Is it Friday yet?

The Sole Proprietor works in the IT department of an Oakland company. Dilbert is universally recognized as a minor deity and the Sole Proprietor buys the Examiner over the Chronicle to get his Dilbert fix every afternoon.

He also reads Zippy the Pinhead, first because he likes it, but also because Zippy was one of the strips in the old Rip Off Press Comix Syndicate, which the Sole Proprietor once managed, and the Sole Proprietor maintained a nodding acquaintanceship with the artist. Who, as you might guess, was, well, a bit like his strip.

IT is not like other departments.

The staff is generally young and well paid. This allows them to indulge in the important things in life: Star Trek memorabilia, lobbying for additional bandwidth and toys. Dilberts, molded plastic science fiction and fantasy figures, posters, screen savers, wigs, masks, and baseball caps spill over the cubicle walls and greet you in the halls. Don't enter the labs. You don't want to enter the labs.

The Sole Proprietor is older and wiser than the other members of his group, of course, but a lust for digital toys, web pages, exotic camera equipment and a habit of occasionally shouting out hexadecimal phrases seems to have masked this obvious fact from the people who surround him.

He has also accumulated pictures of his compatriots, male and female, dressed in weird glasses, shirts, monster masks, vampire fangs and cat's eye contact lenses that he posts on secret portions of the company intranet for the instruction of all. In an environment where every day is Halloween, behavior like this is encouraged and makes the Sole Proprietor feel right at home.

Understand he does have sober moments. As the old guy in the group with recognized sales skills and an intimate familiarity in the fine art of toadying to superiors, he is often sent forth to handle the day to day needs of the people who sit at the top. Success in these ventures keeps his managers happy and the Sole Proprietor employed. Still wonder why he uses a pseudonym? Still wonder why he writes in the evening behind the proprietary mask?

The Sole Proprietor started with the company as a contractor during a period of re-engineering and downsizing and if this rings a bell, then you've got at least one Dilbert strip taped to some part of your cubicle or office. Or body.

This reorganizing, re-engineering and merging has continued over the last four years with the Sole Proprietor becoming an employee during one of the brief lulls when more people quit than were cut, producing an opening.

He'd like to say these reorganizations are a part of the past, but remember he works for a company that does a big volume on the Pacific rim. Ever heard of the Asian crisis? Japan, Korea, Thailand and all the rest no longer buying American goods? The Sole Proprietor has decided this reorganization business is just part of the background noise and he'll have to learn to live with it. But then you've never heard of any of this stuff. Right? Right?

It's Friday. A good day. Reorganized or not.


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