IT WOULD APPEAR that the Boss has said something to upset The PFY. And me, the heartless android bastard that I am, didn't notice this and intervene on his behalf as a good supervisor would...
So now The PFY's in one of those moods that REEEEAAALLLLY puts a strain on the old office sanity situation.
"What are you sulking about then?" I ask, exuding the kind of compassion you only read about in South American prison systems.
"Nothing," The PFY responds - going for the 'I'm-the-only-person-who-EVER-does-ANYTHING-around-this-place-honestly-I don't-know-why-I-bother' approach.
Which, as far as I'm concerned, is about as welcome as a Microsoft licensing amendment.
"Ah, so it's just the usual hard-done-by-overworked-plaything-of-the-ruling-classes thing then?"
"No, I've had enough! And I'm thinking about a career change!" he responds, throwing several of his toys out of the proverbial cot...
"Really? Well, you know what I say - Harder than a lane change, but easier than..."
"...a sex change, yes, you've told me."
"And you get to keep your clothes and friends!!!" I add, bringing a little humour to the situation.
"Ha. Ha," The PFY mutters.
Trouble in Paradise alert!!!
Now don't get me wrong, working with The PFY is every bit as awful as working with any other run-of-the-mill support person with homicidal tenencies and a persecution complex (like me for instance). But the thought of taking on some complete greenhorn, removing the brainwashing they received about user service, then retraining them in the gentle art of user discipline, just upsets me.
And to top it off he knows this, and also knows that I have a couple of weeks of beach leave (i.e. User support conference in the bumhole of Leeds [insert any Leeds location here] which I have NO intention of going to, but can claim gobs of 'travel time' for...) and is trying to stuff it up. To make matters worse, he also knows I'm not a capella on this trip thanks to a heavy drinking session with the Company women's soccer team, and is using this as a way of twisting the knife. If I hadn't taught him so well I'd be really annoyed.
Still, we can't both be away, AND that I can't phone bomb scares for two weeks continuously. Not again, it would look too suspicious.
So I'll have to humour The PFY out of his doldrums.
"What did the Nasty Boss do to you then?" I ask, unable to help myself.
The PFY cries, and bowls out of the office at speed.
Half an hour later The PFY's back with a wadge of contracting papers, looking through the list of available jobs. Half an hour later he's sighing audibly, so I figure it's time to help out.
"What does 'Seasoned veteran of computing' mean?" he asks, looking up.
"VMS programmer. Bound to be. The 'seasoned' bit means you need thick glasses, a beard and no clothes sense, the 'veteran' bit tells you it's VMS. If it were a Seasoned Vet of Programming, that would be different - you'd be a beardy speccy geek who knows COBOL!"
"What about a Microsoft All-rounder?" The PFY continues, ignoring me.
"You can use 98 and NT without dribbling..."
"What about 'Proven experience in Leading Edge Systems'?"
"Well, the 'Leading Edge' bit means you'd using something with a dubious future, so my guess is Macintosh Support or something involving using a 'Tablet' device"
"Oh yes, Situations Vacant are a real minefield. Run through some more words, and I'll do a quick translation for you."
"You should be if you take this job. Next!"
"Open Plan office."
"Someone to fire when it comes in waaaaay over budget."
"Willing to go the extra mile?"
"Either it's MILES out of town or they want you to sleep with their clients to keep them happy."
"Ah. What about 'Hands on' role."
"Sleeping with the clients again..."
"Well there's just bloody NOTHING here!" he snaps, dropping the papers on the desk.
"What about that one there?" I ask, pointing out a large and colourful ad. "Test Analyst?"
"What does a test analyst do?"
"Mainly try and break things - which is not too dissimilar to parts our job in some ways - except that you don't have to let yourself into The Boss's office first."
"Do you think I could do it?"
"Course you could!"
"So should I apply?"
"Why not? It's only... ..about half your current pay. Oh, and look, you get to work one on one with their Publicity people!!!"
The PFY's expression tells me that he's had enough.
"Tell you what," I say kindly. "Why don't I get us some nice cold lagers from the boardroom fridge and you can tell me all about it. Then later, we can go and Test Analyse the boss's new car?"
It's a tough job being sensitive... ®
BOFH: The whole shebang
The Compleat BOFH Archives 95-99