Flashback to the 1990s, when this pilot fish is working on a long-term contract at a big corporation.
"One Saturday, I was scheduled to come in to the data center and monitor a special, once-a-year payroll job that would need about four hours to complete," says fish.
"And it was critical that it finish early that afternoon, so the output could be delivered to the post office before 5 p.m."
Fish starts the job running, and everything goes fine for about two hours. Then he suddenly loses his connection to the mainframe.
He makes a call or two and soon confirms that the network is down. Since several of the final steps in this job are dependent on the network to complete, this is a problem.
Fish makes a few more calls and finally tracks down the network administrator on duty. Why is the network down? fish asks.
Net admin replies that he always takes the network down at 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays to run weekly maintenance, and that the network will be available again in four hours.
That's no good, fish tells him. This special job I'm running is time critical, and your boss has signed off on keeping the network available until operations is notified that the special job was finished.
But the net admin is adamant: His schedule is sacred and nobody has the authority to change it.
Fish tries once again to appeal to the net admin's reasonableness. No luck.
Reports fish: "I then politely explained to him that the job I was running was to calculate and print annual bonus payroll checks for 180,000 employees all over the country. And that if he wanted to take the chance that none of the angry employees whose checks would be late would locate his home address and/or phone number, he was welcome to keep his schedule since, as a contractor, my name wasn't on any of those checks.
"Ten minutes later, the network was restored."
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