An parable about working in the software industry

"So, your resume says that you have experience with Jeep Wranglers. Tell me a little bit about that."

"Sure, so at my last job, we used Jeep Wranglers to transport people and objects across short-to-moderate distances. I was a driver who specialized in jobs that required high-torque four-wheel drive, such as driving across rock beds."

"Wow, that sounds pretty exciting. Can I ask why you're looking for a new position?"

"Well, I started to get the sense that I was stagnating in the development of my Jeep Wrangler skills. There is very little opportunity for sideways movement within the company and I feel like I'm at risk of becoming a career "rock bed specialist", which is not really what I saw for myself. So I'm looking for a position where I can continue to develop my Wrangler experience while maybe stretching out a bit."

"Yes, I think we might be a good fit for you. The position we're interviewing for would involve daily work with Jeep Wranglers. It sounds like what we do with them is a little bit different than what you're used to, but maybe that's a good thing, right? Because our methods are proprietary, I can't go too deep into the nature of our work with Wranglers, but I think it's the sort thing you'd find it interesting. We're a bigger, older, more established company than your current employer, so we can afford to pay you more for the same number of hours per week of work."

"Well, that sounds great! Sign me up!"

[Four weeks and one signing bonus later]

"So here we are in our main Jeep Wrangler storage facility. As you can see, we have over two hundred brand new Wranglers just waiting to go into service. Did I mention we are VERY big and well-established?"

"Yes, they all look beautiful. So where are the keys kept? Which one will be mine?"

"We actually don't use keys. We kind of have a unique system for our Wranglers."

"Really? So then how --"

[A loud beeping causes them both to move out of the way of a large vehicle moving into the garage.]

"Ah, you're about to have a demonstration. The industrial crane which is now passing us has an electromagnet on the end of its cable. As you can see, instead of bothering with keys and seatbelts and other complexities like that, we use our Consolidated Driver System ® (or CDS) to simply pick up the Jeep and deliver it where it's supposed to go."


"Actually, the CDS was put in place five years ago as kind of a stop-gap measure by an employee who'd had his driver's license temporarily suspended. I think the plan was to eventually revert back to a system where the Jeeps were "driven" to their destinations, but then he got tied up on other projects, and then he went on paternity leave, and yada yada yada, this system has been in place for a couple years now and it's been working out pretty well."

"...Would I be able to work on the project to replace the crane with actual driving?"

"Sure! Maybe! At some point!"

"Okay...so how far does the crane need to carry each Jeep?"

"Let's see, our farthest destination is...measuring linearly...about 600 feet away."

"Wait, what?"

"Well we exclusively serve the residents of this industrial park."

"But...couldn't you just walk it over?"

"Walk what over? Oh, we're not a courier service. I keep forgetting your history with Wranglers. No, we don't use them as transport here. We use them as doorstops."


"Ha ha! Sounds silly, right? That's what I thought when I first heard it. But it's actually an extremely valuable and lucrative line of business for us. I'm not sure if you noticed all the heavy industrial roll-up doors throughout the industrial park? Well it's a big problem when they slip their gears and come crashing down on people. So many of them have bought a subscription from us to keep a Jeep Wrangler positioned underneath the door at all times."

"...Couldn't they just use, like, a rock or something?"

"A 'rock'?...I suppose. It'd have to be a pretty big one, and they'd have to find someone willing to crane it into place every day. No, I don't think our customers want to be in the rock-crane business. Besides, with the economies of scale that we control, it's practically cheaper all around to just rent a Wrangler from us."

"That's completely bananas. I mean, very unexpected and interesting. So why...I don't know how to say this. This job was for a Jeep Wrangler specialist, right?"

"Oh, absolutely! Your knowledge about their materials and weight ratios will be invaluable in determining the best methods of lifting them up with cranes and then setting them down again. Plus, I'm sure you're plugged into the quote-unquote Wrangler community out there, which will help you, and us, stay up-to-date about possible changes to roll bar diameters or axle gauges in the new models. We love to be on the cutting edge!"

[From out in the parking lot, a crane carrying a Wrangler back from a "job site" grinds its massive diesel-powered gears.]

"Uh huh."

"Oh look, here's a unit that's just saved someone's life! Do you see how the mangled chassis of the Wrangler is just pouring out oil and transmission fluid as it hangs from the crane's magnet? It must have had to stop a mighty big door in order to get like that."

"Oh sweet Jesus I'm going to be sick…"

"I know, right! It's amazing to think how this must look from your perspective. I mean, who knew that this was even a business model! Isn't capitalism weird! Look! Your new colleagues are now stripping what used to be a magnificent driving machine down to its component parts for salvage using wrought iron hand tools!"


"Ha ha! I'm laughing self-deprecatingly! In total ignorance of the existential horror that you are experiencing!"

On this day in 1993, at 15:42 local, members of the U.S. Army 75th Ranger Regiment, 1st Delta, Air Force Pararescue, and the 160th SOAR began their attempted arrest of Omar Salad Elmi in the city of Mogadishu.