At last, a place that really appreciates him!

Freshly hired C++ programmer goes to work in this IT department, and in short order there's just one question on everyone's lips, according to a pilot fish working there: What the heck is it with this guy?

"He came into work late every day, grumbling and miserable," fish says. "But after lunch, he was suddenly mellow and happy. He'd also return reeking of cigarettes and have red, dilated pupils.

"And he'd frequently subject us to his ramblings about various conspiracy theories involving space aliens and some secret government agency that was watching him."

The programmer's reputation is cemented when one day he accuses a female colleague of sabotaging his work -- his source code files were missing from the server, he said.

After several days of hearing the guy repeat his wild accusation to everyone within earshot, fish finally finds the missing source code -- in another directory, safe and sound.

Seems the programmer forgot where he put the files. He admits they're intact -- but never apologizes to the co-worker at whom he leveled his serious accusations.

"By this time, he was quickly becoming a social pariah," says fish. "Our boss was trying desperately to find any project for this guy to work on, but nobody wanted him anywhere near their team.

"Finally, he was given a straightforward programming task by another developer: Write a C++ module that's already been spec'd out and just needs to be coded."

But after two weeks, the guy has only written 20 lines of code that won't compile, let alone make any sense. In the end, the developer who gave him the assignment writes the module himself, saying it's faster and easier than trying to fix this guy's work.

And eventually, someone happens to observe the programmer on his lunch break, sitting in his car in the parking lot smoking pot and snorting cocaine -- which seems to explain his mellow demeanor and nonsensical ramblings.

He's fired for cause the same day.

"After his departure, he emailed me his resume and asked me to give him a good reference," fish says. "He had moved back into his parents' house in Washington, D.C., and was job hunting. On his resume, he listed that C++ project he had been on so briefly -- and failed at so spectacularly -- as 'experience.'

"I ignored his email, because I could not in good conscience give him any sort of positive recommendation. But he emailed me a few weeks later to say he'd gotten a job as a C++ developer at a company in the D.C. area. I always wondered how long he lasted there..."

Got an, um, memorable co-worker? Tell Sharky about it. Send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

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