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BlueWolf's Howl

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July 26, 2002

Hammer Time

In the world of government contracting, you can expect changes. One company may originally hire you, but could lose the “recompete” bid and be out the door. You could follow them out the door (if they have work for you elsewhere) or you could end up unemployed. Sometimes (if you’re good at what you do and the government people like you), you can be offered your same position with the new contractor. In some cases this can mean a pay raise. In other cases it can mean a pay cut.

I personally experienced this process a few years ago. Company A originally hired me as a LAN Administrator. According to the terms of the contract, the scope of work called for one MCSE. I was that MCSE.

When Company A lost the recompete bid, Company B was awarded the contract. They surveyed the scope of work and planned their personnel. The government people stepped in… I was one of three people that they wanted to keep. But they had their own MCSEs. Gov’t : Yes, but you don’t understand. I don’t care if you have 1,000 MCSEs. We want THIS one. And it’s this one or no contract. Company B: Yes. Whatever you want. You’re the client. [Bow, scrape]

So it came to pass that I was given $10K more per year and an extra boss. We also got a lot of new faces. One of those faces was another MCSE. *gasp* He was to take the place of one of the desktop support guys. Another new face was my immediate supervisor – who was to head the rollout of a number of new computers. Plus the main boss changed. (I originally worked directly for the main boss.)

So along comes this new supervisor. He was arrogant. He was the “large and in charge” type. The new people welcomed us to their company; yet in many ways still saw us as “leftovers” or “retreads.” When I found out that the desktop guy was an MCSE, I was a bit threatened (I only had a year as an MCSE at the time). I tried to casually inquire about it when talking to the new supervisor. Supervisor: He’s an MCSE, you’re an MCSE, I’m an MCSE, and we’re all MCSEs. I was beside myself.

Along comes the rollout. There were many mistakes. Basic mistakes. They were the type of mistakes that should not have happened. And for some reason, they could not be corrected without my help. I was pulled from my duties to correct all the mistakes my supervisor made, yet was not allowed to change or determine the rollout process. I was totally irate. It got to the point where we blew up at each other in front of the customer and ended up in the main boss’ office.

The main boss made us play nice together. We promised to not argue in front of the customers. Then, I was able to talk to the main boss alone. I pointed to specific misconfigurations and explained how these were basic concepts that an MCSE should already know. Main boss: Well, he’s not an MCSE. Me:What? Main boss: Who told you he was an MCSE? Me: He did. Apparently, he must have thought it was a generic term instead of a credential.

Oh… I get it now. He’s not an MCSE. He’s just an MC Hammer.

Can’t touch this.

And now you know why I call MCSE-wannabes MC Hammers.

Posted by BlueWolf on July 26, 2002 11:23 PM