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Cancelled project Fri, Jan 22, 2021
My project at work got sort of cancelled last week.  I say "sort of" because it's not technically cancelled, it's more like they're gonna stop funding it in a few months, which is a more wordy way of saying it's cancelled.  I shouldn't feel bad about it because this sort of thing happens all the time, largely due to the industry I work in and the whims of powerful people in authority.  And honestly it's not a huge deal; I still have a job, I'll be paid regardless.  But I've been having trouble coming to terms with it, and here's why: 
  1. There was no communication about it from management.  I heard second or third-hand:  My coworker on the project CC'd me on an email to our shared boss asking about other funded projects.
  2. The funding shortfall was known about four months ago, and based on accounting math it was determined that this date in the future (last week) would be when things got real.  I had no idea about any of this, not that it would've made everything better, but still.
  3. I'm having trouble finding an appropriate person or group to direct my anger at, and that makes me more angry.  My project managers aren't really to blame, since they've been trying to get more funding.  The people above them aren't really to blame either, because they've been on our side the whole time.
  4. There's talk of the program getting more funding in the near future, or maybe in several months from now.  But I feel like it's too late for that.  The cat's out of the bag.  We've started closeout activities.  We've joined other programs that had funding and needed personnel.  It's like breaking up a relationship and expecting the other person to wait around for you while you work some things out.  Fuck you; we're done.
  5. This was a pretty good team of people who had been working closely together for over a year.  It took a lot of effort to assemble the team and convince their management it was important.  You can't just reassemble the same team at the drop of a hat.  It might take weeks or months, or not happen at all, because people are now funded full-time by other projects.
  6. I'm an engineer, and I work with all engineers, and we're pretty emotionless people in general.  It's normal for me to think of humans as cogs; remove one, replace with another.  But that's just not even remotely how things work, definitely in engineering, and probably in pretty much every other area of life.  People are unique and have unique qualities and abilities.  Even two people with the same education and same job title and same work experience can have vastly different strengths and talents.  It's unfortunately true that you can't simply replace one person with another person.  So those team dynamics and skill balance are now thrown out the window.
Possibly the worst part of this (aside from learning about it through hearsay) is that there was no plan for what to do in the present moment, in addition to there being no communication about anything.  So we were all sort of left in the lurch as managers tried to figure out what to do with the remaining funding and time.  It's very disengaging. #business


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