"Okay, so we'll just work our way through last year's review and then move onto this year's one," the Boss says, fingering a couple of chunky wads of paper.
I hate review time. The only consolation I get from it is knowing that Bosses hate it as well. Everyone hates them - except for the drones from HR for whom this is probably justifies two staff EFTS alone.
"So. Agreed Goals," the Boss starts, leafing through last year's review, "Centralised Licensing Project."
"Yeah, I never did that."
"Because of the review."
"I think you mean 'which review', not 'what'. So there was the review about standard remote workplaces that was supposed to talk about USB security and VPN access but actually talked about monitors and background images, the review of storage policy that wanted to know if we should use the cloud for storage or not, the review about network speed now that all our storage was in the cloud in some third world nation connected at blistering dialup speeds and which probably stores data in wooden platter hard drives because it's carbon neutral, the review about backup strategies and how wood mightn't have been as safe a media as we might have thought in a building fire, and finally the review about workplace safety in the light of the tragic accident that befell the man charged with starting the six former review processes. Then the conversation about the second tragic accident involving the reviewer working on the workplace safety review."
"So which one was this?"
"The review that stopped you achieving this goal?"
"Oh, that. Technically it was half a review actually. So we started reviewing our licences and as part of the review process the reviewer guy audited all our printed licence media but tragically fell in front of a Circle line train in rush hour. Well, when I say fell I mean ..."
"... was pushed?"
"I mean we all said it was a tragic 'accident', but he'd been under a lot of pressure recently."
"And to make things worse, he claimed to have proof that a lot of the licences we'd bought had actually been sold on eBay and that the company was instead running on completely pirated licences!!!"
"And what came of that?"
"Nothing. We gave him the licence documents and I guess the ... shame ... of making such a ludicrous claim ... uh ... drove him over the edge. It really was very tragic, because the company was just about to appoint him as a full-time IT auditor. It just goes to show that you never can tell."
"So we didn't bother investigating the licences any further?"
"No. Well there was no point - they were all lost in the accident."
"Yeah, they were in his briefcase and blew everywhere. The PFY saw the whole thing."
"He saw the whole thing?"
"Yes, he was on his way home."
"He lived the same way as the auditor?"
"Well there's the funny thing - he lives on a completely different line but got a bit confused with the escalators and things and ended up on the same platform. Which is how we know what happened."
"Okay, we'll just put that to one side for the moment. What about this project?"
"Standardised install image."
"Yeah, I didn't do that either ..."
"The review process again?"
"No, this was more a timing thing."
"Not enough time?"
"Pretty much. I proposed an image which was a secure OS install, Office 2010, VPN Client for portables and Firefox or Explorer as a browser."
"And people weren't happy with that, so we organised a meeting for them to come up with ideas for their standard image."
"And what did they come up with?"
"It's only been six months - it's too soon to tell. They'll probably never get back to me though. Asking a group of people to collectively agree on the best browser is just a black hole for time."
"I ... see. Well here's one - Incident Reporting System. What was that about?"
"Senior management wanted us to produce stats on the availability of our systems - outages, response times, usage levels, etc, so that they knew about significant incidents."
"And don't tell me - you didn't do that either?"
"No, we did that. We even did some statistics on the amount of use the statistics system got too. Zero per cent. No one looked at it - like we said they wouldn't. So it's effectively the same thing as not doing it."
"You realise that your bonus is contingent upon achieving at least 60 per cent of last year's goals and that to receive your full bonus you have to achieve more than 90 per cent?"
"Yes, but I have other goals. There was the project to create a device that sounds an alarm if the PFY happens to be on the same train platform as you - that's got to be worth 70 per cent all by itself."
"Really? I'd think it'd be right up your alley - being in IT Management and all. You're a Central line man aren't you?"
"I ... see your point. Do you happen to have one with you?"
"I do. And for 20 extra per cent I can tune it to work near bus stations, unguarded pedestrian crossings and tube station escalators."
"I ... it's a deal, I guess."
"Okay - sign here and clip this to your belt."
. . .
"There's been a terrible accident!!!!" the PFY gasps.
"Stairwells. Of course," I murmur.
Still, something to add to next year's goals. ®