Sometimes all you have to do is look around

It's just past Y2k, and this pilot fish is a newly hired manager at a medium-size construction company in the UK.

"The chairman hired me on the basis that one of my first jobs was to reduce head count," says fish.

"Soon after starting, I ventured to the top floor to find a team of some eight to ten women who sat behind big, old-fashioned adding machines -- the mechanical type that involved punching buttons and then cranking a huge lever to move to the next line. Each machine also cranked out a paper roll with the addition neatly typed.

"Asking the obvious question, I was informed that these women were employed to check the adding-up of invoices, estimates and all other cost-related info, just in case anyone made any arithmetic errors.

"My next question was to clarify that the company had indeed been using Excel for nearly three years for all cost work.

"My first key performance indicator was met that day..."

Sharky's performance depends on you -- specifically, sending your true tale of IT life to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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