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 sixty fourth letter I wrote.
1/17/03 Typical Dell Week
Hello friends from Soonerland,
It is nice to hear from some of you. I’m glad everything is going so well up there. — No one has told me otherwise, so…. As always, I assume the best.
I suppose there are no overhauls coming up, and nothing has caught on fire lately, and management has treated everyone to a steak dinner for doing so well on your safety record. — Yes. I remember those days with fondness. —
Those nice brisk mornings in the Winter at Sooner Plant when the frost would light up across the coal pile as the sunlight would send it’s rays over the horizon. — It was days like that when the stack lights would go out and Charles Foster and I would take the elevator to the top and look out over the frozen lake while a blizzard-like wind would rustle through my hair.
And the musical stomp-stomping of Charles Foster’s feet as he tapped out a rhythmical tune as he struggled nobly to keep the frostbite at bay. — It was mornings like that that you never forget, though you may embellish them in your mind in order to hold on to your sanity — as you can see.
Sorry, I slipped into a poetic mood there for a little while. — I think I’m out of it now. — Let me check. — Yep… No more poetry here. — I’m not sure what this is, but it definitely ain’t poetry.
Well. We went to the Team-builder last Friday. It was a lot like the one we had last year. We ate a big lunch, and played video games and pinball games and stuff all afternoon. There were a few new games this year that they didn’t have last year.
One of them was called “The Shocker”. It looked like an electric chair without the cap that fits on your head, and you sit in it and grab two hand grips, and it starts raising the voltage on you, and the chair starts shaking. The object of the game is for you to hold on as long as you can.
The longer you hold on, the more tickets you win. Needless to say…. I could go up to the highest level without any problem. Years of working around electricity and around Sooner Management has worn all the “Shock” out of me. So, even though all my hair was standing up on end, and my lips were curled up around my nose, I could still hold on.
Then there was this one thing where two people stand on this platform, and the game tells you where to tap your feet on the ground, and then it plays music, and you end up doing a dance. You have to tap the floor in different places at the right time to get a good score, and there are different levels of difficulty.
I didn’t try that game because after The Shocker, I was already doing dance steps as I walked across the floor. I just stood there and watched other teammates make fools of…. I mean, take turns on it.
They would be hopping all around trying to hit different spots on the floor real fast, and they are too involved in the game to realize that they look pretty foolish doing what they were doing. — Anyway. I didn’t think they looked foolish, but someone who wasn’t in the “team-building spirit” might have thought so.
Well. This time next week we will have moved to a different building. We have to box up all the stuff in our cubicles on Thursday, and magically, on Friday morning, all of that stuff will show up in our new cubicles in our new building.
The building our team is moving to is the same one where I was working with the Data Warehouse people, only on a different floor. I’ll let you know what I think about it when I get there.
You may remember one of the more important things about that building. All the cubicles are about an inch and a half shorter than the cubicles in this building. So I can see over them easier. Not to mention, it’s easier to throw things across the room.
You guys may know the feeling that I am experiencing today, knowing that I’m going to have to move to another cubicle. It is similar to the day when Jasper Christensen told everyone that they were going to lock up the electric shop and the I & C shop and everyone was going to start doing all their work in the maintenance shop unless there was actually a need for them to go to those places. — Well. Ok. It doesn’t quite feel that hare-brained.
I get to take everything with me. All my hardhat stickers aren’t stuck to the walls, they are just held up there by these special kinds of “cubicle pins” that don’t poke holes in your stuff. — The other building has a better cafeteria than this place, and a better exercise gym.
There aren’t as many restaurants down there as there are here. I would have to drive farther to get to them. I think at last count there are around 35 good restaurants within 1/2 mile of this building, and down there, there isn’t anything within 1/2 mile.
When they heard we were moving our whole group down there, they started building a Wal-Mart Supercenter and shopping mall down there, and across the highway, they are putting in a Lowe’s Shopping center, and they will be full of restaurants. So I figure in about a year from now there will be a lot of restaurants in the area, just in time for when they move us back up here.
That’s how they do things around here. We are in a perpetual reorganization. I mean, the Dell culture says, “If you’re not reorganizing, then you’re standing still.”
Well, my manager invited my wife and I out to dinner tonight, so we’re going to the Macaroni Grill (now that’s an idea. Managers inviting their direct reports out to dinner).
I better wrap up this letter so that I can leave early, so that I can go home and spiff myself up, so that I can go out and eat, so that I can gain some more weight, so that I can exercise more, so that I can lose that weight, so that I can be slim and trim.
Ok, I know it isn’t poetry, it’s rambling, as in Ramblin’ Ann-type rambling. Can I help it if I have been inflicted with the propensity to ramble? Well can I? I don’t know, maybe I can. — I’ll try to stop….. Let’s see.
I’ll say goodbye, and I hope to hear from you guys soon, and I hope you are keeping warm. — (Some of your cold air actually blew down here today).
I’ll talk to you guys later,
Your typical Dell Programmer, always in a hurry, and always ramblin’ about something,
Kevin James Anthony Breazile
Kevin J. Breazile
Dell Computer Corporation