Letters to the Power Plant #23 — Six Months at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the twenty third letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

02/22/02 – Six months at Dell

Dear friends,

This week marks my sixth month as a Dell employee.  The time has really flown.  It seems like just the other day I took off my coal stained jeans and put on a pair of khaki slacks.  —  My steel toed boots have been sitting in the garage unused (except for Halloween when I dressed up as Frankenstein).  — The calluses on my hands are gone, and my fingernails are properly manicured. —  The watch on my arm is no longer the plastic black electric resistant watch with the black plastic strap.  It is a gold watch with the gold watchband that I received for my 10 year Service Award from OG&E.  —  I carry a briefcase instead of a tool bucket, and it is not very heavy, as it includes only my laptop, a calculator, a breath freshener, and a spare floppy disk.  I can come to work when I want.  Leave when I want.  Go to lunch when I want.  Schedule a meeting whenever.

Another group of college graduates have started their career with Dell this week.  Our team received two of these “new hires”.  One of them came from OSU and was in three of my classes last year. —  They are the “New guys”.  —  I’m an old hand now.  — In the power plant, it took about 2 years to become fluent doing my job.  At Dell, responsibility is heaped upon you from the first day you exit the hallowed halls of boot camp.  —  You learn things very rapidly.  — The new employees are coming to me and asking for direction.  —  I show them the programs I have written, and tell them how Dell works.  —  They have sponsors that help them learn how Dell operates, but all of us “Old guys” help them also.

Next week I am starting a new project.  We have been planning it for the last couple of weeks.  It has to be done by April 18.  We have planned what we will do on a daily basis.  It is a lot like planning an overhaul at Sooner, but we won’t have to cut it short because we need the unit on line as soon as possible.  We won’t have to delay it because the parts didn’t arrive when we expected them.  We won’t have to change it in the middle because we ran across some extra work that is more important.  —  On Monday I will write this part of the program, on Tuesday, I will write that part.  On April 16th we will be done, so that we will be done 2 days early, and everyone will say, “Look!  They beat their schedule by 2 days!”  All of that is planned.

Gee.  Six months, and I already sound like I know what I’m doing.  Well.  I do.  Because it is programming, and that’s what I love to do.  Every day when I arrive at my cubicle.  I open my briefcase, and take out my laptop, and slide it into my docking station and power it up. —  I turn on my other computer, and log in.  I sit in my chair, and I look around at my fairly undecorated cubicle, and I feel like I’m on vacation.  I feel the same as if I am at the beach lying in the sun.  I start typing away at the keyboard, checking my e-mails, going to meetings, and programming — and programming.

Programming is like making toys.  You tinker around with it for a while, and when you are done, you have something to play with.  —  Next Monday, my main “business partner” from my last project is taking me out to lunch, because he is grateful, because I wrote a program for him.  It saved him a lot of time, and now he’s happy.  —  He has a better toy to play with. — It is very satisfying.  — I think in the Quality Process, they called it…..  —  What was it?  That was so long ago, and they didn’t do that part very well anyway……  —  Oh yes.  “Celebration.”  — I’m sure you guys remember that.

I understand that Toby has left for another position with Enogex, and that Jasper, and Bill Thomas, and Max Thomas are retiring soon.  Gee.  Toby’s name was really Thomas, so it’s like losing three Thomases in one month.  Thomas A. O’Brien, Max Thomas, and Bill Thomas (The name Thomas means twin, so I suppose you could think that since Max and Bill are leaving at the same time that they are like brothers. —  The Thomas Twins — which would mean, the “twin twins”).  I wish them all well in their new lives.  I hope that they have at least as good of a life as I am having.

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

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