I'll be ok, but I'm worried about you.

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This week I had the chance to work with some folks I previously had not met that are also involved with and working on Y2K. I was interested in finding out what their take was on Y2K in general. What I heard repeatedly is what I will describe as "I'll be ok, but I'm worried about you" syndrome.

Most of those who I spoke with thought that their own company would be Y2K OK, yet these same folks are worried about "other companies" not being ready. Ask some of the folks that work at these "other companies" what they think, and they are confident in theirs and at the same time worried about yours!

I do not know if anyone else has experienced this or posted about this, and was somewhat surprised that it was voiced by many that I spoke with. I was expecting them to say that they were worried - period, which is the way that I feel. Maybe it was just a coincidence due to the particular folks I was working with, or they were putting on a brave front, or they really were confident. I don't know.

Yet when you stop to think about this, isn't it interesting that these folks are so worried about "other" companies, yet at the same time are expressing confidence in their own? What none of them seem to realize is that each one of them works for somone else's "other" company!

Rob, who is glad to be back at the Asylum (where I belong) after a long week away.

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@com.net), April 03, 1999


Rob, maybe everyone's company IS ok. Maybe this won't be so bad after all. Hope?

-- Helen (sstaten@fullnet.net), April 03, 1999.


I just posted something similar on a different thread, with a slightly different focus -- more on area of expertise than on company. I have also noticed that geeks tend to be most optimistic within their specialty, and most fearful about specialties they're not familiar with.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), April 03, 1999.


I tend to agree that most companies in th U.S. are doing quite well, and will have very few problems, UNTIL they start to deal with foreign countries. Our economy really is global, but most of us here in the states don't realize just how connected we are. We may not even be able to land aircraft there for a while or have our freighters pick up goods. Then the problem becomes the ripple effect, because if a few companies can't get what they need to continue their business, this spreads right down the supply chain to affect a LOT of businesses. We should do a survey and see how many of our employers deal with foreign countries. Problem is, some companies do not deal directly with these countries, and many employees do not even know that some of the materials they use are coming from foreign sources. America is in for a rude awakening of just how important the rest of the world REALLY is to us. We cannot maintain our current lifestyles without it.

-- @ (@@@.@), April 03, 1999.

Helen: Yes, hope is with us, it has to be, or we would all be even crazier than we are already. Perhaps I should just speak for myself instead of saying 'we' and 'us'. :)

Flint: I think that your point can be said of just about any discipline - people are comfortable with what they know - this probably does figure into what I was trying to get at and the various reactions.

@@@: Of all of the concerns expressed, of which there were many, by far the two I heard most frequently were the sad state that other countries were in, and the concern for both the current state of small businesses andalso the government.

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@com.net), April 03, 1999.


Very true. What is happening with the government really doesn't surprise me because they have a reputation for doing things by the long, slow, expensive, and screwed up methods. Also true that many small businesses will go down unless they are willing and able to take out the loans being offered to fix it.

China is not looking good at all. This article says that the Beijing government has only spent $500,000!

"City of 10 million-plus spent under $500,000

In China's capital, a city of more than 10 million people, the Beijing government has invested less than $500,000 in a special office to tackle the problem, a tiny fraction of what major cities in the United States pay."

"What will happen to the remainder of the economy and the country remains a mystery. A February survey of 512 firms found 53 percent don't even know how to detect their Year 2000 bugs."

Beijing is a city about the size of New York, and I think New York has spent in the neighborhood of $200 MILLION. Now, NY may be a bit more sophisticated and high-tech, but Beijing isn't small potatoes. They don't have the money and are in serious trouble.

-- @ (@@@.@), April 03, 1999.

Link if you're interested

That is about 400 times more spent on New York City than Beijing!

-- @ (@@@.@), April 03, 1999.

Rob...your observation regarding small business and government is absolutely correct. Small business--the Mom and Pop type--will survive better than the small manufacturing or medium size business. You know the kind. The one that has grown too big for the secretary/bookkeeper and owner/janitor/copy machine repairman to manage by themselves. Instead of hiring people they use software. Guess what...the software is going on strike! Most of the businesses I deal with on a daily basis use Windows 95 or a type of quasi-custom program. Most of them have not made any effort to update and become compatible.

