This database server is suddenly getting slammed with queries — and a support pilot fish soon gets calls complaining that the ERP system won’t respond. Restarting it doesn’t help, but fish finally finds the culprit: a runaway calculation in the production scheduler. “The system was generating 100,000 work orders and all the requirements to make one part each.”

Um, no

Power goes out often in this company’s area, so IT has a backup generator and even a small UPS on each PC. When a frantic programmer calls during an outage insisting that the mainframe is down, support pilot fish is pretty sure it’s not. He checks. It’s fine. “It was obvious the battery on her UPS gave out,” says fish. “I tried to explain but she said, ‘Everyone knows the power comes from the cabling connected by the mainframe.’”

Thanks, boss

Rushing between meetings at his company’s U.K. office, IT manager tells a new hire to set up a colour printer that just arrived. “The newbie dutifully begins to connect all the cables, when there is an almighty bang and billowing white smoke,” reports a pilot fish watching. “An hour later, the manager says, ‘Oh, and be careful — it’s from our U.S. office.’”

It all adds up

Owner of this local office-products company is discussing how to bill customers when techs go out on service jobs. “The boss is really tight with a penny,” on-scene pilot fish says, “so when one tech suggested we bill 40 cents per mile, he replied, ‘Studies show that to come out even, you have to bill at least 47 cents per mile.’ The tech said, ‘Well, maybe we need to talk about why you only pay me 35 cents per mile for using my own vehicle.’“

Some surprise

Boss returns from a trip complaining the airline broke his laptop. The screen is shattered. “He said this probably happens all the time,” grumbles a pilot fish there. “We had to send an e-mail explaining the danger of checking your laptop as luggage. We got a few snickers about that e-mail.”

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