Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s also ok to laugh about it.
One of the things that will save you from losing yourself is a sense of humour. Even at what seems to be the worst situations; when the site is down; when angry customers are at the other end of the line.
This does not turn the situation into a funny one. But it is a great defence mechanism that can enable you to function and to endure.
Today we mark the Holocaust day in Israel. What could be worse than being there? There is an on going debate whether it is allowed to laugh and to tell jokes about the Holocaust.
Well, take this short true story, extracted from a website on humour during the Holocaust (Hebrew)1, which tells us a lot about the benefits of humour, even during the Holocaust:
“A 10 years old boy is standing in the queue to the crematorium in Auschwitz. All the other children are crying and shouting, and this boy is laughing. The S.S officer walks over to the boy and asks: what are you laughing about? The boy responds: “You are going to kill me, and I have to queue for it?” The S.S officer let him go. The boy survived.
No matter how bad you think things are, crack a good joke about it. Let someone else crack some jokes. After all, very seldom do we face real life threatening conditions when writing software. And it could help you survive the bad times.
1The website is based on the Ph. D. work of Haya Ostrover, and is available also in the book “If not humor we would have committed suicide” by the same author.
The study of history has been a lifelong hobby for me. I cannot think of any other time that can rival the Holocaust in terms of pure evil on an industrial scale. That being said, the triumphs of humanity over that evil, such as that of the little boy mentioned above, give hope (and perspective on our own petty problems).
Thank you, Gene. That comment is very moving indeed.