A programmer automates his job for six years forgets coding, gets caught and fired

Programmer Automates His Job For 6 Years, Finally Gets Fired, In The Meantime Forgets How To Code

We all know that there is no such thing as a free lunch in this life. You have to do work to earn your place in this world. One programmer from San Francisco Bay area thought he could do just the opposite. He hit upon a novel idea where he could just while away his time surfing, playing games while a software would do all the work on his behalf.

Reddit user FiletOfFish1066 did just that. Not only he automate his work successfully but managed to get the autobot do his work for six years. As expected, his employers found out and he was fired from his programming job.

It seems from his story FiletOfFish1066 loved the life of gluttony (forgive the pun). FiletOfFish1066 worked at a well-known tech company in the Bay Area where he had a software testing quality assurance job. Once he got the job, he spent eight months automating all of the programming tasks. With all of his tasks fully automated by a computer, he was able to literally sit back and do whatever he wanted.

FiletOfFish1066 than started whiling away his time doing what he always wanted to do. For the whole six years, FiletOfFish1066 did nothing except play League of Legends, browse Reddit, work out in a gym, and basically do whatever he felt like doing. Guess how much his company paid him to basically do nothing for a full six years? $95,000 per year on average.

FiletOfFish1066 describes in his own words what it was like to automate his own job:

“From around 6 years ago up until now, I have done nothing at work. I am not joking. For 40 hours each week I go to work, play League of Legends in my office, browse reddit, and do whatever I feel like. In the past 6 years I have maybe done 50 hours of real work. So basically nothing. And nobody really cared. The tests were all running successfully. I shit you not, I had no friends or anything at work either, so nobody ever talked to me except my boss and occasionally the devs for the software I was testing.”

The whole FiletOfFish1066’s autobot saga sounds childish if you want to try it. But do read irony at the end of it. FiletOfFish1066 whiled his time away so much that he forgot how to code. He completely forgot the thing that helped get the job and build his autobot and now poor FiletOfFish1066 has no marketable skills to get another well paying programmers job.

One good takeaway from his autobot stint was that he managed to saved up $200,000 during his 6-year long “career”.  He was able to save up that amount of money because he lived at home, ate whatever his mom cooked for dinner and usually had a cheap fish sandwich and a coke every day for lunch at his job. He admitted he’s currently addicted to the League of Legends game and beer. He also expressed a keen desire to overcome these addictions and get his life back together:

“Time to try and cut my League of Legends and beer addiction…..I’m going to try and practice running through Cracking the Coding Interview as well as a data structures and algorithms book. I’ll also be applying to some jobs. After thinking about it for a while I think once I study everything I forgot, my motivation will come back. I always liked software dev, I just was a lazy ass.”

FiletofFish1066 seems to have deleted his Reddit account as of now but not before leaving a good honest lesson for all those who want a free lunch.

21 COMMENTS

  1. coding is like a language if you don’t speak it in a while you forget it. I learned how to code in school. and also git into IT. although my career doesn’t ask me for coding as I’m more in Networking now. I work this job for 8 years now and I shit you not I forgot about 90% of the coding I learned.

    • QA Engineers that get paid $95k a year definitely are programmers. They are engineering automation frameworks and required behaviors for each test – it’s as grueling as software development and requires particular attention to detail.

      • This.
        Those that are paid higher are also expected to code on some level.
        I am software QA myself, my job doesn’t require to code, but I can see how someone else might be. A colleague of mine was transferred to devs just recently after 3yrs of being a QA.

  2. the thing with forgetting how to code….
    I used to be really good. I wrote my first game when I was 6 yo (text graphics on an Atari, but still). I kid you not. I wrote multiple applications for my own use to replace “pro” stuff I could not afford. I wrote simple games for friends which they enjoyed (although another friend created graphics and another sounds and music). I even got into the scene and wrote intro’s /cracktro’s (especially for the Amiga) . Even cracks for games itself. Had a quite recognizable name back then…
    Then I started work in Networking. And then moved on to IT Security and I am now a manager.
    I feel really ashamed that I am struggling to write even the simplest script now (although my job does not require any coding skills currently).
    I actually find it kind of sad…

    • It’s pretty normal for that to happen. If you do have time try to get back into it 🙂 I myself am in that kind of situation. I wasn’t never a really good programmer I learned it in high school and loved it. But when I got out of school I became way too lazy. Now i’m trying to get back into it slowly and motivate myself to learn more and more each day.

      Programming is love, programming is lfe 😀

  3. He probably would have made more if he was selling his automated system as a consultant to various companies for ~40k (and tweak it once in a while) than working at a job. At least he would have been able to stay home instead of being at the office. If I was him I would have hired a sales team to do the selling and give them a cut on anything they sell. It would end up being a win-win for the companies that don’t need to pay someone inhouse for their overhead expenses and so on.

    Lazy people are the reason we have remote controls 🙂 If nobody was lazy, everyone would still be walking to press buttons on the TV. What he did was smart. Perhaps not ethical but that is the employers fault for not checking on him.

    If I was the employer and found out my worker was automating his work I would pay him even more to automate other areas of the business as well. Businesses can and should have automation where it makes sense. Too bad the guy is lazy and unmotivated to have done more with his talent.

    • “What he did was smart. Perhaps not ethical but that is the employers fault for not checking on him.”

      Precisely! They paid for work to be done, work was done just all up-front. Says a lot for their review process, or lack of. I’m failing to see why this was a firing matter, apart from his motivation.

    • His master piece would definitely add jewels in his profile. He will be considered as a witty engineer in this era of automation.. kudos buddy..

  4. Coding is not programming, you can never forget programming, just how to express it in our economic language. If you forget French you don’t forget to think abstract thoughts, you just can’t express themselves in French!

  5. Its not free lunch if u are smart enough to get the work done and still have nothing to do.

    Capitalist economy is based on automatisation. Automatisation is what all production companies do right from car manufacturer to FMCG industry( daily use items) and now its even being used in software industry .

    Infact the software industry is worst offender of doing no work as they only produce a single software and keep distributing it forever. Like Windows developed Office and now without any work and any new coding they keep on distributing it for years and making themselves rich.

    The only bad thing this guy did was that he did not took this opportunity to do more research and increase his knowledge base and build new skills.

    As far as forgetting coding is concerned, it’s not a skill you will forget over time. Yes u might forget the syntax etc but the logical thinking u have developed will not be over. You can learn the syntax in a few days and then you are back on track

    If I were him, I would have developed my own software while at work and eventually opened my own company. While at the same time i would have improved upon my automating software.

    Lazy people are the smartest people as they find the easiest way to get the work done

  6. I also did something like this but he forgot & I learnt..
    a company was hired me for GIS programming & give me a chance for learning. Before 6 or 7 months i waste for nothing. When i received my final project i become shocked..it was a government property management software but God help me & i found a open source ..i developed it & also leave job too because our company management are more bustard than me..

  7. Most of the companies prefer automating the QA process. As this guys also did the same without telling his boss.
    Definitely he had put some efforts to pass required parameters to his bot, every time cannot be a same testing scenarios.

  8. In one of my interviews my interviewer asked my what would i do if i m asked to do a 9-6 maintenance job(basically testing) i answered most cliche answer tht i will do that ,that is my job,blah blah blah then told me that no what i think u should be doing is u should be writing a program for that and invest ur time in something else.well i think he meant this only 😉

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