Moral: Support your local IT sheriff. Feuds with anyone are a bad idea, but especially the guy who controls your computer. And of course, if you feel you've been wronged in the workplace, take it to HR, not the company network.
Stupid user trick No. 4: Developers do the darnedest things
Lazy is one thing; stupid, another. Together they can leave you pantless at the side of the road -- especially when it comes to developing code.
"We had a situation that wound up costing us almost a month of software development time just doing bug tracking," says one IT pro, who sets the stage of his company's dev-based debacle: "A new developer was tasked with updating one product with some similar functionality from one of our other products."
Two weeks later, still a week ahead of schedule, the developer says he's all done -- until QA gets involved.
"QA takes this guy's code and starts getting a weird error message in response to a key use case. Just couldn't get around it. That got kicked back to the developer, who was also scratching his head. He spends another week 'bug fixing' and resubmits the code saying the bug is gone now. Pow! QA immediately gets the same error again," the IT pro says.
"Now we're past deadline, and the dev guy is scrambling to get a fix going. A couple of days later, he's saying that it's not his code; it's the difference between our dev servers and our QA servers. Which was crap, because it's a mirrored environment."
Perplexed, IT begins comparing its server environments -- a process that included a code scan of the application the developer was supposed to emulate in the update to his app.
"Turns out the little worm just copy-and-pasted the code from the first app into the second and did some lazy work aligning the variables and syntax," the IT pro says. "But he left a number of routines in there that were going nowhere, so the code worked in his cooked dev environment, but died as soon as QA started running it on a clean set of servers. By the time we figured that out, we were four weeks past deadline."
And what of the time it took to "code" and "bug fix" the update?
"The whole time he was really working on his own app that he wanted to sell himself later," the IT pro says. "Yeah, that guy got fired."
Moral: It's more work to get away with code plagiarism than to do your own code in the first place. Oh, and QA guys are sticklers.
Stupid user trick No. 5: Meatballs -- IT's revenge
Low blood sugar can turn almost anyone's brain to mush. But a stolen lunch? For some it's a one-way ticket to pathological.
"This is one of those situations that is simply unreal until it's actually happening," says a one-man IT department who was working with two subcontractors at the time of this tale. One of the subcontractors was hardworking and friendly. The other -- let's say he had a quick temper and that he really, really liked meatball sandwiches.
"One day, we hear a door slam and then lock. I look out into the hall and I can see this guy had just locked himself in an unmanned office," the IT pro says. "He's snarling at his notebook screen and mouthing a rant to himself. I figure he's just upset again and make a mental note to complain about that behavior to our rep at the consulting company. Oh, how little I knew."
As it turns out, there was a meatball sandwich thief on the loose in the office. It must have been tasty because the meatball burglar pilfered the IT guy's sandwich two days in a row.