Back when I worked for
Academic Information TechnologiesInformation Technology Services
at Iowa State University I had to do a yearly
employee evaluation. You're familiar with them. One year, I made my boss put down as one of my
goals "Not to set anything on fire". (Or my boss suggested it and I agreed —
neither of us can fully remember at this point). During winter break, on a particularly slow
day, I realized that I had this as one of my goals for the year, but I lacked any metrics to
see how well I had accomplished this particular goal. So I printed up a sign, walked over to one
of the campus print shops, and had it laminated, so I could update it every day with a whiteboard
The sign measures the number of days I've gone at work without snapping and setting something on fire.
No, it only covers work days — if I'm off work, I don't count those days. If I happen to work a Saturday, though, that works. I was at work, that was a day.
The sign isn't reset in that case, since it was part of my assigned duties. The sign only measures how long I've gone without setting something on fire because I've snapped.
The sign only measures my performance at work. Any fires I may or may not set in my own time are my own business.
Sadly, yes. Back when I worked at
Information Technologies and Computing Services
Information and Technology Services at the University of
Michigan, on one Sunday whilst on-call and fixing two broken IBM tape libraries, I set
the tape cartridge inventory speed up to 100% and let the magic smoke out of one of the libraries.
While it was an accident, and I didn't do anything special to set the speed up to 100%, I had
been advised to leave the speed at 40% or so. Since I took deliberate action that resulted in
a fire that shouldn't have resulted in a fire, on 30 January 2009 I reset the sign from 466 to