Throwback Thursday: Just our way of saying thanks!

This software-based simulator is huge. It's more than a decade old. It's the division's cash cow. And the project to deliver a new version written in C++ is on track to miss its February delivery date by about four months, says a senior software engineer pilot fish.

Fish isn't on the six-engineer project team -- he's the company's expert on object-oriented design. But when his boss approaches, looking very apologetic, fish knows what's coming.

"I realize this type of work is beneath you," the boss says. "But you're the best person to get this program back on track. Would you mind doing mid-level engineer work for a few months?"

No problem, says fish, and dives in. Over the next few months, he redesigns several major components of the application and personally writes 20,000 lines of code, and the team delivers the system before Thanksgiving -- three months early.

"Program and division management enjoyed huge bonuses from the customer and company," fish says. "Our division got extra points for bringing a delivery into the current fiscal year, which needed all the good news it could get. The engineers were allowed to attend a celebration at which we got food, drinks and hearty pats on the back.

In fact, management is so impressed that fish is appointed as the project's official system engineer. And he spends the next nine months redesigning the rest of the application, writing another 40,000 lines of code and pumping up the application's performance by a factor of ten.

And with things under control on that project, fish is loaned out to another hot project at another facility for two months.

Fish knows he's delivered good value to the company, and he's hoping for a well-above-average raise.

Then his boss calls fish at his on-loan facility to give him the news: "You aren't getting a raise this year."

After a long pause, he continues. "The reason you didn't get a raise is because you're a senior engineer.

"And for most of the last 12 months you've been doing mid-level-engineer work."

Sharky knows you have turkeys that need roasting. So send me your true tales of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales like this one from the Sharkives.

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