Many a moon ago (nearly two years), I had a funny and somewhat sad email exchange with a co-worker named Matt. We had a lot of exchanges along these lines, and in a fashion atypical of this blog I wanted to share this one.
The situation: I made a mistake on a set of Release Notes and he let me know he’d corrected it.
Me: Aaaargh. Sorry about that. Getting sloppy in my old age.
Matt: Don’t sweat it. I’ll send corrections when I come across them. If this was the only thing wrong with any release notes I get, I’d be a happy man.
Me: Thanks…but wait, you forgot the protocol:
First, you’re supposed to storm around the IT department looking for me, waving a piece of paper in your hand (not even the release notes, but it just looks good), wondering where I am. Saying things like “Where’s Rob? He’s never here! And his release notes are screwed up again! He always does this!”
Then, when you’ve made at least 2 or 3 laps around the office, sit down and send an email to me, cc-ing my boss, his boss, his boss, and the CEO explaining professionally and politely how I’ve once again screwed up the release notes.
Wasn’t this explained to you at orientation?
Matt: Ha ha. Ouch. That hits a little too close to home. Sit down here while I spin a yarnâ€¦
At the last place I worked, I tried the consulting thing. Big financial place in Pasadena. [Company name here], don’t ever work there.
I was hired as the Change Management guy, but I was not cleared to have the password to the source control server because of ‘security concerns.’ They considered the source control server a production server.
So here’s how it went: I need to change the permissions on a project. I fill out a form and send it to IT. They put a typo in the permissions file for the project, which makes the project unreadable. Everyone gets locked out of source control. IT runs around telling everyone how inept I am (same vision of a guy running around with a random piece of paper in his hand, combover flapping in the breeze.) I can’t log into the server to see the mistake but I’m smart enough to know by the error messages what happened. They roll back the changes. Tell everyone they ‘fixed’ the thing I broke. I’m forced to re-submit the same exact request again, which they get right this time.
This same kind of thing happened about every week. I’ll never again make the coin I was making there as a consultant, but I walked out on that contract a month early, with no job prospects, and did the jobless thing for a month and a half (a side effect of having low expenses, too much capital, and opportunities to play hockey in the middle of the day. Ha ha.)