That Asshole

My first programming job was for $30k at a time when the typical entry-level salary was $60k. I was a college drop-out with only hobby programming experience and I needed work for food. Someone took a chance on me. Another developer, a guy with a Masters, there heard about it, said “That asshole.”

I corrected him. That “asshole” let me get my first professional experience. That “asshole” gave me access to the bottom rung, at a risk to his business, of a ladder that I’m now near the top of. That “asshole” much more than doubled that salary over the next 2 years.

I will be grateful for the rest of my life to “that asshole,” not because I haven’t worked hard. I’ve worked very hard. My coworker, a nice guy with an MSCS, pitied my exploitation, because I wrote software for dimes instead of cashiered at Walmart for pennies.

This is, BTW, why the left is perennially amazed that people “don’t vote their economic interests.” Because huge numbers of people who actually struggle realize that many (not all, but many) left-wing “solutions” are sawing off the bottom rungs of the ladder. One of the few effective things you can do if you’ve screwed up and you are ready to turn your life around is say “Give me chance. I’ll work on probationary terms. I will work for half the market rate. Just let me get my foot in the door. Just let me on the ladder, so that I have a chance to climb it, and if at any time, you decide I’m not carrying my weight, you can fire me.”

I know that there are alternate reality Kevins out there who are stocking shelves at Walmart for $12/hr, because “that asshole” never “exploited” their inexperience. I believe this because I know them. I went to high school with many of them. I played D&D with them. I can almost see those Kevins in the mirror somedays.

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10 July 2021