Bob (of Bob’s Top 5) has a nice post about layoffs. Here’s my story (well, one of my stories – maybe I’ll tell the second one some other time).
Near the end of the 80’s, I worked for MicroRIM (of R:Base fame). Trivia fact: R:Base grew out of software that was developed to track the heat-resistant tiles on the shuttle.
R:Base was a very popular DOS program, and customers were clamoring for a Windows version (well, some for Windows, and some for OS/2…). Unfortunately, that request got a bit garbled on the way to management. Customers said, “Make R:Base run on Windows”, and management heard, “You know what we really want? You should build a next-generation database product that runs on Macintosh and OS/2, and while you’re at it, you should create your own database server and make sure you can interop with Oracle, Sybase, DB2, and all the other mini and mainframe databases”.
If ever there was a project that had delusions of grandeur, it was this project.
They finally ended up naming it “Vanguard”. (The irony of picking the same name as a rocket that only orbited 3 satellites in 11 attempts was not lost on any of us…)
But the project was planned, millions of VC cash was raised, and groups staffed up – one to build the DB server, one to build the GUI layer, one to build connectors to other databases, and my group, to build the UI that sat on top of everything.
Things went poorly for the first couple of years. Nobody had any experience building anything that big, and the groups weren’t exactly tasked to help other groups out. After about 18 months, my group got called into a conference room one morning, and my manager Tom said, “Okay, is everybody here?”, and somebody said, “Mike and Tim aren’t here”, and then Tom said, “Yeah, that’s what I need to tell you guys…”. That was the first layoff.
The second layoff came about 3 months later, and I was putting together my resume. I survived the third one, and got moved to the database connector team, working on the connector to one of the VMS databases (and, IIRC, the only piece of software that ever shipped out of that project).
Then one day, I got up from my desk to get something to drink, and noticed that everybody on my team was in a conference room. Except me. I got a drink, went back to my desk, and started packing…
So what’s your story?