I've got to share this story (sadly enuff).....

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Part of my responsiblity as Y2K project manager is employee awareness. Our Y2K PMO has put together a Powerpoint presentation that we've given several times to hundreds of employees. All the previous sessions have gone really well, a lot of interest/questions/concerns from folks who haven't had the big picture presented to them. We did one the other day that left me somewhat disturbed. Our session is entitled 'Y2K and You' and deals mostly with personal preparedness and a little corporate status. It basically states that although we're not sure what exactly will happen, here's what CAN happen, given the nature of integration all over the planet.

Before the presentation was to begin, one of our Y2k project team mangers (of all people!) walks in the door, grabs one of our handouts (I think it was the Casandra Project one) and blurts out 'This is a bunch of crap! None of this is going to happen! They're saying farmers won't be able to grow food!" What puzzles me most is this person has been fairly involved with the testing one of our mission critical products and has spent many hours doing so. I tried to explain to her that even though no one knows what may or may not happen, the potential is there for some really big problems and the point of my presentation was to open their eyes and see the big picture (then make your own conclusions). Not just what we're doing as a corporation, but what the many, many banks and vendors we deal with are doing also. This group alone is over 1000 companies. Sadly enough, this person sat there through the entire session with a glare on her face thinking this was all a waste of time. For me, it ruined the session. Her attitude pretty much put a damper on everybody elses attitude. No questions at the end or anything like that. All the other groups were more like "No way! I never thought about it like that before." They actually took a genuine concern for their well being and that of their families. This one left a bad taste in my mouth.

Anyway, thanks for letting me vent (although I don't feel much better about it).

Incidentally, I've noticed several questions/responses out here that wonder why any company/corporation hasn't declared themselves Y2K ready to date. Quite honestly foks, there are way too many lawyers involved and no one want's to open themselves up to future lawsuits that may very well put them out of business. Although you may see some in the very near futute with the Y2K Readiness and Disclosure Act language attached. To cover our fannies we have to resend EVERY letter we've already sent (and we're talking hundreds of letters here!) with this verbiage attached. They say it will protect us from future lawsuits.

I recon the moral of the story is - It don't matter if you're involved in fixing the problem or not, if you're boneheaded as hell, you'll never get it!


-- deano (deano@luvthebeach.com), November 05, 1998


So instead of fixing code, or testing, the lawyers have your company's money spent re-sending letters....


Congrat's on the progress to date. Keep you spirits up. You made the presentations successfully to all the others, and only "lost" one - who was already convinced it was not a problem, and so could never be changed anyway. I'd say it was a tremendous success.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), November 05, 1998.

"They bought their tickets - let 'em crash I say".


Zucker and Zucker

-- Richard Dale (rdale@figroup.co.uk), November 05, 1998.


I read your post shortly after having a brief discussion about Y2K with some of my co-workers. One of them was reading a y2k memo that my lawyer sister wrote for her firm that was sitting on my desk for me to proofread. I told him he should take it and read it. Then four of us started talking about it. They all know how I feel, and they think i'm nuts to begin with. This comes up about once a month. After a few minutes, I said that I really wasn't comfortable talking about it in passing like that, I would prefer to sit down and have a real conversation, because there's just too much background, and those passing conversations make me look and feel like an idiot. One woman just wants to live her life and not get all depressed about it. One guy was quiet. The guy reading the memo asked if I had bought land in the woods yet. I managed to get it to the point of it's not so much a technical problem as an economic one. "Do you REALLY think Citi-Bank is gonna let everything get all f***ed up?" "Come on, they've got everything on paper anyway!" The most intelligent statement was along the lines of "Well, maybe it WOULD be good for us yuppies to get our hands dirty for a while. Maybe it IS time to thin out the herd a little." When I said that I didn't think we'd all still be working here in March of 2000, he said "You sure won't be!"

Excuse me. I'm on my way to readyforY2K.com to order a few items...

-- pshannon (pshannon@inch.com), November 05, 1998.

Robert - Actually the money is not the issue, it's the time, or lack of time allowed to do it. They have to be sent by the 1st week of December! I just don't see it happening in that timeframe. But you're right, these Y2k lawyers are gonna make it much, MUCH worse in the long run. Thanks though, I'm hanging in there. Got several more of these sessions to do over the next several months. There are a couple thousand employees here......yikes!

Pshannon - I think you're nuts too, but that's what I like about you! : ) I know it can be frustrating, especially being in the know and having people look at you like you ARE nuts. I don't think it's gonna be as bad as some people are predicting, but I'm betting there are going to be lots of inconveniences for a little while at least. I plan to prepare just as I do for a hurricane. My boss on the other hand, is the Queen of gloom and doom (self-proclaimed but right on target) and has the resources (ie, big ass salary!) to prepare for Armegeddon. Generator, a years supply of food, the whole 9 yards! BTW - any pointers on horticulture? We ain't talking veggies here.......well, maybe veggin out. ; - )


-- deano (deano@luvthebeach.com), November 05, 1998.

deano - Frankly, you telling me I'm nuts is okay, 'cause we're on the same page. It is frustrating attempting to talk to people about an issue (ANY issue) when you KNOW that there is a vast gulf between you in information and understanding. Actually, after that intial converstation, there was a minor follow-up, where I said that in April of '00, if I had to go to the local foodbank and make a large donation, that was cool with me. Somehow, no-one really wanted to say anything after that.

The only real "horticultural" successes that I've enjoyed have been using lights. I suppose to have success outdoors partly depends on where you live, conditions etc. Frankly, I expect to mix a big batch with some tobacco and see how long it will last. Then I'll plant some seeds out near the japanese maples and try not to get too excited about it...

-- pshannon (pshannon@inch.com), November 05, 1998.

Deano: No one likes the thought of losing their cushy job, their cushy salary, and just the thought of getting up off their butts and do something about saving their life is too overwhelming for people. They go through those different emotional steps, like denial (your project team manager), then they go through anger, etc. Maybe it's just a personality trait that gets people motivated into doing something to prepare themselves for the worse. Why is it that me, a go getter, can see it just as plain as day, and some family members can't? If companies go bankrupt, there won't be any money to pay anyone, including lawyers.

-- bardou (bardou@baloney.com), November 05, 1998.

Deano, "those lawyers" should by now be well acquainted with the "Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act" that became law on Oct 19 (a.k.a. "Good Samaritan Law"). If a company makes a Y2K statement that is labeled (literally) as a "Year 2000 Readiness Disclosure", it cannot be used against them in subsequent litigation. (Obviously, there are some exceptions, like in a criminal rather than civil action.) This "blame the lawyers" game is over -- if a company is issuing a weasel worded Y2K statement, its not because they are worried about being sued, its because they are worried about what people learn, and how they will then react!!!

-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), November 06, 1998.

Jack, tell you what. You give me $10 for every law that some lawyer or the courts have reinterperted, and I will give you $10 for every law the courts have simply enforced as written and as intended by the guy who framed it, and we will see who ends up rich, OK. Lawyers know the courts are going to screw any law dealing with preventing payments from big outfits to some little guy who says he was hurt - thats how they make money. They are advising their outfits not to take chances - and if you think about it for a minute you will see they are right.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), November 06, 1998.

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