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BOFH, The Boss and Operational Euphemisms

Dirty business, this computer game

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Application security programs and practises

Episode 7

BOFH 2003: Episode 7

BOFH logo ORDINARILY, I am not one to counsel The Boss in times of mental torment. To be honest, I see my role more as a FACILITATOR of torment, but this time I'm going have to break my informal rules and find out what's upsetting him. This could be an unwise choice, but sometimes a good turn needs to be done, and it's obvious to all that The Boss is so far down in the mouth he's liable to swallow a shoe.

If it gets any worse The PFY will have to call the Vet - for humane reasons.

Sigh.

"What seems to be the problem?" I ask, with a due sense of trepidation.

"It's the Management meeting tomorrow afternoon," he confides unhappily.

"Yes?"

"Well MAINLY the problem is that they're going to crucify me!" he snaps.

"Really? Why?"

"Were you not here the last week?"

"What do you mean exactly?"

"The helpdesk system - up and down like a whore's drawers!"

"Yes?"

"They'll go berserk. Not to mention the performance of the new Asset Tracking Database that we'd outsourced as a project to that overseas firm in Karachi."

"The one that takes longer to find a match than a blind pyromaniac? Well I *DID* warn you about trusting a database whose design phase was over in 15 minutes..."

"Yes yes, but that doesn't bloody help me now!"

"True. But is that all that you're worried about - nothing else?"

"That's enough, isn't it?"

"Potato, Po-tah-to" I respond.

"What?!"

"You see a helpdesk system that only successfully logged two calls in 5 days, I see a fantastic reduction in the number of weekly unresolved calls!"

"I hardly think..."

"You see a database search engine that's so slow it needs a mobility scooter, I see a search engine which has completely eliminated false match reporting!"

"What, you want me to lie to them?"

"Lie to them? Good grief man, if 21st century world history has taught you anything, it must have taught you that 'What you don't know..."

"...can't hurt you', yes."

"Did you know that The PFY had removed the support bracket from your table last week?"

"No?"

"So that disproves that theory. What I was GOING to say was that 'What you don't know is an ideal marketing opportunity'."

"What ARE you talking about?"

"OK, you know last month when the Helpdesk coordinator told you that there'd been a huge reduction in reported sick leave in the previous four weeks?"

"Yes?"

"Yes, that was a euphemism for they'd stopped reporting it - but not taking it. Combine that with his next statements: 'dramatic reduction in helpdesk calls' and 'no service complaints logged' and you get?"

"There was no-one there most of the time?"

"Exactly."

"So what you're saying is that instead of reporting the truth.."

"INSTEAD of reporting the INCIDENTAL information, you should instead report the hidden benefits which may have otherwise have escaped observation, yes."

"So instead of saying that you and your assistant are homicidal megalomaniacs, I should say that you're..."

"Dedicated, Team-Playing professionals who will go the extra mile to get a job done properly, yes."

"And that Windows consultant I appointed last week to tighten up the company's IIS Server security... "

"Is a waste of good office space, yes."

"A waste- Where's the good side in that?"

"That was the good side."

"Oh. So my P.A., who can't type so good, or use an online calendar would be a People Person, putting people first?"

"Or, more geekily, a customer-focused professional, always willing to try the hands-on approach. Least that's what they say down at the pub."

"What?!"

"Nothing, just going that extra mile, like we always do.."

"Ah. OK. Well, I think I've got the hang of this now!" he burbles. "I think I'll just pop back to my office and browse some porn for the rest of the day!"

"Or, to put it another way..?"

"Uh... Keep myself abreast of the new and startling developments in the Web community to ensure my full exposure to the potential of the medium?"

"Couldn't have said it better myself."

"Yes I know, your assistant put it down for a 14 hour activity in last week's timesheets."

"He's a dedicated man," I admit.

The Boss toddles off happily, giving me time to set up some extended web-cache logging of his machine, which will 'accidentally' get emailled to the Head of IT at the end of the day..

"What are you up to?" The PFY asks, peering over my shoulder at the screen.

"Oh, just ensuring our exposure to a broad spectrum of Management resource with a wide variety of computing experience."

"Getting another Boss fired, right. Why?"

"He'd pretty much reached the pinnacle of his career."

"Oh, You told him about Operational Euphemisms then?"

"Exactly."

"It's a dirty business, this computing game"

"Indeed." ®

BOFH is copyright © 1995-2003, Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his rights

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

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