Man this Whomps

Posted by Kirby Turner on May 18, 2004

When did the term code monkey become inappropriate in the office?

I was talking with a programmer who is employed by the customer yesterday and a question came up about coders. This lead to a conversation about the meaning behind terms like “coder”, “programmer”, and “developer”. All can be the same while having some differences. During the conversation I mentioned the term code monkey. The programmer I was talking to never heard of the term so I showed him the definition of code monkey from The Jargon Dictionary.

Later that day the GM from my employer talked with me about the term, and 15 minutes later I got an e-mail from our HR Generalist requesting to talk with me about this. Apparently code monkey has become an offensive thing to say, or at least it has within the walls of my employer.

I see nothing wrong with this phrase. I have even considered myself a code monkey from time to time. Last summer I was on a project for a customer where I got to be a code monkey and I loved it. It was one the best project I have been on since joining my employer.

The whole situation reminds me of an episode of Recess called The Story of Whomps. The school principal and one of the teachers deem the word “whomps” as a cuss word and set out to punish the kid who created the word. The scandal goes all the way up to the Board of Education. When the superintended learns the scandalous word is “whomps” he says something to the tune of “Anyone who hears something vulgar in the word ‘whomps’ has a vulgar mind.” And that’s how I feel about the term code monkey. If you hear something offensive in the term code monkey than you probably have an offense mind.

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