Federal government...who knows?? They certainly are't disclosing any facts, just 'happy faces'.

State government?? South Carolina is 'hard at work making sure all services are available to their residents'. I am a subcontractor to the state...scares me to death. My viscera tell me they don't have a chance....if so, neither do I. The bad part is Governor Hodges JUST APPOINTED a y2k Council to evaluate the various department's progess. Reassuring as all getout, isn't it?

Yeah, I'm just a tad pessimistic about government news releases regarding their status. I have been exposed to the spin doctors too much over the years.

-- Lobo (atthelair@yahoo.com), April 03, 1999.


I've noticed this with the Q-10 reports. It's always 'we're doing great..real good...fine..we're CONFIDENT about our remediation. But, we're concerned about the other guy.' They're just looking for someone else to blame if it all falls down.

-- EYE ON Y2K (bugscaresme@mellinium.com), April 04, 1999.

This is just the pre "its somebody else's fault" line. Notice how in our society no one says " gee, I screwed up."? No, its always someone else's fault. I can hear it now. "The bank's software was perfectly remediated. The reason we aren't open is (fill in the blank) didn't do their job. You can also expect all us "hoarders" to be blamed for shortages a year from now.

-- RD. ->H (drherr@erols.com), April 04, 1999.

I think in some cases it's simply human nature at work when someone says "We'll be OK, but I don't know about everyone else." To admit that their company is having difficulties remediating Y2K is to consider the possibility that they may be out of a job in early 2000. Most people cope by avoidance; they refuse to consider events that could negatively impact them. OK, enough amateur psychology for today...

-- Nabi Davidson (nabi7@yahoo.com), April 04, 1999.

Nabi D. You took the words right off my keyboard !! Had the same idea, AND , would add my 71 year experience with the world by saying people who work together on common enterprises , (and this is a BIG ONE; KEEPING THE COMPANY ALIVE !!) will overlook their own problems as "somehow fixable" , BUT, due to their emersion in the difficult job of fixing, do not have faith that the "others" will have success. This DOES NOT bode well for the nation as a whole, because their pessimism contains the underling belief (which they can NOT verbalize to coworkers) that they may fail !!! Eagle ...Watching .. reading .. Learnig .

-- Harold Walker (e999eagle@freewwweb.com), April 04, 1999.

My, how flexible and adaptive we become when faced with uncongenial observations. Nabi Davidson resorting to psychology? Astounding.

OK, to sum up: On the one hand, people don't like admitting errors. On the other hand, those intimately involved with their projects are most knowledgeable about those projects. Given these conflicting observations, what conclusions do we draw? Why, the same ones we started with! Whatever they were.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), April 04, 1999.

I get the impression that companies are "certifing that they are compliant" when they have not adequately tested and when they are ignoring possible problems with the embedded systems. If a system cannot be tested without shutting down and a shutdown is not possible, assume that it will work and then to cover their _ss, they say that they will be O K but are worried about the other guy. Also known as blame shifting. I fear big problems when hundreds of new systems are put into operation on 1 1 2000, failures will occur and it will be difficult to see which systems are failing due to numerous interacting failures. It would be better to implement some remediated systems earlier so if they fail, they will know where to look and can hopefully fix those before the rollover date.

-- Steve (curious@aa.wow), April 04, 1999.


this is not an uncommon phenomenon. in fact, *most* businesses almost certainly are okay (or we'd be in deeper trouble than people realize). but from what i can tell, enough aren't that we could be facing some notable economic problems down the road...

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN News (y2k@cbn.org), April 05, 1999.

Thanks to all for the responses.


One other thing that came up also, from one person I was working with, was the concern of missing the deadline her company had previously told the SEC that they would be Y2K ready. She indicated that the directors were worried about the impact missing the date could have on their company stock price. Seriously worried. Seems to me that this is a valid concern, although as I mentioned, it was just the one person that said anything about this.

Offline, bfn, Rob.

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@com.net), April 05, 1999.

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