Re: "And given that the Y2K thing was a big fat zero,"
I do remember an older boffin friend of mine in Toronto in 1998 who starting his 4 year contract with a combined group of large financial institutions in Canada that required his COBOL expertise to convert ALL of their active 1950's/1960's/1970's/1980's era COBOL code over to C++. Since he was already about 50 years old, this assignment was basically the icing on the cake for an already illustrious coding and systems analyst career!
The beautiful thing was that the original IBM-specific COBOL banking software was so well written and so well documented in those days, that they were simply able to use the C++ compiler's preprocessor (I think it was Borland C++) to change all the COBOL specific comparison code, declarative and iterative statement and function-like declarations over to C++ functions in mere months using bucket loads of IFDEF and DEFINE statements to get COBOL looking like C++.
They had some young Assembler wizard write an x86 interceptor function which took the C++ preprocessor output and redirected it/converted it to final C++ code source files which was perused and edited by my boffin friend and then sent out to various team members for final user interface re-design and compiling. An ingenious solution I do must say!
The end result was that the Canadian financial systems had VERY FEW HICCUPS compared to the U.S. financial companies when it came to glitches happening just before and after Y2K. While Y2K could have been much more serious on both side of the USA/Canada border, it was mostly a non-event! The KEY thing was that Canada prepared earlier and had better results in the end.
I also remember that after all the bonuses and overtime he did in order to make sure the Y2K re-writes were implemented properly and worked for at least two years after Y2K, that he was able to retire in 2003 being able to buy a very nice 3000+ square foot (278 square metres) custom built log home in the Southern Ontario Cottage Country/Thousand Lakes region, a 26 foot touring power boat, two large touring motorcycles that fit into their large 5th Wheel RV trailer (i.e. a very large pulled caravan) and for the last 17 years him and his wife have done nothing BUT tour all over North America and continue their series of yearly pilgrimages allowing him and the wife to live in Ontario Cottage Country in the summer and live in south Florida in the Winter! In Spring and Fall they still have enough money to travel to multiple countries around the world enjoying fine hotels, fine views and very fine food and wine! (i.e. mostly to Italy, South France, Greece and Spain these days!)
Since he is now in his early 70's and still in very good health, he now has combined his very generous bank employer and government pension (CPP) plans after living off the money he made in his early 50's doing Y2K work. I can say he is doing very well and will continue to do well for the rest of his life.
SOME PEOPLE were very well equipped to take advantage of Y2K spending and in some cases over a 4-to-5 year period, became actual net-worth millionaires from that event and it's aftermath alone!
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT SKILLS and the RIGHT TIME !!!
Arrghhhhh!!!!! --- I'm sooooo envious today at his lifestyle while i'm slaving over 1987'era MS-DOS batch code that is STILL being used to convert in 2020 huuuuuuuge Aero/Hydro/Plasma-dynamic scientific visualization spreadsheet data sets over to SQL-RDBMS entries and then into animated 4K/8K video files!