Dead Mouse

Dead Mouse


Dead Mouse. Not to be confused with deadmau5. Dead mouse. Ex mouse. ” It’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it.”

So I took a job with a firm that said all the right things. They needed my skills to grow. Good with words, poor with actions. This dead mouse is representative of the entire experience.

The mouse has been dead for over a year and a half. Our poor rodent met its end shortly before a 2011 visit from a major customer and prime contractor for military hardware. One of the principals of the firm saw the mouse, and covered it. He didn’t get his hands dirty throwing away the mouse, or confront the problem by delegating to employees. He covered it. Hid the mouse.

Now perhaps there is a very valid reason for this. The mouse was of course in an ITAR compliant lab. So perhaps, having met his end in such a controlled space, the mouse couldn’t just be thrown away. Perhaps being an ITAR compliant dead mouse, some obscure regulation forbid the disposal of the carcass in a manner where it could be accessed by foreign nationals.

According to my intel, a year and a half later, the mouse is still in this lab.

This is why some firms don’t grow; why they seem to slam in to an invisible barrier. Owners fret and workers scramble, they try “everything” to fix the problems. Everything that is, except throw away the dead mouse. The barrier isn’t invisible if you stop hiding it and admit to the ugly reality. Most firms face problems that aren’t a surprise; they aren’t a mystery. They are staring you right in the face, just man up and admit it.

If there’s a dead mouse in the room and nopony is dancing, do something about it. You lead from the front.


I have been asked “Why didn’t _you_ take care of the mouse? How dare you question someone else’s leadership?” Well, by the time I became aware of deadmouse, the whole thing had become something of a joke to me. I’m a hacker, we’re known for having distorted senses of humor. Guilty as charged, deal with it. In another environment I would have taken the initiative and correctly disposed of the dead mouse. Since this mouse was surrounded by crap, garbage, and a technology museum of outdated junk lab gear, I didn’t. If you hire me and want me to do an upstanding professional job for you, you better do an upstanding professional job for yourself. If you just cover the dead mouse, I will, without guilt, laugh at you.


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One comment

  1. dead mouse has feelings too… haha great story… I heard a really cool blind person joke today… Why don’t blind people skydive??? It scares the hell out of the guide dog…

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