In a move that I am sure will shock many of my loyal readers, I have decided that contrary to many previous utterances, I wish to continue working here for the time being. My pursuit of alternative employment is not being remotely fruitful, and I have presented a cunning plan that is meeting with modest approval from the lesser powers that be. Initially it didn't go down well, but when I said it was the end of the road for us if they didn't go for it, after a few minutes of reflective silence, elaboration was requested... I suspect that it still would have to get directorial approval, but it's a start, right?
To make the scenario clear, five months into my employment here, I have yet to sign a contract. Technically I could walk out at any time, though equally they could decline to pay me, so I'm not really going to do that unless desperate for my mental health. But they are likely to ask me to sign soon, since there is also the small matter of a probationary review and other contractual things.
Now it doesn't take a very good psychologist to spot that I've not been at all happy with work lately, and I believe that the primary cause of that is the sow's-ear / silk-purse conversion exercise that this job mainly involves. Yes, I do have a problem with background noise and so on, but I'm pretty sure that's just exacerbating what always has been the case since the day I joined, that this software's beauty is only skin deep, making the hacking and patching I so hate doing in any case, an order of magnitude harder to get my head around.
So I have proposed that if they want to keep me - and they claim they do want me to stay, though obviously my experience at the OU makes me a little cynical about such statements - it will be on the basis that I can concentrate to a large degree on developing a completely new core for an as-yet unannounced Version 4. Version 3 was supposed to have been a rewrite, but the Slovakian guy doing most of the development of it never was given the go-ahead to strip it out as much as it desperately needed, and has been pulled on to other more sales-driven areas anyway, much to his frustration. Consequently, Version 3 is going to be yet another Brownian Motion developmental freeze-frame, and it is my genuine belief that if that happens again, we might as well all pack up and go home because the next layer of extra functionality is going to demand a far more solid and high performance core than we can remotely claim at present.
I would continue to focus on this webserver version until complete, and then on an approximately half-time basis continue to support the current version in terms of helping create more portals, but there would be no further changes to the code base. This is in recognition that we do need to get the software sold and out there, and that new portals get that done most visibly. But without a solid core to hang those portals off, it's like an aging car where the only good bits of metalwork are held together by expanses of rust. I think they may finally be coming to the realisation that if they want their customers to renew when their subscriptions are up, they're going to have to have delivered more than sweet talk on the phone, but a good product we're proud to deliver. The management have apparently been discussing four-year plans for the first time ever, so perhaps this isn't the worst time to be making these proposals.
Anyway, as I said, for the moment I am concentrating on the webserver, and I hope that a lot of the principles I am picking up with that will be able to be applied to the new core. I am basically enjoying this, so let's hope that with some managemental common sense, that doesn't have to be a flash in the pan.