Managing the office manager

Several years ago this pilot fish worked for a Canadian startup firm.

Mindful of the importance of backups, fish’s team had a regular tape-backup discipline.

The process was as follows: they would give the firm’s office manager the tapes, which were to be stored off-site in a safety-deposit box.

Eventually, the IT department needed to retrieve some files off of a tape. “Our sys admin gave [the office manager] a sheet with the desired tape and politely inquired as to when the tape could be retrieved,” fish explains.

“She reached under her desk, pulled out a large cardboard box, and began flipping through tapes — the tapes that we all thought were safely in the deposit box.”

When asked why they were not in the bank, the office manager replied: “Because it’s full.”

Sighs fish: “We purchased a fire-proof insulated filing cabinet soon after that.”

The office manager was also known to file software catalogues under “R” for resources and stationary catalogues under “S” for supplies.

“There was also the time that our venture-funding firm requested certain information and she stored the response in a file called ‘fax91,’” fish says.

The reasoning behind this was that the request came by fax and asked about something in 1991, fish explains.

“The CEO and I spent an hour looking for it when she was on vacation [because] we needed it for reference.”

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