Episode 26 It appears that the Boss isn't happy. For some reason the Online Electronic Document Storage project he inherited from his predecessor is somewhat behind schedule and all fingers seem to be pointing at the PFY and I as the source of the delay. I use the ruse of urgent lift maintenance as an excuse for the PFY and I to avoid the problem for a day, knowing full well that the Boss is never going to actually WALK up four flights to berate us.
But it seems I was wrong.
"So what I'd like to know is why the 'scanning into storage' task has taken so long?" the Boss asks, checking his Project gant chart. "I mean this project's been running for almost six months and as far as I can see you've not actually produced anything!"
"We're still calibrating the equipment and formatting the document repository."
"What does that mean?" the Boss snarls, letting a little more frustration creep into his voice.
"It means that to ensure the system is reliable and robust we have to do benchmarking on various types of document and the impact that it has on the storage system. That way we can pick the best fit of document type to suit the needs of the users and the available space in the repository."
"What does that mean?" the Boss repeats.
"It means that we're scanning in multiple documents in multiple formats and running comparisons on readability, total size and ability to OCR text where necessary."
"And what's taking so long?"
"The age of the documents is a bit of a problem. Some of them are so old that the pages might suffer damage or just be stuck together."
"Stuck together!? What documents are you using?"
"For this stage of the Process, old Playboys," the PFY admits.
"Well they're ideal. They've got print, images, combinations of the above and the later ones are in colour!"
"What the hell are you archiving them for!?"
"Some of them are absolute classics. They need to be safely stored for future generations. And that's just the jokes pages!" the PFY says defensively.
"Right, that's it, you're off the project," the Boss snaps. "I'll get a temp in to scan some documents for you. What skills am I going to want to look for?"
"Blonde, blue eyes," the PFY says helpfully. "Perhaps someone like Miss April 19.."
"I mean technical qualifications, like the ability to discern important metadata from the context of the content."
I always feel vaguely uneasy when the Boss uses technical terms like metadata. It just seems wrong - he should stick to words he knows something about, like redundancy and lard. Whenever he uses large complicated words I always get the feeling he's been talking to someone behind our back. Almost like he's cheating on us with another technical person...
Now I come to think about it, he has been coming in late a lot and making lame excuses like he missed the train or that he had to stay home late with the wife.
We should have seen it coming but we just thought he was being slack bastard!
I can see the same thoughts are running through the PFY's mind and that he's looking a bit hurt. The poor blighter's has such a sheltered upbringing and is not used to Bosses sneaking out for a bit of technical upskilling on the side...
"You never used to use technical terms like that," the PFY says quietly. "Is there... someone else... giving you technical advice?"
"I... No, of course not!"
"I notice there's been a number of appointments with the presales marketing guy from the photocopier company..." I counter, browsing the Boss' online calendar via the wireless PDA.
"What, you're going through my calendar now!?"
"So you admit you've been seeing him?" The PFY asks.
"Well, yes. Sure, he had a few ideas, we might have talked about some stuff but it meant nothing. It's still you guys I come to for the real idea of what we should be doing!"
"I can't believe it," the PFY says. "How long has this been going on?"
"A month. Two maybe."
"And you thought we wouldn't find out?"
"How did it get to this stage?" the PFY asks.
"Look, it's not you, it's him," the Boss says, pointing at me.
"Ah, isn't that supposed to be 'It's not you it's me'?" I ask.
"No, it's you," the Boss says. "You're a megalomaniac control freak and I want.... more"
"More?" the PFY asks.
"I want to make my own technical decisions! I don't want to feel stymied by you two whenever I have a good idea!"
"You two? I thought you said it was just him?" the PFY says.
"It doesn't matter. I need more. I'm not an idiot and I want a chance to prove that to everyone. I think perhaps I should.. maybe... create a head of research position."
. . .
"Well," the PFY says, as soon as the boss leaves. "You seem to be taking this calmly. You're not at all worried that he'll become technically competent and have no further use for us?"
"Nah. I've seen it dozens of times - these things have a way of working themselves out. Push the 'Open 6' Button will you?"
"What was that?"
"That was the Boss using his newfound superior technical skills to step into an elevator shaft. Told you things had a way of working themselves out...."
Hell hath no fury like an administrator scorned... ®