Katie’s start at Ace Software Solutions was fairly unremarkable. Hired as a technical “Jane of all trades,” she helped users by fielding MS Office questions, setting up hardware, upgrading drivers, uninstalling malware, and any other problems as they arose. Overall, the users at Ace were pleasant to work with and her manager Jennifer was a great person to work under. During busy times, she was willing and able to get her hands dirty, as she called it, in the daily support work as well.

Really, Katie’s only complaint was that once every month, (5:00pm on the last Friday of the month to be exact) the owner of Ace Software Solutions, Rod, would strut his way into the company’s large conference room and kick off the mandatory team meeting. He’d congratulate top salesman of the month, report the status of various current negotiations for various corporate accounts, new software upgrades coming out, and other goings on in the world. For the most part, everybody usually just zoned out, nodding occasionally to keep the illusion of interest alive enough to ensure the meeting wrapped up quickly.

After every meeting closed, Katie, felt tremendously grateful. Of course, she was free to start her weekend, but also thanking her lucky stars that she was not in Jennifer’s shoes, reporting directly to Rod.

Though she didn’t have any direct interaction with Rod, when Jennifer would return from a support call with Rod, she often predicted that a strong drink would be in her future come quitting time, and in the until then, two doses from the extra large sized jar of Maxcedrin.

Apparently, though being the owner of an established company that sold and distributed software, Rod wasn’t a very tech savvy individual.

Unfortunately though, like all good things, one day Katie arrived to work one day to discover that overnight, her manager had abruptly left the organization and now it was up to her to take over the role left behind.

Reporting to Rod

“This is a HUGE advancement opportunity for you, Katie!” Rod gesticulated from behind his executive-style desk with a big-as-the-moon grin, ”Now, YOU are you OWN BOSS! When we bring on another support person, YOU will then join the ranks of MANAGEMENT here at Ace! Pretty great, huh?”

In reply, Katie just smiled, nodded, and let out a small “Thank you.” in appreciation, after all, she wasn’t entirely sure of who this person was that she was chatting with. Rod, always dressed professionally and kept a very “boss” tone the whole time during their team meetings, but today, it seemed as though Rod had left his slacks, button down shirt and tie at home and instead was wearing what appeared to be a well-worn and stained track suit. Moreover, now that she finally had a chance to get an up close and personal view of Rod, noticed something peculiar about his tan.

Now, it wasn’t that his tan was of the topical, slightly burnt umber variety – this fact was long standing common knowledge among employees. No. It was his keyboard, mouse, phone, power button on his monitor that caught her eye. Basically, any surface he touched all had a shiny orange-brown smudge.  He said a few other things reiterating something about teamwork and opportunity, but Katie couldn't help but notice that nearly every surface in the office had a warm patina to compliement Rod's skin tone.

Rod closed the meeting with an extended hand and a hearty “I’m REALLY looking forward to working with you, Katie.” to which Katie returned the handshake minus the sentiment.


Working with Rod proved to be a laborious task and it didn’t take long for Katie to figure out why her manager kept a bottle of Maxcedrin handy. Meetings about file archival turned into meetings about sending out an email template. Any time that Katie relayed even the simplest of instructions, she’ll find herself having to repeat them several times within minutes.

Once, Katie tried to make friendly conversation by mentioning that a friend had given her courtside tickets to see the Cougar Hardwood Classic.

"Oooooo COUGAR! Now, is this a Washington State University thing?,” Rod quipped in reply, “OR is this some sort of HARD WOOD for those COUGAR women I've been hearing about lately? Get IT?!"

Katie just rolled her eyes. She was used to this sort of thing, it was no wonder that Jennifer had left.

A Curious Discovery

Rod wanted Katie to work on a mini project for him. His PC was crashing frequently and was running a whole lot slower than he thought it should, and it was up to Katie to do something to fix that.

Unfortuately, for (alleged) security purposes, Rod’s PC did not have remote access enabled. So, armed with rubber gloves and disinfectant spray that she kept around for just this eventuality, Katie logged on at Rod’s machine and started into things. At first, there wasn’t much to jump out as a reason. There were a few startup items that pointed to nowhere, some Windows Registry uh-ohs, and a clogged up Temp directory, but what caught her eye during the system scan was C:\Employees\Rod\Amy\xxx\

You can't see something like that on someone's machine and ignore it.

What Katie had found amounted to nearly half of the hard drive’s capacity worth of porn images and movies, each organized by female name. By itself, especially in the context of Rod, it wasn’t the biggest news.

However, there was one detail that made her sit up and take notice – the names were all current and former female employees of Ace Software Solutions...including her name.

Fearing the worst, Katie pulled up a thumbnail view of images under C:\Employees\Rod\Katie\xxx.

She was very relieved to find that, no, Rod hadn’t been taking secret pictures of her in the restroom. Instead there were several girls there who had what seemed to be similarly proportioned physical features and, disturbingly, a few snaps of what could have possibly been Rod’s noodly appendage…in the flesh, so to speak.

During all this, Katie noticed that the scroll wheel stuck and noticed it to be clogged with vicious, oily substance that was missing the tell-tale tinge of his tanning cream. Katie dared not want to think of what it was – all that she could think of was getting as far away from Rod’s computer as possible.

Changing of the Guard

Finding Rod’s porn stash was the final straw for Katie. So, come Monday, resignation letter in hand, Katie marched from the parking lot and directly to Rod’s office to tell him off once and for all and tender her immediate resignation in a moment of magnificent splendor.

However, it was not Rod behind the desk. Instead, it was...some other guy. He directed Katie to proceed to the main conference room where a meeting would be soon be taking place.

“Everybody, my name is Jeff Jennings and I represent the investors of Ace Software Solutions.” He began.

“Rod is no longer with the company and will NOT be returning. I am not at liberty to get into the details, but if Rod should contact any of you, please let me know as the authorities would like to speak to him.”

Jeff’s tone lowered, “However, we will no longer be able to sustain operations at the present level, and unfortunately, for several of you today will be your last day.”

As it turned out, Katie’s name was on Jeff’s list leaving her without a job, but she didn't mind that one bit.

She’s currently hopping from contract to contract, living on a diet of mostly discount ramen, and has been unemployed 6 of the last 12 months, but one thing’s for sure – no matter how bad things may be, anything beats working for Rod.

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