Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A dead cell phone battery... Are you kidding me?

Wanna talk about a stunning reversal of fortune?

Sometime in the morning hours, I got a call from the placement agency that wanted to put me together with the defense contractor. I was at work when they called. I didn't pick up the call. Didn't much like the idea of discussing the debacle, and I certainly didn't want to talk with a placement agency at work.

I called them back when I was on my way home. The conversation was not what I expected. The recruiter apologized profusely on behalf of the deputy director; the fellow who screened me yesterday. The deputy's cell phone ran out of juice during our conversation. Evidently, this was not an intentional hang-up. It was a technical difficulty.

The recruiter assured me that the DD was interested in me, and wanted to complete the phone interview. He wanted to know if he could call this evening. Naturally, I agreed.

I don't want to go over the conversation in detail, because that would take quite a bit of space. We talked for nearly 90 minutes. The conversation revolved around Dos and Don't in the management of a programming team. We talked about two-horned dilemmas. We talked about cardinal sins. We talked about cardinal maxims.

In short, I explained my point of view pretty well. A programmer manager is a head coach. He's a veteran of the wars who is a profound expert on how the game is fought and won. He does hands on code review to monitor progress, identify problems, and make on-the-spot correction. If you cannot write excellent code, or read code with excellent comprehension, you have absolutely no business managing programmers.

He seemed to like what I had to say. He likes the fact that I am American citizen and veteran of the U.S. Army even better. Better still, he loves the fact that I was a 31V10 who handled KYK-13 and KYK-15. In order to do this, I had to have an active Top-Secret (TS) clearance. That TS clearance is dormant in good standing.

This is the bargaining chip that gives me leverage in negotiations.

What a difference 24 hours makes. There was a simple Japanese Haiku that went something like this:

Now that the tide has come in,
I see the boats floating and bobbing in bay.
You would never know that a few hours ago,
they lay beached on a dry harbor.