Shark Tank: Let's check that job description again

Like lots of other business people, this sales department pilot fish has acquired his training on the fly.

"I have been using PCs since our first president placed one used IBM PC -- with dual 5-1/4-inch floppies -- in our sales department for seven salesmen to use with the statement, 'Here it is, guys, a computer to make all your work easier,' " fish says.

"Necessity being the mother of invention, I learned the programs on the PC and started writing spreadsheets to automate our quoting process."

And for the next two decades, fish is the de facto IT guy in his department. "Over the years we have upgraded to Windows 98 and Office 97 and use it for all of our quoting, order entry, customer history and record-keeping data, utilizing spreadsheets as you would not believe," says fish.

And fish keeps it all running -- when he's not doing his real job as a sales department product specialist.

When his boss tells fish to network the PCs, he gets the computers talking using peer-to-peer networking. But he warns the boss that the department should have a server -- and what's really needed is backup capability.

"No money," boss tells him. "Do the best you can with what you've got."

Could the company at least get me some formal training for this? fish asks. There's a local course I can take if you'll reimburse the tuition.

"No," his boss says, "we can't afford that right now. And it doesn't really apply to your function within the company as a product specialist."

Fish decides to take the course anyway, pays for it himself and gets his CompTIA A+ certification.

Soon after, it all comes together for fish when the boss calls with a crisis: "My hard drive has crashed," he tells fish. "I have no backups. I really need this data. Can you help?"

Sure I can, says fish. "I replaced the hard drive, did a clean reinstall and gave the laptop back to the boss.

"And told him he should think about backing up next time."

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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