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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • You can't make things happen faster than they can. Furthermore people who are shouted at over things that are beyond their control might get motivated once, but they also get motivated to find another job. And finally the more technical the person, the less likely they are to be motivated by shouting.

    I remember a previous job where I set up monthly report to mail to our clients. First month, great. Second month, great. Third month? I got to work and everyone was saying, "Why is your report broken, drop everything you're doing and fix it right away!"

    Huh? OK, I went over to sit down with the product manager who had specced the report and we were beginning to go through how he knew it was wrong when the head of product came by and began literally yelling at me that I had broken the report, our customers thought we were idiots as a result and it needed to be fixed no later than this afternoon. I responded that I was still trying to find out what was wrong with it, and it would be fixed when it got fixed. He yelled back that what was wrong was that I broke it and it needed to be fixed by this afternoon at the latest. I pointed out that I hadn't touched said report in over 2 months and said he had a choice, I could go back to working on the report, or continue listening to him shout. He went away to take it up with my boss.

    The result? I found out that a DBA had screwed up a nightly copy a month ago. (See, I said it wasn't me!) The dataset that needed to be copied was fairly large, and was going to take several days. I went back to the product manager, gave him a realistic expectation of when it would be fixed and offered to send an apologetic email to go to everyone who got the bad report. The decision was made to just explain the situation to those who called, and several days later we sent out the corrected data set.

    The further result? I went to my boss to ask how I should handle telling the head of product that this afternoon was not going to happen. He said it was taken care of. Turns out that my boss and the head of product had had a "heated exchange" about it. Furthermore even though I never again had a negative interaction with the head of product, when he went on to other companies, I was happy. And despite it being made clear to me that I was welcome to join said companies, I never have had the slightest interest in doing so. OTOH the boss that stood up for me? Guess who I followed to my current employer? :-)
    • Yeah, but you can bump the priorities. In our case, they pulled a guy out of retirement (at, I'm sure, a hefty consultation fee) to properly install the line.

      Of course, in that case the shouting was merely conveying the actual urgency of the situation (okay, it may not be air traffic control, but the FAA *does* require dispatch to be up and receiving data whenever a plane is in the air) to a company that wasn't willing to acknowledge it otherwise.

      The same CEO did have an annoying tendency to shout at/fire h