Did anyone else read that as "Virgin Obit"?
1277 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Jan 2010
Many years ago I was working for the consultancy arm of a large OS supplier. We were working at the head office of an insurance company and our team occupied half a floor of the tower block.
One morning an officious person from HR appeared, shoving papers in front of everyone present and demanding they sign them "at once" on pain of being escorted from the building.
Our boss intercepted her as she was about half way round the room. He took the remaining papers from her and read one while she got more and more annoyed.
He eventually handed back the papers saying, "You clearly are unaware who we are or what we are doing. Please gather up the rest of the papers, then go and do some basic research."
She didn't return.
"So what would happen if there was an actual air raid at noon on the first Wednesday of the month?"
I worked in a building where on one occasion a fire in the switchroom had been discovered by the person sent there to do the weekly fire alarm test.
There was apparently some difficulty getting people to evacuate the building, so the rules were changed. When I worked there everyone now had to leave the building when the alarm went off - unless told not to by the fire wardens.
Reminds me of the report into a "spotting" autogyro designed to be towed by a WWI U-boat. The report noted that in an emergency the U-boat crew would cut the towing cable and crash dive.
"The autogyro would then descend into the water and the observer would drown in the usual manner."
I suspect that historians in the next millennium may well consider the current era as a new "Dark Age", given that almost every piece of data is now held in digital form, and as such is essentially ephemeral.
I was once asked to write a brief history of a company founded in the late nineteenth century. This was a relatively straightforward task as their cellars were stuffed with ledgers recording the minutes of every board meeting and transaction they had held. The problem was mainly deciding what to leave out.
Today we have systems that retain documents only for the length of time they are needed, in some cases this is even a legal requirement. Very little of day to day life is accidentally saved for posterity. Why backup data you no longer need?
Not all written records survive, of course, but it is easy to delete digital records, while old minute books remain in the storeroom. Just try finding that picture you took with your last phone but three* ...
A thousand years from now, archaeologists will be carefully excavating landfill sites trying to find out what 21st Century life was really like. While popular TV programs will show network technicians in overalls oiling rack after rack of diesel powered servers, in their high concrete towers.
* I remember uploading it, just before the cloud company went bust.
This whole episode will no doubt feature in some future textbook as an example of how NOT to organise an evacuation.
Reading the story here and elsewhere only emphasises the utter disconnect between the frantic efforts of people at the sharp end, and those seated comfortably in the upper echelons of Whitehall, demanding that their procedures must be followed.
That the evacuation of dogs from an animal rescue charity was prioritised ahead of people who had actively put their lives on the line, is frankly unbelievable. (Did I read that right, or have I misunderstood something?)
There should be resignations ... but there won't be.
"... place reserved in Hell ..."
He may not get in - they have standards too.
Garg: I have a reservation.
Demonic Maitre D: "Ah Mr Garg. No, you had a reservation."
D: "Yes 'had' - The Big Boss cancelled it."
D: "There were complaints. A number of denizens objected to your admittance. Even Vlad the Impaler thought your methods inhumane."
G: "This is ridiculous. I demand you find somewhere to seat me."
D: (sighs) "Very well." (dials phone) "Vlad? - Good, have you got a moment? ..."
I worked on contract for a company that was taken over by a US corporation.
After several months of "onward to the glorious future" style presentations, a whole company meeting was arranged in a local sports hall so the new owners could address the workforce.
The visiting US team unexpectedly announced that they were shutting down the whole UK operation, making everyone redundant.
Evidently surprised by the reception their announcement received, one of the visitors suggested to the UK boss, (who was also seated on the platform), that "Security" needed to be summoned.
He pointed out that this was unnecessary as the group of large men who had just described the visitors as "callous bastards*", were in fact "Security".
The visitors left very shortly afterwards for the airport - at speed - in a car with four flat tyres.
* Not an exact quotation
"For some years I was suing about one company per week for non-payment of bills issued by my small (partnership) business ..."
I sympathise with you deeply, having just gone through something similar myself.
In my case one of a particular company's ex-employees* explained that the company concerned was having cash-flow problems and the boss had simply decided not to pay invoices below a certain value.
This was on the cynical basis that it would cost their supplier more to start legal action than the value of their invoice, and most small firms would simply write off the money instead.
When (as in my case) they received legal papers, they simply apologised for their oversight and paid up before the case was heard.
* There were several redundancies once the furlough money stopped.
No degree here - left school at 15 with no qualifications of any sort. Straight into an apprenticeship, local Tech and night-school. Consequently I have multiple City & Guilds type qualifications, but most agencies and HR people haven't even heard of them, let alone know if they're relevant.
Apparently I also didn't have the "necessary technical knowledge" to modify a piece of hardware I designed and built 25 years ago.
True, I don't have <current-buzzword> on my CV, but I do have <previous-buzzword> from when the technique was called that 20 years ago. Oh and it didn't work then either.
I'm so glad not to have to deal with agencies now that I'm "retired" - and busier than ever...
A spectacular demonstration of the attitude control systems keeping the pointed end up and the hot end down. Nobody hammered home the sensors on this one.
They also avoided having to do a major clean up of the environment and launch pad by letting it continue until it was over one of the marine exclusion zones.
So a good call all round - have several of these ...
Sounds good - I mean what could possibly go wrong...
"... engineers mindset ..."
Very similar to the scientific method.
In the early days of exoplanet research there was a press conference at which a research team announced that they had calculated the "year" of an exoplanet at 365.25 days.
There was a pause, after which the team leader said something along the lines of:
This is either a staggering coincidence, or we have got something wrong. We have checked our data many times and cannot find an error. Our research is all published on line and we would be most grateful if somebody could please point out where we messed up.
Many years ago it was quite common to sort out development issues while chatting at the water cooler, or during a smoking break for that matter.
Unfortunately the efficiency of this practice was not generally understood by the numerous managers brachiating though the corporate tree.
It appears they believed that if the minions were talking they were not working, and that such issues could only be sorted out by endless scheduled meetings anyway.
I'm not sure which part of this is the most bizarre:
- A supplier of nuisance call-blocking systems doesn't understand that a cold call made without the recipient's explicit consent is a nuisance call.
- The sole director of the company bought the contact list from a liquidated marketing company they used to be the sole director of.
A friend wrote to her MP responding to one of the government's consultation invitations, politely expressing her reasoned opinion on the subject.
She received a reply thanking her for her comments, and a glossy booklet explaining the government's view on the subject, and why she was completely wrong.
That's the sort of thing that happens when your MP is also the PM.