Caped Consultant

A DramaticIdentity

First Wiki Appearance: Issue #9 of NameXp

Hourly-paid geek by day, millionaire playboy by night. Just be glad he's out there ... somewhere.
This is the kind of person who doesn't like staying at a single job longer than six months because by that time the client has realized he's not a god and stops bowing down to him.

Err ... is it? I can think of several such who still smell like daisies after multiple years in one spot. Well, they're not really millionaires ... but playboys, sure ...

That's because they keep your, er, I mean their cape hidden.
There is another fantasy for consultants out there. One which does not rely as much on the DC Comics model.

Ever see Harvey Keitel's character, Winston Wolf, in Pulp Fiction? The guy who comes in and solves the problem, no matter what it is? Cleans up the blood, knows exactly what to do, and just handles it. La Femme Nikita (Point of No Return) has a similar character played by Keitel: the Cleaner.

Let's not forget that Winston Wolf was going to be driving "very fast" to the boneyard to get the car crushed. What a great way to get stopped by the police and introduce a New! IMPROVED!! problem. But we don't do that, do we?
"La Femme Nikita (Point of No Return) has a similar character played by Keitel: the Cleaner."

but Jean Reno is WAY cooler.

The entire original Nikita is way cooler than the lame Hollywood remake.
I've always wanted to write a mainstream SF short-story titled The Programmer with this kind of protagonist, but honestly, how do you make software engineering exciting to a mainstream SF audience?? -- RobHarwood

Well, what excites you about it? Do you think you can get it across?

I read somewhere that Japanese media often portrayed the salaryman as the hero. If that's correct then it might give you some insight into your problem. And until recently, there was a show on Canadian television portraying stock brokers as heroes <shudder>.

Hmm, this actually sparked some ideas! Wow, thanks! -- RH
Let's not forget the Consultant As ScapeGoat, too. How many times have you been brought into a project so late in the game that no salvation for this beater can be had? Management already figured this one out, guys. This durn thing is gonna die. Who here wants to take the heat for it? Okay, then -- let's get some consultants! They'll take the blame for anything! Yay!

A guy I work with on this gig introduced me to TheConsultantsMantra.
I developed much the same philosophy as a consultant. As I explained it, "we're not paid to work. If they wanted that, they'd get out of our way and let us. We're paid to be physically present in the building..."

I've had the same conversation at the new place. I've explained that if they ever ask me to put in overtime after they've spent so long making it hard for me to be productive, I'll be rude to them. They said "more rude or the same rude?" which probably says something about me..

I HaveThisPattern. You're paying $XXX/hour for me, but my chair is broken and I don't have network access for 2 days? HelpMeHelpYou?. -- AndrewMccormick
Read CloseToTheMachine by EllenUllman (1997) for a novel about a programming consultant in SanFrancisco setting (not ScienceFiction though :-).

Typical case: 4 consultants on the project, 6 months to do the job, estimated. Real staffing, 4 consultants, 8 full-time staff (plus 5-6 non-programmer staff), time to completion, 15 months.

"Typical" case? Based on what sample size? What other evidence do you have, please? This has a strong scent of argument by assertion or some other FallaciousArgument.
Contributors: MartySchrader, ...


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