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Infinite Exposure – Pt. 26

Margret sat in the board room watching Big Four Consulting run through their PowerPoint presentation. Her boss, Kent, had signed onto this idea several weeks ago and helped prepare the final spreadsheet using numbers provided by the consulting firm. The room was packed with consultants not old enough to shave but dressed in their finest anyway. The exact same people made the exact same comments they had made in the presentation to Kent; of course Kent’s assistant was the only one who noticed. Twisting, bending, smiling and empathizing all happened right on cue. Good-looking young guys were placed strategically around and across from the female board member, while the short skirts virtually smothered the dirty old men.

It wasn’t that she minded the “sex for sale” marketing tactic used by Big Four Consulting. Lord knows they all did it. Had she not been on the short list of people who would be left twisting in the breeze when this project went south, she might have even considered helping herself to a few servings from some of the dishes being offered. What really pissed her off was knowing that the tweaked libidos in the room were going to sign off on the project in hopes of getting some, only to have put the entire corporation face down on the table to be rectally violated when the invoices from the project started. Margret could already see how this train wreck was going to play out.

  1. Contract would be signed, then someone would buy drinks and dinner.

  2. Mother ship would dock the very next day, spilling out an unbelievable number of well-dressed kids not old enough to shave, costing the company $120per hour each.

  3. Paper consumption would increase fiftyfold at the company as hand carts full of great-looking documentation having absolutely nothing to do with the project were generated, all of it required by the “process” used by the consulting firm.

  4. Entire budget then would be consumed, requiring a small “extension” budget.

  5. Once the extension budget was granted, Big Four Consulting would step out of the picture and make company employees do the actual project, putting in ninety hours per week on salary.

  6. Most employees involved in the project would quit and the department heads would be tagged for the failed project.

Some people said Margret was sarcastic. Those who knew anything about IT knew she was a realist. This was the standard M.O. For large consulting firms. They weren’t there to solve your problem, just schmooze you long enough to consume all of your budget. Very few board members were ever willing to say they had been taken for tens of millions of dollars, so they very rarely got sued. When they did get sued, it was usually by a company in dire enough financial straits that they could simply apply for continuances until the plaintiff took bankruptcy. It was an outright racket, but the MBAs would never admit it.

The project leader finished her positive and energetic chat about the last PowerPoint slide she had up. She smiled to the board and asked if they had any questions. Oh, she is good, thought Margret. Such a classic burn and bucket bunko scam. Just wait for it …

“What will this project cost?” came the question from one of the board members.

The lemmings are about to go over the cliff, Margret thought.

A quick click of the mouse brought up the final slide in the presentation, which was Kent’s spreadsheet, prepared using the Big Four’s equipment valuations. There, in black and white, the board saw how half of the project would be paid for by sale of the existing equipment and software licenses once the move was completed. The rest of the project would be paid for by the lack of software and hardware maintenance contracts over the next three years. Given that maintenance contracts tend to go up every year, the project would probably be paid back sooner, but they had to use the numbers currently on file.

Margret sat in silence. If the board was dumb enough to overlook the obvious, she was not going to pipe up about it. She was only Kent’s assistant. True, she would be the first fired when this train turned from locomotive into a pile of twisted smoldering steel, but she would be fired today if she pointed out just how stupid both her boss and the board of directors were. What was missing from that spreadsheet was just how much the service contract would be for the three years they were using the software license savings to pay off the project. Margret was fairly certain it was going to be way more than the savings, but the girl had chutzpah for putting up a spreadsheet and leaving that off.

The board made some appreciative sounds and a few members even nodded at each other. Of course they said they would have to discuss the project among themselves before making a decision, but everyone in the room knew the white elephant had been sold again. Business cards were handed out with promises they could call the cell phone any time with questions on the project. The team leader even offered to make reservations at a very posh restaurant where they could get a private room this evening to go over any details in a more relaxed surrounding.

Oh, this girl can work it! Thought Margret. I wonder if there will even be fourteen-year-old girls in the room to catch on video with the dirty old men? Nah. They won’t resort to that this time. Some of the fresh faces in this room might be on their knees later, but they all know the elephant has been sold, so they will just be doing that out of habit.

Margret added an item to the To-Do list in her PDA: Update Résumé.

You are reading a special promotional version of “Infinite Exposure” containing only the first 18 chapters. This is the first book of the “Earth That Was” trilogy. You can obtain the entire trilogy in EPUB form from here:

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Roland Hughes is the president of Logikal Solutions, a business applications consulting firm specializing in OpenVMS platforms and Qt on Linux. Hughes serves as a lead consultant with over two decades of experience using computers and operating systems. With a degree in Computer Information Systems, the author's experience is focused on systems across a variety of diverse industries including heavy equipment manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, stock exchanges, tax accounting, and hardware value-added resellers, to name a few. Working throughout these industries has strengthened the author's unique skill set and given him a broad perspective on the role and value of technology in industry.

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