildings during windy days. Every tried to troubleshoot and fix a kernel panic by tweaking kernel driver source code in a situation where you could fall to your death if you lost your balance? It would make an awesome geek extreme sport.

Evicted (4, Funny)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559605)

I recently had to write code in a hot dusty room for 20 days with temperatures near 107F (~41C); having nothing to sit on; a 64 Kbps inconsistent internet connection; warm water for drinking and a lot of distractions and interruptions.

We were evicted from our Hot Dusty Room! We had to go code in a lake! [youtube.com]

Re:Evicted (1)

ProteusQ (665382) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559639)

You were lucky to have a lake! We had to code in cesspool while sulfuric acid was dumped all over our bodies and melted our keyboards!

Coding at a Drag Strip (3, Interesting)

Skraut (545247) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559607)

I used to work at a Quarter Mile Drag Strip, and my office was about 70 ft from the starting line. The track allowed people to rent the track during the day, so you either had something like a mustang club burning out and going down the track every 30 seconds for the entire day, with the endless drone of engines and tires. Or there would be a top fuel team renting the track and there would be an hour of silence followed by 170+ decibel noise of the fueler burning out and launching. Getting surprised by that because I was deep in code led to quite a few bashed knees as I jumped out of my seat at that noise. My boss didn't believe in headphones, because we all needed to be able to answer the phone, and telecommuting was completely out of the question.

Walgreed's (2, Interesting)

dhermann (648219) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559627)

My first job out of college was working as a web developer for the Walgreen Company at their headquarters in Deerfield, IL (just outside of Chicago). One particularly cold february, the heater busted in our building, and temperatures rapidly fell to around 55-58 degrees in the afternoon. First thing in the morning, it was barely 40 degrees in the office. We wore our coats and most people bought fingerless gloves (Dickensian fingerless gloves, that is) to continue to type.

The worst part was that management was totally silent about what was happening, and acted like nothing was wrong. We would literally schedule meetings because a conference room full of people was warmer. This went on for over two weeks. Finally, the pipes burst and everyone got a day off. Hooray!

Darl? Is that you? (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559635)

You would not be in those conditions if you hadn't started those dumb lawsuits against IBM and Novell.

Pfft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559649)

Back in the old days, we used to trudge 5 miles uphill both ways with a dagger in each of our thighs in six feet of snow just to get our punch cards into the EAM, all for tuppence a month. Come home, and Dad would thrash us to sleep with a broken bottle, if we were lucky! And you try and tell the young people of today that... they won't believe you.

I got jammed in a conference room with interns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559651)

They had little work to do and so they spent their time chatting about who in the office was really hot. They really wanted the CEO. Go figure.

Factory (1)

agorist_apostle (1491899) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559653)

I once had to write code while sitting next to a massive injection molding machine, where the temperature was probably 110 degrees inside (surprised the computers worked), a blow-off air jet going nonstop on the other side and the plant manager coming out about every three minutes wanting to know why things weren't done yet. Job lasted about two weeks of pure fun.

TI-85 (1)

clinko (232501) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559661)

System: TI-85
Location: In Class, 7-12th grade.

It was still more fun than paying attention.

In a call center cube (0)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559677)

I shit you not, they put me in a cube in the middle of an inbound call center. On top of that, they gave me a 1.2Ghz celeron as my dev machine (this was in 2006).

Right Now... (1, Informative)

gmletzkojr (768460) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559695)

Right now I'm learning to code Java - it's pretty terrible.

Luxury... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559697)

Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at six o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of 'ot gravel, work twenty hour day at mill for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would thrash us to sleep with a broken bottle, if we were lucky!

Re:Luxury... (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559739)

Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah.

I Once Had To Work In A Cramped Cubicle (5, Funny)

CyberSlammer (1459173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559705)

Then my boss kept moving stuff into it and crowded me out to the basement and he left me down there with a can of roach spray and he took my red stapler....

I'm going to burn the building down....

Not the worst, but pretty bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27559707)

Professional video game programmer. The worst I ever had to do was on a card table in the living room of the producer's apartment, with six other developers in the room. Austin, TX, 95 degree heat. On the plus side, we got a day off when a raccoon crawled into the ventilation system and died, making the apartment too horrible for even the boss to enter.

Can you beat this? While working Help Desk... (1)

Direwolf20 (773264) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559711)

Yeap you heard me right :). I work Help Desk for this company, and in my 'Spare Time', I'm building databases and writing code in Lotus Notes. Theres nothing that breaks your train of thought quite like "Yes, Hi, I forgot my password for the 3rd time today, Sorry!!" and "The power just went off and so did my computer, is that normal?".

College Anyone? (1)

klwood911 (731463) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559731)

Try coding in a language that MIT designed (LISP) that no one uses outside the classroom, with a bunch of college guys, up all night, no showers, in a computer lab, on monochrome serial terminals, when you are a commuter and home is better than half an hour away. AND, you have to work full time an hour away the next day. AND your attractive live in girlfriend is waiting breathlessly for you at home.... Torture that even Gitmo couldn't beat...

Wild And Crazy Boss (1)

RoscoeChicken (73509) | more than 5 years ago | (#27559735)

Back in the early 90s -- 100+ degrees (F) working on a cell phone prototype in a typical late Spring for Florida.

My a**hole employer, an Eastern European immigrant with a blimp-sized ego, faked MENSA membership, and the wildest anti-Semetic rants I'd ever heard, bought a window AC unit that was nowhere near adequate for the room and kept it focused on himself saying (I'm not making this up) "You do not understand Thermodynamics, and you will feel cooler if the vent is aimed at me."

For full effect, imagine that line in the accent of the "Wild And Crazy Guys" from the old SNL. That was the boss.

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