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The Boss sits at his desk and tells Dilbert, "You didn't give me your five-year budget forecast." Dilbert replies, "You didn't ask for one." The Boss says, "It was discussed at the project review meeting." Dilbert replies, "You didn't invite me to that meeting." The Boss asks, "Did you accomplish ANYTHING this week?" Dilbert answers, "I trained the bats who live in my cubicle to juggle mushrooms."
Dilbert sits at his desk and thinks, "And now for the most absurd activity of the week: the timecard." Dilbert thinks, "There's no project code for 'staring at the wall and fretting about the reorganization.' I'll call it 'training.'" Dilbert hands the timecard to Carol and says, "Before I worked here I wasn't a thief or a liar." Carol replies, "You can't get that kind of training in school."
Project Status: Dilbert is giving a presentation. He points to the overhead projection. He says, "Due to budget cuts, our new product will have no user interface." The projection shows a blank computer monitor. Dilbert continues, "Our target market is people who are too shy to return products." The projection is of a person blushing. Dilbert comes home carrying his brief case. He says to Dogbert, "Is it a bad sign if you spend the day wondering why there are no laws against what you do for a living?"
Man comes up to Dilbert and introduces himself, "I'm the Rag Man from Project Luser." Rag Man says, "Budget cuts have hit our project hard. I'm forced to beg for resources." Dilbert holds out something and says, "I can spare some pencil shavings." Rag Man says, "Excellent! We make coffee out of that."
Dilbert and The Boss sitting at desk across from eachother. Dilbert asks, "How much budget do I have for my project?" The Boss replies, "I can't tell you." The Boss says, "If you knew what your budget was, you'd spend it all." Dilbert inquires," Can you at least tell me what our company strategy is?" The Boss responds, "No, I don't want you to lose hope."
The Boss stands at Dilbert's desk and says, "I got your project approved by our president!" The Boss continues, "But he gave your budget to another project." The Boss continues, "It's pretty much doomed from the get-go." The Boss continues, "But I hyped it up at the executive meeting so somebody else will try to take it over." A woman pushes them aside and says, "Step aside, fools! This project belongs to marketing now!" As the woman walks away, the Boss says, "Oh, please don't take our project." Dilbert and the Boss slap hands. Dilbert says, "Yes!" Dilbert asks, "Do you ever worry that you're finding joy in the wrong places?" The Boss replies, "Nope."
The Boss tells Dilbert, "I'm moving you to a cubicle in the south wing." Dilbert asks, "Why?" The Boss answers, "Umm . . . It's more efficient if my group is all in one place." Dilbert replies, "Not for me. The people on my project team are all in this wing." The Boss says, "It will improve communication in our group." Dilbert replies, "I don't need to communicate with my group. I only need to work with my project team." Dilbert continues, "I'll bet another manager wants that same cubicle in the south wing. I think I'm just a pawn in your little game." The Boss says, "You move tomorrow. By the way, there's a new dress code." Dilbert and Wally wear chess pawn costumes. Dilbert says, "You're in my cubicle." Wally replies, "You can only move to a diagonal cubicle."
Dilbert approaches the Boss and says, "We desperately need another person on my project!" The Boss replies, "We're already over headcount. Get a contract employee." Dilbert says, "Okay, but they cost twice as much." Dilbert says, "Plus we need to buy a computer." The Boss says, "Rent one. We're over our capital budget." Dilbert replies, "Renting is expensive. We'll go over our expense budget." The Boss says, "I'll fire Wally. That will free up some cash." Dilbert throws his arms up in frustration and says, "Wally's on my project!" Dilbert shouts, "Forget it! I'll just work sixteen hours a day!!" The Boss thinks, "That worked out perfectly. I think I might be a genius or something." The Boss sits at his desk and thinks, "I wonder if I should have told him the project was cancelled last week."
The Boss introduces a man to Dilbert and Wally. The Boss says, "We just hired Jack away from our competitor. He was their best manager." The Boss continues, "Jack will be in charge of project 'Goosefood.'" The Boss continues, "I'd like you two to brief Jack on the project." Jack, Dilbert and Wally sit at a conference table. Dilbert says, "Project 'Goosefood' has no budget and no management support." Wally says, "Your job is to build a global information network in two weeks." Dilbert says, "Failure is certain. Soon you will leave the industry in disgrace." Wally adds, ". . . Just like the other 'best managers' we hired from our competitors." Jack says, "Just our of curiosity, how did the project get its name?" Wally replies, "Let's just say that you're the goose food . . ."
The caption says, "The Budget Trap." The Boss says, "I need a quick estimate for how much your next project will cost, Wally." Wally replies, "How should I know? You haven't even told me what my next project is." The Boss says, "That's okay. I only need a rough estimate for planning purposes." Wally says, "I see where this is going. You're going to turn my wild guess into a budget. Later I'll be blamed when it's wrong." The Boss replies, "No, no. I won't hold you to these numbers." Wally says, "Well . . . Okay, let's say two million dollars." The Boss says as he walks away, "Ooh . . . Can't afford that. I'll put you down for twenty thousand dollars." The caption says, "One year later . . ." The Boss sits at his desk and says to Wally, "You're way over budget. Can you show me the cause?" Wally replies, "It depends. Can mirrors reflect your image?"