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BOFH vs PFY: There can be only one (on the exes chit)

'Do you get the headaches? I get such bad headaches'

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The essential guide to IT transformation

Episode 10

So the Boss has a bit of funding that he doesn't know what to do with.

Okay, the Boss always has funding he doesn't know/understand what to do with, but this time it's different. The company has decided to allocate out "Professional Development" funds to key areas of the business to permit a staff member to receive advanced training – with a view to the company becoming a leading edge 21st century business.

>yawn<

Ordinarily the prospect of free training has about the same enthusiasm attached to it as the 13th pint at the end of a long night; however my careful reading of the proposal has uncovered some fine print indicating that the funding is approved to cover not only the training but also all incidental expenses.

BOFH cartoon title=

A fact the PFY mustn't find out about as it might trigger interoffice rivalry given the Highlander nature of the Development fund.

A fact the PFY does find out about, triggering interoffice rivalry once the "can be only one" nature of the fund is determined.

Bugger.

So now the PFY and myself are pitted against each other in a battle of wills – and I can see all the top-flight meals and accommodation, room service and "study aids" disappearing from view should I fail.

I cannot have my incidentals stolen by the PFY in the bid to develop my professionalism by "Divining the working habits of highly successful IT Professionals" – a two-week tour of IT workplaces, with nightly networking.

Id est: two solid weeks of drinking.

Of course, threatening the Boss might work in getting him to see things my way, but if carried too far, the Boss will be in no state to approve the expenditure by the 21st – the purely arbitrary date set by the company. So it's softly-softly approach for now.

"Just thought I'd drop you off your cup of tea," I say to the Boss, popping into his office, exuding subservience from every pore.

"Got one," he says, indicating the tea and two choccy biccies at his elbow. "Your assistant was here before you."

"Of course he was!" I respond, not breaking my mental stride. "I'd asked him to drop it off but then I remembered that he tops off any spillage with saliva, so I thought I'd bring you a fresh one."

"I. Ah… Yes well, fresh is probably better," he nods.

"And I see you've got new monitors?"

"Yes, your assistant bought them in a few moments ago. He said he'd got them for me yesterday."

"Did he?" I say, recognising the monitors in question as the new 30inch ultraclean monitors that actually did arrive yesterday and were, the last time I saw, attached to my desktop machine. "So what did you do to upset him?"

"Upset him?"

"Yeah. I mean for him to put them in your office. Did you.. I dunno.. steal something of his? A carpark, his lunch, the new girl in promotions and advertising?"

"I... No. But why would giving me new monitors mean that?"

"Well they're the recalls, aren't they?" I say, wandering over the Boss's desk, moving the teacups aside and tapping on the front of the monitor carefully. "Hear that?"

"Yeah, you know, the ones that use depleted uranium pins – for strength"

"They're recalls?"

"Yeah, you know, the ones that use depleted uranium pins – for strength. There was a whole documentary about it last week."

"Really?"

"Yeah. About how the US dumps nuclear waste into Tank-Buster shells to expend on countries that don't let them steal all their assets. So they can steal all their assets. Anyway now that avenue is running out they're using the waste to make super-hard components for various appliances – your monitor included. We tried the monitors for a while but it didn't work out."

"Why?"

"The headaches. Do you get the headaches?"

"What headaches?"

"I get such bad headaches. You know, at night when you're driving a car? I don't know, something to do with the headlights."

"I..."

"He didn't try and give you a chair did he?"

"No, why?"

"Some of the chairs we got last week were found to have a depleted uranium rod in the pneumatic plunger instead of the normal stainless steel kind – chucking about a kilotoken of radbars per cubit – not at all safe – although saying that they have remarkable results with prostate cancer. There's about 10 of them in the basement, safely behind a few inches of concrete until we can get the hazardous materials people in."

"I..."

Our talk is interrupted by the PFY's arrival – with a new chair.

MY new chair, as it happens, with the plastic I removed this morning reinstalled on it.

I take a few strategic steps back to add cred to the "radiation threat" idea, while the PFY blunders on oblivious.

"You probably don't want to sit on that," I caution the Boss.

"Why not? There's nothing wrong with it!" the PFY snaps back.

"No, no, of course there's not," I say, nodding meaningfully at the Boss. "Just like there's nothing in your cup of tea but tea."

"There's not!" the PFY says grabbing the cup of tea he made for the Boss and chucking it down.

A few short minutes of argument later and the experimental super strength diuretic in the cup of tea (which must have accidentally got shuffled onto the choccy biccy plate during the monitor tapping incident) takes effect.

Oh, if only in my haste to help the PFY in his hour of need I hadn't snapped the door handle off the inside of the boss's office...

Still, the PFY will have two weeks to shampoo the carpets while I investigate the professionalism of others. Perhaps I'll bring him back some souvenir coasters. ®

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