This bank’s IT group gets a new director, and to the delight of one pilot fish, it turns out he started his career as a programmer.
“I thought, ‘Great! Now he’ll understand where us programmers are coming from!’” says fish.
“On the day he was introduced as the new director at a team meeting, I said to him, ‘So I understand you were a programmer?’ He replied, ‘Yes, but I was mediocre at best as a programmer. That’s why I got into management!’”
OK, fish thinks, we’re screwed. And it doesn’t take long for his fears to be justified.
A few weeks after the director’s arrival, he approaches fish with a new project. “We need a quick win!” he says. “Let’s get this report into production in the next two or three days.”
Fish explains patiently that this is a bank, and nothing happens in two or three days. Banks are heavily regulated, with lots of checks and balances, and to get all the changes documented and the proper signoffs usually takes at least two or three weeks.
The director persists, and fish gets the new report designed, built, tested, documented and into production, with all the proper documentation — in three weeks.
“Then suddenly my manager, who was great, put in her two weeks’ notice,” fish says. “She told me she was being forced out of the group by the director, who decided to reassign every programmer across two teams — about 20 of us — to report directly to him.
“After she left, the director’s boss got wind of him reassigning programmers to be his direct reports. His boss told him he couldn’t do that, as it violated a Sarbanes-Oxley requirement that the person who does the programming and the person who does production turnovers can’t both report to the same manager.”
So the director rolls back the change — and hires one of his old cronies as the new manager of fish’s team.
And one Tuesday afternoon he approaches fish’s desk. “How long will it take you to complete all of your currently assigned tasks?” he asks.
Fish thinks a moment, then replies that he estimates about 40 hours of work on his plate.
Manager’s response: “I want everything finished by the end of the week!”
“I looked at him in disbelief,” says fish. “He comes to me at the end of the day on a Tuesday and tells me I have to do 40 hours’ worth of work in the next three days? I’d have to work 14-hour days! No way.
“He threatened to write me up if I didn’t do it.
“I updated my resume, called my number-one recruiter and landed another job two weeks later.”
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