Exploration Through Example

Example-driven development, Agile testing, context-driven testing, Agile programming, Ruby, and other things of interest to Brian Marick
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Tue, 02 Mar 2004

Two hopeful stories

My parents immigrated from Germany. They arrived in the US in 1958. My dad worked in construction, originally building large commercial buildings, later building houses as an independent contractor.

He wasn't an easy boss to work for. (He fired me once.) He tended to work alone, with occasional helpers, subcontracting out the jobs he couldn't do. There was one big exception while I was in high school, though. He kept hiring two Puerto Rican guys. He really took them under his wing, basically set them up in business.

Once I asked him why. He said something like "I know what it's like to come to a strange country as an immigrant, barely speaking the language, and having to work with people who don't think you deserve a job." (Working in construction with a bunch of WWII vets wasn't the easiest thing.)

I almost said, "Dad - you're practicing affirmative action!" For once, I was smart enough to keep my mouth shut. He was very conservative then, dead set against affirmative action, and he would have thought I was being stupid. Affirmative action was something they did without his consent. Simple decency was not at all the same thing. I remember thinking that if more people behaved decently, like him, we wouldn't need formal programs of affirmative action.

Why am I telling this story? I was reminded of it by a hopeful story of someone acting against type. My country is becoming divisive and bitter, all about the Right Positions and willfully blind to their effects on actual breathing people. So I crave such stories.

P.S. Last I checked, more than a decade ago, those two guys were successful independent contractors, solid parts of the middle class. One of them said they owed it all to my dad.

## Posted at 08:37 in category /misc [permalink] [top]

About Brian Marick
I consult mainly on Agile software development, with a special focus on how testing fits in.

Contact me here: marick@exampler.com.




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