See, we CAN get along after all!

IT pilot fish is asked to take over a small project that hasn't made any progress in two years in the hands of a guy who just can't seem to find time for it.

"Fred is sort of the office blowhard, and while I do believe he is competent within his skill set, he never seems to be very busy -- he always has time to run errands and take long lunch breaks," fish says.

"But when asked about his weekly status, he whines about his workload and how unstructured the overall company is."

The project is fairly straightforward -- a simple installation of a vendor's product and writing of a user manual -- and Fred has supposedly already made progress on the manual.

But when fish asks him about it, Fred tells fish that he's way too busy to look for what he's already done. And when fish points out he has a deadline, Fred replies, "The fact that you have a deadline does not make an emergency for me!"

So fish begins working his way through the software and starting the manual-writing from scratch.

A few days later, fish's phone rings. It's Fred, asking for access to one of the database servers that fish is in charge of so Fred can run a query for data that an executive wants.

Fish tells him, "Gee, Fred, I'd love to do that, but I'm way too busy working on this manual for my own deadline!"

Immediately a message pops up on Fish's screen via the company's instant-messaging system: "THE VICE PRESIDENT IS STANDING RIGHT OUTSIDE MY CUBICLE WAITING FOR THIS DATA!!!"

Fish IMs back: "The fact that YOU have a problem does not make an emergency for ME. I'm too busy working on this manual!"

Within seconds, an email appears in fish's in-box -- with the draft of the manual attached.

Reports fish, "It was not complete, but enough to knock out a good part of my work. I said over the phone, 'Hey, what do you know! Looks like I have some time freed up!' and granted him the access he needed.

"Another instant message popped up: 'Well played, @#$%!'

"Surprisingly, we got along well after that."

Sharky's hoping you can free up some time to tell your story. Send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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