Shark Tank: New Ways to Say Thank You

FRAMINGHAM (03/10/2000) - THANKS (PUBLIC-SECTOR VERSION) Pilot fish goes to work at an Army base. One duty is to reboot an e-mail server daily to keep it from crashing. He pokes around, tunes it up, and the server goes to 99.5% idle.

Problem solved, pilot fish tells co-sysadmin (who set up the server). Five crash-free months later, an upgrade arrives. Over the weekend, guess who sets it up like she did the old one? And guess what goes crash? Pilot fish fixes the new box. Result: His co-worker changes his password, snubs him in the hallway, and "my boss wonders why I'm leaving after less than two years."

THANKS (PRIVATE-SECTOR VERSION) Pilot fish is caught in a wave of cost-cutting layoffs. Eleven months later, she gets the fattest profit-sharing check she's ever seen from her ex-employer and a note from the new CEO, thanking the worker bees for how profitable the company is now.

COMPANY COMPTROLLER is so upset he calls pilot fish CIO to drive across town and collect him from another office. What's wrong? pilot fish asks. Alarmed comptroller saw a clerk making copies of a supposed-to-be-private memo he'd written. How come? "We do it all the time," she said. She needed scrap paper, so she took the trashed memo from the wastebasket to manufacture some at the copier.

PAD THIS Company with special project in mind hires veteran software developer pilot fish. Pilot fish writes 60-page technical document laying out design, milestones, 18-month time line for the job. Too long, the boss says. Pilot fish goes back to the drawing board, squeezes it down to 15 months. A few weeks into the project, pilot fish gets "adjusted" time line - now just nine months. Why?

Says the boss: "Programmers always pad their schedules."

Y2K-PLUS-10-WEEKS and counting: Pilot fish John Koskinen (yeah, the Y2k czar) reports he rented a car last weekend in North Carolina and got slapped with a $10 charge for being an underage driver. "The system thinks you were born in 2039," the clerk told him.

Tell Sharky your life story: If it's printable, you wear a Shark T-shirt. And dive daily into

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