Things I am not allowed to do any more

[About three quarters of these are actually true, about half of them are true for /me/.]

I am not permitted to replace a cow-orker’s reference books (including his Knuth, Sedgewick, and C++ reference manuals) with several linear feet of steamy hardback romance novels.

I will not name my variables after nasty tropical diseases, or executives who are under indictment for fraud.

Elevators are not toys, nor should they ever be wired into the corporate net.

It is not allowed to put the Halo 3 Master Chief into a gingham dress, or to give him cheerleader pom-poms, or attach flowers to his pulse rifle, as it upsets the Bungie people when they visit.

Yelling “Fire in the hole!” whenever I make a checkin is not team building.

Claiming a feature in a planning meeting by declaring “I’m going to rub my nuts all over that” is right out.

Using “butthead” in a reply-to-all email is not allowed, even if everyone is in agreement.

I will not refer to the head of corporate research as a “lamer,” especially when he is in the same stairwell when I utter this.

I will not paste labels onto the after-hours HVAC buttons, especially if they read “Eject,” “Arm,” or “Detonate.”

Lasers are for pointing, and that’s it.

I am not allowed to have a bucket of paint in the building.

Nor any power tools, especially if they have blades.

I shall not place a supply of “Sharpie” permanent markers in any whiteboard trays.

Cuckoo clocks are not allowed in the executive conference room.

The elves in the lobby’s “winter holiday” display must remain unmolested.

I am not allowed to have a cup of coffee resting nearby any essentially irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind, multi-tens-of-thousands-of-dollars circuit boards I have been asked to write code for.

Spinning cow-orkers in their chairs until they throw up is now forbidden.

Since I am red-green color-blind, I am not permitted to do wiring, pick resistors, or choose office carpet.

I must not check in a new memory manager two hours before going on an overseas vacation.

Tossing computers off the roof is not an accepted form of “stress testing.”

I will not dial someone at random and conference them in to the building’s intercom system.

Motorcycles are not allowed in the CEO’s office, even if it’s 2AM and he’s not there. Starting the engine is also not permitted.

I am not allowed to put a “logout” command in someone’s “.login” file.

Author: landon

My mom thinks I'm in high tech.

39 thoughts on “Things I am not allowed to do any more”

  1. I used to enjoy naming all of my variables very appropriate variable names… just not appropriate for the data they actually contained.

  2. I have actually done some of these things at my FORMER job. I replaced the erase board pens with sharpies, logged into all the computers as me then left for vacation, put coffee and other drinks on or near expensive machines and computers, sent a great many emails to corporate directors, supervisors and managers calling them names and not apologizing for it, gluing items to the desks of people I hated, covering cars of people I hated with netting, traffic cones, plastic orange landscaping nets, tossing items off the roof of the building where I worked, tossing out important books, documents, materials, etc. just to piss my managers off and basically just being an asshole. Believe it or not, this is not why I was fired!

  3. Fantastic list. I put most of mine in my farewell email at my last job:

    * When I suggested to a client’s 3rd party vendor that they would “bone us” forcing us to work weekends (which they misheard as “bonus” and had to have clarified)
    * When I discovered the use of sql SHAPE queries would bring a server down instantaneously
    * When I asked [useless coworker] to spend the rest of his time with us sitting quietly
    * Games of Guess the Number related to how much of my billable time was spent in the library
    * The time [coworker 1] and I convinced [coworker 2] his nice new Dell came as a tiny box of broken parts

    N.B., we did not have a library.

  4. “I will not dial someone at random and conference them in to the building’s intercom system.” LOL

    Thanks for the laughs. Congratulations on being irreplaceable enough to be able to build such a list. From the sound of things, the list will grow, too.

  5. Can’t use a label printer to mark the paper shredder as the “Suggestion Box”.

    Can’t allow internal documents criticizing a circuit board manufacturer for their crummy work in very frank language to ‘accidentally’ slip into the pile of circuit boards headed back to said vendor…

  6. Pretty funny. Many of these are still sort of allowed where I work. Hey, I couldn’t get the RSS feed stuff to work. Might want to check it.

  7. *snort*

    When I was a computer machine room operator (back in the days when mainframes were king) we were ALWAYS doing stunts like putting ‘logout’ in people’s login files.

