Letters to the Power Plant #32 — Tough Questions 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 second 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.

05/09/02 – Tough Questions at Dell

Hello Dear Sooner Friends,

I hope all is well with you guys.  I understand that the units are up and running and everything is going well. (Is that an overstatement? —  I think not).  It has finally turned into summer down here.  Today I had lunch with my fellow Bootcamp escapees (I mean “Bootcamp buddies”).  We went out and ate at a Mexican Restaurant right down the street from the Manufacturing plants.  We could almost hear those little elves tinkering away a few blocks down making computers for all the little boys and girls around the world.

I’m in a pretty good mood today.  I was just given a new project to program stuff in Oracle.  Since I haven’t done that before, this will be a great new learning experience.  I have started learning a new database language called PL/SQL.  It is similar to SQL (pronounced “See Kwul”), which I already (sort of) knew, but it’s different.  This project is similar to other projects that I have done before, but it is also different.

Oracle is somewhat like a SQL Server database, but it is different.  Actually, I feel like I’ve said this before, only different.  As a matter of record, the difference between each difference is the same type of difference that I’ve experienced in the past…. only different.  There.  Now I have said it, and I will repeat this later if you didn’t understand it the first time, only I will repeat it different.

Have you noticed that sometimes I seem to get stuck in a loop, and I have to struggle to get out of it?  I think part of that has to do with the way a programming language is structured.  When you write programs, it is common to write a loop where the same thing is done over and over, only each time the same thing is done, it’s done different (I mean, it’s done on a different set of data).

So you see, in programming, part of the program does the same thing over and over, only different.  — Just like I said the sentence prior to this sentence that starts “So you see…”.  It was the same as the sentence before it where it starts “When you write programs….” only different.  Luckily in programming you must always include a way to jump out of the loop so you aren’t perpetually stuck doing the same different thing over and over for ever.  In letter writing however, I have to include a jumping off point also, which I will call…. “the end of the paragraph”.

Whew.  I am glad I was able to get out of that.  I felt like I was looping so fast, my chair was starting to spin around — which was not only making me dizzy, but also making it extremely difficult to type.

Well.  Guess what?  Do you guys remember when our IT department spent the day at a place called “Reunion Ranch”?  The place where we went and played around all day playing all sorts of games in the hot sun?  Well.  Now the whole I/T All-Hands meeting will be held there in a couple of weeks.

We’re not just talking about the 500 people that were at the last one.  We’re talking about 3,000 I/T people all together in one place playing all sorts of stuff.  —  I think they should change the name from “Reunion Ranch” to “Geekville” at least for the day that we will be there.  I think I’ll bring my laptop so that I can program neat stuff while I’m waiting for our team to do “Tug-o-war”.

I received an e-mail yesterday telling me that I was on a particular team with a bunch of people I don’t know.  We are going to compete against other teams made up of people that also don’t know each other.  —  I can see that this is going to be real fun.  —  No one is going to know the names of the people on their teams, so everyone will be calling each other Kevin all day long, (since that is the most popular name at Dell).

I can see it now.  My head is going to be whipping around all day at every utterance of “Kevin!”  And my voice will be heard amidst the countless other Kevins saying, “Huh?” Whenever someone says “Hey Kevin!”  —  I’m thinking of changing my name to “Dave” for just that day.  I’ll just tell my team that my name is Dave, and so if you want to talk to me, don’t call me “Kevin”, just call me “Dave”.

Only I’ll probably forget that my name is Dave, so I’ll just sit around all day thinking that everyone is ignoring me and doesn’t want to talk to me, and I’ll feel that I’m being left out of all the fun.  Which may make me feel aggressive enough to try to knock my Vice President in the Dunk Tank.  (He’s so tall, if he fell in the Dunk tank, he would probably never get his head wet.  He would just stand up).  And everyone would be yelling, “Go Dave!!!   Go Dave!!!

Then I would remember that I told everyone my name was Dave, and then I will feel like a goof for thinking I was being ignored, and I will begin to feel foolish.  —  So what should I do?  Get a sore neck and keep my name Kevin for the day, or change my name to Dave and feel foolish?  —  Tough Questions at Dell.

Life used to be so simple.  Now…. It’s different.

Good to hear from you guys.  Someone needs to tell Gene Day that he should stop pouting and write.  Linda, Since the Birthday Phantom said his birthday is on the same day as yours, — You can tell him.  After all.  He’s your twin  (Only 30 years older).

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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