Friday, September 5, 2014

Workplace Poem #2

"We could pull the whole table from the external system
and then process the records locally"
As the words left my mouth I could feel the focus
of the room shift to me like
a giant magnifying glass overhead
and all discussion came to a grinding halt
My mouth, oblivious to the screaming of my higher brain
continued in a feeble attempt to encourage others
to speak by providing an example
"It's only ten thousand records"

The silence roared through the conference room
rattling the ductwork and stifling the
insectile hum
of the fluorescent lights overhead
Most everyone looked confused and some were annoyed
and even the office manager
who was delivering the tray of cookies
seemed uncomfortable

The meeting had started well with plenty of banter
and talk of who was to write the specs
and who would maintain the task list
and who was to get the customers on board
with the whole thing
But then there was the simple question
the perceived roadblock with a solution that seemed
to be standing in front of them all
waiting stunned by their obtusity
and I had to go and say it

There was enough dead air to let me know I was only an intern
and therefore not qualified to even state a preference as to
which cookie I should eat

"We have to watch how much traffic goes over those lines"
warned the network guy

"If any of that data is at all sensitive we should probably
set up some kind of secure connection"
said the hardware guy
who was also a part-time auditor

Then Larry
who taught himself to program on punch cards
who always wore white poly-cotton short sleeve dress shirts
with 1970s pointy collars and a small cigarette burn on the front
chose to weigh in and everyone (to my relief)
turned to listen

"The processing algorithm is pretty simple
we could dynamically generate the code
and call an RFC on the external box
to have it connect by sftp to retrieve the code
and then process the records and the transfer them
back to our system through a web process
then we can fill the main table with a direct
SQL update"

The discussion started back up with much ebb and flow
the merits of this and the drawbacks of that and
the inherent disastrous pitfalls of the other
and after a while as it died down
and it was pretty clear there was no acceptable solution
the boss
with his shiny tassel loafers that looked like they were
fresh out of the box and never worn and probably cost more than
my annual income ever would be
looked thoughtful for a moment and then got an idea

"Why don't we pull the whole table from the external system
and then process the records locally"

and to my eternal shame
I simply nodded in acknowledgement of his brilliance
like everyone else in the room

[written and posted to Facebook quite a while back]

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