Management Is Always Right

Circa 1991, the boss wants to review the code for a Fortran program this pilot fish has written. Fish is proud of his carefully structured code that splits his main routine, major modules and subroutine groups into a dozen separate files. But when his boss sees the stack of 12 printouts, he says, "What's this?" "He was expecting all the code to be in one file," says fish glumly. "I received a negative review for my poor software maintenance habits."

Work-around

Tech support pilot fish at this Japanese-owned copier company in Europe is forbidden to learn Japanese -- "so we can't read any important documents in the course of employment," fish says. "Officially, we don't have to support Japanese-language applications. But if someone in senior management wants someone up there in five minutes, I have to grab a Japanese-speaking secretary to translate menu options and compare them to the English version."

Zipping Along

When a large file arrives at this government office, it's compressed, says a pilot fish who works there. "Our secretary came back looking for a Zip drive," fish reports. He uses a file-compression program to open and save the file for her. "My supervisor, not wanting to have the problem again, had Zip drives installed on three of the computers," he says. "But not mine, since I didn't need it."

Lockdown

New computer room has its own power controller, which must be manually reset when power goes down. That protects the servers in case of multiple outages. "To secure the room, they installed an electronic deadbolt," says pilot fish working there. "The installer was told to plug the lock's power supply into the power controller -- behind the locked door." And when does anyone finally notice a problem with this setup? "The first time there was a power outage."

What a Concept

Retired general manager pilot fish gets called back as a consultant when two feuding operations VPs can't decide how to run things. They've gotten authorization from headquarters for fish to be in charge again until things are straightened out. At their first meeting, fish tells them, "You guys are getting paid big bucks to run this joint. If I come out of retirement, the first thing I will do is fire both of you. Now, do you still want me to come back and be the boss?" Says fish, "I never heard another word. They decided to cooperate, rather than each trying to be king of the hill."

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Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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