"Hi, honey! How was your first day?" Jon's wife greeted him with a smile. Jon didn't look as cheerful, however — he was white as a sheet. His first day had not gone well.

Day One

"Jon!" Hartman barked the new employee's name as though he was a recruit on his first day at boot camp. Startled, Jon shot up out of his seat, returning a "Sir, ye- Yes?"

Everything about Hartman was ex-military. His crew cut, bushy, graying eyebrows, sharp facial features, gravelly, impatient voice — Jon wanted to stay on his good side lest he be dubbed Private Pyle.

It wasn't what he'd expected from his interview. It was sold to him as an "up and coming company." They had several locations, all kinds of new tech in the conference rooms, he was offered better pay and benefits, and assumed he'd be getting to fun stuff — combining various technologies for logistics systems.

But here he was, already feeling like he was in trouble because of Hartman's commanding presence. "Here is your container!" Hartman extended a veiny, bony hand that was clutching a clear plastic container. "Your things go in here."

"I don't get a desk with drawe-"

Hartman's eyes narrowed. "Your things go in here."

Jon was led to his drawerless, drab desk. Hartman turned and left. Jon stretched, cracked his knuckles, and started arranging his desk. Since all he had was a clear Sterilite container, it took less time than it just took for me to type that (and this) sentence. Jon hadn't been given a password, and as such was unable to log in. With his boss unavailable and no one else around willing to give him any direction, he didn't do much of anything his first day.

After hearing all of this, Jon's wife did her best to reassure him. "Don't worry, honey, it's just the first day blues. And I'm sure your boss will become less scary as you get to know him!"

Day Two

"Hi, honey! Was today any better than yesterday?" Jon's wife was smiling again, and again Jon was white as a sheet. His second day had not gone well, either.

When he finally managed to log in, he didn't like what he saw. There was no domain to log into as everything was handled by local system accounts. The small peer-to-peer network had been cobbled together and grown organically. File storage was handled by random file shares on different systems.

Jon's experience was with large, multiserver, high-traffic, high-security networks. Not so much with eight-machine, serverless networks. Jon feared that he'd soon be out of a job.

After explaining this to his wife, she didn't lose her sunny disposition. "Don't worry, honey, they hired you so you could help them build something better!"

Some Weeks Later

"How was work today?" Jon was, as usual, white as a sheet.

As time passed, Jon learned more and more about his boss's idiosyncrasies. For example, his impressive qualifications and degree were actually a little less than impressive, and crazily outdated. It was some obscure IT degree from the 1980s, and he hadn't kept up. Concepts that he couldn't understand made him angry and belligerent. While getting angry at things you don't understand is a privilege we Americans enjoy, it irritated Jon that he had to explain things multiple times, and slowly. Hartman also insisted that all hardware had to be pre-made — no custom boxes allowed, since they'd been burned by his "creations" before. Somehow, the SinkLys network cards, MmmVidia video cards, and Imtel Quint-Core systems he'd cobbled together from shady overseas hardware manufacturers never really worked.

After some time, Jon caught a lucky break. Hartman bought a new Dell server and the company was planning a move into a nice new building. Jon planned and assembled the network, did some hardware and Active Directory configuration, and just generally finally had some work to do. It was a little slice of heaven. Finally he'd get an opportunity to show off what he'd learned in his 14 years of IT experience! Before his meeting with Hartman, he typed up some detailed instructions for logging on to the network, including an overview of everything he'd set up in SharePoint.

With a smile on his face, he handed a printout to Hartman. He stood there silently, scanning the paperwork for several seconds. Hartman's expression shifted from a frown to a larger frown, then back to just a regular frown. This was a good sign — it was only when his teeth showed that he was actually angry. Hartman broke the silence with a sharp "what is this?" Huh. Maybe he wasn't that impressed.

"Instructions for the network."

"Ah, ok. You can go back to your desk."

It was the nicest conversation he'd ever had with Hartman, but he didn't know what had just transpired. Were they going to actually use his guide? Well, no. No they weren't. In the following weeks Jon begged and pleaded the users to sign in to the domain or use the server, but they loved their local system accounts. And despite Jon's insistence, management wasn't willing to enact any policies that everyone use the new server. As such, they also didn't ever use SharePoint or add any data to another internal web site that Jon was working on rolling out. All of the work Jon had put in amounted to the shiny new server being used as a firewall.

After explaining this to his wife, she once again reassured him. "Don't worry, honey, they'll ease their way into using the new equipment. I mean, they hired you and bought all that equipment for a reason, right?"

Even More Weeks Later

It was Jon's first day back from a long weekend. And before he even got to his desk that morning, he was accosted by Hartman and some other managers. The power had gone out early in the weekend, and several systems had gone offline. With no one else to blame, it became Jon's fault. He suffered several long and colorful tirades from several managers. Finally, he'd had enough.

Arriving home to his smiling wife, he was asked a familiar question. "How was work?" Jon looked different than usual — he had a smile on his face. "Oh my god," she began, concerned that Jon looked so... happy. "Did something happen? You quit, didn't you?"

Jon just kept smiling.