Hiring programmers is like dating a guy if you’re a straight guy!

What a bizarre title!
But, it’s kind of true. After working with different programmers who were all men (there was one woman, but she didn’t return my calls) I came to this ghastly realization. I began to feel sorry for women as a gender for having to put up with us. Men are rough, gruff, uncommunicative, make decisions without consulting others, don’t get back to you on time, do whatever they want, and don’t always care much if at all about your general welfare.

As a straight guy…
I never thought about what it would be like to date a guy. I don’t date much, but if I do, I assure you it would be with a female member of my species. For a woman or a male client of programmers it is hard. You are completely at the mercy of this guy who does whatever he wants and doesn’t care about your opinion. If they screw up, modules of your site could be dysfunctional, unusable, or just entirely down. I began to think like a woman after a few failed relationships with programmers. (BTW, I have nice programmers now [2014] who do not cause trouble)

Why can’t they just LISTEN?
First of all, the main complain that women have about men, is that we don’t listen. I don’t necessarily need these programmers to make suggestions — I just want them to listen. Many programmers take offense if you have an opinion, because after all, what could YOU possibly know about programming. The answer is that I don’t know anything. However, I do know what the long term consequences to my business are for programming strategies that are not sound. If a programmer does too much on a huge project without letting me check anything step by step, for all I know, they could be handing me a pile of useless broken code. I like to go step by step and make sure everything is working before moving on. I want my opinions to be considered — and I am happy to hear the opinion of the programmer too, so long as my comfort level oriented considerations are integrated into the project without a fuss.

Can’t they be a little more like James Bond?
Most girls want a guy who is like James Bond. He dresses well, smells good, always is confident and has perfect manners. In real life, guys are not like this, especially not programmers who are more like inverse-James un-Bond. How they dress is a smaller consideration. But, how they are often unwilling to interact, be friendly or personable makes me uncomfortable. In my experience workers who don’t like to communicate like to avoid their clients and never do very good work simply because they don’t like you and they don’t care. How people answer the phone is another indication of professional behavior. If people answer saying, “Hello,” or have an answering machine which doesn’t state their name or company name, that makes me very uncomfortable. For girls it is more about the image of a James Bond type guy that they like. For me it is more about the indication of a seasoned professional who will be helpful and trustworthy in all actions — which is a purely practical concern. After all, I am not a girl even if I have learned to think like one.

How can I manipulate guys like girls do.
I am a guy. For me when I see other guys, I chat with them. I am not intimidated by them if they are huge and muscular, or if they are way out of my class and drive a Bentley. For me guys are guys, and unless they are outwardly hostile or offensive, I feel comfortable with guys from any culture, class or background. I am less conscious of them in terms of their “level” as I don’t size them up like women do. Women know how to size up a guy, know what his strengths and flaws are before he opens his mouth, and they know how to manipulate them too. If you hire programmers, you need to know how to keep them under control, because they have a way of going their own direction the minute you are not watching them. Girls are experts at this. Why can’t I learn to be a professional at thinking like a girl? Do you kill them with kindness? Do you flatter them and bat your eyelashes? They you threaten them and make demands? Or do you simply act polite, tell them what you want, and tolerate exactly the right amount of nonsense. After all everyone will give you some amount of nonsense, the key is to know how much is too much!

To make it short, if you are in a profession that involves hiring others who are more powerful than you are — and by more powerful I do not mean richer, smarter, or more powerful in general — I mean more powerful in how critical they are to your project, then you need to learn to think like a girl. They are in this position their entire lives having their means for survival dependent on the guy they date or marry (unless they have a considerable income on their own merits.) Having a relationship with a programmer is the closest a straight guy will ever come to anything that resembles dating a guy.

To end a software development relationship, you could use the Seinfeld approach or these other crazy lines:

“It’s not you, it’s me”
“The commenting in the code didn’t let me comment back. Are my comments not important too?”
“Why can’t your style of coding be more like Andy’s — his is so efficient with all of those multicolored lines!”
“I think we should see other developers.”
“I love you, it’s just that I need a PHP developer who understands me better.”

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