Promises, promises

This company hires a recent college IT graduate, promising him that he'll be working on a project with some of the latest and greatest technology, says a pilot fish on the inside.

"But when he actually started, that project got put on hold -- and kept getting delayed," fish says.

"Since they didn't want him just sitting around reading technical articles, they put him on a mainframe project. But though he had taken a Cobol class early in his college career, he had no real work experience with it."

Not surprisingly, he also has zero experience with the kinds of data-handling arcana involved in legacy mainframe applications, such as RECFM=VB and VSAM. He doesn't even have basic mainframe skills like knowing JCL and TSO/ISPF.

And though it's obvious he's in over his head, management doesn't offer any resources to get him up to speed.

What can he do? He can't just walk away -- quitting a job so soon after hiring is frowned upon in this business, and he'd also have to repay the relocation money the company fronted when he was hired.

So he sticks it out. But the situation doesn't improve, and his unhappiness is increasingly obvious. Attitude and performance issues begin to escalate with each review.

"He finally was threatened with termination, says fish. "I don't know if it was his plan all along or if he spoke with an attorney at this point, but he had a brilliant response: 'You knew I didn't have these skills when you hired me, and you did not provide appropriate training. If you fire me, I'll bring legal action -- and I have documentation.'

"We heard about this from him later, during one of his weekly visits to sign his time sheets. It seems he was given several months of paid time to find another job -- at the end of which he agreed to resign with the promise of a good reference."

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