Consulting like it's 1999

It's a year before Y2K, and this company is getting desperate to make sure all its workstations and its aging mainframe will make it to the year 2000, reports a pilot fish there.

"My department was charged to spend 1999 checking every machine in the building for Y2K compliance, and the programmers were charged with insuring all code was Y2K compliant," fish says.

"My manager was in full panic mode due to all the Y2K infomercials she had seen, and in April she hired a consultant to come in and give a speech to our department. The consultant gave the usual gloom-and-doom talk about Y2K and then asked were there any questions."

Fish raises his hand. You stated that part of the problem could include microwave ovens in our cafeteria, he says. Is that true?

Consultant: "Yes, it could!"

Fish: In my experience, I've never seen anyone program a microwave to cook more than a few minutes. Why would the microwave stop working in the year 2000? Do you know a microwave that allows you to put in a date to start cooking, such as 04/17/99?

Consultant: "Uhh...let me get back to you on that. Next question?"

Fish again: You stated that the elevators might stop working. Our elevators work using relay switches. Why would they stop working?

Consultant: "Uhh...let me get back to you. Next question?”

Fish: You stated that some people are planning to fill their tubs up with water. Water simply flows from a town's central water tank through pipes due to gravity. Are you saying Y2K could affect gravity?

"At that point, my manager's eyes bugged and she motioned me to shut up," says fish. "After the meeting she took me to her office where she began telling me I needed to take this seriously, that we were facing a worldwide crisis where planes could fall out of the sky!

"I told her I was taking it seriously, but no competent engineer would design a plane that would suddenly stop working completely due to a Y2K glitch -- there were backup systems to prevent this. I finally said I would keep my mouth shut in the future, but I'd bet that less than 10 incidents worldwide would be reported on Y2K night.

"After New Year's, my boss avoided me all that week."

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