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Episode 24 BOFH 2004

I get so bored at times…

The sort of bored you are when you can't even be stuffed firing up a browser and seeing what's new at smuttysmuttychicks.com.

But if I don't do it, who's going to care about the girls?!

The Boss comes in mid browse, and starts rabbiting on about how it's not acceptable workplace behaviour, etc., etc.

I ask him to kindly be quiet because I'm not giving the girls the attention they deserve.

Next thing you know, he's back with a guy from HR. And they want to have a quiet interview!!!

. . .

What the hell, I am bored.

"Is there some reason you were looking at that porn site?" the HR Guy asks, carefully

"Apart from checking out the girls?" I ask.

"Yes."

"I don't think so. Hang on!"

"What?"

"Nope, I've got nothing."

"And you're aware that the company has a policy regarding acceptable use of computers?"

"Really?"

"YES" the Boss snaps, annoyed. "It's been in place for at least 18 months!"

"Ah, I see, so it's not actually a policy I agreed to several years ago when I started."

"Your contract gives the company the right to vary acceptable behaviour policies."

"Not my contract," I say

"I think you'll find it does," the HR Guy responds.

"No, mine was sent as an electronic document, so I just cut out the clauses I didn't like, added a couple of my own, printed two copies and signed them. Then your guy signed them too – probably without checking. Or maybe he liked the idea of clause F.3 that I'm allowed to call Managers... 'knobface'."

"I.." the HR Guy says, then ducks out the door to check something.

… two hours later . . .

"It's true," the HR Guy says. "There is a clause saying he can call you knobface."

"Which was also signed by your HR guy – in ink," I add.

"Yes."

"Including the eight or so extra clauses I added... er.. Knobface?"

There's an extended pause while the HR Guy contemplates some form of retaliatory attack, thinks the better of it, and goes to weep to the company solicitors. A couple of hours later he comes back with some fairly weak Force Majeur clause which would hold as much water as a paper g-string.

Still, I am bored....

"Which leads us to the fact that you're still in contravention of company policy," the HR guy continues.

"Ok, it's a fair cop," I say.

"So you're admitting that you committed an act which could have you dismissed?"

"My contract terminated, yes."

"Knowingly?"

"Sure."

"You don't seem to be taking this situation very seriously. You realise that if the company were to publicly terminate your contract for browsing porn, it's possible you'd never work in the industry again?"

"I think you're forgetting I work in the Computing Industry..."

"I don't think even they would tolerate this activity - if we were to let you go."

It would seem that the HR Guy has his heart set on me breaking down and blubbering like a big girl's blouse - which just isn't going to happen. Well, not now I've had my brainwave anyway.

"I don't actually think you CAN fire me for browsing porn.."

"Why not?"

"Well, I think I'm addicted to porn."

"I beg your pardon?"

"Addicted. To porn."

"You're joking!"

"Oh no. You see I'm fairly sure that the browsing of porn causes the release of testosterone, endorphins or something like that, which in turn causes a pleasure response in the body – or so my doctor will tell me if I ask. I'm addicted to that pleasure response, in much the same way as a drug addict is addicted to the pleasure they obtain from their drugs."

"So you're saying you have no control over your actions?"

"None."

"And you…. Believe that this is somehow the company's problem?"

"Oh no."

"Good."

"No, I think it's the company's fault. It's completely different."

"I think you'll find that to demonstrate fault, the company would have to be aware of a problem."

"They are. I filled out a workplace hazard form about it six months ago."

The HR Guy looks at the Boss, who shrugs silently, having only been in the company a few weeks.

"The company MADE me look at porn – what people were browsing, what was in their fileshares, etc."

"Eh?"

"I didn't want to - but it was my job! The things I've seen! The nightmares I have!"

"That's ridiculous - no-one can prove it's harmful!"

"Ah yes - the asbestos company defence," I say. "Still, you have your job to do..."

"So you're going to go quietly?"

"Of course! Although I will be pursuing the company for the costs of my treatment."

"What treatment?"

"The porn equivalent of methadone. Apparently it involves daily doses of bikini calendar photos."

"You can't be serious!"

"No, you're probably right. I guess I'll just have to make a full and frank disclosure as part of my class action suit against the company - just before the big share float."

"I think you'll find a class action suit is where a group of ..."

"Would you look at the bezels on her!" the PFY snaps from behind his monitor having until now been silent.

"Ah. Well, how about we forget the whole thing then?" the HR Guy says, realising that this could get rather nasty...

"That'll be fine," I say. "And could you close the door on your way out... knobface?"

I think I'll wait till next week to get help for my p2p piracy problem.... ®

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