Letters to the Power Plant Men #36 — Sunburned 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 thirty sixth 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.

05/23/02 – Sunburned at Dell

Dear friends at Sooner,

This has been quite a week.  I’m glad I have a long weekend to recuperate.  I have had to use my brain, and my back this week to accomplish all the activities I had to perform.  —  I’ll give you a run down of what my week has been like.

I know this won’t sound like much to the Sooner Plant Super Heroes who climb boiler walls like Spiderman, and Leap steam leaks with a single bound like Superman or rip your shirts open at the seams like the Incredible Hulk when Jim Arnold asks you to do impossible tasks, but for your average geeky computer programmer like me — this has been quite a week.

First, if you will recall.  I had a meeting on Monday in “The Board Room.”  —  That meant that I had to drive diagonally across the City of Austin during Going-To-Work traffic.  Which meant, I had to spent half of the weekend before, playing bumper cars at the carnival just to get back into practice.

Well, when I arrived at “The Board Room”, there was this big long wooden table that looked just like one you would see in a movie where all the old guys are sitting around looking at an even older guy at the end of the table telling them what to do. —  Only, there weren’t any “really” old guys there — except maybe me.

There were people from Japan, and Europe, and Malaysia, and ….  Oh yeah, from America.  We sat around for 4 hours and while all the other guys were discussing this and that (which I can’t say), I had my laptop out on the table, and I kept typing away, like I was keeping notes.

We can do that because we have mobile cards in our laptops that allow us to stay connected to the network even though we have to take our laptop with us, like for instance….. to the restroom.  —-  Anyway.  While I was in the meeting I did write a quick e-mail to Ray Eberle.

Then when the meeting was over I had to drive diagonally back across the City of Austin to Round Rock during Going-To-Lunch Traffic, which, even though it isn’t as crowded, the people that drive during Going-To-Lunch time seem to be a little more agitated than the Going-To-Work crowd.  —  Anyway.  By the time I was safely back in my cubicle, I was totally exhausted from driving to-and-fro, and sitting in the 4 hour meeting trying to look totally interested and busy at the same time.

The next day (Tuesday) was our I/T All-Hands day.  We broke up into teams with people we didn’t know and did a “Team-Building” thing.  Each team had to build a raft, and then we had a raft race.

In order to build the raft your team had to go solve certain puzzles and do activities at different places in order to get the parts to build a raft.  It was a lot of fun, and by the end of the day I was totally soaked, from the part where our raft fell to pieces when we were halfway across the pond on our second trip.  — It was rather fun.  — Nevertheless.

I wasn’t wearing my hardhat because I didn’t think I needed it.  Now I realize why I should have worn it.  —  It seems that over the years while I have been wearing my hardhat, the hair on my head has been quietly getting thinner and thinner.  —  I think this is the first time I have ever gotten a sunburn on the top of my head.  —  You know.  The part where the hair is supposed to protect it.

When I had finally limped home, I went in the house and put a bunch of Aloe Vera lotion in my hair to soothe the sunburn.  —  I wish Gene Day had warned me about these hazards!!

Well, Wednesday was a fairly quiet day.  I spent most of the day in my cubicle studying for my next project which is still in the planning stage, and moaning from my aches and pains, only when I had to move, which was about every 5 or 10 minutes to keep my legs from falling asleep.  So I sounded like this all day:  “Oooohhhhh, typetypetypetypetypeclicktypeclickclicktypetypeOooooohhhtypetypetypeclickdoubleclicktypetypeclicktypeOooooohhhhh.”

Then Today, we had another All-Hands meeting, with a much smaller group.  It was my Manager’s Manager, so we had only about 40 people there.  We had to play a game called “Jeopardy”, except that all the questions were about Dell.  Our team won one game and lost the final round.  Anyway, my brain is still sore from playing that, because we had to actually “Think”.

I was given an award for my “Outstanding Contributions to the Customer Recovery Team.”  They said that my Business partners said that I had helped them out so much that they wanted to give me something.  — I was pretty shocked, then I remembered that I had fixed all their computers, so now they think I am some great guy.

That’s kind of what I did at Sooner.  —  Of course, I never remember getting a $100 dollars just for doing something extra.  It seems I do remember being told that I was an Electrician, and it’s not an Electricians job to fix peoples’ computers.  — Anyway.  That made me feel good to actually get paid something extra just for “helpin’ the team.”

My last thought as I left the meeting was,  “What?  No Hardhat Sticker?”  —  You know.  No sticker saying that I was a “Boiler Rat”, or one that said that “I survived Sooner 2 in 2002?”  — Bummer.  Just a lousy Hundred Bucks?!!!! (I’m just kidding of course — I have to throw in that line for the DellSecure Program, so it knows that I’m “just kidding”).

I hope all is going well with you guys.  I hear that, at least in OG&E downtown, the Quality process is picking up again.  Is this true?

It’s been good to hear from you guys, keep in touch.

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Customer Experience / Warranty Cost

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

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