Such as ... showing up?

Things aren't going so well at this pilot fish's current job, so he begins looking for another employer, working as a either a programmer or a junior database admin.

"I found a local insurance company that was advertising for a SQL reporting guy, so I applied," says fish. "I heard back from them, saying that the reporting position was filled, but they had a position open for a junior DBA. Would I be interested?"

Sure, fish replies. After a little back and forth with the IT manager, Mr. Smith, they set up a 7 a.m. interview for the following Friday morning. Fish is to call Smith at his work extension when he arrives, because the receptionist doesn't get in until 8 a.m.

But the following Thursday after work, fish gets a call from his wife, who says she doesn't think it's a good idea for fish to work there. She's done her Internet homework, and there are many complaints about the company: agents receiving really old sales leads, staff treated poorly, an unfriendly atmosphere in the IT department, and a Better Business Bureau rating of "F."

Fish decides to go in anyway, just to see what the place was like. So the next morning, fully business-suited fish arrives at the front door of the business at 6:52 a.m. As instructed, he calls Smith's extension from his car -- and gets voice mail informing him that Smith is unavailable. He leaves a message saying he has arrived and mentioning the time.

At 7 a.m. he calls again. Still voice mail.

Fish gets out of his car and paces around near the front door until 7:07 a.m., when a woman comes out and asks if she can help him. Fish explains that he has an interview with Mr. Smith. She says Smith isn't in, but his boss is. Maybe he can help.

While fish waits in the lobby, he does the math: He's 15 minutes from home. Before getting in to his regular job at the normal time, he'll have to go home first and change into the usual business-casual clothes. That means he can afford to wait until 7:15.

When 7:15 has come and gone, so has fish.

At 7:22, he gets a call on my cell. It's Mr. Smith: "Where are you?"

Fish: "Driving home."

Smith: "Didn't you do as I said?"

Fish: "I called you at 6:53 and your voice mail said you weren't available."

Sighs fish, "I didn't interview there, and I still continue seeing openings there that I won't apply for. Sometimes doing your research about a prospective employer will not only help you learn what the company does, it also can help you learn what the company does badly."

What Sharky does is tell true tales of IT life. Send me your story at You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

The Best of Shark Tank includes more than 70 tales of IT woe submitted by you, our readers, since 1999. Which all goes to prove, conclusively, that hapless users and idiotic bosses are indeed worldwide phenomena. Free registration is all that's needed to download The Best of Shark Tank (PDF).

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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