Just Another Day at the Office

On 4th of March 2014, a few days before my baby boy Samuel completed two months, a well-regarded cardiologist—let's call him Dr. Smith—gave us the news that Samuel had a heart condition called pulmonary valve stenosis. Dr. Smith's recommendation was that Samuel had a heart procedure called balloon pulmonary valvotomy or ballon valvuloplasty as soon as possible. The procedure was scheduled to 11th of March 2014, on The Harley Street Clinic. Needless to say, the whole family was devastated.

On the 6th of March, just two days after we got the news, we received a letter from Dr. Smith. On the letter, he described his diagnosis, the history of our interaction, the exams he conducted, and his recommendation—all in a simple and accessible language. The letter was personal and caring; with words like "I was delighted to see Samuel on the 4th March for a cardiac assessment" and "Thank you for involving me in the care of this delightful family"

Samuel's heart procedure was done today, at 8:30am, and lasted 90 minutes. My wife, my mother-in-law, and I stayed at our hospital room waiting for the news. Around 10am, Dr. Smith entered our room, still dressed in his green scrub, and gave us the good news. "The procedure was a success. Perfect. I couldn't hope for a better result. Samuel is doing well and you will soon be able to see him," he said with a big smile while shaking our hands. Tears. Happy tears. Our two-month old baby boy was going to be OK.

Just before midday, a couple of hours after Dr. Smith gave us the news, I was outside of the hospital building, smoking my electronic cigarette, and thinking about everything we went through in the past seven days. I then saw Dr. Smith, leaving the hospital building. He was wearing normal clothes, carrying a briefcase, looking like any other ordinary man. He was slowly walking away from where I was. He was happy. I could feel it. As he walked away, I kept following him with my eyes thinking: the work and talent of that ordinary-looking man just made a huge difference in Samuel's life. Our lives. Because of him, a two-month old boy will now have a normal life. As Dr. Smith walked away, with tears in my eyes, I silently said "Thank you."

I don't know where Dr. Smith was going—probably to get some lunch and get ready to make a difference in someone else's life in the afternoon. At 9pm, Dr. Smith was back to check on Samuel. He conducted a few more exams and said that Samuel was good to go home in the morning. "Nothing to worry about. Everything went according to plan. Although we will still need to do a few follow ups as Samuel grows, he is ready for a perfectly normal life."

For Dr. Smith, this was just another day at the office. Another ordinary day where his mastery in conducting heart procedures made a difference to someone’s life. Another ordinary day when he will get home and feel proud—proud of his craft and his skills; proud of being a great professional; proud of making a difference. Another ordinary day... Everyday.

About the author

Software craftsman, author, and founder of the London Software Craftsmanship Community (LSCC). Sandro has been coding since a very young age but only started his professional career in 1996. He has worked for startups, software houses, product companies, international consultancy companies, and investment banks.

During his career Sandro had the opportunity to work in a good variety of projects, with different languages, technologies, and across many different industries. Sandro has a lot of experience in bringing the Software Craftsmanship ideology and Extreme Programming practices to organisations of all sizes. Sandro is internationally renowned by his work on evolving and spreading Software Craftsmanship and is frequently invited to speak in many conferences around the world. His professional aspiration is to raise the bar of the software industry by helping developers become better at and care more about their craft.