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BOFH: We're an industry leader … in employing idiot managers

Actually, strike the second part …

BOFH logo telephone with devil's hornsEpisode 22 "It'll be a major renovation!" the Boss says excitedly. "We're going to use the best of breed technologies to create a showcase work environment."

I don't know who the Boss has been talking to, but it sounds like he's drunk the Kool-Aid, had a couple of Kool-Aid ice blocks and ordered a Kool-Aid take-home six pack.

"What are we talking about?" the PFY asks.

"We're going to refurbish the building!" he burbles happily. "They're going to completely replace all the old fit-out with new fit-out based around energy efficiency, low carbon impact and alternative energy sources."

"Who's they?" I ask.

"The Company. Apparently the board voted for it unanimously! We're going to be an industry leader."

I stop short of mentioning that we're already an industry leader in employing idiots in management positions, and decide to ask further questions.

"Is this the same board that said we should issue fan heaters rather than fixing the air conditioning?"

"I don't know about that," the Boss replies.

"Sure you do," the PFY says. "They'd have installed a coal-burning furnace for night-time heating if they thought they'd get away with it."

"I think you might be …"

"No, no, he's right," I interrupt. "This place would cheerfully roast dolphins over a dumpster full of burning crude oil if there was money in it."

"Well they've changed," the Boss snaps back.

Like hell. Our board is less likely to change than a basement-dwelling Linux geek with only three days on his t-shirt. The only reason they'd want to go Green is because there's money in it.

"What are they proposing?" I ask.

"LED lighting," the Boss offers.

"Already got it," the PFY says. "It was almost all replaced a couple of years back when several fluoro fittings caught fire."

"Solar water heating."

"Go that too. It preheats all the water to our on-demand water system – which we installed a year ago after the gas boiler caught fire."

"What about double glazing? We haven't got that!" the Boss snaps back.

"True," I say. "but only because neither PFY nor I have worked out a way to set glass on fire. We did get a partially green roof – after setting some of the old HVAC plant on fire six months ago."


"We realized that fire is a great motivator – particularly if the board are meeting in the building when the alarms go off. So over the past few years we've managed to get the crappy aircon replaced, the lights upgraded and the gas boiler removed from the roof."

"You've … been setting fire to things?" he gasps.

"Some didn't need all that much help," the PFY explains. "That boiler dated back to the Ark and was a ticking timebomb. We just gave it a nudge. But that still doesn't explain why the board would be proactively considering going green. Are we about to be fined?"

"I … uh … no …"

"Will there be a new energy levy?" I ask.

"I don't think so."

"Are they offering money?" the PFY asks astutely.

The Boss is silent.

"So someone's offering us money to get greener?" the PFY says. "Is it the government?"

"I couldn't possibly comm—"

"It's the Government then," I jump in. "Only they're not publicizing it. Is this a pilot scheme which they're only offering to certain businesses?"

"I …"

"A pilot scheme they're only offering to certain businesses … which no-one wants to talk about. Is there an NDA?"

"I don't know what you're tal—"

"So there's an NDA! Don't tell me: it's a pilot scheme to green up a company which they'll use as a shining example of their commitment to the environment – just prior to the next elections. Unless, of course, it's a complete pig's breakfast – in which case they'd be reminding us of that NDA …"

The Boss's disappointment is offset somewhat by his astonishment at my apparent reading of his mind (and not just his email).

"I …"

"I'm assuming that the money for all this work will supplied as some form of 'loan' which will be written off as a PR expenditure if we're successful?"

"I don't …"

"Which in turn means there will be some measurable Green criteria we have to meet? Maybe a reduction in overall energy consumption? A move towards carbon neutrality?"

"Both those criteria have been suggested," the Boss admits, conceding defeat. "The money would be supplied as a seed fund, with the balance of our costs being reimbursed when it was proven."

"In a couple of years?" the PFY asks.


"In a new tax year?" I ask, as the PFY wanders off.

"I guess so."

"After we'd claimed a rebate on the Green upgrades in this tax year?"

"I suppose so."

"So it would really be a massive injection of cash?"

"You … could call it that."

"Cash which would be evenly shared with those in the Company who have helped the Company reduce its greenhouse gas emissions?"

"I think it would be fairly hard to prove …"  >jangle< "What the hell's that?"

"Oh I suspect that's the PFY with a tin of petrol – upgrading the Company's fleet vehicles to EVs …"

You've got to know how to motivate people. 

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