Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just lost a professional opportunity with a noteworthy defense contractor

I'm going to have make this short and sweet because I don't have much time to blog about it.

Last night I had a first-phone interview with a noteworthy defense contractor here in Southern California. We are talking about a billion-dollar organization. I was being interviewed for a IT directorship in the info-tech section of their firm. I was being phone-screened by a fellow who was the right-hand man and proxy for their CIO.

The first question out of his mouth was very interesting: "So tell me why a nearly 45 year old man who has been in a comfortable slot for 4 years is interested in making a profession move in this economy?"

I wondered if he had been reading my blog. Obviously not.

I told him about the dead-end position, and I told about the high-jinx we are witnessing in my professional environment.

"Do you know that we have customer facing apps and no QA team here at my company?", I said rhetorically.

[Dead silence on the phone.]

"That's... a little hard to believe. You're telling me you have customer facing apps, and no QA team? What is your release proceedure?" He questioned me.

"Nothing you would recognize as a release procedure. We have no test book or formal testing methodology as you would recognize them."

I explained our code yellow/code green system to the guy. There was more silence on the other end of the line. I got the distinct feeling he didn't believe me. I was hearing the silence of an incredulous man.

"That's not the only thing incredible about this firm either. How about this fact: The COO recently tried to install a SCRUM system and he made a glorified data entry clerk the SCRUM master... er... mistress."

There was dead silence on the other end of the phone.

"Ah... well... I'm sorry, but that's a little too much to believe. "

"I'm sorry to tell you this but it's true."

"Ahh.... mmmm... I doubt any COO is stupid enough to misunderstand scrum that much." He said, sounding profoundly uncomfortable.

"I'm sorry to tell you it is true." I replied

[Cick! BEEEEEP!]

He hung up the phone on me.

I am still processing that one emotionally. The phone interview terminated abnormally with a thud. Without saying so, I am sure this fellow though he was talking to a fork-tongued lying asshole who was slandering his former company.

So this professional opportunity is now gone, and presumably gone forever. It is gone because I told the truth about my firm, and the hearer of the true story could not believe it.

Incidentally, in case you were wondering, SCRUM is a system in which there is a morning meeting of the programmers, every morning, conducted by the most senior [and presumably most skilled] programmer in the shop. The senior coder and architect offers his help to junior programmers who may be hung up on a bug or thorny coding problem.

Naturally, it is pure foolishness to install a glorified data entry clerk in the roll of the SCRUM mistress. Such an individual cannot offer advanced technical assistance to the junior programmers. Only a fool who has completely misunderstood the process would ever mistakenly to do such a thing. Nevertheless, this is precisely what has been done in my firm.

A big-shot at a serious defense contractor hung up the phone on me, because he could not believe that this story was true. He believed that there are no such fools among the COOs of the world. It was fundamentally unbelievable to this fellow. I had to be a slanderous liar. This was the only conclusion he could reach. He didn't want to any further communication with me after this point.

Wow... I am still processing that one emotionally. What do I do now? Do I omit any references to why I want to leave this firm?