Friday, May 04, 2007

It's been happening right under your nose

This picture has nothing to do with what I'm talking about. It's a freebie.

I hesitate to say this, but...I'm an Academic. Though there are things I like about it, I'd say I'm pretty unhappy. I don't know if all institutions of learning are like this one but I must say it is mired by unscrupulous characters.

Let's define "unscrupulous".

Years ago, I was working in the art department of a fast and busy T-shirt company. At the time, we owned a single art computer: A Macintosh IIsi. The Quadra, a significantly faster computer, had just come out and my boss wanted one. The IIsi was slow. Adjusting the art by one click of the cursor keys in Photoshop meant around 5 - 10 minutes of waiting. Pressure!!
I came into work to start on a tight deadline project (ALL of them were tight deadline projects!) to find an empty computer desk. Everything, including my personal disk, had been stolen. Outside, car tracks on the lawn indicated the point of exit. The Police were called and the place was dusted; it looked like we all worked in a mechanic's shop and left greasy fingerprints on everything.
My boss and I set out to make a record of the equipment for the insurance company. Like anybody would do, we "guesstimated" the cost of things rather than going through the long ordeal of research. (The internet wasn't a household name, yet).
The next day, one of our new employees, nicknamed "Dizzy B" showed up with artwork from his brand spankin' (or should I say 'breakin') new Mac IIsi. He was promptly fired as punishment with no report to the police. My boss, in turn, bought the new Mac Quadra. Good trade.

Okay, picture people with less scruples than these people. That describes 20% of the people in my Department. It's very complex, but the state of academia virtually encourages their lack of scruples.

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