Curmudgeon, Revisited

A while back, I mentioned the value of keeping an IT Curmudgeon around the office. Due to recent events, I must now amend that post.

At the time I wrote that, I was working in an office with one and only one such person and immediate evidence matched my past experience.  However, I have now spent two months working in an environment where there were two such people.  Specifically, these two were on opposite sides of me and their preferred method of communication was to yell to each other loud enough to cover the 15 feet that separated them.  You are probably starting to feel my pain now.

The last two months have been spent listening to these two complain about how standards are not what they used to be, Specs are not properly divided in accordance with guidelines from 1985.  The voluminous merits of fixed-width flat files.  Everything in .Net is so much more difficult than it was in COBOL.  Of course, those mainframes and mini’s were laid out so nicely, making it easy to find programs.  Naturally, text editing was far superior on a mini as well.  Oh, and do you remember when the AS400 came out??? Now THERE was a machine that shook the world … and so on … for two months … 8 to 10 hours per day.

If your office is equipped with two or more such people, do not place them in close proximity to one another.  Doing so afflicts all people within earshot with IT Reminiscence Aural Syndrome that cripples morale, creativity and productivity.  ITRAS also can damage hearing as those in nearby cubicles have been known to increase the volume on their IPODs to unsafe levels in the hope of blocking out the non-stop stream of I.T. Tall Tales and Legends.

Make sure that any and all curmudgeons in your organization are separated by as many layers of acoustic insulation as is available.  If they are not allowed to communicate audibly then their overall damage is diminished greatly.   If you won’t separate them for yourself then do it for the others around them.

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