back to article BOFH: Our Excel-lent new boss and the diagram plan

"Okay, I get what you're saying, but what does it mean precisely?" the Boss asks. "It means that we're giving the app support people a VPN connection so they can login remotely, and we'll put them on their own VLAN with firewall pinholes to permit them to access the App server and Database server, as well as having limited …


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  1. J P

    Please don't publish BOFH this early on a Friday - I won't get _any_ work done...

    1. Gerhard den Hollander

      Just read faster ... :)

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        That just means that you finish the "reading" task and get to start the "giggling like a loon for the rest of the day" task that much earlier.

        1. Gerhard den Hollander

          Indeed, but isnt that the whole point anyway :)

  2. mark 63 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    good one!

    About a 3rd through I thought this guy deserves the worst the BOFH has ever dealt out.

    ...but they the way they force fed him his own medicine was awesome!

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: good one!

      A process-obsessed complete plank, easily manipulable into signing anything and stumps for curry and beer under the guise of "team building"? This one's a keeper.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The worst part of reading BOFH

    is when you catch yourself nodding and thinking, "I recognise this. I've lived this. I've worked for this fuckwit".

    1. Maverick

      Re: The worst part of reading BOFH

      no the worst part is when you _still_ do . . .

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The worst part of reading BOFH

        No - the worst part is when you realise that the project you've just been given looks suspiciously like a Project L.

      2. Jemma

        Re: The worst part of reading BOFH

        Not even close...

        The worst part - is that you know that the _next_ person you work for at an entirely new company will be exactly the same...

        until you retire (if the government will let you) in 30 years.

        A bitter twisted soul (with a quicklime allergy).


      3. Gil Grissum

        Re: The worst part of reading BOFH

        No, the worst part is when you still do and she's a woman with a college degree, weak skills, and a brain the size of a chick pea.

        1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

          Re: The worst part of reading BOFH

          Nope. Worst part is when you recognise all the characters, and all the situations, but by a cruel twist of fate, are powerless to effect any of the much-needed remedies.

          1. Gordon 8

            Re: The worst part of reading BOFH

            Sorry, to all the above, although you all have good points.

            The very worst part is when you know that you could never have / use / get away with

            Cattle Prod


            Van, Carpet & Quicklime

            You know that you need to deal with a Luser / PHB who so needs to be introduced to 1 or more of the above.

      4. Fatman

        Re: The worst part ... is when you _still_ do . . .

        Damn it man!

        Get creative.

        Arrange for a generator accident. (i.e. NEVER manually switch the power to the generator from the utility; with the front of the transfer switch OPEN.)

        Arrange for him to perform an elevator inspection (I believe you Brits call it a 'lift'?); with a faulty upper limit switch. He will experience how it feels to have his head jammed between the top of the cab and the top of the shaft. If that can't be done, and you are in one of those old building with a motor-generator set for the elevator power, then tell him to check the belt tension. Pray that his tie gets yanked into the pulley grooves.

        Arrange for the fool to perform a test of the Halon system. And make sure that the doors close quickly, so he gets trapped inside.

        Tell him that there is some water trapped in the refrigerant lines between the air handler and the outside compressor. Hand him a hacksaw, and tell him that he needs to cut a slot in the copper tubing to let the water out.

        I mean, shit, get creative; and rid yourself of such a clusterfuck mangler.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The worst part of reading BOFH

      Or worse, "I recognise this. I've lived this. How did I let myself become this?"

    3. Locky

      Re: The worst part of reading BOFH

      Ah, I think you'll find that if you _don't _ recognise it, then it's you who everyone thinks is the fuckwit

    4. Tom 7

      Re: The worst part of reading BOFH

      It gets really bad when you realise that not only do you work for that fuckwit but you're self employed!

      They've even infiltrated customers....

      1. Captain Scarlet

        Re: The worst part of reading BOFH

        I think its really bad when I realise everyone has said everything above and I can't place a witty comment :(

  4. Desperate Olive


    The blocked toilet analogy is the best ever. Tears after the "proverbial chain".

  5. ukgnome

    It reminded me fondly of an agricultural company I once worked for. Every decision ever made in IT resulted in our finest Nobo whiteboard sketches. Like a giant game of corporate draw something.

    Top Tip - if you draw on your whiteboard with permanent marker just draw over whatever it is with your wipe off pens and then just wipe away the lot.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      FTW Whiteboard games

      Furniture polish on the whiteboard, or change the tips of the whiteboard pens.

  6. Maxson

    It was interesting to see an open threat to do something rather than skipping straight to a mishap. BOFH gone soft in his old age?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It was interesting to see...

      ... a project plan that might actually be realistic (I so wish I was referencing Project K), rather than the unbelievable bollocks I get to read on a regular basis.

    2. Grikath

      not soft at all....

