// Internet Duct Tape

Lions, Tigers and Managers Oh My – The IT Animal Kingdom (by guest blogger logtar)

Posted in Humor, Programming and Software Development, Technology, Workhacks and High Tech Life by Guest Blogger on April 11, 2007

This post is by a guest blogger.

John Guzman aka logtar is a computer programmer that rants about daily life, movies and culture. He was born in Colombia and also does translation and interpretation.

Now that I have liberated myself from the last zoo I worked at, I feel that it is my duty to document the IT (Information Technology) ecosystem for those that happen to enter it. I’m intending this as a good PSA (Public Service Announcement) for all the non-IT people out there. It is no accident that I have made all of the managers predators. You may find yourself fitting one of the animal profiles.

The Eager Beaver
eager beaver shavedI think there is a little Eager Beaver in all of us when we start in a new department. This character is the one that is always coming up with new innovative ideas that, while brilliant, will never be implemented. There are many varieties of this beaver, from the one that eventually gets beat down and controlled to the one that actually tells his boss he is just stupid. And, yes, to his face… and, yes, I have seen this one in the wild. Eager Beavers know what they are doing when it comes to technology; however they spent too much time on new ideas and not enough on actual production.

The Barracuda
Very hard to spot and very dangerous. This is the one animal you think is a friend but it is only gaining your trust to gather information while your guard is down. When the Barracuda attacks, you will never see it coming. The Barracuda has a vast knowledge of the company. They have probably been working with the company since its inception, and because of that they have immunity to attacks from any other animal.

The Porcupine
I am very proud of this animal. They are masters at not doing their job. When anyone approaches them, bosses included, they ball up and sometimes even shoot back. They have very good knowledge of an old system and refuse to learn something new. It is very amusing to see a Porcupine and a brand new Eager Beaver interact.

The Worker Bee
remoraThank God for the Worker Bee. Without the Worker Bee most companies would have closed long ago. You can see the Worker Bee getting to work before anyone else and working very late. The worker bee picks up the pieces that everyone else drops and actually makes them work together. Do not confuse the worker bee with our next friend the Remora. The Worker Bee at times is not as technical or talented as other animals, but thanks to hard work they always accomplish the task.

The Shark-sucking Remora
My all time favorite animal… if I was a predator that could actually eat them. They are the all time boss-servicing fish that keeps them clean and shiny. They pretend to be Worker Bees because they are masters at taking credit for everything that is done right in the company. They might have some talent, but it is hard to tell the difference between accomplishments and stolen credit.

The Peacock
It is amazing how this animal even makes it in IT. They are characterized by a display of knowledge that is outstanding. They chose their feathers wisely since their knowledge cannot be countered by anyone else in the organization. They are so crafty, that at times they even become managers.

The Migratory Geese
Also known as consultants. These birds, that sometimes come from India, come in and promise to fix everything. They are always very knowledgeable, talented and at times cheap. However, at the last second, they are called back to their mother ship and leave the project halfway done. At that point, they promise to send other birds, but these ones are even more expensive and harder to track.

The Skunkskunk
We can all recognize it by its smell. They are an animal that always knows when to appear. They are the ones that love to gather information about how the project is progressing. Everyone thinks they are not too bad, but when under pressure, they release a cloud of confusion that leaves projects paralyzed. Do not be fooled by their laborious nature, in the end they will leave you smelling for a long time. They use their cloud of perfume to confuse everyone and take credit for anything that is accomplished.

The Irish Setter
They are masters at pointing fingers. They never solve a problem but have an uncanny nose that tells them who messed up and they spend their live simply pointing. All other animals fear them because, even though they are not true predators, they have the ability to call one at will. They also have the ability to divert attention by not moving a muscle while the problem is being troubleshooted.

The Orangutan Architect
I could make a whole post about this animal. They have a genius that no one else understands. They create the most complex systems for simple solutions. If you have ever had a conversation with someone that talks in circles, never getting to a point, you might have encoutered an Orangutan. Like their conversational skills their code is extremely hard to follow and it resembles a bowl of spaghetti. Somehow they are also backed by the predators, I believe because of their uncanny capability to confuse.

The Dodo Bird
Every manager that I have encountered has claimed to be this animal. However, I have yet to find it. This manager says that he will always stick up for you, provide you with training and never look for blame. They are always talking about great benefits, compensation and comp time. Comp time is a fictitious IT tool used to lured employees into working extra hours and weekend in the hope of future time off. The comp time never equals the effort if it ever appears. Once you think you have found a dodo bird he suddenly dissapears. Along with his disappearance, comp time also disappears.

The Shark
The most feared animal in the animal kingdom. While there are other animals thar are stronger than him, his razor sharp teeth will give you nightmares. When he is not in his habitat he is not much of a treat, but he will still try to call you at home and try to use his power of persuasion. When in the office he swims around looking for victims. Through fear he can make anyone do anything and always manages to look good to those on top. Never ask a shark for comp time if you want to keep all of your limbs.

The 900lb Gorilla
Like other managers, this one rules through fear, using its brute temper to dominate all other animals in the kingdom. If it starts pounding its chest, it is time to leave the premises. Do not taunt this brute or you will be hurt.

The Narnia Lion
Like its book and movie counterpart this one comes and then goes. This animal is close to the dodo bird on being the perfect manager but they always seem to disappear or morph into another. I have actually worked with one Narnia lion and it was a wonderful experience. He was the only manager that ever gave me a heads up and told me, “Leave this company, they are going to collapse.”

In other instances, these are the managers that end up leaving because the Barracuda, the Orangutan and the Irish Setter conspire against him and end up killing him at the stone table.

Where do you fit in your office ecosystem?

Reprinted with permission. John blogs regularly at logtar. Here are a few other examples of his work:

3 Responses

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  1. timethief said, on April 12, 2007 at 3:03 am

    Hello John
    Thumbs up for this wonderfully entertaining rant that I howled all the way through. I submitted it to stumbleupon. ;)

  2. [...] IT animals.  What’s the past tense of “troubleshoot”… “troubleshot?” [...]

  3. Fidel (pt. 2) : markstaggs.net said, on May 01, 2007 at 7:58 am

    [...] was sent this link today. Someone put much more thought into the ecosystem of the corporate IT world. Although some [...]


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