How to win through intimidation...not so much

This financial services company has settled a government lawsuit by agreeing to change its billing practices by a certain date -- one that's steadily approaching, says a pilot fish in the loop.

"The new billing would require a totally new system," fish says. "New hardware had been discussed, but nothing was finalized.

"The Unix system administrator -- who wore many hats -- was in a meeting with the director in charge of the billing systems, discussing the new hardware.

"The director asked, 'When will the new hardware for the billing system be installed?'

"'Installed?' the sysadmin asked. 'It isn't even ordered yet. When do you need this?'

"The director gave him some unreasonable date.

"Sysadmin said, 'There's no way to get the hardware by then. We don't have an order, no purchase order, and no funds allocated to write the purchase order!'

"Director pointed to the sysadmin and said, 'If the server isn't installed by that date, somebody will be fired!'

"Sysadmin got up and said, 'Oh, OK, I guess I should go update my resume. There's no way the vendor will be able to deliver the server in time.'

"Director, flustered and backpedaling, said, 'No! No! I didn't mean you!'"

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