BOFH: Capo di tutti capi, bah. I'm having CHICKEN JALFREZI

Avé! Duci Novo ...

Chicken Jalfrezi and rice with a beer. Pic by Shutterstock

Episode 16

We have new Director, just in time for Christmas!

It appears that, through some convoluted twist of fate, our former Director took a dagger in the back for "creating a hostile workplace environment". APPARENTLY his misogynistic leanings "fostered a culture of a male hierarchal structure" and he's been made an example of by H.R., who didn't want the finger pointing in their direction.

I must remember to send Gina some flowers for that. That said, whilst I support anything that moves IT detritus further downstream to the scrap-heap, the claim is a little OTT.

"What do you mean, OTT," the Boss asks defensively, if only because he smells a potential Christmas promotion in the offing.

"Look at an IT area – pretty much ANY IT area – odds are 95 per cent of them are men!" I blurt.

"I don't think that's right," he says, distancing himself from any potential outrage.

"No, I'm not saying that women can't do the job" I counter. "I'm just saying they're not sad enough to want to do it."

"What do you mean?"

"Women – as a sweeping generalisation you understand – often have lives. Vast numbers of men, on the other hand do not."

"I..."

"Do you know what Gina's doing this weekend?" I ask.

"Uhh... no?"

"She's popping back to France to hand-pick her Christmas champagne from the producer in Champagne; stopping off with some mates for spritz and strawberries with imported strawberries – and heat lamps – to make it feel like summer."

"I see."

"And you know what I'm doing this weekend?"

"Gina?" the PFY chips in, undermining my standpoint somewhat and unknowingly adding his name to the top of my Christmas kicking list.

"No. I will be watching all three seasons of Deadwood, followed by all four seasons of Arrested Development, and possibly the BBC versions of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Smiley's People - if time allows. I expect to indulge in the epicurean delights of a chicken jalfrezi and lager. For breakfast, lunch and dinner. I may not even leave my house."

"And your point is?"

I put on my poker face. "There was no point, I was just bragging."

"I thought this was something to do with not having a life?" the Boss chips in.

"Oh, we can talk about you later."

"So you don't think your life is sad?" the Boss asks.

"Did you not hear chicken jalfrezi? From Khan's in Bayswater? I'M LIVING THE DREAM!"

I may have shot my argument in the foot there a little; I'm not too sure, as I think I may be having a curry rush.

"So have you heard anything about the new director position?" the Boss asks greedily. "Have they advertised the role yet?"

"From what I understand they've contracted out the appointment of a new director to some HR firm which specialises in difficult appointments where a change of culture is required," the PFY says.

"I wonder who that'd be?" the Boss asks.

"Gina Barker, Lightfoot, Barker and Ellice" Gina says, appearing out of nowhere.

"I..." the Boss burbles.

"Tea, milk, one sugar" Gina says.

"Uh, I'm the acting director until such time as an appointment is made."

"So you'd like me to make it because I'm a woman?"

Before we know it the Boss is back with a tray of hot drinks. Honestly, it's like watching a magician at work. Even though you're watching you still can't work out how it's done. Like how that cup of scalding hot tea ended up in the PFY's lap. Magic. I scratch his name off the Christmas kicking list as Gina apparently prefers to do her own work.

"So what are we looking for in a director?"

"IT savvy," the PFY says, once he's tipped half a water cooler down his front, "but not so much that they think they're smart enough to make decisions based on their 10 year old technical knowledge."

"Must be able to work as part of a team," the Boss babbles, jockeying for position.

"Should be able to sign a purchase order without unduly delaying the purchase process by reading it first," I add.

"Should be able to work well with all genders, religions and nationalities - as I myself do," the Boss adds.

"Should be able to insulate technical people from idiotic management decisions," the PFY snaps.

"Has an open door policy to staff wishing to improve the company's image," the Boss fires back, pointing at his door.

"So if I can stop you there... in basic terms you want someone with enough IT skill to get the job done, not get in the way and to smooth over any tricky issues that might arise in the interface between IT and the rest of the company?"

"Exactly!" the Boss exclaims, closing his meeting diary and gesturing us to the door. "I think you've got a perfect handle on it. Simon tells me that you're going to Champagne this weekend, and it just so happens that my brother-in-law has an interest in a place in Troyes. Perhaps I could give you his number and he might be able to put you in touch with some people?"

Gina, disappointingly, seems quite taken by this idea, which disturbs me somewhat. That said, I'm sure her professionalism and idiot detection will win out.

...

Barely a day later the PFY and I are called into a quick meeting with the head of HR. Gina and the Boss are there already, along with the overpowering smell of rodent.

"So we considered all the issues that you raised," Gina said, "and when we went out to the market we didn't really find all the characteristics you were looking for in one candidate. However, we've had some very fruitful discussions and are now able to make an appointment of a new director."

The Boss couldn't look smugger if he'd stolen my chicken jalfrezi.

"Gina Barker, formerly of Lightfoot, Barker and Ellice," Gina says.

I think the Boss, the PFY and I have just been put on the Christmas kicking list...

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