      Follow the project order... He's created a rubberstamping Lackey.

      Well.... until PFY annoyance crosses the trigger level... Which may or may not happen before the year is up.. ;)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " he barely has the technical wherewithal to interact with a parking meter.

    ... Which leads to his favourite things: diagrams and KPIs"

    My boss is clearly moonlighting as the Boss!

    (AC obviously ...)

  8. 2Fat2Bald

    Too RIght

    Why do people insist on going to analogies - when all they really need to do is find a simple explanation? - Well it's usually because someone wants to have "involvement" in IT without actually needing to understand any of it.

    1. Gil Grissum

      Re: Too RIght

      Analogies allow us to explain things to an idiot without calling them an idiot or treating them like an idiot. They are still unlikely to understand what you're saying, hence their need to see a drawn diagram. Ever heard the expression when explaining something to someone who isn't getting it- "Want me to draw you a picture"? BOOM!!

    2. Fatman

      Re: Why do people insist on going to analogies

      Because, dear boy, you sometimes have to explain things to people who sign your paycheck!!!!

      It is one thing to take your cheap shots at some damager, who is nothing more than hired help; but insulting the owner of your company is a serious career killing move.

      Also, sometimes you have to play nice with (l)users, if you want to get ahead.

  9. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Who would have thought how thin the line is between serial killer and self-defence...

  10. Annihilator

    Not quite accurate

    For that entire situation to be accurate, the Excel charts would have had to be copied and pasted into a Powerpoint slide for boss-level-consumption. They're an easily startled creature and raw Excel sheets can send them into a blind panic.

    Now, if I could build a macro that takes an MS Project file and translates it into a tarted up Gantt chart in a Poweroint slide, my working day would be reduced to about 40 minutes.

    1. perlcat

      Re: Not quite accurate

      Wow, you have the technically able boss. Kind of a high-functioning moron, if you will. Mine tried to make me print them out, and put them in a binder. My answer is that "I ain't your fucking secretary. Do it yourself."

      1. Vic

        Re: Not quite accurate

        > My answer is that "I ain't your fucking secretary. Do it yourself."

        I'm self-employed. So when one of my customers asks me to do something like that, the answer is always "Certainly, Sir".

        A few invoices later, and they stop asking me to do mundane shite :-)


        1. Fatman

          Re: A few invoices later,

          No doubt you make sure that there is a healthy amount of PROFIT when you invoice them.

          What is that formula, oh yes, $0.25 a page plus time at $50/hour with a minimum of one hour. That sounds about right!

          1. AlbertH

            Re: A few invoices later,

            Use the bank formula - the British banks have been known to charge £20 per sheet for a fax. I've charged those cretins £25 per sheet to reply to them - AND got it paid!

            1. Tom 38

              Re: A few invoices later,

              I hope you included a few notionally blank sheets of paper ("This page intentionally left blank") so that the number of pages is a power of 2.

    2. Rambler88

      Re: Not quite accurate

      You probably could do a macro that takes an MS Project file and translates it into a tarted up Gantt chart that will satisfy your boss's need for tarted up Gantt charts.

      @ Vic: I worked for one Project Manager who didn't get the "I'm not your secretary" bit even when "and I'm getting $125 an hour" was added.

      1. perlcat
        Black Helicopters

        @Vic & Rambler88

        Yes, I am more than willing to take it out on him in the invoicing, but he's playing with somebody else's money, and doesn't care. While I'm not so proud that I wouldn't wash cars and type papers for $300/hr, it sets a bad precedent, and hard to get that sort of work at that rate once I let it get started. Far better to whip my cattle prod out early in the process, show him how it's all charged up & ready to go. I do it for the satisfaction of the look on his face.

        1. Vic

          Re: @Vic & Rambler88

          > While I'm not so proud that I wouldn't wash cars and type papers for $300/hr, it sets a bad precedent

          Suit yourself.

          You stick to your guns, and I'll do a bit of photocopying & printing for that rate. I'm not fussed.


  11. TrixyB

    Quote of the Week

    "It's a bit like flushing a blocked toilet – you think the extra water might help clear things out, but in reality you just end up dealing with someone else's crap."

    Absolute genius from Simon. More of this sort of thing!

    1. Kobus Botes

      Re: Quote of the Week

      I had users who thought that print jobs worked that way; if the document does not appear at the printer, print another, repeat until either a) the print server falls over, or b) you are presented with 40 copies of your 100 page document the next morning.

      I cannot count the hours I had to spend in the server room, trying to clear the print queue on an old 486 machine running NT 4, which had become almost completely unresponsive (and a reboot had absolutely no effect whatsoever, apart from causing the problem to last that much longer).

      I used to ask them if they really thought that sending more print jobs down the queue would add weight and force the print job out the printer's business end, like a plunger in a blocked toilet, but never received any coherent answer, apart from a sheepish grin.

