Since I've been a software developer, I have had ideas about what programming in Hell would be like, although some days at the office made me feel like I was already in the fiery depths. Aside from the obvious heat problems, here is what I would find in the following levels of my own personal programming Hell:

In programmer hell, your cubicle comes equipped with a substandard computer with which you will attempt to perform your coding tasks, a cot for those long programming nights, a chair that looks more like a medieval torture device and shackles. Yes, shackles. You see, there is no quitting time in hell, there is only naptime. When you attempt to use your computer, you'll find that it is the slowest machine possible. You'll still be able to do work, but it will be painfully slow. Your work will take hours to compile, and a few more hours just to test, and that's assuming your machine doesn't crash and burn while attempting to do these tasks. You can beg and plead to get a faster machine, but it will fall on deaf ears, if you're lucky. If you're unlucky, you get to spend a couple of days in solitary with an abacus and a stack of math problems to figure out.

As you work day to day, you'll grow accustomed to the loss of data you experience. The IT staff in hell don't particularly care about your data, they care more about being able to play Unreal Tournament for hours on end without interruption. If you do call them, they will tell you they're looking into it, but they will actually just go in and wipe out your shared storage space. Overall, the experience with your computer will be a painful one due to the lack of color, speed and functionality. You don't get to use your favorite editor, in fact, you fill out a survey prior to entering your workspace in hell. This survey is used to "better your experience", but in reality, they take the answers to your questions and use them to torture you. In this example, your favorite editor might be Emacs. That being the case, your machine will be equipped with Vi. Like using Windows for an OS? You get either Linux or MacOS.

Coworkers in hell are not necessarily a good thing. On occasion, they may surprise you with some helpful hints or suggestions, or perhaps even write some code and do some actual work. Most of the time, however, they will be more of roadblock on your quest to finish an impossible task. One coworker, who will be referred to as Officer Clean, will go out of his way to clean up your code, and in the process, he will break the source control system. He feels that all code should have the same indentation and comment style, and if he finds code that does not fit his mold, it must be fixed, at least in his mind. Officer Clean will spend all day cleaning up code, rather than helping out on the impossible project you've been tasked with. Next is Mr. Selfish, who feels that if he is given a project with a particular database, it is his to do with as he pleases. Nevermind that your impossible project depends on the data in that database, he'll just clear it on a whim and create his own data. If you confront him about a backup of said database, he'll just laugh you off as you're left staring at an empty database. These coworkers all dress in the standard programmer-issued uniform in hell, which is a white shirt, black tie, black pants and glasses. Other coworkers will spend their time asking you questions about what you're doing, or even worse, messing around with your data files, not unlike Mr. Selfish.

Customers exist here in hell. They are still the primary reason you have employment at Hell Incorporated, and if they did not exist, you would not either. Keeping the customer happy, no matter what, is always what needs to be done. Your customer will always want their change to take top priority, and if it does not, your phone will be ringing every five minutes, asking when they can expect their change to be done. Most extreme issues, the issues that prevent the customer from making money, will always come in thirty minutes before they need the change done. It may take four hours, however, they need it in half an hour or else. They will tell you it's a simple change, and you can do it easily in your program. The customer is always right, they say, and management takes this to extremes. If a customer says it can be done in five minutes, it better be done, or else you will face the wrath of your manager. If you need to deviate from the timeframe the customer sets, you'll have to fill out a stack of forms and sign them in your own blood. You see, if a customer in hell is unhappy, they will demand your head on a platter, literally. In hell, customers look more like ogres, only with a bit more intelligence. They demand that their needs be met, otherwise they want your blood on their hands. Needless to say, it's in your best interests to keep them happy, lest you become a grease spot that used to be a programmer.

Managers in hell rule with an iron fist. If you fail to meet a deadline, or you do not do something exactly to their liking, you can expect to be placed in a dungeon and given some obscure task, such as abacus calculations, or counting the number of zeros and ones on a hard drive. If you do get things done, your only reward is more work and avoiding a trip to the dungeon. Managers look exactly like customers, except they all have pointy hair. Yes, the point haired bosses are alive and well down in the fiery depths. They usually spend their day in someone's cubicle, asking for a status update every five minutes. With the long compile times thanks to the archaic hardware, these managers tend to stick around one person for hours on end. You find yourself thankful that he is not at your cubicle today, but be careful what you think. Management in hell can read minds, so you can't even think about what a moron your boss is without the risk of being put in the dungeon, or worse yet, being put on TPS report duty.

As you have read, it's not a very pleasant place to be. Thankfully, Programmer Hell is something I do not have to look forward to, as I'm going to Unix Heaven.

This is a work of fiction, garnered from experiences from friends. This is in no way a reflection of my current employment, which is much more like Programmer Heaven

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