Outdated phone trees and coincidences
Back in the 90s I was working for a well-known Aussie company in System38/AS 400 circles.
We finished a big project on which I was the most senior developer (and DBA and Architect and Business Analyst & Dev Team Leader (20 staff). We did not get a support contract and I was moved on to other projects and left about a year later. Fiveish years later, I was working for another company, as a PM and the company I had worked for had been taken over by another and then another (coincidence 1 - that company was the one on whose account I was working) and one day I get a call on my mobile that goes something like this ...
Caller: "Thank heavens somebody finally picked up. My name is xxx and I am working on (name of old big project) and I have called every number on the escalation list, but those numbers are disconnected, yours is the 2nd last name on the support sheet, and the last is (insert name of former CEO) I have tried everybody else, anyway we are having trouble with the zzz subsystem, we don't understand why it is doing abc."
Me: "Er Iook mate, I don't know where you got that list from, but I haven't worked on that project for 5 years, and I now work for another company entirely"
Caller: "(expletive) sorry Mate, I'm from (lets call it Big Blue) and we have just taken over the support, and we were given this list as part of the handover"
Me : Oh look, I am on the (big company) account for (Big Blue) in Brisbane, I would love to help, but as I said I haven't worked that project for years probably a lot has changed, can you email me details and I see what I can remember, but no guarantees - gives email" (coincidence 2)
Caller ... "thanks mate "
An hour later the account manager (normally based in Melbourne, but visiting Brisbane), and State Manager are at my desk "Diogenes, how would you like 2 weeks in Sydney helping out the (big project team). It looks like your name is all over the documentation, and they really are stuck, is there anything urgent your team is work on?" , "Let me check with SWMBO."
Next morning I am in Sydney, at my desk from 5 years before (coincidence 3) , looking at my old (need I add never updated) documentation and comparing with code & db entries for zzz subsystem, and about an hour later I spot the problem, somebody had turned off referential integrity on some of the tables & put in a bad entry, and get them going. PM then asks, as he is paying me for the 2 weeks, if I could spend a week preparing a system induction, to be delivered in the 2nd week (ie the logical DB vs physical, the main flow of the subsystems , ie it is a periodic thing where things get done once a year and output data from one is the input to the next etc etc