Tuesday, August 10, 1999

Diane the Secretary

At the time of the events described on this page, I also had an Intern working with me named Andy. One day, Diane was hired to act as an "Administrative Assistant" to the President, and myself. The first thing that struck me about Diane was her haircut. She looked EXACTLY like an actress I'd seen in a German porno. The second thing I noticed (something several people commented on after she quit) was the excessive ammount of perfume she used. She probably bathed in it. You could smell her from nine yards without difficulty. It was nice perfume, but it was too much of a good thing.

07/19/1999 Shortly after her first day.
In a meeting with a network consultant Diane had brought in, we were discussing our dialup access to the Internet. At the time we were being charged a per minute fee by Bell Atlantic. The following exchange occurred:
Diane: (To the consultant) And whenever our computers talk to each other, Bell Atlantic gets a piece of that.
ME: Actually, no. The Microsoft Networking and Novell Server are all through our internal Ethernet network. (Firm that installed our network) and I placed all those lines. We own them. The only time Bell Atlantic gets anything is when someone uses their modem to connect to the Internet.
Diane: But Bell Atlantic charges us for it. (In a "I'm telling, not asking" tone of voice)
(Sadly, this was not the first time the difference between the LAN and the Internet was a problem for her)

03:51:41 PM
Diane: My computer can't log on.
ME: What do you mean?
Diane: PFFT. Well I think "Can't log on" is pretty self explanatory.
ME: Can't log on to Novell, can't log onto a shared computer, can't log onto the net?
Diane: It can't log on.
(Turned out she couldn't log onto the Proxy server for her Internet connection.)

(Diane was having printer trouble a few minutes after the above quote. A document was coming out scrambeled. The following exchange took place)
Diane: Well, it doesn't have any trouble when I print to the other printer.
ME: (Knowing she meant the Laserjet 4 in sales, and she'd just printed to a Laserjet 5) Well, it's probably a difference in the printer drivers. You wouldn't believe the trouble we've had taking Word files from one printer to the next. Just print it to the Laserjet 4 in Sales.
Diane: How. (Glaring at me)
ME: They're both networked printers.
Diane: But I can't log on. You said something about Mike's computer having to be logged in. (Mike's computer is the Proxy server she's using for Internet access)
ME: That's for Internet access. Everything else is on our own internal network. (She gave me a blank stare) The printers are on our LAN, not the Internet.
Diane: But I can't get into Netscape.
(I walked over, re-installed the Sales printer as a Networked printer and she was good to go.)

Just before she left for the day.
Diane: I had the same problem as yesterday. I couldn't save a file to the server.
ME: Did you log into Novell?
Diane: Oh, no, this has nothing to do with Novell. I just can't save to the server.
ME: It's a Novell server. If you don't log in, you can't save files to it.
She walked off and said:
Diane: Never mind. I saved it to the desktop. I'll grab the file Friday.

09:48:25 AM
The president has some of his letters sent out on smaller than normal paper. This paper has a preprinted header and footer identical to what's on our regular 8.5 x 11 letterhead. Diane walked into my office...
Diane: We're running low on this, (Holding out the President's letterhead) where is it on the server?
ME: Well, this has the old email address, so it was designed a while ago. We don't print the letterhead internally, we normally outsource it. I don't think it's on the server but let me-
Diane: Well, that's not what Dennis said. I'll take this to him.
(She darted off, and while she was gone I looked up the letterhead templates on the server and found the template for the 8.5x11 letterhead. She came back into the room to put one of the few remaining pieces of the President's letterhead in the printer.)
ME: Diane, I found the 8.5 by 11 letterhead. All we need to do is change the paper size-
Diane: Forget it. I measured the paper so we should be fine.
(She printed the letter and walked off, bragging about how she'd saved a template to the server that as far as I could determine, had the paper size and margins set to print on the President's smaller letterhead...)

10:45:52 AM
Quick Note: It really bothers me when Diane LIES about how many instances of a temperamental application is running when I can see the taskbar on her computer!

11:25:35 AM
Diane: Hey, Matthew! (All sweetness) We've had a "Toner Low" message on the Sales printer for a few days now, and it's really starting to show. I guess that'd be your department then, huh?
ME: Not usually. It's not that hard to change the print cartridge. Just open up a new one, pull the old one out and pop a new one in. Mark it on the log sheet.
Diane: Well, I don't want to grab the wrong cartridge. They're sealed, aren't they?
ME: Yep, and the boxes have a label saying what printer they go in.
Diane: OK, change it soon then. (She walked off and proceeded to take coffee orders from everyone in the office. At least she had the decency to ask me if I wanted any)

11:53:42 AM
(Diane's "home" folder on the server has been in a subdirectory a couple of layers deep. Most other people have a directory off of the root, so Diane wanted one. She tried dragging the directory herself, when the network wouldn't let her, she came to me.)
Diane: Why can't I move a folder on the server?
ME: Do you have access priveleges to the directory?
Diane: We went through this. I told you I needed full access to everything on the server.
ME: The President doesn't even have full access.
Diane: But I told you I wanted full access.
ME: I asked (The Owner) about it, and he and I agreed that no one but the admin account should have full access.
(Diane glared at me for a moment)
Diane: Then move the folder for me.
(She explained what she wanted, so I opened up Explorer and was about to drag the "Diane" folder to f:\ )
Diane: Actually, I'd prefer you put it on the Z drive.
ME: Oh, this does the same thing. F:, M:, X:, Y: and Z: are all the same thing.
Diane: Yeah, but it's a lot easier for me to get at it if its under Z
ME: But they're all the same thing. All the network drives except 'U' map to exactly the same place.
Diane: Oh well, How am I doing? Yeah, whatever. (walks off)

05:47:08 PM
Earlier in the day, Dennis made the following comment after Diane left the room:
"...that's the interesting thing about consulting. Once you do it once, you're an expert from then on. Just ask (Name of a consultant the firm had worked with). It doesn't matter how the job went. You're an expert."

