IT War Stories

Having worked in IT for over 36 years, I have a lot of war stories.  I suppose every profession does.  We tell these at lunches and over drinks after work, to reassure one another that our experience means something.  I don't know why we need this reassurance, because we can see that every day from the situations we can understand and solve in minutes when someone less experienced might need weeks.  But we seem to need it, all the same.  So here's one such story:

At my second job we had four mainframes and three high-speed line printers.  Weekly, the line printers would crank out a series of almost a hundred report jobs, consuming boxes and boxes of 11x17 green-bar paper.  These reports would get distributed all over the company.  We didn't know if anyone really needed them, but they had Always Been Done That Way.  Ahem.  One day I said half-jokingly to the manager, let's put a $10 check made out to Bearer in the middle of each report, and a note saying to cash it with our compliments.  Just send an email that you were the one who actually read the report.

Out of 90+ checks, 14 were ever cashed.  We stopped printing the rest of the reports, and never got one complaint.

Tell your war stories in the comments.  Have a drink while you type, but please don't spill beer in the keyboard or you'll be the topic of another such story.

This article was updated on May 9, 2023

David F