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Read the text carefully and then choose the best answer from the options on the opposite page.

Answer Sheet

Like many meticulous people, Cameron thought of himself as merely organized. He certainly did not consider that he took great pains over anything, he did just enough to get it right. Exactly right, of course, for as he was fond of telling his staff, "if it's not exactly right, it's wrong". Occasionally a worker might whimper faintly on hearing these words, because it meant another hour or so of going over the same bit of work, correcting the mistakes which Cameron had patiently pointed out. And doing the corrections exactly right of course.

Oddly enough, his passion for precision did not make Cameron unpopular. His department had the reputation for performing the highest quality work in the company, and it was seen, and not only by those who worked in the department, as a sort of elite unit. Those programmes that had to work first time, straight out of the box, Cameron's men got those. "It's mission critical - give it to Cameron" was almost a catch-phrase with his team.

It helped that Cameron was not merely fussy. He wanted things done just so, not because of a personal idiosyncrasy, but because he had discovered through patient experimentation that this was the best way for it to be done. What drove his team to distraction, and occasionally to contemplating murder, or suicide, or both, is that he insisted it be done that way under all circumstances. Daughter's wedding? Oh, dear, well you can go as soon as you have finished the project. Take as long as you want.

That was another term that filled the programmers with horror. In Cameron's lexicon, "Take as long as you want" meant that you could work on your task not just in office hours, but that evening, and late into the wee hours of following morning if you so desired. But the project had to be in by its completion date, and yes, done exactly right. Or you did it again. There were those that refused to work under this regime. They told Cameron so, at length, and often with a selection of colourful adjectives. And Cameron would give them his saintly smile, call one of his colleagues, and the worker would find himself at another desk the next day, doing the same sort of work, for exactly the same pay. Then he could cut corners where he knew it didn't matter, use the occasional bodge if it worked, and be reasonably sure of getting home for matters like anniversary dinners.

But he would always be regarded, and not least by himself, as someone who had failed to measure up, one of those who just couldn't cut it. You had to face it, if you were not working for Cameron, you were second best. So when word got out that Cameron had fouled up, big time, the news was greeted with a mixture of sympathy, and outright relief that this paragon too was human.

1. What was Cameron's job?
a Software programmer
b Quality controller
c Head of department
d A chief scientist

2. Why was "mission-critical" work given to Cameron?
a Because Cameron was critical
b Because Cameron's work was error-free
c Because he didn't mind working late
d Because he had a good team

3.Which word best describes Cameron?
a Uncompromising
b Patient
c Tyrannical
d Unsympathetic

4. How did people feel about working for Cameron?
a That they were part of an elite
b That their mission was critical
c That Cameron was very fussy
d That Cameron was patient and saintly

5. What is meant by someone who "can't cut it"?
a He doesn't cut corners.
b He isn't good enough.
c He has the wrong measurements.
d He is a paragon.


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