MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

July 24, 2008

Y2K was NOT Bullshit!

I'm really sick and tired of people say Y2K was all hype. Even 8 years after the turn of the century that legend is still alive on many conspiracy websites.

Y2K was real!

Software that had been written 20, 30 even 40 years earlier was still being used (by many major companies too) at the turn of the century. It was priority #1 for companies to fix the date problem. Not just for the corporate image issue but the liability. Lawyers were lining up in droves and salivating over the class action suits they can bring when a date glitch cost someone a penny's loss. And the government passed new laws and rules holding financial corporate offices personally liable for any of their customer's losses. How's that for incentive!

The reason nothing major (and mostly nothing minor) happened at the end of 1999 was all the work we programmers put in checking, fixing, and retesting the programs. It was not an easy task.

But I will tell you some of the real bull that was going around about Y2K.

Every magazine and newspaper with an employment and/or technology section was quoting HR VP's and corporate CIO's saying how they were hiring sooooooo many consultants to work on the Y2K bug. They spoke of paying enormous rates and bonuses to these people because of a shortage of good people to work on this problem. Some articles I read even spoke of paying huge sign-on bonuses to lure retirees back to work on this project.


Yes, a lot of consultants were hired for the projects but the pay was nominal. And no bonuses. I know because I have many friends who are consultants.

As far as a clamor to hire people, for the 2 years prior to the turn of the century I tried very very hard to get a Y2K job or consulting gig. Nada. Zippo. No interest. I was willing to work like a dog long hours (for the great pay I as reading about), even relocate if needed. I figured I worked hard for a couple of years, live Spartanly and sock away the big bucks. Then get a more normal IT position.
I even had Y2K experience. The company I was at had just finished a major Y2K overhaul so I know what to do. Real hands-on experience.


I did get offers but none for Y2K work. No one I knew had gotten anything either. The gravy train didn't stop in my neck of the woods.

I suspect the reason for all the hype about companies going on a Y2K hiring binge and Y2K work for all at super high prices was more PR related than reality. When the CIO of a major company is quoted in a magazine that's a much his/her opinion as it is self promotion for the company (and him/herself). People read those quotes and get the warm & fuzzies about how great the company is that they are working soooooo hard to fix the problem. After all, imagine what would happen to the business if the CIO said "Y2K? I plan to be as far away from the office as I can that week!"

So if anything was bull it was the promise of the high paying Y2K jobs, not the problem of Y2K itself.

No comments: