Way back when I worked for my previous employer, who was also my first 'real' employer, I was an eager young engineer, fresh out of college. Our company was, in those days, something of a pioneer in bringing the new-fangled Computer-Aided Design (CAD) stuff into regular use in the wheel industry (our motto: 'Re-Inventing the Wheel Daily') (Yes, I know I used that joke in another post, just recently; sue me). That fancy-schmancy CAD stuff had originated in the Aircraft industry, and was fairly new in the Auto industry, but li'l ol' wheel companies like us hadn't much gotten around to it yet, in those days. So it was a kinda cool time to be working there, and my boss got to go on all sorts of
As it turned out, we settled into a bit of an unusual mix of hardware and software, but it worked well for us. Before long, our CAD system had grown to the point that it was beyond the modest abilities of us engineers to maintain it (besides which, we really wanted to be working on 'engineering stuff', not taking care of a bunch of computer hardware and software), so we decided to hire a 'computer guy' to take care of our CAD system for us. We talked to the IT department (which, in those days, was called 'Data Processing'), to see if they had anyone they could assign to us, who could run our quirky little mix of stuff. They didn't have anyone to fit our needs, so we set about looking for someone who could.
Now, we used to go to all the various and sundry 'User's Conferences' for the hardware and software we were using (which, I suppose, is why they were called 'User's Conferences'), and we would meet other folks who were using the same stuff we were, and we'd get new ideas for how to do things differently/better than we were. It was at one of these User's Conferences that we were talking to a young fellow (even younger than me, and that was back when I was still young) who worked for a company that used the exact same quirky mix of hardware and software that we did, so we could talk to each other with a high degree of familiarity with what each other were doing. At one conference, he told us that he was a bit disillusioned with his employer, and inquired as to whether or not we might have a position for him, since he was already familiar with what we were doing.
Well, that just seemed too good to be true. We had just decided to look for someone who could tend our oddball little CAD system, and here was perhaps the one guy in the United States (or the world, for that matter) who could just walk through our door and do the job, from Day One. So we scheduled a set of interviews for him, barely containing our glee at having found the single, best, perfect guy, before we really even started looking.
So, we brought him in and had him talk to our engineering bosses, and everyone agreed that he was perfect for us, almost like the heavens had opened and dropped him in our laps.
The final interview of the day was with our Data Processing guys, mainly as a courtesy, since his job would actually be a 'computer job', even though he'd be working for Engineering. He spoke with the DP guys, then we all went out to dinner, looking ahead to when he could start working for us, and all the ways he'd help us do stuff better, faster, etc, etc. We all shook hands, and he got back on his plane to head home and wait for our offer.
The next day, all the interviewers got together to discuss the interviews, and come to a consensus on what kind of offer to make him. All of the engineering guys were beaming at the way the perfect guy had just fallen so serendipitously into our laps, but the DP guys were strangely silent. When we asked them what they thought, they said, "He doesn't know COBOL." (At this late date, how many of the elderly among you even remember what COBOL was?)
"So what?" we said. "The job doesn't have anything to do with COBOL. He's a perfect fit for what we need. What's COBOL got to do with anything?"
"Well, we have a corporate hiring policy that all DP employees have to know COBOL. And he'll be a DP employee. He doesn't know COBOL, so we can't hire him."
"But he'll be working in Engineering! We'll do his performance reviews, and all his work will be accountable to us!"
"Doesn't matter. He'll be under our organization, and we can't hire anybody who doesn't know COBOL. If he ever wants to transfer away from Engineering, we'll be stuck with him."
"He can take a COBOL class, if he needs to know COBOL."
"But he doesn't know it now, so we can't hire him."
And so it went, back and forth, around and around, for over an hour. We tried to insist that his job shouldn't be under the DP 'umbrella', and that he should be a direct employee of Engineering, but the DP Manager and his VP insisted that anybody who actually touched a computer was part of the DP organization, and at some point, the Director of Engineering and the Engineering VP gave in on that point, and then the battle was lost.
And that's how the perfect guy CAME TO US, looking for a job, but we didn't hire him, over a policy point that had NOTHING to do with, you know, the actual job (to say nothing of the fact that COBOL was already well on its way into obsolescence by then, and had been for a few years).
Looking back, it had way more to do with corporate politics and internal empire-building, and who had the 'cheese' to tell the other one how things were gonna go, than anything else. I'm sure that, by the time the decision was communicated to our erstwhile would-be employee, he was just as happy not to have come to work for us. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised that, at that point, the company had maybe ten years left in its viable lifetime. . .
Yesterday was a beautiful day around here, what they used to call Indian Summer when I was growing up - it was 65F in the afternoon, just before sunset. I was planning to ride 25-30 miles, but about 5 miles in, I decided that it was so nice that I'd stretch it to 36 (and, you know, you don't get many opportunities to be out in shorts in November, so when they come along, you gotta make the most of 'em). Along with the 25 I rode last weekend, and the 24 I rode on Election Day (which my company very helpfully gave us off), that brought me to 1702 for the year. Oh, yes, I knew exactly how many miles I needed to pass the next milestone; at this time of the year, better to take the miles when you can get them, because you never know when the cold and snow will call the riding season to a screeching halt. I'd have been really frustrated to finish yesterday's ride in the 1690s, and have it snow 6 inches before I could get the last few miles in. And there is snow in the forecast for Monday/Tuesday (it's still pretty rare for it to stay this early, but you never know). So, woo-hoo! and all that. It's been a good year of riding. I don't think 1800 is very likely, but I'll just keep riding, and we'll see where it ends up. . .