Tuesday, March 25, 2008


When a reply to a comment on a post turns into a long reply .. it's not time to edit, it's time to make it a post!

Sorry... It hit a nerve. In St. Louis, I worked for a woman-owned/minority-owned IT firm. We worked as a subcontractor a lot, and it was taken for granted by the White programmers we subcontracted to that I was a good programmer, while my Black coworker (who was a better programmer than I) had to prove himself continually.

I ran into that when I contracted at the Resolution Trust Corp.

Bruce was the desktop guy. Bruce was good at his job, very professional.

Bruce was also black, a big guy and worked out with weights. His weekend job as a bouncer paid about as much as he was making at RTC.

As do we all from time to time, Bruce had problems to deal with. Where a skinny dude like me can express frustration aloud, when Bruce did it was threatening, or at least that was what we were told by the folks running RTC.

That was weird, to me. I'd just spent eight years in the Marines - guys like Bruce were an asset. The Marines liked physically fit, whip-smart guys. Guys like that got the schools, the meritorious promotions, the interesting jobs.

Guys like Bruce were in the technical fields and made rank and were the go-to people.

Eventually, RTC folded into the FDIC, our contract was assumed. Bruce didn't make the jump with us - he found a better opportunity [1] and was giving serious thought to getting out of IT and doing the bouncer gig full time.

Which sucked - I'd rather have a dozen guys like Bruce working with me than some of the other guys on that crew. [2]

[1] RTC's desktop support needs were minimal and non-taxing - 99% of the desktops were PCs with the hard drive ripped out, booting from floppy and running menu driven from the Banyan Vines servers - all the action was happening on the LAN side. The FDIC was about messed up eleven ways from Sunday and had all kinds of issues and problems on the desktop side - they really needed Bruce there.

[2] They were good guys and gals on that contract [3] but one guy ... he was good but only within the narrow confines of what he knew; give him a problem where he had to think and he was lost.

[3] One of whom I have to thank for the job - thanks, Jay!
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