Today, Diane brought me a flyer that, among other things had the following line:
Email: ets-inc.com

I replaced it with:
E-mail: info@ets-inc.com
WWW: www.ets-inc.com

The following exchange occurred:
Diane: Oh no, Dennis changed it. You're wrong.
ME: That's an invalid e-mail address. It won't work. You need an account name, followed by the @ and then a domain name.
Diane: Glad we caught it then. But I'll have to take it up with Dennis.

She then walked off.

About an hour later she walked back in and pointed to where I'd written:
WWW: www.ets-inc.com

Diane: Now, I've never seen a colon in a web page address.
ME: It's not part of the address. I just put that there to set it off from the e-mail address. No one types "e-mail" in front of the e-mail address.
Diane: Yea, well, Every e-mail address I've ever seen had the h-t-t-p and a colon. You have it in the wrong place.
ME: Actually, modern browsers don't need the HyperText Transfer Protocol designation anymore. They recognize it automatic-
Diane: Hey, the marines haven't been called out. You were wrong.

She then walked off.

Andrew, who had witnessed the whole conversation said: "Don't let it get to you. She just wants to get you mad. She wants you to loose your temper. Besides, I think she's beginning to learn her place."
ME: What do you mean?
Andy: I was talking to her today, and she said that, "As a consultant, you come in and you make suggestions of how to make a company run better, but when the owner doesn't want to make the changes, there isn't much you can do about it."
ME: Interesting.
Andy: I think she's realized she's just a secretary here.

12:13:27 PM
I'm walking past Diane's office, and says my name. I walk over and:
ME: What's up?
Diane: Matt, if I'd wanted you to read my personal e-mail, I'd have asked you to read it.
ME: Excuse me?
Diane: The message on my computer. It's for a girlfriend of mine, and none of your business.
ME: Diane, I haven't done anything on your computer. I don't know what you're talking about.
Diane: Yea, well then, we'll just leave it at that.
ME: Diane, what are you talking about?

(Diane shot me a dirty look which made it very clear the conversation was over.

The poor woman is so paranoid it isn't even funny. I have NO idea what she was talking about.

Andy thinks her paranoia may be the result of years spent in corporate America. If that's the price you pay to be part of the "Rat Race" I think I'd rather have a little less money and a lot more joy in life. I don't think having a Jaguar is worth the cost on the human soul.

04:36:46 PM
I was having a late lunch and Diane came in and said I had a phone call.
ME: Any idea who it is?
Diane: Yep.
(She turned and walked towards her office very slowly. I followed, thinking she was about to tell me useful information. She sat own in her seat and looked at me.)
Diane: Oh, you expected me to tell you? No hun, you have to find out yourself. Why do you need to know in advance anyway?
ME: Because for some kinds of calls, I need to get together certain information before I get on the line.
(I was thinking of some of our tech calls at the time)
Diane: Well, you'll just have to wing it then hun, won't you?
(I walked off. After I finished the call I walked back to the conference room to finish my lunch, and as I walked by...)
Diane: See, that wasn't too bad, now was it? (She then started to cackle, and I swear to God she sounded just like the Wicked Witch of the West. The whole situation reminded me of the kind of petty behavior I haven't seen since high school.)

09:06:03 AM
Today is Tuesday, and Friday was a hoot!

The long and the short of it is, Diane has quit, leaving for another job. She told some people she'll be making in the "lower 6 figures," and told others she's making $78,000.

Andy told me of the following exchange:
Andy was walking past Diane's office last week, and she motioned for him to come over.
Diane: I can get into some web pages, but not others. I can't get to my bank site to check my balance. Do you think Matt could be blocking my access to certain sites?
(Andy laughed in response. It turned out the version of PPPShar I was using to proxy her Internet access didn't support secure connections.)

Chris told me about this conversation that occurred outside the office:
Diane: The only reason I'm here is because I heard Dennis pays a bonus.
Chris: That's true.
Diane: Well, when do we get it?
Chris: At the end of the year.
Diane: (Offended) Well, why don't we get it now?
Chris: You'll have to ask Dennis that. You work for a year and then you'll be eligible for the bonus.
(Diane than matched in to Dennis and asked for a raise. This was her FIRST WEEK on the job!)

A few last things about Diane.
She told Dennis that "There is too lax a management style here," and that it was a, "Very unprofessional," workplace. It's a small company, what did she expect? Corporate paranoia??????

She's 30, only 7 years older than me. Her husband makes "in the upper six figures," and was an engineer on the Apollo Moon landings. He's in his 60's and thanks to her marrying him, she has two step children in their mid 20's. She has no children of her own.

Comments people made after she left:

One of the sales staff: "She was too bossy. She had a dick. I know she had a dick."

Another member of sales: "What did she do, bathe in that perfume?"