Oh, I almost left out the best story of all. So on the big pharma review project (Seroquel), there was this really creepy older skinny dude who, immediately upon getting to his workstation, would peel off his shoes. That's not terribly unusual in itself, since a lot of coders kick off their dogs since you're sitting for like 16+ hours in the same chair once you get to work.
But this guy wore these "pedophile socks," you know: always in a loud color like pink or bright green. Also they were stitched so there was a receptacle for each individual toe, and had like gold glitter lines and shit on them. Weird, right?
About 2 days into the gig I go to take a leak and here's this guy yakking on his cell phone in front of the urinal wearing nothing on his feet but those socks. C'mon now, who struts around a public restroom like that? Esp. one where like 500 coders a day are pissing and spitting all over the bathroom floor? He was literally standing in a soggy puddle of urine with nothing but those socks on. I'd never before seen a coder who went to the restroom with just stocking feet.
So after that my crew started calling him "Piss Feet" behind his back. But that's not the funniest part....
One day we roll on to the job at like 9 am and there's a message on the dry erase board that the URL to get your documents has changed. Apparently the firm had switched software companies or whatever. The staff attorney made like 10 annoucements that day to look at the board for the new URL, since obviously w/out it you couldn't pull a batch of shit to review.
Around 7 pm that night the staff attorney does a routine "cruise by" (kinda like a warden makes the rounds in a prison) to make sure everyone had docs and was actually working and not screwing around, etc. So she rolls by PissFeet's station and he's sitting there in his piss-socks reading a paperback novel under his desk. She says "hey man, is there something wrong? Why aren't you doing work?"
(I forgot to mention that this gig was uber-Gestapo style and there was basically zero tolerance for blatantly screwing around, etc. We'd use code-words to tip each other off if we were bullshitting with a neighbor and the guy with his back turned didn't see her making rounds: on this gig the code word was "apples." If you had your back turned and were in the middle of a story and your neighbor said "yeah, I like those apples" it was a cue to turn back towards your screen and look busy ASAP. As I said, this shit is much more like prison culture than any sort of "career")
So she rolls up on PissFeet and catches him red-handed with his nose in a Stephen King book. She says "PissFeet (real name omitted), "what is your problem? Don't you have a batch?"
PissFeet says "I'm sorry, my machine is broken. I haven't been able to pull a batch since 9 am today." Did I mention this guy looked and talked just like a stock child molester from a 1980s sitcom? What a fucking weirdo.
So she says: "Piss Feet, you know our URL changed today, right?"
He plays all dumb and says "It did? When did that happen?"
She says, "about 11 hours ago- didn't you hear the annoucments and check the board?"
He says, "oh, I didn't know we had to check the board ourselves?"
Mind you, on doc review there's a dry erase board in each room and, like a preschool, you're told at orientation to check it every day for updates and new rules, etc.
So to make a long story short, Piss Feet was never seen again after that evening. Hell, the dude didn't even have his computer turned on, much less doing any work. It's called in temp. agency lingo being "rolled off the project." They never come out and say you got fired, or give any feedback or criticism. It's always either "the project ended" (true), or "you were rolled off this project-it wasn't a good fit" (i.e. you were canned for being a retard or troublemaker).
I myself got canned several times for being a general asshole and troublemaker. For example, there was a project on Rector Street that was actually pretty cool. This gig was for the NYC Law Dept, Civil Division. We got $30 an hour from an agency called "The Dine Group" to code docs for a construction lawsuit case involving the new Bronx Criminal Courthouse. There were lots of cool coders on this gig, we'd smoke pot during lunch, sneak beers and shit into work, etc. It was great. Also my seat-mate and I won the New Yorker magazine cartoon caption contest, which was a big deal at the time. We spent like 90% of the "workday" on that, so winning for once was a really, really big deal. We were the talk of the coder community after that score. It was the best feeling I've ever had in my entire life.
But soon we started running low on docs on this gig, and everyone was waiting for the ax to fall. It was right before Xmas 2009, so everyone was trying to stack as much $$$ as possible since Jan/Feb are usually very slow for doc review work.
So the staff attorney on this gig was a good ole' Southern belle from Tulane who really wasn't very hot. She also had sort of an annoying personality. She really thought she was a "Carrie Bradshaw" (that's what I called her) even though she shared some dump studio in Astoria, Queens with another loser coder. She was in love with her pathetic "authority," such as it was. Always bragging about hanging at "Corner Bistro" and fighting off all these I-banker suitors, etc. Like most coders, it was a complete fantasy world she'd spun for herself. Chick was a 6 at best.
So when the docs really began running dry, I started taking like 200 cigarette breaks a day since my buddy Holbs had just been to visit from New Hampshire and dropped off like 20 cartons of Parliaments his girlfriend had shoplifted from the smoke shop. There was hardly anything else to do. And every time I'd leave the room, I'd say "see y'all later, if there is a later" and, at the end of the day, "see you all tomorrow, if there is a tomorrow." Things like that. Gallows humor and all. The gig was just about done, as I saw it. Docs were few and far between.
But Carrie Bradshaw, being a southerner, didn't really find the humor in it. She called me aside like 20 times and lectured: "you'e stirring up trouble, you smartass" and "I know for a fact there's more documents coming, that's why I'm the staff attorney." The old brag-a-rino. She really thought she was better than us regular coders because she went to Tulane.
So one morning in front of everyone I asked if she grew up in a "double wide" down in Armpit, Arkansas or whatever and she got royally pissed. You could say she took great offense to it. So I went to lunch thinking nothing of it, fuck her.... and BAM- good old "Dine Group" agency calls before I cleared the lobby and says I was "rolled off the project, effective immediately." It was like 12 below zero outside, so I went to Blarney Stone and mowed a huge corned beef sandwich, then went to see a movie. Guess Carrie Bradshaw had some major juice to get me canned that quick.
I was lucky.