The Dali Grind: Surreal Stories about Real Jobs
Have you ever had a work experience that was funny, bizarre, or just plain awful? Share your experience so we can all laugh at those who frustrated you. Email us your stories at and we'll post the choicest ones. We don't publish real names of you, your coworkers or your employer.
Sunday, February 06, 2005
  STORY: Calvin the Stubborn Manager

The company's development manager, Calvin, was a stubborn beast at the best of times. He generally refused to cave in over any issue, except maybe after a painful two-hour dispute full of circular logic and the exhaustion of every possible avenue of argument. His stated theory behind this strange behaviour was that if the victim was still prepared to argue their point after two hours of torture, then he or she must feel strongly about their convictions, therefore is probably right.

How unproductively the afternoons were whiled away...

Calvin's favourite tactic was to use analogies to augment his argumentative stance, deliberately throwing his opponent off-track. This was a guaranteed argument-winner - because after all, who cares about the welfare of the company or the project - Calvin mostly wanted to save his ego by proving himself "right", by fair means or foul.

For example:

Programmer: "We cannot do this in 2 weeks, it needs at least four times as long."
Calvin: "Let's compare it with an Eskimo tribe taking fishing trips in a skidoo, darting around ice floes..."
Programmer: "What??"
Calvin: "The ice floes drift, this way and that, throwing the skidoo many miles off course. But it always gets there, and they catch their fish. The Eskimos are determined. The Eskimos want their fish. Are you saying the Eskimos should have simply given up and let their families go hungry?"
Programmer: "Well, I mean no, but..."
Calvin: "I thought so. 2 weeks it is then. You see? I rule supreme."
Two weeks later, the angry Calvin would demand to know why the project wasn't finished, as he had "promised the sales team".

For more, see, True Stories - BodgeCo and Friends  

As a hardware engineer, I have to say that when a software engineer says a job will take eight weeks, usually it CAN be done in two
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