So we have to install some phones in the new area. The phone people are coming in two days. As such, we have to make a few changes to the network the night before. Per policy, we announce we’re going to shut down the network at 5pm on the following evening.
You’d have thought I was going to sacrifice puppies at noon and broadcast it to the entire company.
Marketing: “It’s not convenient for us right now. What do you think about next week?”
Payroll: “You know, tomorrow’s not good. How about the next day or any other day?”
Accounting: “I don’t know if you know this or not, but some people stay late. I work til 7:30. Mrs Smith works sometimes til 9. You need to take this into consideration.“
Sales: “There’s no specific problem – we just don’t like it. In fact, we’re going over your head and talking to your boss to make you stop.”
We had to place a quick call to Henry Kissinger to get this small situation straightened out. Henry eventually got things together but swore to me that he’d never worked with such impossible fuckers in his entire career. He couldn’t wait to get back to the relative tranquility of Iraq.
An hour before shutdown, we sent out a reminder. There was total radio silence and not a peep on the floor. At about Five, we pulled the plug.
You have never heard anything like the hue and cry that emanated from the un-merry men (and women) with whom we work. After two days of notices, the shutdown came as a total shock to almost everyone.
People were pulling us by our shirts to their desks, demanding to know why their computers didn’t work. We asked them if they had read the email.
(ok, that was fairly predictable, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen)
After repeatedly explaining (and dispensing of copious quantities of Valium), we got most of the shock and surprise dealt with, leaving us free to get to our actual work. It was a good thing, too, because the entire sales department was having a meeting with my boss. My boss loves meetings. He never met a meeting he didn’t want to attend (or prolong). The only thing he loves more than meetings is more meetings. And sales presentations. But only the ones with blinky graphics and slick salesmen.
As we coordinated our watches and yanked wires, we overheard General Jean, outside the door, going into one of her trademarked General Jean Rants<tm>. It usually starts with the generic `They should not have done this. If They were going to do it, They should have done it THIS way. I always do it THIS way. I used to do that, years ago. I always did things right – not like THESE guys. Why when I did that, I did it with DOS, but we don’t have DOS now. They think Windows is so great, but you didn’t have to reboot DOS.’ Eventually General Jean starts foaming at the mouth and has to be put back in her box.
The job got done in short order, long before the echoes of the bitching had subsided.
The next day my boss begged me never to do that again. Among other things, Sales told him we severed the internet connection for the next week (don’t ask), mutilated Marketing’s mothers, and deliberately conspired to deprive people of their work time (after work hours).
My boss was quite shocked to learn that we had not indeed set fire to the building and apologized profusely for ever doubting us.
Meanwhile, I’m left wondering WHAT IN THE UNIVERSE DO THEY EXPECT ME TO DO – come to their houses to personally remind them of a pending outage? Schedule outages between the hours of 3:41 and 3:42 Sunday morning? Even then someone would complain that we were depriving them of their livelihood.
Anyone can work for a company that prizes and develops individualism. Our company prizes and develops entitlement.