Episode 36 BOFH 2000: Episode 36
So as his immediate senior, I get to give the PFY his performance appraisal review, and as my "senior" The New Boss - Release Version II - gets to give me one (although not in the biblical sense).
All a bit of a problem for him really as he's so new he has to rely on the reports of his predecessor and other managers to come up with something that both keeps the workers happy whilst looking effectual. Pure PR of course, now that he's realised his role's not one of the more popular in the company.
"So how did it go?" he asks conversationally, wanting to know the ins and outs of the PFY's review.
"Very well actually. Overall I'm quite pleased with his progress although there were a couple of areas I was disappointed in."
"Yes?" The Boss asks, keenly interested any negativity directed away from his role.
"Yes, yesterday I noticed he answered the phone ONCE!"
"That's terrible!" The Boss cries.
"I know - I would have let it ring. As I said to him - 'Its only a user - they'll ring back if it's important enough and restarting their machine doesn't fix it. And their desk's not on fire...'. I'm starting to wonder if he actually thinks he's there to help people."
The boss laughs nervously, not really believing me. "Desk's not on fire" he chuckles.
"..So of course I told him that muting the ring on his phone will help solve the moral dilemma of whether to help people or not."
"Well, TECHNICALLY, you ARE there to help people.." The Boss mentions quietly.
"No, I think you'll find that our contract quite clearly states that we're responsible for the smooth running of the networks and systems - it says nothing about the users. IN FACT, it's only because I'm of a benevolent nature that I even let the users ACCESS the machine, as theoretically they're UPSETTING the smooth running of the systems and networks. Call me an old softy I guess.."
The Boss again chuckles nervously, not wanting to open this particular can of worms either. Instead he decides to get down to business.
"So", he starts. "Lets look at your role and the Key performance indicators.. >scrabble< Let's see... SYSTEM UPTIME - reasonable."
"Apparently I'm told there's been a lot of unscheduled outages."
"What? - I ALWAYS notify users of outages!"
"Yes. I think that senior management believe that multicasting... uh, Bruce Springsteens's 'I'm going down' doesn't constitute notification!"
"It makes people disconnect!"
"I'm sure it does NOW - but I think you should be giving people advance notice! My last position required advance notice well ahead of outages."
"THEY GET TILL THE END OF THE SONG!" I cry.
"n'Yes.. Anyway, moving right along. Helpdesk calls resolved - Limited."
"Of course it's limited, I can never connect to the helpdesk server to resolve them!"
"Would that be because you.. uh, >scrabble< ran an angle grinder into the network card?"
"An accident. I was trying to cut through the padlock that was stuck on the back of the machine."
"Stuck because someone glued a matchstick into the keyway with epoxy resin?"
"Yes, vandals strike everywhere!"
"Even in the rooms only YOU two have access to?"
"Especially there. It's the last place you'd expect. Quite clearly a setup!"
"I see. So your poor Helpdesk resolution record is due to a damaged network card preventing you from closing calls?"
"Yes. But we resolve calls passed to us on paper!"
"We file them. One hundred per cent hit rate so far!"
"You've solved all of them?!?"
"No we get them all in the bin. Uh, I mean low-profile circular filing cabinet."
"Yes... I think I might change that to VERY limited. Now 'Complaints about work' - frequent."
"I'm sorry, but I find that very hard to believe!"
"Well I've one here as it happens, from an executive member of the accounting audit group. He says you told him there were constraints on documents to be emailed."
"Yes - we have an SMTP limitation of 2 Meg, which once an attached document is encapsul.."
"He says you told him to chop his diary up and push it into the floppy drive of his machine if he wanted to share it with his secretary!!"
"That's just preposterous!" I cry, remembering the good laugh the PFY and I had over that one.
"It doesn't stop there!" he responds, cranking up the tone a little. "He also claims you bought several copies of Red Hat Linux under the safety and security budget, trying to pass them off as Fire Warden Helmets!"
"I think you'll find the Operating Systems were purchased for the Security's desktop machines."
"And that's where you installed them then?"
"Unfortunately the media wasn't compatible with their CD Drive."
"Non ISO Format?"
"No, the drive had matchsticks epoxy-resined into it."
"This is just ridiculous!" he cries. "You can't seriously expect to solve all your problems with epoxy resin!"
"No, you're right. I bought a brazing kit yesterday."
Once again The Boss chooses to ignore a confession in favour of pursuing some other line of enquiry.
"And here - apparently you assaulted a user?!?!"
"Water under the bridge. A simple mistake that anyone could make.. We were configuring his network and I gave him the choice of colour-coded cables, and I misheard him saying that he wanted the violet option. I thought he said VIOLENT connection option."
"Who on earth has a violent connection option?!"
"We do. Now."
"But who would ask for it?"
"Well, only one person so far..."
From then on it just goes downhill, and I'm forced to retire to my office well chastised.
"Should I go and see if I can defuse the situation?" The PFY asks, fingering the government-disapproved cattle prod he just ordered as an 'Uninterruptible Power Supply'.
"Oh, I shouldn't bother just at the moment."
"What, given up the good fight?" The PFY asks disgustedly.
"No, someone brazed his door handles solid yesterday and epoxy-resined his windows shut."
"Bastards!" the PFY cries
"Yes. Lets hope they don't set his desk on f..." %% >Jangle< >Jangle<>Jangle<
"Ah well." ®
BOFH 2K: Kit and Caboodle
That's right, the whole shebang