Parachuting In

September 25, 2012

It’s Monday morning, and you walk up to your desk, cubicle, office, whatever, and set your things down. You open up your laptop or wake up your computer, take a sip of your $4.00 coffee, and look around the floor. Wait… something isn’t right. You notice 6 people you’ve never before seen huddled together with laptops. They’re drawing on whiteboards and pointing and arguing and laughing. Well now, don’t they just seem right at fucking home? Something’s not right, here — you can feel it. Relax. It’s much worse than you think.

The people you are looking at are consultants, and you are about to be told by your manager that they’re here to clean up your mess. Your product and your hard work is being taken from you and given to outsiders, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. You try to argue with management and explain why it’s okay that your project is 8 months late — oops, the consultants wouldn’t be here if a deal wasn’t already signed. You threaten to leave. You’re told you’re allowed to. You feel sick, betrayed, angry, hurt, used. Your mind is racing. Slow down.

It occurs to you that you have not actually been terminated yet. In fact, the only person who mentioned the termination of your employment is you. You walk up to one of the consultants, determined to quickly and publicly prove their incompetency. Before you can utter a word, they look up and smile at you, genuinely. They warmly introduce themselves, and acknowledge your value on the team, mentioning that they’re looking forward to working with you. You believe them. They shake your hand, introduce themselves, and invite you into their huddle, where they’re discussing some of the most problematic parts of the codebase and which areas they’d like to address first. It’s as if they’re verbalizing all the problems you’ve had with the project that you were unable to articulate. You’ve never heard of ThoughtWorks before, but they seem like they might actually be able to help. Relax. It’s much better than you think.

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John is a serial conversationalist who spends entirely too much time engulfed in problem domains he knows nothing about and has no earthly business trying to learn. He can occasionally be found at your local coffee shop writing algorithms and trying to think deep thoughts.