'...And other duties as assigned'

Flashback to the summer of 1998, when this IT pilot fish is hired by a government contractor to work on a specific project -- one that needs fish's particular Oracle skills.

"I was hired because I have successfully worked with Oracle Designer/2000," fish says. "This task was to replace their system with an Oracle database and design the application using Designer/2000."

Trouble is, the pipeline for security clearance processing is backed up -- it takes more than a month to transfer fish's clearance. He spends most of that time in the office trying to look busy, because the government customer wants the clearance transferred before fish will be allowed near the project team.

But finally fish's paperwork comes through. On his first day in the project team's work area, he notices that Oracle training manuals are all over the place. That makes fish a little jealous -- he's never had any formal training for Designer/2000, just CASE-tool theory from grad school and hands-on work experience.

He mentions that fact to his project lead -- who takes fish aside for an update.

It seems that plans have changed. Although the government customer's database staff have been trained, they're just having too much trouble with the Designer tool. So instead of using that, they'll build the database front end in Microsoft Access, but still use the Oracle database.

"Wait a minute -- that's why I was hired," says fish. "I wasn't looking forward to building forms in Access, especially since I was spoiled by a tool that did all the detailed programming work for me and all I had to do was get the design right.

"Fortunately, I was assigned to migrate their Oracle 7 database to Oracle 8. Apparently they had been working on it for weeks. It took me a few hours to accomplish the migration."

It won't take you nearly that long to send Sharky your story. So email your true tale of IT life to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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