The blog of Rahoul Baruah from 3hv Ltd

What's going on?

My name is Rahoul Baruah (aka Baz) and I'm a software developer in Leeds (England).

This is a log of things I've discovered while writing software in Ruby on Rails. In other words, geek stuff.

However, I've decided to put this blog on ice - I would ask you to check out my business blog here (or subscribe here).

09 November, 2007

Death to Professionalism


It's now three months since I quit my full-time job and became a free-lancer and/or mercenary contractor (depending upon for whom and why I am working).

It's odd.

Where I was before, I had been there for nine years. Everyone knew me. I could string together long sequences of swear words without anyone batting an eyelid. I could insist that I work in Ruby on Rails when everyone else was in .Net. I could dress how I wanted. I could put offensive slogans on my screen-saver. No-one batted an eyelid cos they knew I was good at what I did.

Now, I'm starting over every time. No swearing. Dressing smart. Doing as I'm told (yeuch). All in the name of being "professional". Wife left you? Keep it quiet and get on with it. Cat run over? Put on your best suit and smile at the client.

What does "professional" mean?

At its simplest it is doing something because you are paid for it. If you ask me that does not mean leaving your emotions, your personality, who you are at home. If who you are does not help you do your job then you should probably try a different job. It does not mean that you become an automaton, leaving yourself at home as your trudge to the office.

So if you hire me this is what you will get:

* My emotions will not be held in check. If I care about something I care about it. If I'm having a bad day and I ignore what is going on in my head, I will do shit work and have to redo it tomorrow.
* I will swear. Tough shit. I like it. I'm good at it. Twatbag.
* I will dress badly. Obviously I think I look fantastic. No-one else agrees. I like my three suits. My wife thinks I look good in them. I don't wear them.
* I will be between 5 and 10 minutes late for every meeting. I always try to leave five or ten minutes earlier. I don't manage it. I have no idea why.
* I will write beautiful code. It matters to me. It makes me feel good. It is important (see emotions, above).
* I know what I know - I also know what I don't know. I have no illusions as to my areas of expertise. But what I know, I really, really know.
* I will be polite. "Please" and "Thank You" are important. More important than swearing? I can't answer that.
* I work hard. Always. I was once told by my aunt "you realise that because you are brown you will have to work twice as hard to achieve the same ... think that's unfair? I'm a brown woman - I have to work four times as hard".
* My family comes first. My girl has a hospital appointment? Your stuff will have to wait. I will make up the time (see above).
* I can talk to you about technical stuff. You will understand what I am saying. No jargon, no gobbledygook. It is, in fact, absolutely vital that we communicate clearly and so I will make sure that I put in the effort. But I am an introverted geek - so I'm pretty crap at small talk (as opposed to Smalltalk). Sorry.
* I will deliver something that does what is needed, in a reasonably stylish way. It may even make you smile. But you won't be disappointed.

I guess that makes me "not professional" to many people. I don't care. I'm not a zombie and you don't want to hire one.

Business Card by xlucas

8 comments:

NetManiac said...

I hope You enjoy Your freelance time ;)

I do enjoy my, and I don't have so much troubles with pressure to be professional in context You describe in this post.

I do live in Poland and I don't have physical contact with most of my customers since they are from other countries (here is shallow market for RoR - but is growing).
I think it make a lot less pressure to be professional, but have other disadvantages.

BTW - I freelance fulltime from almost three months also :)

Baz said...

To be honest, I feel that the pressure may well be in my head. I'm not good with people I don't know so I feel I have to conform to the ideal of a "professional" to get by.

But I want to be hired for who I am. What I'm capable of. And that means not compromising and toning myself down.

I guess you'll either love me or hate me. Black or white - it's better than grey.

Baz said...

Oh - and thank you for reading, Witold, and all the best with your freelancing.

NetManiac said...

Well, this is a right attitude :))

Image is taken from CPU...

Naomi from IttyBiz said...

Ha! It worked!

This is one of the best blog posts I have read in a very long time, and that's not shit I just go handing around all willy nilly.

Wicked, fabulous, wonderful, awesome.

Now you have three compliments.

Digicat said...

Baz - you are right, the pressure is in your head, you are good with people - and to quote a really sickly quote a stranger is a friend you've never met - or another quote - they poo too!! - and have always come across as professional, you listen, and it's obvious you love your work. Just keep your admin up to date and enjoy the freedom :D

Baz said...

Thank you Dorcas. How's it going by the way?

Digicat said...

should go back to work really but been to Africa twice - cape town to nairobi bus ride - doing lots of photography and setting up my own business teaching photography - got VW bus went to shetland and orkneys - so hope the photography teaching will be full time at some point - hope to sell up and move out of leeds soon.....its all in the marketing isnt it and I think I might be able to do that ;)take care

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