Rams are tough.  Sheep are timid.  Rams like to butt heads.  Sheep like to run away.  To be the leader of a flock, a ram has to butt the hardest.  This is how the lead ram earns its spot—by intimidation.  Not all rams butt heads though, some rams are just buttheads.

I’m often asked during job interviews what I like least about being a tester.  I usually reply, “The view.”  No one ever seems to get this joke, but I think it’s funny because you can take it a few different ways.  For me the toughest part of my job is working with developers who like to butt heads with testers for no good reason at all except for their clear lack of respect in what we do.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve been blessed in my career to work with some of the most talented developers in the world, but I’ve also been cursed with working with some of the worse—the butthead rams.

I also disliked working around testers who act like sheep when they encounter butthead rams, especially the QA managers who are supposed to shield us from these intimidating creatures.  Now I know that a ram is nothing more than a male sheep, but did you know that there are two kinds of male sheep—those that remain intact and those that have been castrated? The former are referred to as tups—maybe a perverted form of the word tips—and the latter are referred to as wethers. Ewes are female sheep, but “ewe” already knew that, right?

As a tester, you are going to encounter a butthead ram from time-to-time.  You must treat these battles no differently than the age-old struggle between good and evil.  Testers are good and butthead rams are evil.  You may be a person who dislikes confrontation and you may do whatever it takes to avoid it.  You can’t avoid it though and I can prove it by showing you my emotional and physical QA scars in the privacy of a dressing room.

So here is my advice.  Heed my words well, tester.  You must stop with the self-castration.  Be a tough tup, not a weak wether.  Do what you do best and that is to find bugs.  If the butthead ram persists in giving you a tough time, then you have no choice but to throw it down on the ground and shear it until there is nothing left but stubbles of humiliation. Then make a trophy jacket out of its wool.  Wear it proudly and wear it always at work—for it will make you invincible to the insults spewed forth from the ram’s forked tongue.  If that doesn’t work then just try to get along professionally or find another job.

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