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 forty fifth 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.
07/31/02 – The Dell Zone
Dear Sooner Plantians,
Even though it is early in the day, I have already had an interesting morning. First, I did not have the regular “Freeway Experience”. I decided to try an alternate route. — Yes. — Avoid all the traffic, see the country side. Have a nice relaxing drive to work.
So, instead of turning left at CR 122, I turned right. Then I turned right on HWY 79, and then another right on HWY 685, and then I turned left on FM 1825 and then after travelling around a number of nameless and numberless roads, I turned right on RM 734, which took me to the building where I am working.
I think it took a little longer than if I had done the “freeway crawl”, but I noticed that after I turned off of HWY 685, that I later recrossed that road, after winding around some curving roads in the countryside, so I think there may have been a more direct route than the one I took.
The roads here don’t run north and south and east and west like they do in Oklahoma, they just take off in whatever direction the road construction crew thought would take them closest to the nearest diner by lunch time. — I think if someone put a Diner out in a field in the middle of no where, some construction crew would probably build a road that goes right by it, then they would give it a name like: FM 2334 (Remember that FM means Farm to Market. Now you know why. I think the same thing must apply to Supermarkets).
The county lines around here don’t run square with the world either. They all run slanted like Sooner plant. (If you remember the conversation about how the power plant is 7 degrees off true north, and so is Austin). Well, I figured out why the counties are all slanted down here. They line up with the coastline. I looked at a map of Texas the other day (which down here is almost a weekly requirement like saying the Pledge of Allegiance) and all the counties in this part of Texas are sideways with the coast. — It makes sense to me….. Well, it made sense to them anyway.
When I arrived at work, I thought that maybe I had taken a wrong turn on one of those country roads, and ended up in a building that looked exactly like the one where I was supposed to be, only I had entered the Twillight Zone or something. The parking lot was the same, and the security guard at the front desk looked the same, but when I arrived at my cubicle, I had this eerie feeling that something was not quite right.
I couldn’t place my finger on it right away. I pulled out my laptop and slid it into the docking station. I powered it up and went to the end of the hall and poured myself a cup of ice water. I strolled back to my “guest” cubicle all the while with a feeling that something was different.
I sat in the cubicle and watched my computer booting up, and I looked around. — The lights were on. I could hear the hum of the air-conditioner. The poster in my cubicle with all the database tables all connected together with lines running everywhere looked the same, but something was different.
It felt just like I used to feel when I walked in the Electric Shop and Unit 1 was off-line. You know something just isn’t quite right. So I decided to ask someone about it. I quietly called out to the surrounding cubicles, “Venkat?” “Murthy?” “Srinivasa?” “Anyone there?” “Kotamraju?” “Are you there?” “Devika?” “Radha? “Anyone?” “Where is everyone?”
There wasn’t anyone around. That’s right. No Nanda, or Liming, no Ravi or his other brother Ravi. No Jichuan, or Venu, no Sohan, Ragini or Azeem. All the cubicles around me were empty.
My first thought was, “Great, I went to the wrong floor, and there is an identical cube to the one I’ve been using with the same database drawing in it, and no people.” Then I thought. — “Is it Saturday?” No. Then I thought, “My gosh, they laid off the whole Data Warehouse.”
Not likely, especially since we sold more computers last week than we have ******SECURITY VIOLATION******** THIS PORTION OF THE E-MAIL HAS BEEN DELETED BY DELLSECURE—-IT CONTAINED PROPRIETARY INFORMATION. ******SECURITY VIOLATION******** So my next thought was that everyone had gone to a meeting and I wasn’t invited. — Which is partially right.
It turns out that the Data Warehouse people are all having an “Offsite” today. You know. A “Team-builder”. They had told me that yesterday, but I didn’t remember until I wandered the cubicles for 3 or 4 minutes. — “Oh Yes, Of course. A team-builder.” — “Whew” That was a relief.
I thought I was catching glimpses of Rod Serling wincing his face at me in the reflection in the windows, and the do-do do-do music from the Twillight Zone was beginning to run through my head.
So my next thought was. “I know. I’ll write a letter to you guys. My old friends from up North. That will settle me down.” So that’s what I did. But you already know that part.
Have a safe day,
Your Friend from do-do do-do Dell!!!
Kevin James Anthony Breazile
Kevin J. Breazile
Customer Experience / Warranty Cost
Dell Computer Corporation