Salesmen and the Fall of Sanity

In my varied jobs over the years I’ve had to deal with a lot of proprietary software. At Roses it was JDA. ASR had it’s own software for repo stuff. Here? Here I deal with an email system from hell.

It’s not one we use here at the office. The boss fella uses AOL and I use Gmail. Banks are another matter. It’s always the banks. To make sure documents are secure they use a java based software package from Cisco Systems. You send an email to it, it emails an attached html file to the recipient, they save that to their desktop, open that html file, are directed to another webpage that doesn’t open, are sent to a SECOND website that keeps trying to time out, THEN you’re given the option of reading the email and downloading the REAL attachment you were trying to get. Needless to say, it took me an hour and a half to download one PDF file for the boss while he was out. I keep asking myself why a bank would have something like this when it isn’t actually secure and it’s so maddening. My only guess is salesmen.

There are some people who could sell ice to Eskimos and there are some men who would buy ice if they were eskimos. Software salesmen and executives fit both these descriptions and it’s a match made in hell. Basically, a software salesman got a meeting with some high-up mucky-muck at the bank. The salesman, who I can only assume spoke in that overly fast shyster voice from the 1920’s and used phrases like “the best thing since sliced bread”, convinced said mucky-muck that his new secure email system would completely cut out all email interception by outsiders which happens so rarely that you’d never thought about it. The mucky-muck was terribly impressed by this spiel and went to the board. They probably went along with it. Maybe there was that one guy who pointed out how redundant it was. Maybe he brought up the fact that it was money being sent to the department of redundancy department, and maybe he was thrown out with a big fat pension and told to keep his mouth shut from now on.

So the system gets put in place. The tech people complain about it amongst themselves probably. One of them goes to someone on the board and tells them that this seems like a mistake and a huge headache. The board member uses phrases like “bigger picture” and “fiscally sound” and “you keeping your job” and the tech guy goes back, tells his co-workers, and much alcohol is consumed while swear words are bandied about after work.

Then I get involved. I swear, I sweat, I have no other way to get the file we need because the new software system is mandatory for all bank employees because, dammit, we bought this system and we’re gonna damned well use it. And all the while there’s some guy from Cisco Systems in his straw hat and striped coat twirling his Snidely Whiplash moustache while counting the bank’s money. He probably has one of those “Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!” laughs, too.

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