      The worst offender was a colour wax printer (can't remember the make), that generated enormous print jobs for each copy of any requested job, rather than storing the job in memory and then printing x number of copies. So the queue could easily contain forty or more Powerpoint print jobs exceeding 100 MB each, on a machine sporting a massive 2GB drive.

      I think that that was what caused me to hate Windows (OK, maybe Exchange 5 played its part as well, with the MTA regularly hanging and hundreds of messages in the queue and almost as many frantic calls from users, complaining about Outlook hanging. And then requesting that I send an e-mail to everyone, advising them of the problem!).

  12. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The way things are in the new real world with virtual sectors in spooky vectors and vice versa

    The blank look the Boss gives me reinforces my original idea of telling him we were just going to do some magic and it would all work out well.

    :-) That really works best every time, Simon, and allows for immediate project implementation and program deployment without being hindered by cuckoos in feathered nests. And so nice to see it shared and printed in plain unambiguous text.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: The way things are in the new real world with virtual sectors in spooky vectors and vice versa

      And according to Arthur C Clarke, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” and that is a revealed, nearly 40 year old well known secret, and beautifully used buy those who can exercise it sublimely and masterly in pilot programs and crushing flash crash projects.

      So is that what you can expect, and expect to get trapped and excited into perpetuating and supporting. ........ ........ or would it be your free choice course of action [and default failsafe engaging able capability in NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive IT]?

  13. Sacioz


    I am sure none of you guys exist . It's just Simon under a few nom de plumes ....))) either that or some of you can spin just as well as he does.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is our security management :/

    Heard a very good description of this in relation to our security change management at the coffee machine the other day. "If you need a firewall opening it's not enough to write 'I need TCP port this and that open from this IP to this IP because of new requirement such-and-so', but draw a fucking cloud with two lines and everyting is suddenly A-OK!"

  15. Charles Smith

    Arrgh!! No! don't do that to me.

    "...Perhaps you could use some different-coloured pens...." That phrase sent a cold shiver down my spine. I've heard the exact same phrase used by the Consultant Project Manager on a major project for a large City money broking firm. The project was a horrendous failure. The charm of BOFH is a bit like Dilbert, it is so close to real life! Unfortunately in real life we're not allowed to use Semtex as a motivational tool.

    1. Fatman

      Re: Semtex as a motivational tool.

      I didn't know that you were into car seat ejector mechanisms.

      A couple of kg of semtex under a seat, and you give blow it out your ass a new meaning.

  16. Colin Brett
    Thumb Up

    Dear Simon ...


    "The second, and larger, mistake was adding an analogy to someone who is patently overanalogised."

    Should read:

    "The second, and larger, mistake was adding an analogy to someone who is patently over-anal."


  17. stanimir

    happy anniversary

    I think that's the 100th BOFH(!) and a new boss is schooled :)

    A small typo: I sit anD wait patiently

  18. Gil Grissum

    How about a plot twist where you've got a lady boss? Would love to see how that episode completes. :-)

    1. Brett Weaver

      Re: Lady Boss

      A sort-of IT Crowd?

    2. Fatman

      RE: a lady boss?

      That opens up a whole new can of worms.

      Just how would a BOFH react to a female boss? What if she were:

      1) a real `ball busting` bitch?

      2) hot as hell, and smart to boot?

      3) a lesbian?

      4) the big boss' daughter? (wife?) (sister?)

      5) younger than the BOFH?

      6) just as devious as the BOFH?

      7) not afraid of duking it out at the `boys club`?

      8) out for revenge, as the BOFH had caused her husband (father, brother, etc) a shitload of grief?

      9) could drink the BOFH and PFY completely under the table?

      Any takers?? Simon, you listening?

  19. Herby

    So now the magic words are...

    "Project K"

    I suppose that this has many implementations, but the result is the same.

  20. FozzyBear
    IT Angle

    Holy crap

    had a manager just like that. After said moron asked what DWH stood for I wiped everything out and drew a nice looking cloud one arrow going in labelled “FM” and one arrow going out labelled “FM”.

    She asked and I told her Fucking Magic.

    Some berating ensued I pulled her up short and flatly refused to spend another hour each day explaining what I did, how I did it and why I did it. I was not going to spend that time so she looked good to her bosses while my own deadlines got missed

  21. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge


    Now, explain to the PHB how L has nine levels, or 'circles'. And how he will have to complete each before the project is complete.

    Then, wait for the blank expression.

  22. koppiekoffie
    Thumb Up

    It's nice of Simon...

    ... to use the analogy of a toilet to clarify the story to us, readers.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New keyboard please

    The looks from my colleagues were priceless when I couldn't contain myself anymore.

    Thank you Simon, more more please.

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