BOFH vs CEFH*, one:nil

*Contract Engineer From Hell


Episode 19

It's going to be one of those days. I can tell as soon as I note the presence of one of the contract service engineers in the Boss' doorway, preventing me from bringing in the ultra-important order I need to get signed off. It's for a 34in rear-projection monitor with Dolby sound, because I can fit more open windows on it than a normal desktop.

An engineer in the way wouldn't ordinarily be a problem, but I've noticed that this particular one is spending longer and longer in The Boss' doorway every time he visits.

And, coincidentally, the number of visits seems to be on the increase as well - almost as if the kit he's servicing has become shockingly unreliable in the last few months.

It's obvious to everyone but The Boss that he's trying to wangle himself a position in the place "to save us the trouble of having to call him out so often". Or, to be more accurate, he wants a cushy number where he can read the newspaper all day only pausing for a lager.

Which is systems and networks work!

"And it really comes down to a forward-looking equipment housing and replacment strategy by someone who knows what's what with your kit," he burbles as I pass.

"Yes, I see what you're saying," The Boss comments, keenly interested in anything that he can show has saved a wedge of the capital budget.

"I mean it wouldn't be so bad, but whoever configured the NVRAM on that router was a complete amateur," he cries, using the professional character assassination approach.

"You rang?" I ask, entering from Stage Left.

"Yes," The Boss blithers, not recognising the tension in the room. "He was just saying that whoever configured the router he looked at this morning was crap."

"That would be me, I think," I counter.

"Ah...," the Boss murmurs, trying to wheel his chair in imperceptable increments away from the window.

I should explain. While chatting with some attractive acquaintances from the Admin Pool over lunch yesterday, The PFY happened to overhear The Boss asking fellow IT managers if they'd noticed, as he had, the correlation between the presence of Skip Bins outside the building and the incidences of a horrifying fall of one of the members of staff into it, out a window or similar...

Never one to miss an opportunity like that, I immediately had a skip delivered to the footpath outside The Boss' window in an effort to streamline today's negotitations. After filling the skip with a large quantity of broken glass to make a point, of course...

"Well you've configured it all wrong!"

"In what way?"

"You've put the same revision of code in the Primary and Backup NVRAM slots," he explains condescendingly.

"Yes, it says that in the manual."

"But only idiots do what it says in the manual!" he cries.

By this time The Boss is in the hall behind me, trying to loop his belt through something large that won't fit through a window frame. Somewhere along the way The PFY seems to have arrived and is abreast of the situation.

"So you're saying that you don't do what's in the manual?"

"No, that's just for dummies who shouldn't be allowed to see networking kit, let alone touch it. No, the work I saw on that box was a load of crap."

"Well I'd have to admit we're not really up-to-date with all the latest innovations in hardware configuration," The PFY admits, bowing his head slightly.

"No! And frankly with the amount of hardware of ours you have in the building, you should really be employing a specialist in the area," he responds, making his pitch.

"It's not a silly idea," The PFY comments, thoughtfully

"Not?" The Boss echoes, confused.

"No. Our routing equipment is always getting repaired, and it would probably save us a bomb in maintenance charges alone."

"Really?" The Boss gasps, thinking bonus-cheque thoughts.

"Oh yes. Why, at the moment we've got a coverage problem with one of their Radio Link units which is causing us some grief."

"Really? Which one?"

"The one outside your window!" The PFY cries.

"THERE'S NO RADIO LINK OUTS..." The Boss replies.

"Oh, I think I see your problem!" The Engineer blurts, peering over at the dish concerned. "I think there's a small alignment problem. If you pull it in, I can probably tweak it in no time."

"Would you mind?" I ask The Boss, who declines furiously as he straps himself back onto the table in the hallway.

"Hang on," The PFY blurts, magicking up a copy of the Service Contract from what would appear to be thin air. "The contract states that you'll do your work 'in situ'."

"Ooooh, yes it does!" I confirm, suppressing my joy at this turn-up.

...Ten minutes later...

"Well!" The PFY cries, over sound of an approaching ambulance. "It looks like I'd have to admit we're not really up-to-date with all the latest innovations in concrete-fixing technology either!"

Which only goes to show that we all have some learning to do... ®

BOFH is copyright © 1995-2001, Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his rights.


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