Thursday, March 22, 2007

I don’t know anything

I had a new colleague join the team last week. I never feel so ignorant as when I have a new colleague—it turns out that I know absolutely nothing about the company that I work for.

If she were to ask me “serna, for our connection to Oracle, are we using the thin drivers, or the OCI drivers?” then I’d be able to answer her, and even explain why. If she were to ask “serna, what type of persistence layer are we using?” then I’d be able to answer that, too. But these aren’t the types of questions that people new to the company ask.

It’s more like “serna, where can I get a stapler?” followed by “Um… I don’t know. I don’t use a stapler.” Or “serna, the HR department sent me an automated email about installing some kind of time reporting application; do I need it?” followed by “Um… I don’t know. I didn’t install it, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to. Don’t you want to ask me about connection pools or something?” At which point she politely ends the conversation, so she can go and talk to someone who actually knows what he’s talking about.

Some day—I don’t know when, but mark my words, it will happen—she’ll ask me a technical question, and I’ll be able to answer it. Until then, my response to every question is “Um… why don’t you ask him?” or “Um… why don’t you ask her?”