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Carol is sitting at her desk. She picks up a pen and thinks, "Who left their pen at my desk?" Carol continues to think, "I'd better send out a companywide e-mail to find out." A coworker responds to Carol's e-mail, "I can't believe you're wasting everyone's time with this!" Alice types, "Stop using the 'reply to all' feature you morons!" Carol looks down at the pen again and thinks, "Wait.. I think this might be my pen. I'd better send a correction." Dilbert sits across from the Boss. Dilbert says, "We missed a bid deadline because our e-mail system was overloaded." The Boss thinks, "Layoffs." The Boss hands Carol a piece of paper and says, "Send this list to Human Resources." Carol exclaims, "Do I look like I'm made of time?!!"
Dilbert is giving a presentation. He says, "The original schedule looked like this..." Dilbert points to a slide and says, "One month for a management decision and one year to do the project." The Boss, Wally, and Alice listen as Dilbert continues, "The revised schedule is this..." Dilbert continues, "One year of indecision followed by intense pressure to do the impossible before the deadline." Dilbert passes a box of 3-D glasses and says, "Now if you'll each take a pair of 3-D glasses..." Dilbert continues, "You can see the layers of management incompetence practically jump out at you." Dilbert hands out cards and says, "Now scratch one of these scented cards to sniff the unmistakable odor of doom." Wally and Alice are suffering from the smell. The Boss says, "I don't smell anything. Is mine broken?"
Boss: I'm on a deadline, so don't let anyone disturb me for at least an hour. If anyone gets past you, you're fired. CEO: Tell your boss to come to my office now. Carol: He'll fire me if I disturb him. CEO: I'm your CEO! Disturb your boss now or I'll fire you. Boss: I heard that, and if you disturb me, you're fired. CEO: You're fired if you don't! Boss: You're fired if you do! CEO: Whoa! Hold on! I'm getting a sudden wave of euphoria. Boss: Me too! CEO: Is it because we're overpaid? Boss: It... it feels... wonderful!
Boss: You didn't finish your assignment by the deadline. Wally: It won't matter as long as one other employee is also late, because the project can't move forward until everyone does their tasks. Wait fir it... wait... Coworker: You know how I was supposed to finish that thing?
Coworker: Wally, are you almost done with your part of the project? Wally: I work best under pressure, so I wait until the deadline is almost here. Coworker: What if something more important comes up and you don't have time? Wally: That's the cornerstone of my system.
Boss: You didn't handle this the way I told you. Dilbert: In my defense, you're under-informed and less clever than me. I was hoping he'd say, "Good point," but it went another direction.
Boss: Are you going to meet the launch deadline? Dilbert: No. There were unexpected problems. Boss: I need solutions, not unexpected problems! Did that mean anything? Dilbert: Almost. Good try.
Wally: Are these user specifications complete? I ask because any later changes will cause me to miss the deadline. Man: What if I only need a tiny change later? Wally: I'm counting on it. That way I can blame you when I miss the deadline. Man: How do most people handle this situation? Wally: Well, the pessimists know they're doomed, so it's no surprise to them when it happens. Man: What do the optimists do? Wally: They become pessimists.
Man: Can you get that analysis to me by Tuesday? Alice: Yes, if I do it poorly. Alternately, I can do it well and miss your deadline by a week. Man: That gives me no path to success. Alice: Welcome to the world's saddest club.