I spent once 8 weeks on a business trip to Dallas, TX. I'd solved some problem
in a COBOL program. Later, I had to give a lecture about the solution, so I
scheduled a conference. Because of a recursive subroutine (or section called by
a Perform command) in the code, Rachel, a team leader asked me how I know that
the function ends. I started to explain that the section is only performed with
3 possible values that are changed before calling and after returning from the
section the original values are restored, and there is one value that does not
cause the section to be performed.
But then she asked the same question again, and I explained that everyone who
sees the code and know about recursion can understand.
"Well, I don't understand!" she replied.
I said: "Well, if you refer back to your assembly language code, you'll see that
the return address from a call command is pushed onto the stack...".
- Please be serious.
- I don't know what being serious means. I'm trying my best.
I was supposed to lecture about this code later in Cyprus, but I didn't care to
go and be stuck with the question "how do you know that the recursion subroutine
ends.". I said to one of the attendees - a friend of mine - that I ought to skip
the trip to Cyprus. So she asked what I mutter under my breath, and I told her
that I had to skip the trip to Cyprus.
Of course this has been reported to my manager, who in turned called me to his
To be honest, I don't like it when managers ask about code. They ususally don't
want to deal with it nor read any literature about it. They want YOU to explain
them. Tell them to read a manual page, and they'll say they don't have time for
it and that they choose to ask you to explain them. You are supposed to be i
patient with them.
Back in those days I didn't know the term "micromanagement", which means that
the manager does not only assign a task to you, but tell you exactly how to
perform it. Well, asking you about the code is some sort of micromanagement. It
sucks! If you don't want to deal with code, don't ask about code. What should
interest you is that the changes be tested prior to pushing them.