Where THAT consultant came from

This IT consultant isn't exactly well thought of as a technical professional -- but that doesn't stand in the way of a long and varied career at a big consultancy, reports a pilot fish on the scene.

"This consultant did nothing egregious enough to be terminated, but it wasn't often that a client would want to renew them beyond the initial period," fish says.

But the consulting outfit's regional manager doesn't want to terminate the mediocre consultant, who also happens to check off several "protected minority" categories.

Subtle hints aren't effective, and the consultant still gets average pay raises every year because no client will go on record that the consultant is actually a problem. Even bad locations don't seem to bother the consultant.

That gives the regional manager an idea: Why not convince this consultant to take a project in another region? The appropriate project is found, transfer arranged -- with glowing references from the regional manager -- and soon the problem employee is no longer this regional manager's problem.

But fish keeps watching the consultant's employment progress in the company with a mixture of amusement and horror. It's clear that the regional manager on the receiving end of the transfer has quickly figured out what happened, and soon manages to hand off the consultant to yet another region.

As time goes by there are several more transfers across the country, as each regional manager passes the problem employee on instead of taking on the problems of documenting the failures and risking a wrongful termination lawsuit.

"Apparently this person was happy to accept the relocation funds and see different parts of the country at the company's expense," sighs fish. "At the last location, the consultant simply stopped showing up for work and walked away with the relocation funds."

"I always thought it was funny how the regional managers couldn't trust each other when transferring employees. They couldn't even get a trustworthy reference inside their own company."

Something funny going where you are? Tell Sharky about it. 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 in the Sharkives.

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