sythyry

dying engineer form letter

I keep getting recruited by people interested in my "unique qualifications".  

What if they're serious about that?    I do have some "unique qualifications", and I can spin a story about why some company might want them

Here's a form letter responding to such.  I haven't used it on a recruiter yet, but I might.  Or maybe plot for short story.


Thank you for your interest in hiring me, and in particular my "unique qualifications on my profile" for your open position — or whatever phrasing you used.  I am in negotiations for a few such positions, and typing is difficult; please forgive what is admittedly somewhat of a form letter.

My "unique qualifications" could mean:
1. A world-class background in the theory of programming languages circa 1990.   You don't want this.
2. Plentiful experience with dragons.  You don't want this either.
3. Being transgender, disabled, polydactylic, polyamorous, incandescent, unremitting,lacunal, and otherwise ticking various minority boxes.   You could want this, but probably not.

4. I'm dying.  Estimates are unreliable;2-3 years is plausible.  This is what you want.
5. Even better, I'm dying of brain cancer.  This is laignappe.


You don't need to explain your situation in detail.  Everyone trying to hire a dying senior engineer is in basically the same cage.  Your special project ZOG, which was going to save your company and revolutionize the industry, is on a trajectory to an ignominious failure.  Your stock price will tank, you will have massive layoffs, your exec's stock options will wither, and you'll have to return the corporate learjet.  Probably there will be legal repercussions, including felony charges against senior personnel, and supremely embarrassing disclosures coming out in court.


So: you need an engineer to take the fall.  The bus is coming ahead of schedule, and someone must be thrown under it so the CEO looks blameless and golden.

No normal engineer will take this role.  It's career death, and reputation death.

There is only one counter --- REAL death.  In a couple years, I won't care a fig for my career or reputation.  I will be protected from subpoenas by the strongest shield of all.  And of course death from well-established medical causes shields *you* from suspicion of having me murdered: you didn't give me cancer, especially a year before you hired me.

Put me in charge of project ZOG.   I am loosely qualified — any senior software engineer with 30+ years experience would be be appropriate.    Since ZOG is a turd awaiting its flushing, it really doesn't matter technically who's in charge.

All sorts of bad decisions can be blamed on me, both during my tenure and after my death.   Given the opportunity. If time permits (and it probably does) we can arrange for a paper trail.

Since I have specifically brain cancer, it is only to be expected that my actions and decisions will verge on the irrational, making ZOG's failure all the more predictable or dramatic (as needed).

Compensation: The financial arrangements are a bit unusual (compared
to hiring the simply living), since *I* don't get much of a salary,
and that only while I'm still alive.  Life insurance policies
benefitting my family are standard for lower ranked dying engineers;
at my level, there are technical difficulties, and other forms of
payment are needed — Swiss bank accounts owned by shell companies,
for example.  The wikipedia article on money laundering has sufficient
instructions.  Note that we're not *evading* taxes; I require them to
be paid in full, leaving my family without legal risk.  We're simply establishing distance between your
company and my payments.

Bidding for my death has been open for some months now, and the current highest offer is substantial.   It's from a tobacco company, though, which I don't favor.   Please send an initial bid; you will be informed of its appropriateness.

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