February 25th

They called me back! I was starting to fear that I'd never get another job as a programmer, and yet someone offered me an position! No more unemployment for me! Sure, it's less money than my last place was paying me, but I can't be picky in these hard times. I've been looking for weeks, and I'm nearly broke.

I start on Monday. Thank God I have a job again!

March 1st

First day on the job, and man, this place looks nice.

Neil, my new boss, showed me around the building. Tall cubicles, lots of natural light, a break room. Neil's a cool guy, too, easy to talk with and clearly very knowledgeable about the company. He had to take a few phone calls while we were walking around (seemed like they were pretty urgent) but mostly we had a good talk. He introduced me to my team, all interns like me, and they're all nice people. I'm gonna like it here.

March 8th

First week done! Lots of cool stuff for me to work on. They've got my team working on a new project, some big management system that's the company's next major delivery. Neil says we were just assigned to work on it on the 5th; apparently other groups have been developing it for months.

It's pretty complex, so I'm staying a little late each day to have some extra time to understand the system more completely. I think I'm getting a handle on it, I just wish it was easier to read. No comments anywhere, naming's all single-character stuff. x1, x2, x3, like that. Still, I'm learning it, and I'll get a handle on it soon enough.

March 11th

Neil came to my cube today, said he was really sorry but he needed me to work late tonight. Seems there's some big delivery date coming up and we need to try to meet it; it's already been pushed back once before. No problem, I told him. I can work late sometimes to help the team. Plus, the overtime pay helps with the bills.

March 17th

Bowling night tonight, and I'm looking forward to it. Work's been putting me under some pressure, so it's nice to take a load off for a little while.

I've been putting in extra effort to make my code look nice. Descriptive comments, explicit naming, all the stuff we learned about in college. It's gonna look nicer than when I was assigned to it, that's for sure. "Leave it better than you found it," Mom always said. Neil tells me he really values the effort I've been putting in to make the code more readable. Sure feels nice to be appreciated.

The big delivery is just a couple weeks away. Here's hoping we're ready.

April 2nd

Some guy quit today. Made quite a show of it, too, chewing out his boss and storming out of the building. I only caught snippets of his tirade, something like "Jim snapped because of this shit" and "I'm just another cog in the wheel to you," but I could be mishearing. What I'm definitely not mistaken about is that I caught a glimpse of him dragging a mattress out the front entrance. Was he sleeping here? What was that all about?

His boss, at least I think that's his boss since that's who he was screaming at, wasn't fazed. Not a friendly guy, that one.

April 6th

So from what I gather the project has a new requirement, one that's going to take a lot of effort from the team to implement in the time given. More late nights then. Ugh. Still, it's only been a month, and things can only going to go up from here.


April 20th

I was wrong.

Neil keeps asking us to stay late. I've missed bowling night for a couple weeks straight because I was at the office. I'm not sure exactly what's going on, but we appear to have missed another deadline, not just the April 1st one. But nobody will tell me why.

I'm gonna have to start pushing back. Either somebody needs to tell me why we're having to work so hard or I'm gonna stop working late. The overtime pay is nice, but I'm not gonna give up any more of my nights to this project if no one will tell me what we are doing and why.

May 4th

Neil is seeming quite a bit more agitated these days. We have to be careful when interrupting him, because he might snap at us, though he quickly apologizes for doing so. I can't imagine what's going on in the executive offices that would make him act like that.

I can't take much more of this. No communication, no focus, ineffective leadership, and all these late nights are driving me up a wall. I'm gonna have to put my foot down sometime soon if I want to keep my sanity. Gotta walk a fine line though, since I don't think I can afford to be fired. I got bills to pay, man.

May 12th

I refused to work late today, and I'm not sure if that was good or bad for me. Honestly, I should have handled it better; I just came out and said "I can't work late tonight, Neil, sorry." Neil said he understood, and told me "alright" but then just walked off. But, hey, at least I can finally go to bowling night again!

I hope this doesn't come back to bite me.

May 20th

I've only worked late a few nights in the last couple weeks, which is quite an improvement considering what I had been doing. I still can't tell if we are making any progress, though. What's the goal here? No one is filling us in. Are we making a dent in the requirements? What does the user want?

I'm only seeing the code level, so I have to assume that the managers have the bigger picture, but for the life of me I just don't know what it is.

May 26th

Didn't have a lot to do today, and I can't help but wonder why. The other interns are in the same boat. I mean, we did all that extra time, and now suddenly we don't have to? What is going on here?

Oh well, at least someone on a nearby team made pancakes and offered me some. Mmmm, pancakes. After all, nothing is better than free food.

May 28th

Now I'm definitely worried. Neil closes his door more and more often, and still we can hear the heated conversations through the thin walls. "Broken promises" and "should've happened on the 12th" were two phrases I heard yesterday; clearly the suits are not happy (Neil said something about "unrealistic expectations" but I didn't catch the rest). Worse, I haven't gotten any new work in two days. That can't be good.

Then again, maybe it is. Natural light and break room aside, this place has been pretty awful to work at. I did some calculations last night, and to my surprise I figured that I can last on my own for about a month if I leave this job. Which, yeah, that's not great, but it's better than I was doing in February. If it takes longer than a month, well, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Whatever happens, I feel like I'm gonna know whether this job is ever going to work out soon. Really soon. I just don't know if I actually want it to work out.

May 30th

I hate it when I'm right.

I was let go yesterday for "not integrating with the team," which I'm sure is code for "not working late like we told you to." Neil was in my exit meeting, but didn't say a word and looked pissed the whole time. Some suit actually informed me that I was let go, and I don't care to remember his name because I'd never seen him before yesterday.

I'm surprised that I don't feel worse about being laid off again, twice in the same year. I mean, working there sucked, but I needed that job to survive, didn't I? Yet now I feel lighter, like an invisible weight was lifted off me.

I just hope I can find another job. Being laid off twice in one year doesn't look good, especially when that year is not even half over. I just hope someone else will give me another chance. If not, well, maybe Mom and Dad have a vacancy?