Pröper Gander

Critical Production Bugs

Something I've learned from twenty years as a developer and fifteen as a husband is that a truly critical production bug is as rare as a good excuse. Unless you're developing software for a safety-critical system (SCS), even a hard crash in production is hardly as important as your boss, their bosses, or even the client insists that it is.

Yes, downtime in production sucks. It can cost the client money they might have otherwise made. Every reasonable effort should be made to prevent it through careful development and thorough testing. However, once a "critical production bug" happens, you're already fucked.

This isn't the same as the app you're working on leaking personally identifiable information or tagging brown people as suspicious just because they're brown. If you're working in adtech, chances are the only objection your boss will have to a personally identifiable information (PII) leak is that leaked PII is PII that can't be sold. And, in America, tagging brown people as suspicious just for being brown isn't a bug. It's a feature.

If you get the call outside standard business hours and you're in middle of something with your significant other (or your family), there's no point in dropping everything to chase down a "critical production bug". Your boss is already displeased with you. Finish the business at hand, make sure your partner's satisfied, and then explain why you've got to leave them. That way you can deal with the bug without rushing and possibly making matters worse.

It's easier to be understanding of a partner's unreasonable working hours when they've just made you come and held you while you drift off to sleep. Remember: you can always get another job. Finding a new lover or spouse is harder, especially if you're a man working a STEM trade.

Fortunately, I haven't had to deal with any such "emergencies" lately. But it's something that's always in the back of my mind because if I forget then my day job can take up more of my life than it deserves.

I don't actually agree with this, and I avoid working for those who do.