Nate returned from his weeklong vacation expecting his co-workers to ask him the same boring question, “So how was it?” They never got the chance, because when Nate entered the office, he found half of his coworkers’ cubicles empty. AwesomeWeb was a small web shop which had done well over the years. When Nate went on vacation, they had a small staff of 40. Now, that number was slashed in half.

The survivors explained: “It’s Martia, man! She gutted this place under the guise of ‘cost-cutting’ measures. We’re lucky we survived!”

Martia had won the company a few months earlier, during a messy divorce. In the past week, she had unexpectedly performed a hostile takeover of her own company. She thought they should do more with less, so she fired the President, help desk team, hardware gurus, all but one of the customer service people and even the janitor. She then proclaimed herself President, CEO, and Grand Chancellor of AwesomeWeb. Anyone who questioned it was welcome to join everyone else in the unemployment line.

Nate and his web developer buddies were spared only because they were underpaid, and Martia’s flawed logic that web developers “should” be technical enough to support web-hosting servers, provide desktop support and take care of the rat problem the janitor never solved. Within a month, servers were crashing, no one was available to handle customer calls, and the rats had conquered the break room and declared a no-fly zone in the corridor.

Martia was none too pleased and she called a mandatory company meeting. The remaining skeleton crew shuffled in like refugees. Martia loomed over them in her plaid pantsuit, arms folded, with eyes scorning everyone behind her horn-rimmed glasses. “Listen up! Business performance around here has been unacceptable! I trusted all of you to be able to handle the additional workload but I guess you’re not good enough! Lucky for you I’ve found someone who can whip this place in to shape! I’d like to introduce everyone to The Great John!” She held out her hand and a new face glided in from the hallway, looking like an arrogant rock star who was in the presence of mere mortals.

The Great John was brought in as the new top-tier web designer, as well as a project manager and a creative director to take over day-to-day operations of AwesomeWeb. Martia plucked him from a competing web shop via Craigslist (because using recruiters wasn’t cost-effective.) She was impressed by John’s resume, which cited “expert-level proficiency in ASP,, PHP, C#, XML, ActionScipt(sic), C++, Java, JavaScript, XHTML/JavaScript, XSLT, ITIL, Perl” and more. With such a genius at the helm, AwesomeWeb would not fail!

Martia decided from then on, she’d come in and work out of her corner office once a week and let The Great John take care of everything internally. John’s first “creative” act was to fire anyone who didn’t seem to be in line with his vision, which left him with one developer: Nate, who had kept his mouth shut enough to not piss off John.

“I know we’re a small team here, Nate but a slimmer team means we can be more Agile! After reviewing our product offerings, I have a solution to what ails AwesomeWeb - Sicker designs! Wicked sick!” Over time, John’s strategy paid off, and big-name clients started paying attention to AwesomeWeb again. Enough profit existed to hire another developer, though all design for every project was still done through The Great John.

Martia was barely seen any more since her brilliant hiring of The Great John. Doing any sort of work wasn’t necessary with him on board. Unfortunately over time, John took advantage of that. He stopped attending most of the design meetings and didn’t stay in contact with prospective customers. He spent a majority of his time bragging about how great his quality of work was on every possible social networking platform.

He met a bunch of like-minded individuals online, who also considered themselves l33t c0Derz. Early one Friday afternoon, they decided they should all go out drinking. Unfortunately for Nate and AwesomeWeb, John had three client meetings scheduled with big customers. He also needed to launch two custom sites that day- both of which were password protected with a series of numbers and letters The Great John had chosen carefully, and- for security reasons- shared with no one.

John had left his phone behind, and couldn’t be reached. Nate begrudgingly made an emergency call to Martia to explain the situation.

“How could you let this happen?” Martia demanded. She desperately wanted to kill the messenger, but getting into the office and meeting clients took precedence. Martia rushed in. Her plaid pant-suit was wrinkled and stained; her horn-rimmed glasses were forgotten at home. John had left no notes, and Martia hadn’t talked to John in months. She had no idea who the customers were, what work had been done for them, or what work still remained.

Had Martia simply admitted that they were unprepared for the meetings and would need to reschedule, the customers might have been annoyed; but Martia was Presdient, CEO and Grand Chancellor of AwesomeWeb! She was unstoppable. Those meetings were going to happen, those sites were going to launch, and nothing- not ignorance, incompetence, or idiocy- could stop them. After three insanely awkward hours of meetings, and a late night of trying to launch sites that nobody knew the security credentials for, customers were disgusted. Everyone Martia interacted with that day swore to never work with AwesomeWeb again.

Early the next week, The Great John’s office was cleaned out and Nate was tasked with taking a box to the post office to send him his belongings. AwesomeWeb went in to a tailspin with Martia heavily involved with screwing things up again. Nate managed to find a new job the month before AwesomeWeb wasn’t able to meet payroll any more. The company shuttered and became just another tale of a web development shop that had promise but was undone from the top down.

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