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June 30, 2004

Programmer: Contract not worth the goddamn money

By Ross Thomas

KITCHENER, ON - The world of programmers-for-hire shook today when one developer announced his latest contract just isn't worth the goddamn money.

"I underestimated how long it would take, and undercharged the guy," said Ross Thomas, 27. "This is a complete waste of my time."

Thomas, who accepted the contract to rewrite existing Java-based software to a native Windows and Mac OS environment two months ago, began to regret his decision after only a few weeks into the contract.

"I thought it would be no big deal, it's pretty simple software," he spat bitterly. "But it's turned out to be a major pain in the ass."

Thomas partly blames the original developer of the Java code for making "a complete pig's ear" of the project.

"It's insane. You should see the code. It's all in one enormous file, and I have to plow through thousands of lines just to find the bit I'm trying to convert," he said, gesturing hopelessly towards a stack of printouts on his desk.

But he also admitted that he has to accept responsibility for what he now realises was a wildly optimistic estimate of how time-consuming the contract would be.

"I blame myself too," he said slumped over his laptop, his head buried in his hands. "Next time I'll know better."

"If there is a next time," he added.

Thomas has been working on the project for most of his waking hours and said he is beginning to doubt it'll ever be completed.

"I hate it, I hate it!" he growled at no-one in particular, before finally going to bed at 3:22am.

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