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Wanted: Bastard Operators to man helldesk

BOFH meets the troops. He's not impressed

Episode 2 BOFH 2000 No.2

So the PFY has joined me at my new workplace after being "let go" on the grounds of "technical differences". Apparently, he thought the CEO's laptop would survive the drop from the boardroom window, and everyone else didn't.

True, he was correct... thanks to the "freak" appearance of one of the more annoying security guards, scanning window ledges in response to an anonymous tip-off about a potential jumper.

So we're now stuck at a Meet-the-troops meeting where we get introduced to all our new cow-workers.

And what a bunch they are. There's a couple of ancient code-hacks who look like they were on the design team for the atom, a screwdriver jockey who seen more accidental volts than a deathrow successful candidate, and three creepy types who just HAVE to be consultants.

"Where's the helpdesk people?" I feel obliged to ask, once the meeting looks like it's underway, and I've laid on some side bets with the PFY about who's who.

"Oh there's no Helpdesk as SUCH," Consultant Type No.1 responds. "There's us three Apps Integrators," (the PFY hands over five quid), "Hardware support," (and another five quid as Voltman is identified), "and our Coding Engineers," (10 quid for the hat-trick). "And anything WE can't handle, we pass on to the Systems Guy. Guys. You!"

So it looks like we'll be expecting lots of calls about shoelaces, On/Off switches and life in general.

"So there's no helpdesk?"

"No. People call you. We've always found it works well," our new Head of Dept. replies, entering the room fashionably late, personnel disorganiser in hand.

"Well we'll need phones then."

"There are phones in your office."

"No, there's nothing there, just some tables and desks," I respond.

"And Workstations," the Head replies, obviously referring to the Anchor Substitutes the PFY and I had tossed into the skip on the building site across the road early in the morning.

After the phones...

"Workstations?" the PFY asks innocently.

"Yes, top of the line kit we got from the Vendor just last year. Plugged into the UPS units beside your desk."

"UPS Units?" I add, with a similar angelic disposition.

"Are you sure you got the right office?" one of the Consultants asks, attempting to resolve the situation.

"Positive, my name's on the door!" I respond.

Ten minutes (and one mass exodus from the meeting to our office) later, it's official. We've been robbed!!!

Apparently, thieves slipped past security, stole some shonky old hardware, the phones and some very heavy UPS units (So heavy we had to stop twice for rests) and the Visitors log.

Would you believe it.

"The Bastards!" the PFY cries, pathetically trying to make some mileage out of the tragedy. "They stole my Walkman."

"I shouldn't worry," the Head comments. "Company Insurance covers any loss of personal ite..."

"Good Lord I hope they didn't take my... Portable DVD player with a selection of New Release movies!!!" I cry, seeing the open gate... "Oh NO!"

A pair of dubious eyes are cast my way, but by this time I'm ready with the excuse. "I thought I'd treat myself as a celebration for the new job!"

The PFY's disgusted (that he didn't go higher... it looks too suspicious now) but it looks like my blatant fabrication has been accep...

"Did you keep the Receipts?" our helpful Consultant-Type No.1 chirps, shortly before a full-height hard drive (precariously balanced on the edge of a table -- as all full-height hard drives should be) falls on his foot.

And wouldn't you know it, the PFY accidentally knocks over a bookshelf, in his scramble to render aid, rendering unconsciousness instead.

"Oh dear," the PFY mutters apologetically.

Consultant Types No.2 and No 3. offer useful first aid suggestions about Shock, etc... this comes in very handy when Consultant Type No.2 comes into contact with a paper clip which had managed somehow to get wedged into the phase pin of a wall socket...

...Doubly so when the Consultant Type No.3 misdiagnosed the rigor as Parkinson's and tried to help him to a chair...

Not a bad haul for the first day of work...

Everyone survived (sadly)... except for an ancient code hack sitting quietly in the corner... or to be more precise being dead quietly... it's not easy to tell the difference with these guys...

The ancient code hack wasn't even one of our troops... he had booked in the room for an earlier meeting, died in his chair, and never booked out.

And so it is a couple of days later, with a great technical manpower shortage, we're interviewing for Helldesk Operators...

"And any experience with Windows...?" I ask

"3.1 yes. And I've used 95 once or twice"


"A user has a browser problem. What's the first thing you'd ask them?" the PFY asks.

"What magazine they reading?"


"A user has just changed their NT password and is now unable to login with it. Will it be because they set their password with the Caps key down?" I ask, hinting helpfully.

"No, it's probably because their system has been hacked. No, it's probably got a virus."

. . . .

"So how did it go?" the Head asks, at the end of the day.

"Well, they're all so.... equal," the PFY replies.

"So what did you do?"

"What we always do in these situations."

"Not the one with the biggest..."

"No, we just drew names out of a hat. They start next week."

And so does the war... ®

BOFH belongs to Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his copyright

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