The PFY has accumulated a number of complaints in his new role - and it's up to the Bastard to sort him out...

Year 1997 - Episode 28


It's a sad day for networking professionals everywhere. I, as the senior networking consultant, have been allocated the task of investigating a few complaints against the PFY and recommending some form of censure for the events concerned.

Apparently the boss has attended one of those 'progressive management' courses and come back with armloads of manuals on how to increase work levels and reduce stress in the workplace. Personally, I'd feel happier if he stuck to the literature of the same genre that mentions the seven dwarves and three bears so as to allow him to get on with the real tasks of management.

Still, it's a slow day on floor two, so I decide to give it a crack. Sure enough, I get a call from one of the human resources people - almost as soon as I get in at 11am. Apparently, all disciplinary actions require a representative from personnel to be present, so we organise a time and agree to meet in one of personnel's wastes of space on the fifth floor. Oh, I mean interview rooms.

"Right," I start, upon my arrival. "I think we all know why we're here." I turn to the PFY. "Apparently there have been three complaints against you in the past month and it is our task to investigate these to their fullest and decide on the appropriate action."

"I understand," the PFY replies.

"Right, first up we have a complaint from someone in accounts who says that he ordered a software upgrade that you'd agreed to handle."

"Yes, I remember that," the PFY responds.

"In your own words, what did he ask for?"

"Well he called the office at 4.50pm and said he wanted WYSIWYG, and he wanted it before I went home."

"What did you do?"

"I downed the lights and powerpoints on his floor."

"And he could see?"

"Nothing."

"And he got?"

"Nothing."

"So you filled his order to his requirements?"

"I thought so."

"Excellent," I cry happily. "I don't th..." the personnel guy starts, only to be stopped by a stony stare.

"My show I believe. Now, onto this ATM business. "

"Well, one of the beancounters wanted ATM in his room."

"And what did you do?"

"Well, I got the company architect to move his office to the ground floor next to the cash machine."

"Well you did your best then."

"I think he meant he wanted better networking," Mr Personnel said struggling in the deep end of technology. "After all, that's what you do."

"Really? Hmm, you could be right. But we'll never know because he's left the company. Apparently the machine's beeping drove him mad within a week. I can't think why he asked for it in the first place. Apparently he never got around to finishing those reduction proposals to IT spending...

"Worse luck. Oh well, chalk one up for the client not being specific in describing their needs. But you did your best despite the odds stacked against you, well done. Lastly," I continue, before personnel can interrupt, again. "There's something here about problems with someone being locked in the comms corridor."

"Well, that was my fault," the PFY admits.

"One of the database guys demanded to check that his room was patched into the FDDI and must have let himself into the corridor by accident. I couldn't see him in the comms room and thought you must have let him out."

"An easy mistake to make," I reply. "As I have done on occasion myself, which is why we really should deny any access to the room in the first place."

"This is bloody ridiculous," Mr Personnel snaps in what could be called an annoyed manner. "There's no bloody way that could happen."

"It could," I respond. "Because there are no windows in the secure corridor so you don't know anyone's in there. We've mentioned it to the safety officer more than once and asked for CCTV, but so far no such luck. "

It is a great source of sadness to me that he doesn't trust our word on that.

"Well," I say the to PFY later. "I think there's no grounds for censure here. How about we nip down to the pub for a quick pint?"

"Excellent," the PFY responds. "Should I check the secure corridor?"

"No, I'm sure someone let him out while we were at tea. Just make sure the temperature's low enough in there in case there's an overnight heatwave."

Basic law of networking No.4: Opportunities, like the boss's cigars, are there for the taking...