On this, the fifth anniversary of the Revolution Fixit that rolled out the Blaze (a.k.a. Bazel), Forge, and SrcFS tool suite to Google Engineering, inspired ObjFS, and laid the groundwork for the Test Automation Platform—the zenith of the Testing and Tools Fixit Arc which punctuated, outlined, and ultimately drove the completion of the Man on the Moon mission of the Testing Grouplet, the Testing Grouplet’s Test Certified program, and the Test Mercenaries to “Ensure every team at Google reaches Test Certified Level Three by the end of 2009“—I couldn’t resist taking a short break from my current musical studies at Berklee to break my self-imposed Google silence and wish everyone who was around and involved a Happy Revolution Day!
The Google-that-is is no longer the Google-that-was, but the former came about to some extent because my partners-in-crime and I were a part of the latter. Despite my reasons for leaving, I remain proud that so much of the largest engineering operation in the world—universe?—Just Works due in some significant part to those of us who stepped up and made a permanent difference in Google Engineering culture. Not because anyone asked us to, or rewarded us for it, but because it was the right thing to do, and we stuck with it and actually did it, when many others either dabbled and drifted away, or outright challenged the notion that what we were doing was of any value at all. That’s a mark on our résumés that precious few can claim; even if few can appreciate it, those in-the-know know what it’s worth, and that’s the kind of pride you can’t acquire by going through the motions of the standard narrative.
The impact of this kind of stuff isn’t easily quantifiable, perhaps, or easy to distill into a résumé, which means that it doesn’t necessarily translate directly into the kind of objective value that “pays the bills”. That doesn’t-pay-the-bills kind of thinking is anathema to me, though I still have to work hard to get it out of my own system. There are some things in life money can’t buy, but that doesn’t make them any less valuable than those that you can. In fact, it’s often the other way ’round. You, me, practically anyone can put his/her head down and do what’s normally expected of us in the service of another person’s ambition for the social security of a regular paycheck. Sometimes we have no other choice but to do so, to meet our longer-term goals, to support our families, or to basically survive. But it’s the things we do that others don’t pay us for, at least not directly or up-front, which are often the most interesting and important and fulfilling. Can’t live on bread alone. (Wait, what? What did I just say?)