Wednesday, October 23, 2002


Heads have been rolling here at work lately, and a word that keeps coming up is "loyalty", with specific reference to the lack thereof.

It's a complicated situation here - a government project where everyone (in our shop anyhow, about 50 of us) is a contractor. We work for three different sets of companies, grouped by contract. There's a staff supplementation contract, a quality assurance contract, and a certification contract. The certification guys were given control of the project about 2 years ago.

I've been here for 5+ years, longer than anyone except a couple of programmers (we're a testing shop) who got rolled out of their shop and into ours. The company with the QA contract ran the shop prior to the certification guys coming on, and prior to them (about 4 1/2 years back) everyone was on the same contract, with a state manager who gave us carte blanche to test as we saw fit.

This is NOT a gripe about the way the contracts went. The QA vendor brought in standards where we had none, and the certification vendor really raised the bar, and put some very good practices into place.

It IS a gripe about the manager. Young, brilliant, aggressive, egotistical - he was the perfect guy to whip the org into shape. But now that he's made that happen, he's leaving a trail of bodies - anyone who's ever p'd him off. And he keeps talking about loyalty.

When he came in, he supplanted the manager from the QA vendor, and kept her on in a team lead role.

Here is a list of people, organizations, and entities to whom I might be asked to show loyalty:
1 - The current manager (personally)
2 - The position of manager (no matter who occupies it)
3 - The former manager (which would make sense if #1 were a correct answer - if the loyalty were personal, it would survive the demotion)
4 - The project
5 - My company
6 - My company's account manager
7 - My employees
8 - My friends on the project
9 - Myself
10 - My family
11 - Truth, justice, and the American way
12 - God

Given the latest flap, where another team lead got raked over the coals for failing to tell him that a friend/ team member was leaving, he's looking for some kind of wild-pack-o-dogs style loyalty, where the allegiance is to the food chain. "I'm the boss now, everyone must do everything I say". Pretty much anyone who's ever dared disagree with him has felt his wrath, moi included. Moi especialement!

So some of us have done some soul-searching, and decided that our loyalty is pretty much where it needs to be - Our families, God, Truth, and OUR company. To the extent that the other entities (project, manager, etc.) share our company's interest, they'll get what they want. Otherwise, probably not.

The castouts have, so far, landed on their feet. I think I'm the next target (not sure...), we'll see if I fare as well.

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