Episode 12 "I officially declare this junket season... open!" the PFY slurs, leaning out the pub window and releasing the bottle of lager tied to our office window across the road.
"Sh*t, the string was too long!" he slobbers as we watch the glass and lager slide down the side of the Boss's car.
Junket season is a fantastic time of year - a time filled with joy, happiness and goodwill to all.
"I've highlighted all the security conferences," I explain to the pair of geeky helldesk types who are drinking with us. (Told you it was a season of goodwill.) "I think I can back-to-back one in the States, then Aberdeen, then Dubai."
"Three conferences in a row!" one of the geeks says. "How will you concentrate?!"
"I think you're missing the JUNKET point a little," the PFY says. "The Aberdeen one's just a Takedown Session."
"As in the book," I prompt.
"The... Uh… Shimomura book!?" the helldesk geeks asks.
"Yeah. Looks interesting, but is actually very, very dull."
"I quite liked it!" the geek says.
"Which bit - the bit about his hobbies, love interest and how great he is or the tiny section which was actually about Mitnick?"
"So I'm using Aberdeen -and the book - to sleep and adjust my clock to Dubai time," I continue.
"But surely you'll need to go to something to do your report on the Aberdeen conference?"
"You're not really up to speed on the whole junket thing are you?" the PFY asks.
"Ok, lets start with the basics," I say "Selection. You choose a junket based on..?"
"Speakers?" the geek says.
"NO! You choose a junket based on LOCATION, SIZE, ACCOMODATION, then speakers."
"Location for holiday potential, Size for the number of vendors and amount of money they'll waste, and accomodation because of the potential of the minibar."
"But if you're going to nothing in Aberdeen, why..."
"Aberdeen is a rest stop," the PFY says. "All you need to do it prove you went there."
"Grab the show bag, the documents and the CDs then scatter them around your desk liberally when you get back."
"But surely the Boss will…"
"...do nothing because we'll have already made a pre-emptive strike!" the PFY interjects.
"Easy," I respond. "I pick the two largest and most incomprehensible documents, shove a couple of post-its in the really geeky parts saying 'Ideal solution for our needs' and slap them on the Boss's desk for his perusal."
"And what will that…"
"The Boss is as likely to read a large technical document as OS2 is to stage a comeback. As all roads lead to Rome so will all questions will lead back to those technical documents that he hasn't read. The boss won't bring it up and we won't give him reason to. The geeky documents will slip to the bottom of the pile on his desk until ultimately he will 'accidentally' shred them."
"But surely he'll notice the cost of it all!"
"Ordinarily, yes. However, we jiggered our accountancy system to report the 'annual' training budget with period of three months. So within twelve weeks it looks like we've done no training at all this year."
"In time for the next junket 'season'," the PFY adds.
"But the Boss will remember won't he?"
"Not when he travels TWA."
"TWA? I thought they were sold years ago?"
"No, I meant Tragic Workplace Accident. By the time the 12 weeks is up the Boss is likely to have tripped down a stairwell, experimented with lethal voltages or had a mental breakdown."
"My favourite," the PFY chirps happily, raising a glass to some of his fondest memories.
"But surely someone would ask…"
"And risk opening Pandora's box of retribution?" the PFY says. "Never!"
"I... Oh. So how do we get.. uh.. training?"
"Let's not be coy, it's called a junket. You get it by establishing a 'training' precedent."
"You go on some training this year, a bit more next year, more the year after, until junkets just become the norm."
"So by 'next year' you mean in three months?"
"In our case, yes, but in your case by 'year' I mean every four years"
"But didn't you..."
"There's a limit to how much money you can get your hands on in one fiscal year. So we have to 'borrow' it from other cost centre's annual budget on a quarterly basis."
"Like the Helpdesk training budget..." the PFY adds helpfully.
"So we can't do any training because you've stolen our training budget?"
"Yes, that about sums it up."
"But why even bother giving us a budget every 4 years then?"
"Ah well, fair's fair. Besides, by that time we've racked up so much contractor's holiday allowance it starts to get a bit embarrassing."
"And you're not worried that we'll tell someone about this?"
"No more that you should be about stairwells, voltages or mental illness," the PFY says, winking. "And get us a couple of pints will you, before the Boss finds out who chucked a beer at his car."
"But you… I..."
Ah well, looks like the goodwill season is over. Still, it was good while it lasted and probably did a lot for morale... ®