I GET CALLED into the Department Manager’s office, mid-afternoon of a Friday.
The DM stares at me for a bit and then he says, “Jake Line, I’m gonna have to let you go.”
I tell the DM, “That’s one of the drawbacks to being a Contract Employee, no job security.”
The DM says, “You seem to have trouble getting along with the regular employees.”
I tell the DM, “That’s an interesting observation. Almost of my work was done by myself, all alone in a little isolated office, in the computer lab area or in a computer lab, as assigned. I had very little contact with the regular employees. If I may know, which of the regular employees did I have trouble getting along with?”
The DM says, “Wesley said that you almost never attended project meetings.
I calmly reply, “Per the direct orders of the Project Manager, I was never to attend meetings, except at his direct order. I obeyed the Project Manager, nothing more.”
The DM says, “Billy said that you argued with him after he caught you using your own peripheral driver code, instead of what the manuals said.”
I again calmly reply, “The Project Manager pointed out, to Billy, that what I was doing worked, the examples from the manual did not work. The argument was between the Project Manager and Billy, not between me and Billy.”
The DM asks, “Why did you use your own peripheral driver code, instead of the examples from the manual?”
I again calmly reply, “I have been at this programming game a while. I tried the examples from the manual, and they didn’t work. I then talked to a few other programmers, that I know, and then Pablo and I worked with the computer, devices and a scope. We figured out what worked and then we tested things. If I may politely point out, the project is still using the device drivers that Pablo and I figured out.”
The DM says, “You don’t believe what manuals say?”
I say, I believe what manuals say, only after I verify the information. Some others are not so careful as to verify.”
The DM asks, “What will you do now?”
I reply, “As soon as I can, I will contact possible employers and even programmers who may have leads to possible employers.”
The DM asks, “What will you say about your work here?”
I reply, “I will tell them the programming languages, operating systems and computers that I worked with here. I will tell them nothing of the specific applications that I worked on here. However, you must be aware that prospective employers will have a pretty good idea of the specific applications that I worked on here.”
The DM asks, “You will take no copies of the code that you generated here.”
I say, “No, that would not be ethical.”
The DM asks, “The girl will escort you to sign out.”
I say, “I have two company documents that I signed out and they will need to be signed back in. I also have a couple of dollars of vending machine change in my desk, that I would like back.”
A personnel lady has appeared, as if by magic. She says, “We will clean out your desk. Follow me.”
I tell the DM, “Goodbye” and I then follow the personnel lady. I tell the DM’s secretary, “Goodbye.” As we walk to personnel, I pass a programmer and I say, “Goodbye, you are looking at a head choppee.” I get a little wave in return.
The personnel lady says, “You do know how to make a graceful exit.”
I tell the personnel lady, “It costs me nothing to be polite and it may pay dividends, during future job hunts.”
We get to Personnel and I have some contract documents to sign. I get all of the paperwork, including the documents to be signed back in, brought to me by another personnel lady, who also brings me my $3.50 in vending machine change.
The head Personnel lady tells me to check with another company, for temp work. She also has my final pay check.
I thank the Personnel ladies and I exit out a side door. (I have now established myself as a good loser and I may even have a new job, if only another temp job.)
I then walk a few blocks and manage to talk with a Hiring Manager for the company recommended by the head Personnel lady. I talk with the Hiring Manager. (He has my resume from my previous company, I’ll bring in my updated resume, Monday morning. After my interview, I’m back among the employed!)
I get my final paycheck deposited at my bank (actually a savings and loan.) I also get a little walking around money.
I catch a bus back to my home neighborhood and I buy a few groceries, from a market. (Just basics, no celebration. I have a hard night’s work ahead of me.)
I get home.
(I live in a bad neighborhood, mostly industrial. My home is up a slanted alleyway. The slanted alleyway prevents bums from sleeping there. My front door is a solid metal panel, I use a magnetic key to get in.)
I check my security system, and all is well in the home front.
I fix myself a snack of a workout shake. I then do a bit of stretching exercise, to prepare for my night’s work.
(I’m a computer programmer and I have never met the person who is better at that than I am. I am a very poor politician and eventually I will be unable to get programming work. I now have some $73,000, tax paid, in an offshore stock brokerage account. I have to get enough put away so that I can really live on just the dividends and interest from my capital.)
I get dressed in my hunting outfit. It’s a gray outfit with a dark urban camouflage pattern. In the inner-city areas where I work, I am very difficult to see at night. I’m ready to go and I check my outside surveillance cameras to find that the street is clear of people. I exit my house, into a steady rain, that will make me even more difficult to see.