Or maybe the boss was a Priority 1 user


Flashback a few decades: This pilot fish works for a big government agency, and there's only one option when it comes to using a computer.

"We would run our punchcards through our mainframe's card reader and the job would run depending on the priority assigned," says fish. "We could choose a number of job priorities, depending on how fast we wanted the job to be executed, but the lowest -- and cheapest -- was Priority 1, which was supposed to run after 6 p.m. in the evening.

"Well, we discovered that for some reason the Priority 1 jobs could run as early as 1 p.m. on the day they were submitted, and at a considerable savings over higher priorities. The best part was not having to wait overnight.

"I and another computer operator studied the situation. We finally discovered that, for some reason, the mainframe was set to GMT -- five hours ahead of our local time.

"There things remained until we found out that the agency would award 10 percent of the savings gleaned from any problem users reported. Priority 1 jobs running ahead of time certainly fit the bill, so we reported it.

"Priority 1 jobs began running at their appointed and correct time, and we...well, we never saw any of that money. The agency probably decided our 10 percent award could come out of the substantial number of jobs we ran at Priority 1 during regular working hours."

Sharky's number-one priority is getting your true tale of IT life. Send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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