Yes, you are right – that is MUCH easier!

22 August , 2011

You know I don’t talk about my work, that’s not about to change…especially not a week before payday. 😉 I do sometimes talk about the people though. Let’s pretend I’m doing that?

Where I work, the secret place, doing the secret stuff, in a secret way, is only the local branch of a much bigger secret organisation. The secret head office is located in a secret country – and for the sake of argument – let’s call it Country S. These S-country secret people are notorious for missing the point of questions when they do not know the answer, or when there are no answers. For instance, in a big international conference call a while back one man from let’s say country-I was bemoaning the impossibility of a request by country S – which would in effect expect him not only to predict the future, but to make it happen, and to make it happen with less than 20% variance. I suppose the purpose of his complaint was to try and get them to ask him something more manageable, like toast, or a prediction about next week instead of the whole of next year? Anyhoo, their answer was, “Yes, you are right.” And that was that…

Now it so happens that the secret organisation has many applications for their secret people to do their secret work on. And since it wasn’t designed to make the secret work easier per se, each such secret application has its own secret password (of course). Some time ago some secret bright-spark decided that at least three of these things could be made to work on the same central password, but to keep things fair and complicated (a challenge of sorts to keep the secret staff on their toes) such a secret password would at least not give you any warning before expiring, and there could be many complicated and conflicting forms to complete in order to have it reset at least? Everyone was very happy about this solution; it was like helping without helping, which is just bloody brilliant!

This central password obviously needed a central user ID, and it was decided to use the ID allocated already in a completely unrelated application for such a purpose (of course). I suppose it could have been the intention to at some point add that application to the chaos at a later stage, but it has never happened and the man from country-I has not predicted it for 2012, so things are not looking good. The naming convention for this unrelated application goes something along the lines of: Country code + First Name Initial + Surname In Full. Seems simple enough? (That should be your first clue that it wouldn’t work properly for long).

Would you have ever guessed, and here comes the good bit, that if your surname is longer than 6 digits long, having this central ID and password will ensure that you cannot access the application in any event because your ID will be too long? Imagine that. It’s almost like they planned it that way!

Upon query of this situation for one of our users, and a new application to issue a new secret ID with one less digit, all hell broke loose. It’s the equivalent of a “Yes, you are right” but with much more passion. Apparently, the best way to resolve this would not be to drop one digit on one single user with a long surname, but instead to kick-off a major international naming convention project, rename all users in accordance with new conventions, and disable all old accounts after that, alternatively the actual application could be altered or replaced, because of course that is much easier than just dropping a f-ing character. I am not enjoying the secret staff logic at country-S while it is being aimed in our direction. I actually can’t believe that we pay people to come up with answers like that?!

I have recommended that the affected user with 7 character surname should look into marrying someone with a shorter surname, like Nel for instance. She is not excited by the process, but has also not said an outright “No”.


  1. LOL – nothing, NOTHING surprises me anymore.

    But in my days at another secret organisation that starts with an S 🙂 we piloted a new workflow thing. Well, my initials were the same as one of the components and they couldn’t get both to work so I had to change my name for the darn system!

  2. Mwahahaha, now that is quite special. You’re right, I’m not surprised either. 😆

  3. Gosh, I had a great laugh at this – people tend to over administrate every thing. Adn then they run into problems.

  4. Ek is nou so deurmekaar soos ‘n verkleurmannetjie op ‘n smartieboks. As alles so secret is, weet julle darem waar is die kantore 😉

  5. cat, exactly that…common sense seems to fly out the window when one has to observe the “one true way” kind of thinking.

    Son, net-net – ek sal bieg met my sin vir rigting het ek my GPS gebruik vir die eerste twee weke om hier uit te kom, maar nou kan ek dit omtrent in my slaap kry. 😉

  6. hahaha…love the fact that i’m not the only person working for a Secret place on top secret things:)

  7. 😆 Mine isn’t as secret as yours…mine is just secret in the way of someone who still wants to say whatever they want without getting fired. 😉

  8. pfffft….still like the fact that somebody else is being as sketchy as I am:)

  9. Teehee… do you work for the people I used to consult for!? This sounds so much like the arguments… erm, I mean “meetings” we used to have!

  10. I don’t know Angel…if not then maybe these okes have a secret stupid club somewhere that they all belong to? 😉

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