Thursday, December 23, 2004

Weird Work Day

So, as I told you way back here (or was it here?), I was laid off from a job I held for almost 8 years. My (then) company was a joint partner in the development of a Department of Defense Logistics program (we'll call it 'C' for lack of actually naming the program). My company had been there from the start of the program, some 10 years earlier. As time went on, the project transitioned from a development phase to a sustainment phase; you always need less people to maintain a program than you do to develop it, so reductions were begun. After about 7 years, I moved to another project, hoping to forge the foundations for another 10 year run. By July 04, due to some mismanagement, I was let go from the second project ("We can't afford to keep you, but can you train 3 people to replace you??").

The DoD wanted a major database engine upgrade to occur on program 'C', so bids went out, and naturally the lead partner bid on it. They lost the bid.

It got picked up by a relative upstart, who later hired me. So now I am Mr. 'C' (and not just beacuse my name is Charlie), since I am one of two people here who've actually used the 'C' program.

The old contractor still holds dominate support for the program, they are just not tasked with upgrading the database engine. So a rarely used process was scheduled for yesterday, and I was tasked to go and 'observe' the old contractor's process and document them accordingly. I was familiar with the process planned, but never had any hand-on with it (in part because it was so seldom used). So I got to go to my old office.

The buildings were even less populated than they were in July. Footsteps echoed in places. Many surprised looks came my way as I walked through the cube farms. Got more than a few 'hey, let me give you my e-mail address' from people I knew well; here's hoping I can get them future work.

One senior manager was heading out of the office to an offsite meeting. Upon seeing me signing in for my 'visitors pass', he shouted
'Don't let him in! he's a traitor!' I turned on my heels and shouted (equally loud) back at him: 'Hey Jim! Whose idea was it to lay me off??' His tone was good spirted, and I believe my response was interpreted the same.

By all rights, I ought to have been escorted everywhere I went, but no one seriously did that. I got to hook up with a couple of old pals (both on program 'C' and the one I worked for last); I am most greatful for that opportunity.

Ironic Twist: I ran into one of the three people I trained as I left the job in July. He was laid off, with yesterday being his last day (plus accrued vacation). You can't make this stuff up....

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