It's a few years ago, and this mainframe programmer gets a job at a big company where he reports to a project manager who's, well, pretty set in his ways.

"This project manager had worked only for that Fortune 500 company, except for the years he was drafted in the 1960s," fish says.

"He had started as a computer operator, mounting tapes and putting fan-fold paper in the printers, before working his way up to project manager."

And as fish soon learns, his boss is the kind of guy who sees no reason to discard a technology that's still working, even if a newer technology is faster.

That attitude eventually creates friction when fish's boss gets a new boss of his own: a woman who has also worked her way up through the ranks. But unlike fish's boss, she sees the value in putting laptop computers into the hands of the sales force and using client/server apps to manage customer relationships.

Within a few years, fish's boss is "retired."

That's when fish gets the task of cleaning out seven big file cabinets in his old boss's office.

And what does he find there? "At least a decade's worth of interoffice memos," sighs fish, "plus just about every company e-mail he had ever received -- all printed out and stamped with his name and the date he received it."

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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