This project has been plugging along and late last week we were told that we had about two weeks to go, hours still the same except for Labor Day weekend, when we would be off all three days. That kind of advance notice on hours planning is generally encouraging, as it shows an expectation of continued work on the part of the firm. Yeah, well, so much for that.
About two hours before quitting time today, the staff attorney who is our main point of contact (not to be confused with our fifth point of contact*) with the firm came in and said, "I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is, you're going to have a nice, long holiday weekend." At this point, I already knew where we were going, and so I said, "And the bad news is because it starts tomorrow?" Ding ding ding -- give that man a kewpie doll. Got it on the first try.
Obviously, this woman, herself a former contract attorney, was uncomfortable and had no idea how to break this unexpected bad news to us. She tried to dress it up, stressing that there was more work to come after the holiday weekend, but there really is no good way to let a bunch of people know gently that you've just fucked them royally in their efforts to make a living. I had, in the last few days, turned down two projects scheduled to start tomorrow because they were short term and had no overtime, while this gig has OT and would be going for a while longer. Big mistake. Now I'm desperately seeking another project starting this week, because I refuse to reward perfidy by still being available when this shit show resumes. My odds are not good.
It does not make me feel better to have said earlier in the day that I was pretty sure Rule No. 1 was in play and that they were lying about how much work was left. It would have been nice to be wrong.
* For those of you not familiar with the expression, your first four points of contact (with the earth, dummies) are your hands and feet. If your back is to the ground, your fifth point of contract is . . . figure it out.