A Christmas Tale of a Software Developer and Santa | Targetprocess - Visual management software

On this pre-Christmas week, Steve, a software developer from the XYZ IT company located somewhere northeast, was about to head home after a long day in the office. Some random snowflakes were slowly descending on the parking lot, as they shimmered in the street lights. All was quiet in the neighborhood. There was no wind, and serenity exuded by the peaceful surroundings contrasted Steve's inner misery and exhaustion. His team has been working long hours for the last 2 weeks to be on time with an important release. Steve has worked for this company for several years, and he knew that this rush and his exhaustion were rooted in many things. Steve and his colleagues were developing a new key feature in their app, but they also had to fix some urgent bugs reported by customers and related to this new feature. The app had a legacy of some old technical debt. It was particularly frustrating to get angry feedback for the updates of the software, because all too often a new update evoked some unexpected bugs. Steve managed to keep himself focused on the task at hand mostly, but at times fatigue was taking hold of him, like on that day.

a snowy parking lot

Steve raised his eyes and looked into the evening sky, filled with stars. Surprisingly, the sky in December had so many stars shining. And one of them even fell down... ! It fell so quickly, that Steve only managed to drop his jaw. By the time he actually remembered that one is supposed to make a wish at the sight of a falling star, the star disappeared. This magic occurrence distracted him from pondering the complicated swirl of problems at work.  Steve remembered how breath-taking it was for him as a kid to make Christmas wishes and see them come true. Santa was kind to Steve, and he almost always found the presents he wanted under a Christmas tree. No matter that the belief in Santa got debunked later in life. Suddenly, Steve wanted a miracle to happen, and decided to write a letter to Santa first thing as he gets home.

So, he drove to his place, took a piece of paper and started writing: "Dear Santa... " Steve was not sure if there's a bluebook for software developers writing letters to Santa so he just went ad hoc. Steve wrote that he was a good guy this last year, that he helped his friends and did his best to perform at the fullest in his team. He also told Santa that he wanted less pointless meetings and more meaningful conversations. He said he wanted to enjoy his work as a software developer, not as a firefighter hunting for bugs.  He wrote that he wanted to get rid of the cynicism that he developed as the values proclaimed by the XYZ company crashed against the reality of the annoying feedback that he had to deal with as an out-in-the-trenches customer-facing developer. Steve didn't ask to get a raise. He was happy with his salary, and he wanted to keep working for the XYZ company because he really appreciated the friendly environment they had at work. Yet something was wrong, and Steve didn't know what was it exactly, or how to fix it. As a technical-minded developer, he was used to finding clear reasons for problems and clear solutions. But he wasn't sure how he should express his wishes to fix this feeling of something not going right. So he just asked Santa for some help. Then he sealed the letter, and had it mailed.

One can only imagine how awe-struck Steve was as he actually got a reply from Santa! Here's this letter, in all authenticity:

Santa's letter to Steve

There's no further account of what happened next so far. Christmas is coming only next week. Do you think a letter to Santa helped Steve? If you were to write a letter to Santa, what would you ask for?