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Sysadmin trained his offshore replacements, sat back, watched ex-employer's world burn

Saruman the White

Many years ago (just before the 21st century) I was doing some work as a contractor to a company that was building a major new satellite communications system. The employees of this company were outnumbered by contractors; in fact I think about 60% of the company was made up of contractors at this time.

Things did not precisely go according to plan, and having blown $5 billion in 3 years and not achieved anything the decision was made by the very senior PHBs to get rid of all of the contractors. This decision was actioned the following Monday when all of the contractors were given 1 weeks notice.

The company made two basic mistakes. Firstly the forgot that several of their most specialised and expensive contractors were also on long-duration contracts (one had just signed a 12-month contract with no get-out clauses). As I understand it the company was sued by at least 30 of their former contractors the following week, and ultimately lost each and every case. The second mistake was even more basic - they failed to ask for a hand-over to the remaining staff who did not have a clue what the contractors actually did.

You can probably visualise what happened the following two weeks, and also the reactions of the company's management when they tried to ask the contractors to come back for a few days for free to perform a belated hand-over.

One year later it was completely bankrupt.

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