We went to Hell



  • When I worked at a large military contractor, there was this project built by another company that was a) late, b) non-functional, c) over budget. Big surprise. Our boss was charged with taking a team of sharp folks to the as yet undisclosed location to work on, fix and deliver the project.

    They asked for volunteers. I asked a) where is it? b) for how long will we be there? c) for what shape the project was in, beyond "wtf!?" We were told that it was to be kept secret and we'd find out when we got there.

    Wait a minute, I'm supposed to pack up for (north, south, east, west, Heaven or Hell) to stay for a (week, month, quarter, year, more) to finish a project in what one can only assume is horrific shape?

    I asked if I could decide whether I wanted to participate after I found out this information, and was told I could. We were told to meet up at the airport at which point we'd be advised of the flight and given our tickets. Ooooookaaaayyyy - I'm not really the adventurous type, but a mystery trip could be fun.

    A bunch of us pack up large suitcases with winter, spring and summer clothes, grab lots of spare cash and go to the airport. At that point, we learn that it's near San Diego. Not too shabby. We get off the plane and are ushered into a VW bus (this was a *long* time ago) to be driven to the top secret location. It turned out to be your basic government contractor setup - for another division of our parent company. At that point, we're given the true picture of what happened. Uh oh, we had signed up for a stay in Hell. 7/8 of us decide to go home because, well, imagine your garden variety epic government exercise in bad management.

    However, before we could leave to go home, we were told to sign forms swearing that we wouldn't divulge anything (project, company, city, state, name of hooker on the corner...) about the project, under penalty of death, or worse, being forced to work on the project!

    Apparently, someone in the common parent company didn't want to be embarrassed about what turned out to be yet another colossal billion dollar disaster.

     



  • @snoofle said:

    At that point, we're given the true picture of what happened. Uh oh, we had signed up for a stay in Hell. 7/8 of us decide to go home because, well, imagine your garden variety epic government exercise in bad management.

     

    So were you, by chance, the 1/8 who decided to stick around?  If so, I think it's story time.



  •  Hmm... San Diego, so I'm guessing it's either the Miramar base or Camp Pendelton (anything more interesting like the Yuma Proving Ground and they probably would have flown you into Phoenix or LA).  @snoofle said:

    Uh oh, we had signed up for a stay in Hell
    ...Or, maybe a trip to Mexico.@snoofle said:
    what turned out to be yet another colossal billion dollar disaster.
      Unfortunately, that does not narrow it down one bit. 

     



  • No, this was a subsidiary of Allied Signal, and I was one of those that went home. As far as the project, it's been 25 years, but it was essentially software to control what was then a new state-of-the-art fly-by-wire system for missiles.

    The screw ups were pretty standard mismanagement that we've all seen here numerous times; bad decisions, inept consultants, direction changes, perpetual reorganizations, each side of the figurative bridge being built with different specs and the two halves not meeting in the middle, etc.

    Our tax dollars at work.

    FWIW, the few folks that were suckered coaxed into staying there were stuck for 16 months, flying back every Friday night and out every Sunday afternoon. They were all fried after a few months, and complete zombies after a year; that project sucked the life out of everyone that got near it. Even though I was young and fairly inexperienced, I knew enough to stay away.


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