A Boss comes to his CFO. In his hand he carries a report bound into a vinyl cover with a clear front. The CFO recognizes the presentation booklet she prepared for prospective institutional lenders and private financiers (the company is in the process of restructuring its operating capital). This particular one is the Boss's personal hard copy: the CFO notices his doodles, scribbles, and squiggles right there on the title page.
The Boss gives the booklet to the CFO, "I've met these two guys yesterday over drinks at the Harvard Club. I didn't quite understand what they do, but I want to send them this. They wanted it electronically. Can we send it as a whole? I forwarded you their email addresses."
"Of course," she replies, "It's been combined into one file."
"But I've added a few pages."
The CFO skims through the presentation and sees that amid her slick statements, tasteful tables, and vivid charts, there are three pages of text she's never seen before. She feels the habitual wave of anger she has learned to hide deep inside a long time ago. She bites her tongue and doesn't tell him that the unprofessional pale blue arial font he chose clashes with the aesthetics of her report and that his text is too verbose. She just looks him in the eyes and says, "Just send me your Word file and I will incorporate the pages."
"Files," he corrects her.
The CFO nods silently. It's clear to her: a separate file for every page - three pages, three files. If they were all in the same file, he wouldn't be able to print them separately. It would be too difficult for him.
The Boss still lingers. "But are the pages all going to be, like, that scanned type?" he grimaces.
"I'm not planning on scanning anything, but yes, I will convert the Word pages into the PDF and insert them into the presentation, which is a PDF file itself."
"But then I will not be able to edit my pages if I want to," the Boss's tone is a mix of whining and irritation, as if the CFO makes his life difficult. (Which she does, by the way: He always thought of himself as a brilliant man, but this bitch knows too much, understands everything quicker, and her level of expertise and professional standards makes him feel inadequate in HIS OWN COMPANY, for crying out loud.)
"Well, technically if you have Adobe® Acrobat® XI you can edit any PDF file." She thinks for a split second whether she should go on, then continues: "We can also insert the PDF as an object into Word. Then you can edit your pages. However, it will most likely, screw up the entire layout of the presentation, which is not good in case someone decides to print it. I really do not recommend this."
It all sounds like Chinese to the Boss, who, shockingly, doesn't speak a word of it, even though he used to have a business and lived in Hong Kong - for 25 years, no less.
"I don't know how to use any of that," he says, "Can't you just insert my Word pages without converting them into your presentation?" (It almost sounds as if he is about to say, "Is that too much to ask?")
This is just too funny, but the CFO keeps her face in check. She decides that she's had enough of this conversation and it's time to stop explaining: "No, even I cannot perform that sort of magic" she says, "It has to be either Word, or Excel, or PDF file. And PDF is the format of preference in this case."
"Oh, Okay." The Boss leaves.
Now, the CFO smiles to herself. And at that moment she realizes the true cause of her dissatisfaction with this job. It's not this heightened level of irritation. It's not even the fact that she's undervalued and underpaid. It's the unfairness of life that forces professionals like her to work for dilettantes like her boss.