    In the early days of more distributed computing, when the students would forget that quitting the window manager was not the same as logging out, other students would get creative. When it started getting malicious some utter genius created an internal newsgroup called “i-left-myself-logged-in” so people would then simply post to there from the account. There were even scripts lying around — “HI! I’m $NAME and Here’s the listing of all the files in my account! `ls -l` ” (etc.)

  8. Brilliant.

    As far as there being other lists, there’s such a thing as parallel thought patterns out there, and, IMO, he deserves credit for being such an amazing reject.

  9. To remove Sharpie from the whiteboard, simply write over the sharpie with the erasable markers let dry and erase!

  10. > new memory manager two hours before going on an overseas vacation

    I once worked where someone did a half-finished disc configuration before leaving on 2 weeks holiday. He didn’t even leave a note about what he had done and what remained to be done.

  11. Love the “Yelling “Fire in the hole!” whenever I make a checkin is not team building.”

    and yes, it does!!

  12. “I am not allowed to put a “logout” command in someone’s “.login” file.”

    This one is such a classic. I remember doing this on a VAX VMS mainframe to anyone that left their session opened.

    My other favorite geek prank was redirecting the display in X11, sending a JPEG and watching the guy looking around the room for the culprit.

  13. Does this mean I won’t see any comments from you like this one?

    GENERAL_FAILURE equ 0x01 ; And his sidekick, Captain Catastrophe

    (From dim memory of Atari ST BIOS listings long trashed)

  14. I’m with Eric. It’s a checklist. One of the latter items, should it be used that way, ought to reference creation and propagation of an updated resume, though.

  15. I will not turn “It’s a Small World” song playing cards into torture devices and place them under cow workers desks to see how long it takes them to go screaming mad out of the building.

  16. “I will not dial someone at random and conference them in to the building’s intercom system.”

    Oh dear, I’m laughing so hard I have tears rolling down my face and I can barely breathe!

  17. It is not allowed to submit ‘gefilte fish smothered in miracle whip framed in cheezits’ as it’s entry in the Thursday company potluck luncheon.

  18. “I will not dial someone at random and conference them in to the building’s intercom system.”

    Oh, I remember back in high school days, me and a friend dialed a student on one line and the vice headmaster on another line, and when both had answered we patched the lines together. (This was before ordinary PSTN lines used to have conference call capabilities).

  19. >Yelling “Fire in the hole!” whenever I make a checkin is not team building.
    I object! Let me tell you a story.
    I’m 19; all my coworkers are in their mid to late 30s. Partly due to my shyness, and partly due to the generational gap, I had trouble communicating with them, and the quality of our work suffered as a result.
    This all changed when I started doing little things – among others, going “yeah!” whenever I made a checkin. They thought it was cute; I just found it amusing. Since this began, we’ve been able to loosen up around one another, became closer as a team, and now our code kicks ass pretty consistently (at least to our clients – sometimes I’m grateful that they wouldn’t understand the various ugly hacks I’ve had to employ just to meet a deadline).

  20. I will not move the numeric keypad key caps to match my telephone.

    I will not remotely control a cow-orker’s computer and claim they have a virus.

    I will not paperclip a cow-orker’s telephone handset cord ends together and then call them from the boss’ extension.

  21. I will not plug in a second keyboard to a cow-orker’s PC and surreptitiously hit a key on it every time they try to enter their login password.

    I will not put a cow-worker’s monitor upside down on his desk, flip the display in software so it looks “right”, then set his wallpaper to an upside-down screenshot of the Display control panel so it’s still looks ‘wrong’ when he puts the monitor the right way up.

    I will not seal the stationery cupboard with interlocking rows of drawing pins “to stop people stealing the drawing pins”.

    I am no longer permitted to use staple guns and prototype circuit boards as stress-relief tools.

    I am no longer permitted to explain the status of a customer project through the medium of loud vulture impressions while a cow-orker is on a phone call to said customer two desks down.

    24 Volts is 19 Volts too many.

    Boxes of half-exploded lithium batteries are not to be stored next to the cleaning supplies, nor posted back to the manufacturer in a jiffy bag.

    When leaving messages for cow-orkers, I will do so using a post-it rather than by reordering the keycaps on their keyboard.

    I will not hand out cow-orkers’ business cards to people I don’t like at trade shows.

    Paper airplanes with micro-SD cards attached should not be referenced in the Disaster Recovery Plan, not even to see if anyone actually reads it.

    Likewise quotes from Pinky and the Brain are not suitable comments on time reports.

    Cow-orkers’ PCs are not a valid source of spare parts and upgrades.

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