Episode 4 It's meeting time and the huddled masses of IT are collected in the open area.
Heads turn as people try to understand why we're here and who called the meeting.
The Boss looks blank.
"I just called us all here today so we could observe a moment's silence for the passing of David, the Head of Accounting," I say as a shadow passes by the window heading downward, accompanied by a muffled scream.
"Well, almost silence," the PFY says, in response to the wet clunk of an accountant-sized object hitting an illegally parked Volvo four floors below us – which someone has carelessly filled with concrete to make it untowable. Even the tyres – if you're wondering.
"Thanks to these new laminated windows," I say, tapping the recently replaced floor-to-ceiling glasswork. "Although it appears the glaziers may have cut some corners in replacing some of the safety bolts and instead just epoxied hexagonal stainless steel billets onto the window frame in their place. My understanding is that until we check each one there's a possibility that the occasional window could flip open..."
The room gets suddenly more cramped as everyone takes a couple of steps away from the windows.
"Now, I know many of you had dealings with David – in fact, I think our department manager here had been doing quite a bit of work with him on auditing the budget for the proposed system upgrade. I think my assistant and I have received several hundred requests for further information from them in the past week or so."
The room gets even smaller as everyone takes a couple of steps away from the Boss while maintaining a safe distance from the windows.
The thing is, I don't mind questions. The opportunity to explain why I opt for excessive redundancy in a hypervisor platform is an indication that a manager wants to understand how we take server infrastructure seriously.
What I'm not so keen on are questions like "What's a domain controller?", "Why do we need a router?" and "Does IPv6 cost more than IPv4'?", "Couldn't we try some IPv5 and upgrade to 6 in next year's budget?" and "Have you looked for cheaper IP on eBay?"
Even these questions wouldn't be so bad if they were actually interested in the answers but in reality all they're hoping for is that one of us will go "Wait a minute, IPv5 – I never thought of that! It'll save us so much money!!!"
Instead they're like a vegan eating one of my strangely flavoursome meat-substitute pies but not wanting to know how I could get so much fake meat flavour and texture in one package while maintaining their moral high ground.
I'm not the only one who's annoyed. I know for a fact that the PFY has been talking to a mate with an EDM machine about putting hairline fractures in the base of the Boss's chair in preparation for the world's first pneumatic suppository – so the Boss understands firsthand what a pain in the arse is.
In any case, we have to get this budget approved to get everything underway.
"So you see," I say to the Boss once most of the department has dispersed back to their offices. "These go here, they talk through those to all the desktops here. All gigabit. We're sticking with IPv4 for now, but everything can do IPv6 if we ever make that move."
"Yes, but do we need to do it?" the Boss asks.
"You're the one who started the upgrade ball rolling with the Windows 7 thing in the first place!" I snap. "We may as well address everything at once."
"Yes, but it's a lot of money. We won't get approval!"
"We might with the new Head of Accounting," I suggest. "I hear they're interviewing internal applicants this afternoon and the only room in the building which hasn't been mysteriously booked out is on the fourth floor right above that Volvo. I'm feeling pretty confident that we'll reach a decision. With any luck we could have new desktops and screens for everyone."
Within moments the room starts filling up with people again because if there's one thing that geeks like, it's new kit. I'm flashing brochures of 4K screens and ergonomic keyboards to the assembled horde like I'm a commission-based salesperson – which in a way I am. And the staff are eating it up – if I may say so myself. I can only agree with them that two monitors is a ridiculous workplace limitation and that social media, mail and real work should be physically separated by monitor. Not to mention a spare.
Meanwhile, The Boss feels it's time to place his ace in the hole.
"But I still have to approve it, and I'm fairly sure we don't have budget for all of that," he smirks, easing himself back into his chair smugly.
"And that's the beauty of the soundproofing value of a laminated window," the PFY says. "Now, who needs a fourth monitor?"