October 30th, 2005, 12:46 AM
You know, the gross something-or-other file
Company controller is in a panic. He can't do the month-end close without some crucial database information, he tells IT director pilot fish -- and it's gone missing.
"Turns out that the only way he knows to run that database as part of month-end close is to click on the recently used files when he opens Microsoft Access," says fish. "He has no idea where the file is, nor exactly what it's called. It is just the 'gross something-or-other or something like that.'
"I try to track it down. I do see the shortcut on his desktop, which I had set up, for the previous incarnation of this file. But it goes to a deleted folder."
Fish has his team search the controller's hard drive. No luck. They search the server. No luck. When controller storms into fish's office and demands that fish retrieve the file from backup tapes, fish says he'd be happy to -- if the controller can just tell him the name of the file. No luck.
"I tell him in no uncertain terms that he should have properly documented this procedure, including the file name, and set up a correct shortcut so that we could track where he would go to find this file," fish says. "He blames me because I fixed this database for him eight months ago, so I should know everything about it."
That's how things stand when fish hands off the problem to his staff so he can make his own scheduled meeting with the company president.
When he returns, the problem is solved.
"I see my staff member ordering Chinese as part of the accounting department lunch," fish reports. "Apparently, I am not invited.
"It seems that he found a very old shortcut and tracked it to the same deleted folder in the controller's My Documents directory. Going to the tapes, he retrieved this folder and the three other crucial month-end databases. No one knows how this folder was deleted in the past month.
"I suggested to my staff member that he order the most expensive item on the menu -- and see if they can do Sesame Crow for the controller."
Haphazard wasn't really so bad, was it?
Annual reviews have always been pretty haphazard in the IT shop where this pilot fish works. But finally a new manager arrives with a much more organized approach.
"I'd never met him, and many of my co-workers were in the same boat," says fish. "But one month before the traditional start of the 'review season,' we were told we'd be invited to his office to do a peer review of our team members."
Now that's leadership, fish thinks. The new boss realizes the IT staff members know each other better than he possibly could this early on.
And when fish goes in for his peer-review meeting, he gives glowing reviews to all his teammates. "I hoped they'd do the same for me, of course," fish says, "because they really were such a great bunch of guys."
Three weeks later, fish walks in to discover three shocks. One: The company is laying off 20% of the workforce.
Two: Fish's head is one of those on the block.
And the third shock is the source of information for selecting candidates for layoff.
Reports fish glumly, "It was peer reviews."
\"The only truly secure system is one that is powered off, cast in a block of concrete and sealed in a lead-lined room with armed guards - and even then I have my doubts\".....Spaf
Everytime I learn a new thing, I discover how ignorant I am.- ... Black Cluster