How NOT to get the most out of training


This mainframe application is being migrated to Unix, and for once that means the mainframer responsible for it isn't getting the chop, reports a pilot fish on the scene.

"He knew nothing about Unix, but really knew the existing application and was very well liked by the business users," says fish. "I always wondered how he kept his job -- maybe he had photographs or something.

"Anyway, the company sent him away for a total of six weeks of training on Unix, shell scripting, editing, C programming and Oracle SQL. Then he returned to the existing application on the mainframe.

"Six months later, the new application was ready. Data was migrated, the old application was shut down, and this guy was expected to support the new application on the Unix system.

"Of course, since he hadn't used any of the Unix-related skills since attending training, he'd largely forgotten the material.

"So for a long time, he'd holler my name over the cubicle wall and ask a question like 'How do I do a GENER on Unix?' -- the IBM mainframe utility IEBGENER is used to copy files.

"Being fluent in both systems, I'd holler back 'man cp.'"

Sharky is fluent in true tales of IT life. Send me yours at You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

Get your daily dose of out-takes from the IT Theater of the Absurd delivered directly to your Inbox. Subscribe now to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

The march toward exascale computers
View Comments
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies