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Do You Have These Symptoms?

One of my ex-coworkers emailed me this photo. The subject of the email was: Winner of “not my job” award.

When I looked at this photo, the word “laziness” started flashing in my mind. My thoughts then wandered to laziness as it related to programming. I then asked myself: what is laziness in programming? Here are a few thoughts:

  • Laziness is when you do not follow best practices.
  • Laziness is when you do not handle exceptions.
  • Laziness is when you do not research problems before asking dumb questions.
  • Laziness is when you do not check out what’s new in new versions.
  • Laziness is when you do not take the time to learn every feature available to you.
  • Laziness is when you do not comment or document your code.
  • Laziness is when you do it the quick and dirty way.
  • Laziness is when you do start coding before even understanding what the program really does.
  • Laziness is WHEN OTHERS THEN NULL.

Throughout my career I was guilty of being lazy. But some may argue that good programmers are not only lazy, but also dumb:

…for a lazy programmer to be a good programmer, he (or she) also must be incredibly unlazy when it comes to learning how to stay lazy – that is, which software tools make his work easier, which approaches avoid redundancy, and how he can make his work be maintained and refactored easily.

…a good programmer must be dumb. Why? Because if he’s smart, and he knows he is smart, he will: a) stop learning b) stop being critical towards his own work… a good programmer, when confronted with a problem from management, will adopt this mindset of being dumb; he will start asking the most simple, child-like questions. Because he doesn’t accept the parameters suggested to him that someone thinks make up the problem.

So, you should always try to be lazy in an “unlazy” way, and dumb in a smart way.

Filed in ColdFusion, Interesting, Oracle on 28 Nov 06 | Tags:

Reader's Comments

  1. |

    Laziness when you do wait for answer on your “how to do it with one statement” question at

  2. |

    Ha! The pic is sooo funny! Sad, but funny.

    ouch! I am so guilty on a number of your statement, but this one hits home the most:

    “Laziness is when you do not check out what’s new in new versions.”

    I am going to print this list out and hang it up in the cube.

  3. |

    Laziness is when you see a bug in the code, but you don’t fix it. Laziness is when, rather than add a new column to a table, you concat two separate attributes into a single column. Laziness is when you don’t put in the check constraint Laziness is when you code a program path, and don’t test it. Laziness is global variables. I can go on and on and on.

  4. |

    In fairness, laziness is rewarded.

    One time my only negative tick on a performance review was that I wasn’t sensitive to budgetary concerns and insisted on doing everything properly. They said sometimes they just wanted quick and dirty and I was always reluctant to do so.

    Our compromise was just for them to go to someone else when they had something (presumably unimportant) half-assed and wanted corners cut, but come to me when they had something they needed done right.

    However, the corner-cutters were the stars because of the sheer amount of crap they produced.

    In any event, there’s good lazy and bad lazy. Good lazy is taking a little extra time to document, test and modularize your code so you can reuse, fix and enhance it later with little effort.

  5. |

    never forget the good site of lazyness; a lazy dba does not manually repeat a way again and again. He will find a way to automate it.

    One major reason i create solid structured reliable code is that i am to lazy walking throug spaghetty code.

    Karl very lazy dba and database architect.

  6. |

    The picture could also have the tilte ‘Ways to show Respect to Nature’ 😉

  7. |

    The more experienced I get the more lazy I become. I always say why look for new features when the ones I have can do the job well. 🙂

  8. |

    I couldn’t agree more. My favorite quote ever was from my first boss, who said “If you give the laziest guy the hardest job, he’ll find the easist way to do it”

  9. |

    Have you read Philip Lenssen’s article “Why Good Programmers Are Lazy and Dumb”? It’s well worth reading

    Cheers, APC

  10. |


    Yes good read indeed, in fact, I link to and quote part of his article in my post above.

  11. |

    “Laziness is when you do not check out what’s new in new versions.” – agreed this hits home the post – the zillion new features with every version has been kind of hard to keep up with and just before you have taken advantage of all the new features you are on the roll for the next version upgrade.

  12. |
    <p>in fact, I link to and quote part of his article in my post above.</p>

    Doh! How dumb does that make me 🙁