I was just cleaning the kitchen and had an immediate flashback to the era when I worked with Artinsoft, a software company in Costa Rica. Unlike cool acid trips flashbacks, sucked balls as they took me back to a dark era in my professional life. The company was great to work for, it was these people that I worked with that literally made my life a living hell.
The Fat Unicorn from Hell
The Fat Unicorn from Hell (or fatass, as we called him behind his back) was brought to a project that had a worse fate than that of the Titanic. It was me and a colleague in an endeavoring quest to teach the world about 64-bit programming on Windows. The problem? We knew jack shit about it. Our boss realized the project was about to explode when he brought fatass into the picture. At first he seemed like a nice guy, but eventually turned out to be quite the gem.
While my colleague and I tried to crank up the labs and simultaneously learn concepts and technologies we had never heard before, fatass was sent to Redmond to try and keep the customer happy. He was expected to work as well, but this guy did absolutely nothing but call us to see if things were ready.
We were working long hours and barely making the deadlines…this guy brought peace of mind to the customer, but other than that brought nothing else but angst and stress to the team. When we delivered the project, he claimed what we had done as his and explained to our boss that he had not finished his share because he was busy correcting everything we had done since it was all wrong. This of course could’ve not been further than the truth.
As a person, this guy was one of the most disgusting human beings I have ever dealt with. His chair at the office was plagued with boogers underneath, his breath stank of cigarettes and he had something on his head that resembled a horn. He eventually had the horn taken off, but that did nothing to his overall aspect. He was loud during air flights, he was obnoxious and incredibly defensive with people he had just met. He ordered room service, did not finish it and the next morning would finish it off the plate. My stomach is churning as I type this, he seriously was quite the character.
The most important thing I learned from him was how not to be a project manager, ever. Taking credit for other people’s work, trying to get people from the team to go at each other, making offensive jokes, having no plans or objectives and simply being a lazy ass.
The customer eventually realized this and asked him to step down so I could manage the rest of the project. That is right, he became my bitch. I did not, even for a minute, take advantage of the situation. I treated the fucker with respect and coordinated his help while his contract expired.
I do admit that seeing his face when the customer requested his demotion has been one of the most gratyfing things I in my entire life.
The Skanky Leprechaun
While all this project was going on, the customer had hired a program manager that arrived from the land of the 4-leaf clovers. This is, without a doubt, one of the dumbest human beings I have ever met. She had no idea about project management, technology, or anything at all – but strangely enough she was the program manager.
I payed no attention to her until she started writing e-mails while we delivered the training, on how she wanted things done. We complied sending her the shit she needed and sometimes we didn’t…and that pissed her off. Her delusions of grandeur were reflected in the emails where she scolded us (while cc’ing all bosses), using excessive CAPS and not having the decency to even use a spelling and grammar checker. What a fuckwit, really.
The real problems arose when the customer wanted to hire the team for his company. In other words, he wanted to steal the team that was working for Artinsoft, assemble his own business and take it from there. I remembered the whole team accepted – we were offered golden doubloons and ponies…nah, not really, but we were offered a lot more money, and being the cash whores we were, we gladly accepted!
Long story short, the customer’s company found out about his shady plans, made him resign and the project continued. Lesson learned: stealing employees from the company you hire will get you in trouble.
But the Skanky Leprechaun did not learn her lesson! After the project finished, she contacted me and asked me to go work with her directly! See, the customer company had asked me for the next project, and she figured she could get more money by getting rid of the middle man. Knowing that this would end in major disaster, I turned the offer down and that was that…or so I thought.
By turning her down, I inadvertently activated the “crazy-sabotaging-bitch-leprechaun” mode. During the entire project, this fucker did nothing but to make my life hell. The new boss in the customer company was quickly exhausted (with good reason) because there could not be an email between her and myself without it becoming a flame war. Every decision I took was quickly sabotaged by her, a real back-stabber. It got to the point where I said “fuck-it” and stepped down as a project manager to be a trainer and content author.
Years later once I left the company I contacted her and we decided to chat over dinner. I thought “people change, maybe her head has crawled from under her ass after 2 years”. Dream on. I managed to contain myself but she did poke comments about the project I worked with her that made me want to fix her crooked teeth with the wine bottle that was on the table.
The “I am your boss now, so fuck you” Cowgirl
This one happened between the previous two horror stories – and all of these 3 took place one after the other, I seriously thought I was destined to work with horrible people for the rest of my life!
The cowgirl was actually pretty cool at the beginning. She was around when fatass was “working” and I believe that my promotion would’ve not happened if she was not present. I figured eventually that it was not that she liked me, but rather that she hated fatass and his incompetence with a passion. I also figured out she had her own agenda, and I was just a pawn in her master plan.
Remember the customer who had to resign because he was doing shady business? Let’s call him Frenchie. Well the cowgirl, who was working for Artinsoft, was helping him plot this out all along. When the team agreed to move with Frenchie, she became the boss, and her attitude changed from bad to worse to mega-bitch.
Before she was in power, my ideas were great. Once she had the crown, everything was shitty and I had to do things her way or threats and ultimatums would start to fly by. This was the thing that ticked me off – why provide “my way or the highway” threats off the bat? I tried calming her down after every argument but it was really driving me up against the wall.
The thing was that she had me by the cojones as we had already put our resignation with Artinsoft, so it was too difficult to go back. She was well aware of this and she was soaring: she was at the head of the new company, Frenchie liked her and she was in absolute power.
Then the whole thing exploded – Frenchie was forced to resign, the new company was dissolved into oblivion, and cowgirl ended up without a job and headed back to Houston.
As for ourselves (the money whores), Artinsoft took pity (not really, they needed us to deliver the project!) and took us back, everything went back to normal.
Even though the cowgirl almost sent me to the emergency room after taking my temper to levels I had no idea existed, I did feel bad when she turned into this awful person. She was good at her job and I was eager to learn from her, but some people just can’t cope with power.
So that’s that – after enduring those 3 nightmares I’ve seldom had to deal with fucktards of that magnitude. They did not teach me a lot on how to become a better person, but they definitely did teach me all that you can never be if you ever want to be a professional.