Techie fired for inventing an acronym – and accidentally applying it to the boss

A tale of how a PEBCAK became a CLE

On Call On-Call, The Register's weekly column in which we share readers' stories of tech support trauma, usually opens with a short reverie about the approaching weekend.

This week we're just going to launch straight into an enthusiastic "TGIF" – the abbreviation for Thank God It's Friday – for reasons that will become apparent after we introduce you to a reader who we'll Regomize as "Hal".

"I had just gotten a job in Florida working as an in-house on-site tech support rep," Hal told On-Call.

It wasn't a happy job. "People really did not like tech support because they were a bit snobbish and off-putting." Well, that'll do it.

When Hal turned up to solve users' problems he tried to change their attitude by cheerfully telling them "Don't worry about it, just blame it on Sue."

"To me, Sue stood for Stupid UsEr," Hal told On-Call. And while that was not a kind thing to say, users seemed to like it – so Hal kept on referring to Sue as the source of every tech SNAFU.

Months later, the division in which Hal worked appointed a new boss.

Her name was Susan. But she preferred to go by Sue. Which was fine for her, but a most unfortunate coincidence for Hal.

Sue wanted to meet Hal and have him explain "who the hell this Sue person was and why she was breaking computers all across the network."

Hal couldn't see a way out of explaining the acronym he'd popularized.

That did not go well.

"She was not happy with this. In fact she was pissed. My job lasted exactly another two weeks before I was summarily dismissed."

Which is how a PEBCAK – a Problem Existing Between Chair and Keyboard – became a CLE – a Career-Limiting Event.

Has an acronym-related SNAFU left your career FUBAR? If so, click here to send your story to On-Call. Don't be shy, people: the On-Call mailbag could use a couple of extra entries. ®

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