Even Test Monkeys Fall from Trees

[MANAGER]:  Welcome aboard.  Let me introduce you to the validation team.

The manager and new hire walk to the validation lab.

[MANAGER]:  This is Aiko.  She does the black box testing.

[AIKO]:  Nice to meet you.

[NEW GUY]:  Black box tester, heh?   猿も木から落ちる.

The two bust out laughing together

[MANAGER]:  And this is Horatius.  He does the white box testing.

[HORATIUS]:  You can call me either Horace or Ace for short.

[NEW GUY]:  Just as long as I don’t call you Hor.  Ha ha…

No laughter

[MANAGER]:  Now that you know the team, you will be responsible for the gray box testing.

[NEW GUY]:  Is that the British grey or American gray?

[MANAGER]:  I don’t understand your question.

[NEW GUY]:  Never mind.  Where do I start?

[MANAGER]:  I think you should start by writing a test plan.

[NEW GUY]:  That’s easy.  I’ll mix a little of Aiko’s black box test plan with Horace’s’ white box test plan to get my very own gray box test plan.

[MANAGER]:  Your cube is over there.

[NEW GUY]:  The one with all of the gray boxes stacked around it?

[MANAGER]:  Yes.

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When old dogs don’t learn new tricks, they get put to sleep.  This is probably the best career advice I can give you.  Put these words on your t-shirts, bumper stickers, and bum tattoos.

As our careers gracefully mature like a fine wine and French cheese, intoxicating but smelly (the French), we naturally tend to put our emphasis on work experience rather than formal education.  If I already have a degree and I’m working, then why do I need to go back to school?  Good question.

A few months ago I decided to pursue a certification in CompTIA Security+.   For security, there are many kinds of certifications, including CISSP.   I know that there are some of you out there who think that these kinds of  certifications are big waste of time and money, but I also know of many companies and government agencies that require them for hiring.  Let me highlight the advantages:

  • It’s a requirement.  Your job opportunities have now expanded.
  • You will learn something new.  How bad can that be?
  • It’s a kind of proof to show that you have a least baseline knowledge of security.  It doesn’t mean that you’re an expert, but at least it’s a verifiable way that you studied computer security fundamentals or a least that you’re a good test taker.
  • You can use your certifications to cover the drunk-punch-holes in the walls of your trailer.

The economy is getting so bad these days that even McDonald’s has downsized its Supersize meals (comedic drum roll).  Companies have modified Tuckerman’s stages of group development of forming, storming, and norming to forming, storming, and reorging (comedic drum roll).  You feel helpless as management passes you around like a pack of cigarettes in prison.  For some, this may not be a bad thing, but for others, think of these certifications as tiny little picks that will help you tunnel your way through the walls of your cubicle to freedom.  I will let you know how it goes.

Finally, if you are an old dog and you can’t learn new tricks, then you should retire immediately.

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An Embarrassing Job Interview

[INTERVIEWER]:  How would you test a clock?

[INTERVIEWEE]:  I would adjust the hands to see …

[INTERVIEWER]:  Wrong!  It’s a digital clock.

[INTERVIEWEE]:  Oh.

[INTERVIEWER]:  How would you test a fan?

[INTERVIEWEE]:  I would make sure that the blades move by turning the fan on and off.  I would …

[INTERVIEWER]:  Wrong!  It’s a Dyson Fan.  It doesn’t have blades.

[INTERVIEWEE]:  Oh.

[INTERVIEWER]:  How would you test a printer?

[INTERVIEWEE]:  I would put paper in it to see if it prints something…

[INTERVIEWER]:  Wrong!  It’s an experimental 3-D printer developed by MIT Media Labs.  It doesn’t print on paper, it prints out material, like tiny buildings.

[INTERVIEWEE]:  Oh.

[INTERVIEWER]:  Are you seeing a pattern here with my line of questioning?

[INTERVIEWEE]:  Yes.  I think so.  Never make assumptions.  Always ask questions first.

[INTERVIEWER]:  That’s partially true, but I’m really here to embarrass you.  Oh, and just to let you know, we’re not actually hiring.  Just because we invite you here doesn’t mean we’re hiring.

[INTERVIEWEE]:  I guess I should have asked that question too.

[INTERVIEWER]:  Yes.  Have a good day, Mr. Anderson.

 

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How Do You Say French in Lobster?

When a lobster dies, it usually dies because of an external cause, not because of age.  A lobster will never show signs of getting old.  It doesn’t lose drive, its metabolism never changes, and it can mate forever.  The bigger the lobster, the older it is.  Each lobster has perfected itself to live forever.  We perfected each lobster by boiling it alive and eating it with lots of butter.

A French restaurateur, Jean Sulpice, once said that lobsters are like people.  They have facial features similar to humans and they both taste delicious served as bisque. Any savvy French manager knows that even though lobsters actually feel pain, they can’t scream when being boiled because they have no vocal chords.  I know this to be true firsthand, but can’t talk about it for fear of the career guillotine.

 

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