NASA Certified

While I was working for a federal agency at the Happy Hunting Grounds, I had the displeasure of working with several coworkers who, shall we say, made my experience there less than pleasant. One of them, I referred to as “NASA Certified.”

This coworker gave the nickname to himself because he had the stones to tell myself and another tech while talking to us, that he knew so much about computers, he was certified by NASA. After leaving, both the other tech and I just looked at each other and shook our heads in amazement because we (and the rest of the department for that matter) knew otherwise.

You see, NASA Certified had a bit of a reputation, both within the department, and at the site overall. He built up this ivory tower complex, wherein he was the only one who could fix a couple systems, but refused to divulge to any other tech how to fix them, and jealously hoarded all the documentation for these systems, even setting a couple up so that he was the only person with admin rights. This got on peoples’ nerves because not only did the systems tend to break down frequently, NASA Certified had a habit of taking leave at the darnedest times, meaning the systems wouldn’t get fixed for a day or two.

Speaking of taking leave, any time there was a scheduled computer move, or any group project requiring any actual work from NASA Certified, he would conveniently call in late or sick, so he wouldn’t have to do any of the work himself, forcing the rest of us to do a bigger share of the work. Eventually our boss got wise to the pattern, and began withholding the notification of these moves that were assigned to him until the day of the move and he saw NASA Certified walk in the door, much to NASA Certified’s annoyance. He’d find out about a couple here & there and still call in sick/late, but by and large, our boss managed to rectify that.

NASA Certified would also tell everyone how to do their jobs, often in a way that directly contradicted any and all forms of common sense. He would ironically complain about how there’s no one else in the department to share the workload, and how he and two others in the department, both of whom where known troublemakers and ne’er-do-well’s, were the only ones that did any actual work, one of whom was fired for pirating DVD’s on his work computer and selling them on-site. The other one was also fired because he was caught sleeping at his desk one too many times.

One of the other things that got on users’ nerves was that he’d promise these lavish fixes on impossible timetables, and would invariably take a couple days longer than the rest of us to do the same work. He would also promise users new equipment and never deliver, blaming other techs and claiming that they took the equipment from him when we never had the equipment in the first place to give to users.

After I had left the Happy Hunting Grounds for greener pastures, I found out that NASA Certified had finally retired after one too many reprimands on his record showed up, and he was given the option of either retiring or being fired.

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