Coworker Series — Who Said Engineers Don’t Have Street Creds? The Story of M

M wasn’t always in this field. He’s been in so many different industries, some you cannot even imagine, before becoming a developer.

Because of M’s experience (along with him being M…..), he can speak on a lot of topics, tech-related or not. From his look, you wouldn’t think he’s a software engineer, either. He looks like someone who’s a performer in a musical or some opera.

M, however, is a really fantastic frontend developer. Most of time, his ideas are viewed as unique and very efficient. We loved having him around when we want to do a PoC or a new project. He’s also known for being vocal in the office. He loves to study on new tech as well and loves to share what he learns.

In the pre-COVID time where people still went into the office, we could have time for small talks during work hours or happy hours. That’s where M shares all his (and his friends’) stories, mostly stories in the 80s, when things could get crazy a little.

The 80s is quite a wild era. Drugs were everywhere and the crackdown on drugs is not as tight as today. Thus, a lot of people could find access to drugs, so I’ve learned from M. Because of this, people tend to get creative when they want to get drugs.

One of M’s old friend, accordingly to M, once pretended to be homosexual so she could get close to another woman who had drugs. They even had sex so she could get her drugs. When people asked her about why she would go so far, she simply said “whatever gets it done.” The funny part about this story is that M said it when EVERYONE was there. C-level people, bunch of VPs and directors, everyone. He shared this story like it’s his backyard and we’re having summer BBQ. Everyone had a good laugh though.

M had another friend back in the 80s who used to work an office job. This friend, let’s call him F, knew that the coworker sitting in the next cube possessed drugs. One day, F went over to the next cube and said “Hey! You got some?” And then the coworker lifted a piece of paper to reveal multiple white lines of powder underneath. F was shocked, “You can’t do that! We are at work!” Then went ahead and snorted up a line.

F also had a time when he and another coworker did LSD in the parking lot during lunch time, and they couldn’t manage to get back to the office because the trip was too intense. They were apparently just laughing in the parking lot for a long, long time.

Finally, the government tried to tighten up on drugs, and the management summoned F to the office one day, telling him that they knew what was going on but were letting it go because, well, it was just so common.

Management: “However, things have changed and we can’t let you do that anymore”

F: “What? WHY?”

Everyone bursted out laughing when M described F’s response. But that’s not the only shocking part.

Management: “We’ll let you take 3 years to clean it up. Meanwhile, your position will still be yours without pay.”

Yep! Apparently that was a sneak peek of the 80s.

M has many other stories, some are wild and some are even wilder. The fact that he traveled across the country made him see so many people and things. I believe M became who he is today because of these experiences.

M left the company and went to another startup. I will miss him and his stories. I gotta say, I came from a boring background, growing up in a traditional Asian family who tries not to cause any trouble, and I just went to school like every other kid, I’ve never had a chance (not something to complain about, but still) to see these with my own eyes. Having M telling me these stories truly is refreshing.

M is not a stereotypical engineer. If a person is a single instrument, M can be the entire orchestra. I would love to get together with M sometimes again to hear his stories.

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Jonathan Chao

Jonathan Chao

I am a software developer who has been in this industry for close to a decade. I share my experience to people who are or want to get into the industry