If your current project requires less than 110% of you, there's a place you can go, deep in the woods. There, you can work on something so world-changing, so resume-padding, so solution-probleming, that you will assuredly not be punished when it's discovered!
A special working environment for special projects involving a variety of special conditions.
Typically refers to a project operating outside of normal company procedure, sometimes without official knowledge or approval.
The name comes from the Lockheed Skunk Works, which derived its name from the "Skonk Works" of the L'il Abner comic strip where a still was hidden in a secluded hollow.
The original Skunk Works was created at Lockheed's Burbank plant (the main offices used to be, as I remember, across the parking lot from the Burbank airport terminal).
Starting in 1943 Kelly Johnson (generally, the words 'the legendary' come first) formed this group to concentrate on high speed innovative aeronautical engineering projects like:
P-80 Shooting Star
U-2 (delivered in 88 days, and under budget)
Sea Shadow 'stealth' ship
(depending who you read) C-130, which has been in production for more than 40 years (a record) and remains in production and front line service today