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Drifting Apart: An Unsuccessful Consulting Engagement

18 March 2010

North America and Europe are parting faster than the time left in my contract is passing.

In my final days here, I am acting as a knowledge resource for a service I wrote, one that should truly be replaced by a well-known open-source solution. Having said that, it does its job reasonably well.

The person taking over the code has a looming deadline of her own, so we have only had a couple of conversations about it. She is debating whether to use the component I built or to write her own.

She plans to take an approach that will invalidate the design I was asked to build. I was asked to make a service that could be configured to handle different situations without deploying a code change, so the complexity in my solution lies in the configuration. Her solution is to consume my service but put the complexity into a controller class, which I admit will make for much simpler configuration, but will involve the creation of new controllers to handle new situations.

This frustration epitomizes this contract, but I have gained some valuable insight into things I do value. For example, being busy and challenged at work is something I thrive on more than monetary compensation. I’ve also learned that I’ve come to expect a certain level of influence at work, neither of which this position has really been able to provide.

My manager wants to conduct an exit interview tomorrow, and I hope he will afford me the opportunity to relate my observations. Otherwise, I fear future consultants will face the same alienation I felt.

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