You can imagine stories built around just about any routine job. Nurse, for instance. He might be having issues at home which lead him to become obsessed with a particular enigmatic patient, or the patient might be an old school friend who no longer remembers him, or there might be something supernatural going on, with patients, staff, the emergency room. Even piano tuners or locksmiths have potential, not so much in the tuning or smithing, but in the fact that a character has to go out to do those jobs, enter strange places, meet odd people, see difficult situations, real, imagined or projected. In liberal arts classes, the shorthand for a boring, mundane life devoid of joy (i.e., not a liberal arts major) was that of an accountant. But you can imagine any number of stories around such a character. Who knows what’s hidden in the ledgers and how much trouble, moral, physical, even accidental, an accountant might get into just by trying to be good at his job? Thematically, an accountant appreciates an orderly structure to things. Throw the guy into something disorderly and the story writes itself. The one profession you can’t figure out for story telling is computer programming. Culturally, “coders” get a lot of credit because of all the rags-to-riches mythologies told about start-ups on and about the Internet. But, really, a software developer types text into a piece of software (like writers, an equally glamorous-until-you-look-at-it and dramatically inert profession), runs a few commands that turn that text into other software. Writing software is as dramatically interesting as solving someone else’s made-up word problems, thus hacker movie-magic, like cracking the NSA in 30 seconds while a detonator counts down, or inventing an AI capable of fine distinctions, childlike innocence and moral empathy. Microserfs was fun to read, but that was about the culture of software before it became cliché and bureaucratized. You bet it remains the best that can be done with the profession. When you yourself try to come up something, anything, you just see characters sit at their desks typing, at best, and at worst, getting in to esoteric arguments that appear to everyone else as pointless and scholastic as tabs vs spaces. Satire is only as good as the importance of its target. You could go the accountant route, with “computer programmer” representing a character’s boring nature, then put him in some other story. Or you could go the workplace, office-politics or office-romance route, though if you do that, the fact that your character is a programmer is incidental. Maybe you bend the laws a little? A programmer starts getting interesting text messages from outside. A code for the locked door down in the parking garage. He’s been hearing noises behind it late at night when he stumbles to his car. Through that door, down a tunnel morphing into rough-hewn mine-shafts to a silent room, and then a voice, and a hallucination, and instructions. The programmer follows them — because, why not? — as if he himself has become a thing being programmed and all of this leads to an office floor arranged in a labyrinth, a mysterious stranger, who — you don’t know. Text editors and compilers are out of the picture. They will not feed into the resolution, or the revelation, or the epiphany, or the end of the story. Your guy could be anyone with a computer, which, really, means anyone. Better to start with a piano tuner.