Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A stone-age solution for a stone-age problem

Cate is a senior executive in her organization. You ask me how senior. There is Huggy Bear then there is Cate. Sure there are a few on the same line with Cate but trust me she is up there. She has the power of life and death over thousands of people in her far flung domain which spans the globe.

Her importance and eminence is illustrated by the magnificence of her bedroom on her recent visit to India. This was part of her suite where men threw rose petals in her bath and other men stood outside in the garden to keep birds off the flowers - so as not to sully the rose petals. She did not have a Punkah Wallah but could have if she had asked.

One word from her and a man with a Scimitar bursts into an office in Ouagadougou and beheads a recalcitrant lackey who has failed to live up to Cate’s expectations.

The head is shipped to Rozalin in Vienna who has it bronzed and added to Cate’s collection of Bronzed Heads which reside in a glass case on Rosewood Plinths in Cate’s office.

I am sure this is how it works. I may be exaggerating about the Scimitar.

Cate is so important that one on occasion – while she was on the phone - she sent an email to Rozalin – who sits outside her office – asking her to print an email together with a large document attached to it.

Except that Cate inadvertently sent the email and attachment to a man she did not know in the Hong Kong office. This man – realizing that this was obviously a test from on high – to gauge his suitably for promotion – immediately printed the document and express-couriered it back to Cate in Vienna where it arrived the next day.

He sits in Hong Kong today - eagerly awaiting the next challenge.

So Cate is the Bees Knees. Except in matters of IT where -  in this company and indeed every other global company in the world - everyone in the company is regarded as equally as worthless.

Since IT is now one of the most important drivers in every global company – and is so vital for service delivery – for reasons which absolutely defy imagination – the services have all been outsourced to companies which reside in places like Liberia and Zanzibar.

This guarantees that there is never anyone in your time zone to whom you can talk and there is never the remotest possibility that someone connected with your actual business can visit you and look at the problem.

Anyone who knows anything about what you do has been made redundant. The days when you could ring IT and Frank could pop up and have a look at your work station are long gone. Frank now works in Zanzibar. He works part time for the IT company and owns a cocktail bar on the beach with his wife Dolores. Outsourcing has been good for Frank.

Oh Wait! Yes we do have a local representative. Helmut’s Computer Store in Simmering. Oh wait - Helmut is skiing is Schladming this week - but really I can fix the problem just let me take you through a couple of things - have you tried rebooting?


Cate’s PC must have been specially made. I do not believe that in the last 15 years they made PCs with hard disks of 60GB. It seems to be inconceivable. What would be the point. My iPhone has a bigger hard disk than that.

It has – and I am guessing because I have watched it ‘at work’ - a processor to match. Maybe 512K. It could probably run the first generation of ‘Pub Pong’ without missing a beat - but struggles with email.

But we have not yet been able to work out the secret of getting a new computer. This one is clearly and demonstrably fucked. It proves it every day. It is the Colonel Gaddafi of computers. It makes a lot of noise but does bugger all of any use.

Rozalin is tackling the problem and if anyone can solve it she can. If not - I regret that stone-age PC will meet with a stone-age solution because it makes me weep watching Cate doing battle night after night with this steaming piece of crap. We are after all on Level 6 above a lovely cobbled courtyard.


  1. I love the image of the little guy in hong kong rising to the challenge sent him. that is really funny

  2. I want to be Cate when I grow up. Or at least wield that kind of power.

  3. I remember the express courier story :-)

    What about an outsourced IT person that you can actually understand? I don't mean technically, that would be impossible. But do they speak a brand of English that is comprehensible? Perhaps I'm asking too much?!

  4. Glen: His reward will come I am sure.

    Jessica: Yeah. I now know that what you really want to be is a ball player.

    Annie: Far too much. Get over it.