There’s a great story about a programmer named Ron Avitzur that was pointed out to me by my Director of Content Acquisition, Lachlan Plant (aka, my son). Ron was working for Apple on a project as a contractor when the project was canned and he was terminated, fired, canned, etc.
No big deal except that Ron was really keen about completing what he was working on. What he did about it was to keep working on the project, at Apple, by keeping his old pass for a while, by sneaking in at other times, by claiming office space and resources, some of it with the cooperation of Apple staff who knew what he was doing. He even got a friend who had been terminated to work on the project as well. They both claimed they worked for each other to make sure they weren’t discovered.
They both continued on working until the project was complete, tested, and bundled with a software release as Graphing Calculator 1.0, which Apple bundled with the original PowerPC computers.
Don’t you wish you had employees with that type of initiative. A perfect counterpoint to Milton Waddams from Office Space.
The real question is: What does it say about management? And furthermore: how many excellent projects have been scraped by myopic managers?
You’re right. It does really show a certain lack of management control and subversive elements at work. I think most companies would be ecstatic to have people work that hard when they are actually employed but they frequently kill that fervour.