# Outsider

Ratings:
29 pages26 minutes

### Summary

The hiring manager glares at Big Jim. “You have one of the worst evaluations that I have ever seen.”
Big Jim looks the hiring manager in the eyes and lectures the man, “I show up for work, every work day. I do my assigned work and I’m good at what I do. I have recommendations from people like hardware maintenance, software librarians, people like that. Admittedly, I didn’t get along too well with my previous management. However, what you need is software modules done and done right. I can do that. Give me a chance and you won’t regret it.”
The hiring manager thinks for a few moments then says, “Okay, I can offer you the standard job shop rate for a computer programmer. No trouble, or out you go.”
Big Jim replies, “Just give me the software design documents and let me at a host machine, you get your software modules.”
The Personnel lady comes in and then leads Big Jim to a Project Manager.
* * *
“I’m Katrina. You report to me. I’m going to give you a software design for one of the calculation modules. I want to see finished software, per the schedule.”
I reply, “I’ll get started right away. I know how the computer operates, and I’ll give you good, tight code. I do need to know where the software librarian is located.”
Katrina not only tells me where the software librarian is located, she walks me over and introduces me to Molly.
I get some computer access information from Molly and I also get directions to my assigned computer lab. I’m in my element and I get busy.
(In order to understand what I’m doing you need to look at a very short example. The spec reads:
Answer = AX**2 + BX + C
The critical thinkers load A into a register, then multiply by X. (One load, one multiply.)
They then multiply AX by X and store the result. (One multiply, one store.)
They then load B into a register, then multiply by X and store the result. (One load, one multiply, one store.)
They then load AX**2 into a register and add BX. (One load, one add.)
They then add C and store the result in Answer. (One add, one store.)
(Total: three loads, three multiplies, three stores, two adds.)
I load A into a register, then multiply by X. (One load, one multiply.)
I add B and multiply the result by X. (One add, one multiply.)
I then add C and store the result in Answer. (One add, one store.)
(Total: One load, two multiplies, two adds, one store.)
(You wonder why my code runs faster and occupies less computer storage than that generated by the critical thinkers? Is that what you wonder, Bunky?”
I work hard and get my first assigned module finished, documented and zero tested. I turn the finished module into Molly and I get furnished a second module. I go back to my computer lab.
Katrina and a programmer are soon at my door. Katrina says, “Big Jim, we need to review your work.”
I tell the lady, “Okay, review away.”
The programmer reads over the module code, while I work on my second assigned module.”
The programmer laughs and says, “Yeah! This looks like good stuff.”
I tell the dynamic duo, “I’ve been at this coding stuff, for a while. I know what to do.”
Katrina asks the programmer, “Then the stuff meets spec?”
The programmer says, “It meets spec and it’s coded efficiently. Big Jim indeed knows what he’s about.”
I laugh, “When I first started, I made mistakes. I learned from each painful mistake. I try not to repeat mistakes.”
The programmer says, “You identified a design flaw.”
“I identified it, tested it and reported it.”
The programmer laughs, “The design guys are still arguing if the error can really happen, in normal use.”
I lecture, “If an error can happen, it will. If an error can’t happen, it still will happen, just less frequently than the ones that can happen.”
The programmer turns to Katrina and states, “One of the secrets of computer programming.”
Katrina says to me, “Big Jim, we got a call, from one of