Hello Boss? Yeah, There’s a Problem

Yesterday was one of those days.

Canopy fail

We can laugh now. Miraculously, no one was hurt, and kudos to the emergency personnel who worked together to keep the site safe in the immediate aftermath of the collapse. Mid-afternoon yesterday, the canopy tipped over, likely the result of the weight of snow it could no longer bear.

Looking at the scene up close made me consider some of my worst days at work, and there have been some doozies; like the time that yours truly minded the old IBM System 36, entrusted to place the appropriate tapes <—yes tapes! into it for nightly backup during the first and probably last Caribbean cruise vacation the company’s programmer ever took.

Yeah, it crashed. And not just a little fix…Nooooo. The full week during which the system remained inoperable, everyone asked me when it would be up and running. Turns out, the inanimate object chose that particular week to seize, forever and ever, Amen.

The worst was not that the daily workings of an entire company with its five locations had ground to a halt. The real clincher happened when the programmer called in midweek. During what should have been a blue water toe-dipping, umbrella drink sipping, sarong-wearing, gourmet-meal-eating cruise of a lifetime, I had to break the news of the demise of the good ol’ 36.

Naturally, there were the obligatory five stages of grief:

Denial: “You must have pressed the switch I told you never to touch. It cannot be dead.”

Anger: “I knew I never should have left this in your hands. Now I will be fired for going on a vacation to a place where I could not be easily reached in an emergency! This is your fault.”

Bargaining: “If you tell the boss there was a power surge, neither of us will get fired. Yeah, tell him it was an accident.” (Me: “Wait. What?)

Depression: “I cannot get off of this ship, and I spent every last dime I had on this ruined vacation. I’ll never find another job. I’m too old, and no one will hire me.”

Acceptance: “The mainframe died.”

Me: Hello Boss? Yeah, there’s a problem. Our computer system crashed. The guru said it will take at least 3 days until we are up and running. (It actually took 5.)

Back to yesterday’s canopy collapse, well… tip over really…I wondered what that conversation was like.

“Hello Boss? Yeah, there’s a problem.”

“The canopy fell over. Everyone is okay, except the mini-stroke I just had probably took a year or two off of my life.”

“No sir, if there was an explosion, I doubt you’d be hearing from me.”

“Sure, I’ll empty the coffee pots and the trash before I close up.”

“Would it be okay if I buy a lottery ticket before I leave for the day? I’m feeling lucky.”

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