Success at last!

This pilot fish changes jobs, moving from a small software company to a large state college -- and there's a bit of culture shock.

"It was summertime, which means daily thunderstorms in this part of the country," says fish. "Daily thunderstorms mean daily power interruptions. It didn't take long to discover that none of the computers in the IT department had battery backups.

"This surprised me, as the small company I'd come from had been using battery backups since the 1980s."

So fish asks around, finds out it's the hardware manager who's in charge of providing equipment and asks him for a UPS. "Sure," the guy says cheerfully, "it will just take a few days."

Several months later, there's still no battery backup.

Seasons pass, and fish occasionally repeats his request. Hardware manager always gives the same answer: It'll just take a few days. Eventually fish falls back to just asking once a year, and still always gets the same response -- and the same result.

"I had long since brought in my own battery backup from home," fish says. "But I didn't like the idea of using my own personal equipment to supplement the college's hardware."

Eventually the cheerful-but-unhelpful hardware manager completes his Ph.D. studies. His reward for his efforts: a promotion. Fish's reward for his patience: a new hardware manager.

Not feeling very hopeful, fish asks the new guy for a UPS. Hardware manager replies, "We are making a lot of expensive purchases right now, but I think I can squeeze a UPS into the budget. Just give me a month or two."

Within a few weeks, fish learns what those "expensive purchases" are: Everyone in IT is getting a laptop. And with a laptop's built-in battery, there's no real need for an external backup power supply.

"A month after getting my laptop, the new hardware manager delivered my long-awaited battery backup," says fish.

"Despite the irony of the situation, I smiled and gratefully thanked him. After all, he had done in weeks what his predecessor couldn't do in years."

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