Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ask Microsoft's Security VP

Microsoft HAS such a position? Thats the first thing that popped into my head as a saw this Slashdot article. next thing you know I was in fantasy-land, which is the only way to rationalize the continued existence of this company's products. Oh well, I don't get cable, never smoked cigarettes or played on a football team either. The world as it is was not meant for me to understand. Fiction is always a good substitute for reality, so I wrote...

Twilight Zone Script Idea:


Everyone at school wanted to intern at Microsoft, but with my grades, sending off the application was just to satisfy my parents that I wasn't goofing off all summer because I'm lazy. Just to be sure, I even bragged to them about how good I thought my chances were of landing that hight-tech starter job.

Nobody was more surprised than I was when I got an offer letter, not an interview appointment but an actual offer letter, complete with starting date. There must be some mistake, but I'd be foolish to not take advantage of it. For the next week my casual bragging about my prospects turned into an almost 24 hour a day orgy of self promotion. Everyone I knew and many I didn't know had to be told that I was now an elite employee of Microsoft, the company that INVENTED computing and was responsible for all modern technological advances, or at least so I thought at the time.

Which of course made it impossible for me to do anything but sign on the dotted line when I arrived at MS HQ to find that I was being employed for the summer as nothing more than a "mail-clerk" for two of the buildings containing the loftiest executives in the organization. Well, I rationalized I could always lie about the nature of the job to my friends and family, who would ever know.

Hard to believe in this day and age there would still be so much physical mail, especially directed at a high-tech company such as Microsoft. But there was. My first few days were just learning the process, and realizing that I'd be working some long hours as the company had no respect for "snail-mail" or those who had to deliver it, so one guy had to do the work of three or more, sorting the mail into bins and in the case of the higher-ups, actually carting it to their offices. At least I got to meet, on occasion, some famous people, maybe this would come in handy some day.

One odd thing was that there was a particular hallway that seemed to be largely deserted. At the head of the hallway was a locked door with no name on it, but the title "VP: Microsoft Security Technology Unit". Outside the door were stacks of mail, so high they were tumbling into the hallway pretty much blocking it to my cart, but as there were no occupied offices further along the hall it made no difference. Still, I tried to neaten it up a bit for the first few days.

Then it started to get to me. Why didn't this guy read his mail? Or if he was on a long vacation or something, why not have a secretary collect it for him?

I got one of the largest mail sacks we had and collected most of the pile into it, but there was more than it would hold. This stuff must have been collecting for months, years maybe. Finally I tracked down the admin person who might have a key to that office. At least we could pile the sack and remaining mail inside rather than have it clutter up the hall.

I really had surprised myself in that I had started to take some pride in my lowly job. The admin, who was rather cute, and not much older than I was I'd guess wasn't nearly so enthused. Fortunately though her master key was close at hand and she didn't seem to have anything better to do the second time I asked her about cleaning up the mess. After all I was willing to do all the work, I just needed her to open the door. On the way up the elevator she mentioned that she had never heard of the fellow who's name appeared on most of these envelopes and magazines. She had also never heard of the "Security Technology Unit", much less knew that they had a Vice President that went with them. "They must all travel a lot" I quipped, knowing that this was the only empty hall in the building. As we rounded the corner to the hallway she added "For sure", with a look on her face that told me she had never been up here before either to see this locked office or the two dozen empty ones beyond it.

"Well it would be nice to have this resolved" I was thinking as she opened the door and we both gagged at the odor that wafted out, but no sooner had I thought this than she knocked me over as she ran past me screaming. I held my breath and stood up to take a look, but was soon heading for the buildings exit myself. I would never return to that job. Status or not, I couldn't get the thought of that decaying pile of bones out of my mind, nor would I ever find out how a company could get so large as to not notice a deceased member in its own ranks. Maybe this guy had has a heart attack on his first day and never gotten around to filling that long hall with staff. I wondered what the "Security Technology Unit" was supposed to be doing, and how anyone could fail to notice that whatever it was supposed to be doing probably wasn't getting done.

I blocked all this out of my mind though, and changed my major to History, before dropping out of school completely. I'd never have that high-tech job I used to long for, because I never could bring myself to use a personal computer on a regular basis, particularly one running products from Microsoft.


Come to think of it, maybe it would be more suitable for "Thriller". They always had those ghastly surprise endings. Is Boris Karlof still around? Maybe he is doing security work at MS. That would be funny.

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