Rigorous dev courageously lied about exec's NSFW printouts – and survived long enough to quit with dignity
Log files don't lie and in this case one nasty incident spoke to a far deeper malaise
Who, Me? Wait? What? Is it Monday already? Not to fear, gentle readerfolk, for Uncle Reg is here with another instalment of Who, Me? – tales of readers having a much worse day than you. Enjoy the schadenfreude.
This week meet a programmer we'll Regomize as "Ron" who was hand-picked for his job at a family-run company. The CFO of the company, who did the hiring, we'll call "Jeremy" who seemed like a bit of a playboy but was essentially decent .
For the most part Ron found the company a reasonable place to work. The tech was maybe a bit dated, but everything worked, and the people seemed genuine. Still, Ron couldn't shake the feeling that something wasn't quite right.
Ron worked downstairs with a female-dominated team who ran the billing system. Their lair was also the location of the company's main printer. Upstairs, in the penthouse, the executives and sales people had their own printers. Everything was networked, of course, and a Unix-based printing system kept track of who printed what for accounting purposes.
One day, one of the women in the office came to Ron's cubicle looking sheepish and avoiding eye contact. "There's something wrong with the printer" she said, dropping a sheaf of pages before beating a hasty retreat. Ron said he'd look into it, and went to examine the pages.
Oh dear. Hardcore smut. Lots of it.
Of course it would be easy enough to trace who had printed it. Ron figured someone would be having a very uncomfortable conversation very shortly.
Then he discovered that it was actually Jeremy, the CFO, who had ordered the print job. Turns out Ron was the one about to have an awkward conversation.
Before he could think about what to say, he got a buzz on the intercom – Jeremy angrily demanded that he get himself up to the C-suite tout de suite. Flustered, Ron dumped the offending (in more ways than one) pages into a drawer and headed on up.
- An important system on project [REDACTED] was all [REDACTED] up
- Owner of 'magic spreadsheet' tried to stay in the Lotus position until forced to Excel
- Your security failure was so bad we have to close the company … NOT!
- Support chap put PC into 'drying mode' and users believed it was real
Jeremy was furious because his printer wasn't working. He'd printed some "important documents" but they had not appeared. He demanded to know what was going on. Now.
Playing along, Ron checked the print log. Sure enough, the CFO had printed some documents. Sure enough, he had sent them to the main printer downstairs rather than the one in his office with his name on it. This could all have been avoided – and so much less embarrassing – if Jeremy knew what he was doing. And maybe didn't do it with company resources.
Ron told him that the print job had been accidentally sent to the main printer queue, but had somehow been accidentally deleted. Perhaps try again, using the correct printer?
Jeremy was livid, and accused Ron of lying to him (which he sort of was) and said he must have stolen the printouts (which he sort of had, but what other choice did he have?).
After that incident, Ron began planning his escape. He upgraded some systems and trained a replacement, then got out. Sure enough, a few months later he found out the company was raided for various financial crimes including money laundering and embezzlement.
Ever found yourself in a sticky situation and had to improvise a way out? Let us know about it in an email to Who, Me? and we'll give your exploits full exposure.