But now who will rewrite it once we're past Y2K?

It's 18 months before Y2K, and this database admin pilot fish is settling in as a government contractor on an already troubled project to modernize an application.

And then someone upstairs realizes that, hey, it's almost 2000. "Memo came in from the assistant secretary of the department," says fish. "Essentially it said, 'You need to make all your code Y2K compliant by March 1999. If not, you will be spending all your budget making your code Y2K compliant or we will take your budget away.'

"In a blink of an eye, a new half-million-dollar, Y2K-compliant computer was purchased, and the project turned into a make-the-old-COBOL-code-Y2K-compliant effort.

"I went to my boss and told him, I took COBOL, I can do this, but I am an Oracle DBA and this would be a terrible waste of my skills.

"To my surprise he agreed. He found a DBA position for me with a different client, one that they had been looking to fill for a year, and I stayed with that company until we lost the contract in 2008."

A true tale is a terrible thing to waste. So send Sharky your stories of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll get a stylish Shark shirt every time I use one. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

Get your daily dose of out-takes from the IT Theater of the Absurd delivered directly to your Inbox. Subscribe now to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

5 collaboration tools that enhance Microsoft Office
Shop Tech Products at Amazon