The Bastard Job-Seeker From Hell is back – on the dole. He’s just been fired. Again. Here’s his after-action report.
Back on the Dole
I don’t know what took them so long. Six months ago, when my last contract expired with this outfit, I told them I did not want to renew it. I had no confidence in the project, little work to do, and did not appreciate being told to take half the day off without pay on the two or three days a week when the dev team failed to make a nightly build and had nothing for me to test.
I lose money that way.
Raise My Rate
They convinced me to sign-on for another nine months by giving me an 8% raise on my hourly rate and promising that I would get fully-paid even if there were days with no work to do. Until last week, that is, when the inevitable happened: The project was canned. Their $15,000,000 project-budget down the Swanny with nothing to show for it. Which I saw coming six months ago.
I wasn’t the only one. I’m not psychic. Experienced guys have been leaving this sinking ship for months, taking on new jobs a bit closer to their own homes. But as this client is only 25 mins drive from me I thought I may as well stay. Put my feet up for a while, and the views from the office, over the Swiss Alps, were spectacular. Tourists pay a fortune to see that just for one week in the year. I’m paid to sit there for six months with nothing to do but look out of the floor-to-ceiling windows.
All Good Things
The day before the project cancellation was formally announced I decided to “leak” the information to the useless scrum-master we’ve got. Who has had it in for me since the day he joined. We were discussing which tests I would be running at the end of the sprint, and I said, “I am not planning on doing any tests this sprint“.
“Why not?”, the scrummaster asked.
“There doesn’t seem much point if the project is being canned”
“What do you mean the project is being canned?”
“Oh, I’m sorry“, I said, “haven’t you been told yet? Maybe I shouldn’t have opened my mouth. Forget I said that“.
I was guessing, of course. Contract V&Vers aren’t privvy to such info. But when you’ve been in the game for 25 years, as opposed to the 25 weeks the novice scrummaster has been doing the job, one develops a nose for such things. When you see stressed-out IT development managers running from emergency meeting to emergency meeting, you can tell what’s going on.
Sure enough, the scrummaster was immediately on to his manager to report what I’d told him and ask if it was true. Within an hour an email is circulated calling the entire team into a meeting the next day for an, “important announcement”.
Although my desk was only in the next room, I tele-conferenced in. With my mic and camera turned off, so that they wouldn’t see or hear my laughter as they found out that their product was shite and was being tossed in the trash.
I came in this morning, a week after the ‘devastating’ annoucement and see in my inbox a meeting request with my line manager and the asshole from procurement scheduled for 08:45. I know what that means. We meet at the lift and the three of us ride up to the meeting room together, in silence. On the way up I mull over how I will respond to these clowns.
The line manager starts:
“Well, as you know, err, the project, umm, has been cancelled. This is nothing to do with your work, which we are very pleased with, but, well, errr….you remember we spoke about this before…and..um…well…errr…we’ve had some meetings…and…um…the budget has been withdrawm, and errm…I don’t know how to put this….errr…ummm….”
“SPIT IT OUT MAN!”
“We have had to cancel your contract and you’ll have to leave the project immediately”
“I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise”
“I told that asshole six months ago this project was going nowhere and I’d like to leave”
“Who are you calling an asshole“, the asshole from procurement interjects.
“You, now shut up. I’m sick of listening to your garbage”
“It was nice working with you“, I said to my erstwhile and tongue-tied team-leading line-manager, shook his hand and got up to leave.
“Where are you going?“, the asshole from procurement again.
“Sit down. This meeting isn’t over yet.”
“It is. I don’t work here anymore, remember?”
Copped The Needle
The asshole from procurement stormed out of the room ahead of me. Throwing the door wide open it slammed against the magazine rack, knocking it over and alerting the entire open plan office to his inability to control his emotions.
I left him there, scrabbling around on the floor collecting the magazines up, and went to clear my desk. A largely theatrical exercise since the only personal ‘property’ I had on it was two chop-sticks that I occassionally use when pointing to things on screen. So that I don’t leave my grubby finger prints all over it.
Exit Persued by a Bear
Then I left the damn place and wondered what the hell I was going to do with myself for the next few hours until the pubs open. But I was used to boredom. Over the prior six month’s I’ve had maybe a fortnight’s worth of work to do. Now I’ve two month’s mandatory notice, delivered in the form of “garden leave”, to look forward to.
So in conclusion, that weren’t bad for two weeks work and seventy-five thousand pounds.
Oh, yeah, nearly forget. While I was collecting my chop-sticks I took one of their precious post-it notes from the scrum-board and put it to a more useful purpose.
Leaving it there for the juniors to mull.
Editor’s Note: This occured four years ago.