My Power Animal

I’ve said for a while that my power animal is the seal who can play Mary Had a Little Lamb on a set of bicycle horns.

While I still think that to be true, I generally am finding myself identifying with a new animal:

(Thanks to Toothpaste For Dinner)

For the last several months, I’ve found my enjoyment of my profession to look very similar to a graph of 1/X as X approaches infinity.

Well, the part of it where X is greater than 0.

I guess the overall point is, I and a team of others have been tasked to “save” a failed project. This project had been doomed before any of the current team had ever seen it, and frankly, should have been killed before it got to us.

Amazingly, it’s soon to end with a product out the door, put together by the team in which I am currently a part. Frankly, the success is due to the team prior to my joining. They set the stage, and I was merely a help in bringing this to what I am extremely generously calling a “success.”

The team would agree.

I hear you out there. “But you all saved the project, you made it work! The team is amazing!

Yes, the team is amazing. But, I respond (and I inject these words into the team members’ mouths), that while it may work, it certainly doesn’t work well, and that many fail to take into account the casualties caused by this nightmare.

Obviously I can’t divulge company secrets, but, I will say that this project leaves in it’s wake, peoples’ careers numbering in the double digits, the team’s sanity, and the credibility of a company with several of it’s employees.

Some of those lost are extremely, extremely talented people.

What’s worse is that the project management continues to try to count this as a “success.”

Somehow they haven’t realized out that they’re completely failing keeping the little guys (like myself) and gals satisfied in their jobs. I dread going into work every day, wondering what is agreed to today that hadn’t been yesterday. Inevitably, it’s some ridiculous demand that won’t actually create any benefit, or one more item that wasn’t in the original requirements. Amazingly, project management hasn’t the kutspah to stand up to it.

What’s funny is that I absolutely still love programming.

I credit this project with causing me to only put quality into my personal projects, instead of my work. And it’s definitely obvious to the team.

Amusingly, the team doesn’t seem to be mad (just irritated).

Which leads me to my current dilemma.

If we’re put on these projects to provide knowledge and experience, why drive us into the ground, and destroy all desire for us to want to provide quality? It’s easy to find newbies who would be more than happy to take on these challenges and learn. And it could be an extra learning experience as to recognize signs of when a project is going wrong.

I was placed on this project as a “premium resource” that was both highly recommended by others, and (now to my chagrin) had worked with the technologies used. I was taken from a profitable account where I was happy, and co-workers appreciated my knowledge (and antics), and moved into what we call, “non-billable work.”

Always great at the year end to be fighting for your raise while saying, “Oh, and for these 4 months, I worked my ass off to make no money.”

But I digress.

Why take someone who is profitable, smart and happy away from what they’re working on, to put them on a project where the client will be vindictive and uncaring, and cause this person to be completely uncaring about their work? The investment in the resource was already made, why make the decision to walk away and take those talents elsewhere that much easier?

This project has done a hell of a job of demotivating me. Frankly, it’s made me completely question my choice of employment.

Others have felt the same before me, and somehow, I feel like I’m being told something.