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Oh yeah

With the nation in the midst of a financial crisis, pilot fish is hired to run reports on the closing down and merging of financial institutions. His predecessor in the job is there for a few days to show him the ropes, but he has family commitments and is eager to be gone. One thing he tells fish on his way out the door is to check in with one of the managers. With no context, fish takes that to be a nice-to-do-if-you-have-time, not a gotta-do.

So fish gets to work. The financial data for the reports is stored on a mainframe, but the mainframe reports aren’t in the format the managers want. Fish downloads the data, imports it into PC database software, and runs a custom report to match the summary report from the mainframe. First month, everything looks good. Second month, less so, but a tweak fixes it. Third month, much further off. Managers are seriously not happy.

Fish goes to the mainframe people and gets the detailed data files and detailed mainframe reports. After much puzzlement and embarrassment, he asks around. Turns out the logic used in the calculations can change from month to month, and monthly report pages are distributed with occasional calculation changes. The person who distributes the updates tells fish, “Oh yeah, I guess you should get this, too.”

It’s a tad late, though. Fish is fired the next day.

This is a gotta-do for you: Send Sharky your true tales of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.