Weird Requests

Ever since I’ve started at Yahoo!, I’ve noticed a really odd phenomenon.

Any time that I tell someone that I work in Yahoo! Games, they always feel the need to bring up whatever grievance/suggestion/complaint about some other utterly unrelated Yahoo! property that they interact with.

Some Person

Where do you work?

Isaac

I work for Yahoo! in Santa Monica.

Some Person

Oh, really? That’s cool. What do you do there?

Isaac

I’m a Web Developer/Front-End Engineer for Yahoo! Games.

Some Person

Awesome, so you make games?

Isaac

Not really. I work on the front-end of the web site, the actual stuff that you see in your browser when you go to games.yahoo.com.

Some Person

Oh, neat. Hey, you know, you should tell them about their mail program. I can’t seem to make the editor work right on Safari. When do you think that’s going to be fixed?

Let me tell you, they employ some really smart people at Yahoo!. And most of us seem to know a bit of the goings-on outside of our own cubicle. There’s mailing lists and whatnot. You wanna talk shop? Cool. But even if they only employed super-geniuses with IQs in the high 200’s, there’s simply no possible way that anyone would be an expert in everything that is done by this 800-lb. gorrilla of a company.

I’m always tempted to just laugh, but I don’t want to be a dick. Most of the time, it’s some completely well-meaning person who honestly thinks, Hey, here’s an insider who can help me!, and I don’t want to ruin their day. So I gracefully explain that I have nothing at all to do with Yahoo! Mail/Maps/Personals/Finance/Sports/News/Flikr/Hotjobs/whatever, and that their best course of action is to use whatever support/help/suggestion links when they have a problem.

It’s kind of like if you met the mayor of Cleveland, and asked him this:

Person

What do you do for a living?

Mayor

I’m the mayor of Cleveland.

Person

So you work for the government?

Mayor

Yeah.

Person

Oh, thank god I found someone who works for the government! I’ve been meaning to tell you all about a problem I’ve been having. See, the 101 here in Los Angeles is always backed up, and it seems like they should build a new highway to take on some of the traffic. Could you tell your people to do something about that?

Mayor

Um… Yeeeeaaahh….. When I get back to Cleveland, I’ll have my people get right on that…

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