Tuesday, October 4, 2016

My Worst Job

How I Lost Some of My Life


Once upon a time, I became a systems analyst for the now-defunct Banco Nacional. Dias, the R&D department manager, hired me, assigning me, the "resource", to a gringo-hating division manager. They asked me to validate a network system to be installed in over 400 branches, a deal worth millions, the saving grace for a company in São Paulo. Nobody explained I was supposed to rubber stamp it, or that the president's brother-in-law owned the company.



The system was a mess of obsolete microcomputers with shoddy networking capabilities. I broke the code in several hours, but writing the report was difficult. My savvy partner-in-crime, Ronaldo Pinto, helped with translation so the board could understand my hacking. To prove the system’s weakness, I transferred representative funds from and back into my personal account without creating transactions, but with documentation showing different balances. This is a bank’s nightmare scenario.

Ronaldo called me before work. “Don’t go to the office. Termination notices are on our desks.”

“What do we do?”

“Many people will be canned. We’ll survive if we don’t show up at our office.”

It was a big company. We toured other offices for weeks doing feasibility studies on nonsensical projects: a $300,000 laser printer for a department that prints a dozen annual reports, a backup system of 8-inch floppy discs, and a dual purpose video poker/automated teller machine (for employees). Idle time was spent in Gávea watching Flamengo games, Ipanema or Leblon soaking up voluptuous temptation, or the Tijuca rainforest getting stoned. We knew that it was borrowed time. Finally, bored, I returned to my desk to be fired.

They escorted me to Personnel. I argued, but I was just a case number. I was furious. I seethed. My laughter frightened them.

They paid three month’s salary plus a pension. It was the law, but it felt like hush money. I already had another job and should have forgiven them. I didn’t. Instead, every misfortune they later suffered brought me joy.

It's ridiculous, but writing about it, even now, I'm frustrated. Ego I am.


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