A Spreadsheet As Empty As Their Brain

, , , , | Working | June 18, 2017

(A colleague contacts me on Instant Messenger to ask about project progress. I need some background so I ask him for the project spreadsheet.)

Colleague: “It’s on [sharelink].”

(I try it out and I don’t have access to that sharelink. So I ask him to email it to me.)

Colleague: “Can’t email it to you; it’s too big.”

(Our mailboxes are limited to handling files of 5 megabytes. That is a h*** of a large spreadsheet if it’s bigger than 5 megabytes, considering the project has barely started.)

Colleague: “Okay, I’ve got access to that sharelink for you.”

(I access it, and see indeed, the file is 9 megabytes big. I can’t open it in situ, so I download it and open it locally. I find that it has one active sheet that consists of 75 lines of actual data, and another 1.7 million blank lines (blank, that is, apart from fancy formatting.)

Me: “Why is this file 9 megabytes big? Why has it got 1.7 million blank lines in it? The f*** are we wasting so much computer space? This is ridiculous.”

Colleague: “Well, if you’re so stupid as to be confused by a simple thing as spreadsheet structure, maybe you need to go on a training course to teach you how to use computers. I have a meeting to go to now. Once you have sorted yourself out and learned how we do things round here, I will contact you again.”

Me: “No worries.”

(I let him get on with it. He never got back in touch with me to ask my advice, which was all well and good, as I was able to spend the rest of the day, uninterrupted, fulfilling my role as technical design authority and performing a code quality review of his (not particularly high quality) code.)

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