Remember, it's not blackmail if it's mutual

This pilot fish is brought in temporarily to cover for a developer who's on medical leave. "The client was a testing and design facility for lighting products, like street and stadium lights," says fish. "The company would measure the light output of various bulbs, then design custom reflectors and enclosures for maximum use.

"To do a lot of the work, they had the latest and greatest CAD/CAM workstations on the market. The consoles were in a special clean room with perfect temperature and humidity.

"The system I was working on was having a problem, so I needed to look up the error messages. The books were kept in the air trap to the CAD/CAM area to take advantage of the good air. No one was allowed in there without permission, and the books had to stay in there.

"But it was Friday afternoon and no one was around, so I went into the trap and grabbed the book and started to head back downstairs to fix my problem. As I was sneaking out, I looked over at the consoles, and there was Barney, a designer, using the multimillion-dollar machine to layout an invitation to his keg party that night.

"He looked up and saw me staring, holding my manual. We held each other's gaze for a second.

"Then I said, 'I won't tell if you won't!' He said 'Deal!' -- and I scurried out."

Here's Sharky's deal: Send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com, and I'll send you 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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