If you’re thinking of hiring a software consultant for web development in Utah and his name happens to be Jason, with his last name rhyming with Henson (let’s call him JJ), BUYER BEWARE! His story here at work, though, makes for great blog fodder.
It’s Monday, June 29th. The alarm goes off and guess what I do? Nope. I didn’t hit snooze. I simply turned it off and got back in bed. I don’t USE the snooze button. Eventually, I do get up, with enough time to jump in the shower and run out the door in 15 minutes. I arrive at work 9:08 am, just a little bit late. I couldn’t help it because I was dreading another week on one of my projects. Why the dread? Because JJ was the developer working with me on it. Weeks of frustration were about to build up into one hell of a Monday, if you don’t mind my French.
09:15 – Meeting time. My Outlook calendar pops up with a notification that I have my standup meeting. I put on my headphones, grab the little attached mic and pull it down by my mouth. Then I wait. I’m waiting for the meeting invitation to pop up on my computer so we can have our status meeting without ever leaving our desks. I never get the invitation, though.
09:40 – Project Manager (PM) sends me a group IM that includes JJ, who finally decided he would stroll into work. PM types: “What are your thoughts?” She’s asking JJ about his inability to complete one of his tasks. Instead, he decided he couldn’t do it so started tinkering around with some other task. I start typing my opinion: “My understanding is that we follow the priorities set.” Seems straight forward, right? The team decides what the most important task is, so you work on that until it’s done. Not JJ. He replies that he’ll “see what we want to get accomplished before I go.”
What?! JJ’s going somewhere? I’m trying not to get too excited, but I do believe he just said that he’s going to be exiting the building in a more permanent sense than just clocking out for the day. My spirits begin to lift.
JJ then starts rambling on about some sort of bug where he thinks the issue is something else entirely so PM butts in and says, “Let’s meet.” Wow. A face to face meeting. We all work within 20 yards of each other so it’s not a big deal. I walk over to JJ’s cube.
09:48 – PM, JJ and I discuss bugs in his cubicle, telling him fixing these are his top priority, not doing whatever he feels like. What does he usually feel like doing? Sometimes, he just stares at people waiting for them to grab the toothpick out of their deli sandwich, slide it into their soda straw and blow-dart it into one of his buggy, unblinking eyes. He also seems to get a lot of phone calls and possibly answers them in a bathroom stall. I’m not sure. I just know that he goes missing for about an hour each time it rings. We end our face to face meeting.
09:59 – PM and I are standing in the hallway quietly sharing our frustrations with JJ’s bad code when we see him running out the door behind us. Hope he doesn’t break a sweat. He already smells like slightly foul broccoli. Where did he just go? Nobody knows. We didn’t even hear his phone ring.
10:30 – I start talking with Contracted Developer Man, who is a much more competent developer and will help take over the project from JJ. “Where do you think JJ went?” “Do you think he left the building for good?” “Not sure. Let’s check his cube and see if he cleared it out.” “He left behind his lunch, probably broccoli.” “Right, maybe he’s coming back.”
Contracted Developer Man and The Impediment, another competent developer, begin to try looking into the code.
11:00 – Contracted Developer Man and The Impediment can’t get into the code because JJ hasn’t checked it in to source code in two weeks (backed it up, basically) and he’s locked many of the files so nobody else can access them. In comes the developers’ Supervisor like an angry devil: red-faced, smoke puffing out of his ears and his nostrils flaming like an overheated dragon. Supervisor is slightly frightening when he’s mad.
12:00 – I decide to eat lunch at my desk.
13:03 – IM from Contracted Developer Man: “[JJ]’s back!!!! [Nostril-flaming Supervisor] is headed over there”
13:20 – Contracted Developer Man wanders over to my cube. “Oh my goodness, you’ll never believe what just happened.” “Try me.” He explains, with animated hand gestures and still in slight shock, what just went down. Supervisor tells JJ to check his code in already, come on. Supervisor then goes over to The Impediment’s cube one row over and says, “Wander on over right now to talk to JJ about transitioning the project to your capable hands.” We expect The Impediment and JJ to spend a couple of gleeful days discussing code, changes, enhancements, and what JJ’s been doing on the project so it’s a smooth transition. The Impediment stands up and walks to the next row to talk to JJ.
JJ’s cube is EMPTY. The lunch is in the garbage.
His badge is sitting on the desk.
He probably ran out the door and down the three flights of stairs, ducking under security cameras and sweating broccoli with cheese sauce.
JJ was gone for three hours that morning. Supervisor found out that he had left because he went to a job interview. He then decided not to come back, but he didn’t stick around for the remainder of his two weeks where he’d clean up his crappy code and pass things off to The Impediment. Instead, he stayed two minutes to check in his code and leave.
I never got to say goodbye.