Microsofties Unable to Follow Directions
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 98 13:52:31 -0700
Subject: Microsofties Unable to Follow Directions
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Microsofties unable to follow directions
By Skinny DuBaud
September 10, 1998
Microserfs apparently have taken to airing their complaints in more
anonymous forums, such as the nationally syndicated sex advice column by
Seattle-based Dan Savage. In this week's installment, Savage suggests that
the world's most potent software company may be having an adverse affect on
the, er, extracurricular activities of its staff.
In honor of the Net posting of the Starr report, I have decided to reproduce
the letter in question, with only minor expurgations:
"I'm probably clinically depressed," writes the advice seeker. "I probably
need counseling and a s#!+load of pills, but I wanna be pure and in my right
mind for work. (I work at the world's largest a$$h*!@ software company.) I
don't want any mental side effects. Too much is depending on my work. My
other problem: My sex drive is gone. It disappeared when I started working
at this place. I've been with the same woman for a couple of years, and
we've had sex 3 or 4 times in the last 12 months. She says she's ready to
hump me in my sleep, or the dog, the furniture, anything."
The writer goes on to describe a gruesome medical problem and signs his
"There's something I'm curious about," Savage says in his reply. "Does
working at Microsoft destroy people's sex drives? I get two or three letters
like yours every week: Microsoft guys who can't get it up, Microsoft girls
who've lost all interest. What is up? I'd love to hear from Microsoft
employees: What is it about working there that ruins your sex lives? And
I'd love to hear from people dating Microsoft employees: Do you ever get
At this point, there's little to do but wait (with bated breath) to hear
results of the Savage sex probe of the software giant. But in the meantime,
I gave the advice columnist a call and asked if it were really true: Does
he really get that much mail from Microsofties?
"Not everyone I get mail from identifies where they work," Savage said.
"But I've noticed a pattern of people sending me notes from Microsoft, and
the top problems seem to be lack of interest in sex or inability to get it
on, and complaining that depression is the cause.
"I've gotten a few hundred of these," the sex sage added, "and always it's
a similar complaint."
A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter, but she did say
"I'm so glad you're not calling me about a bug."
Savage attributed the high concentration of Microsofty letters to the firm's
famous culture of achievement. "It's that workaholic geek life, that
all-for-the-company, cultish thing where they continually put more and more
on your plate until they've shoved everything else out of your life.
"It starts out OK," he elaborated, "but then more and more creeps in until
you're working those 16-hour days. That's not good for your life--your
emotional life, your relationship life, your sex life. It's good for your
What advice does Savage have for these overachieving but underperforming
"For Christ's sake, quit if you think it's your job!" he yelped. "It's not
like those kinds of jobs are hard to come by, and there are places less
psychotic than Microsoft to work. But some of my friends who work there are
millionaires now, so what do I know? They have great apartments and you
never see them in the daylight."
Savage said he's never gotten a letter from someone at Netscape.
Something about this whole business gives me a feeling of deja vu, and now
I remember why. It wasn't so long ago that we reported a curious feature of
the thesaurus in Microsoft Word. Type "unable to follow directions,"
highlight the entire sentence (minus punctuation), and hit Shift-F7. Is the
word processor the confessional of the '90s?
© 1998 Peter Langston