back to article BOFH: Climb the corp ladder - and use your boss as a bullet shield

"It's like progress bars," I say to the PFY during a discussion about the relative merits of the company management as we ride the lift to the CEO's office to fix some laptop crisis. "All too often the bar itself bears no relationship whatsoever to the amount of time you're going to wait. In the same way the salary of a …


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  1. Callam McMillan

    It's back

    My Friday mornings are once again complete. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to add a few buzzwords into my job description ;)

    1. Fatman
      Thumb Up

      Re: I'm going to add a few buzzwords into my job description ;)

      I have added:

      Damagement Containment Consultant to mine.

  2. Chris007
    Thumb Up


    And so true

  3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    I*so* missed this ..

    Ah - a happy start of the weekend..

  4. deadlockvictim

    Serious competition

    The BOFH needs some serious competition again. This episode reminded me of Dilbert and I wondered whether there is a cunning & competent HR manager in the company.

    Hmmm.. Dominic O'Connor vs. BOFH. That would be an enlightening spar to witness.

    1. Callam McMillan

      Re: Serious competition

      I suspect it would end with the KZZZZERT of the "Insulation Tester" the BOFH forgot to turn off!

      1. Isendel Steel

        Re: Serious competition

        the prone body would depend on whose thumb would be on the button.....BOFH might have the edge...

        There's only one way to find out....

        1. deadlockvictim

          Re: Serious competition

          No, no. We need a proper foil, one who both understands how (and why) the BOFH operates and still intends to get his way. Otherwise it is just a rehash of previous episodes.

          1. Robert Helpmann??

            Re: Serious competition

            Or something that comes at him sideways... perhaps the CEO decides to allow a reality TV show to film on-site or a favorite relative comes on as his boss (although we can guess how that might end).

            1. sisk

              Re: Serious competition

              ...or a favorite relative comes on as his boss

              Relative? You mean those people who bug the BOFH on his days off with computer questions? Surely he can't have a favorite amongst them. Unless it's the one who actually knows how to run a computer, and such a person would never be hired by HR as a boss.

          2. Tom7

            Re: Serious competition

            It's been done - remember Arty Murray?

            1. rototype

              Re: Serious competition

              Yes, I remember, about 13 years ago as I recall... (isn't that the re-spawn interval for crap contractors?)

            2. deadlockvictim

              Re: Serious competition

              Tom7» remember Arty Murray?

              Actually, I hadn't. I've only been reading the BOFH since 2002.

              The old stuff is good and I got confirmation that PFY stands for 'Pimply Faced Youth' too.

              Thanks for that.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Serious competition

            How about the Evil PA (EPA) - someone who can think her (or him) way through a corkscrew without actually having to bend. Has the CEO (or whatever) under their complete control, and is smart enough to out-think the BOFH at times (who gives her/him his grudging respect).

  5. Foose
    Thumb Up

    missed this so much soooooo glad its back makes Friday a Friday proper again

  6. Andy 70
    Thumb Up


    I'm going to update my corporate brand right now! top buzzwordization! or is that bastardization? either way, happy friday BOFH'ing to all!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Architect....

      I used to work for a company which had a reorg and acquired a new IT bod out of the ether (friend of the boss).

      He self titled himself "system architect".

      Needless to say he was a jumped up, opinionated twat.

    2. Alan Esworthy

      Re: Architect....

      How about bossturdization?

  7. Reading Your E-mail
    Thumb Up


    ....for the BOfH is back from his Christmas hols, was starting to wonder if Dilbert had managed to eliminate another competitor.

    1. perlcat

      Re: Rejoice

      No, Dilbert has no idea. The character that understands the BOFH is Wally. Wally is a Zen Master of a different dojo. Dilbert is just there as filler between Wally episodes.

      1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        Re: Rejoice

        The Dilbert character is a minor character, all praise to the Wally, the one true office terrorist and the only who truly understands how the office really works.

  8. Maverick
    Thumb Up

    and breathe

    . . . the world is at one again

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Ah, subversion

    It takes IT folk to know that "git" and "subversion" are associated with change.

  10. ukgnome
    Thumb Up

    "The second bit: you have to enhance your job title to a point that HR have no idea what you should be paid"

    That must be why IBM insist that I am an engineer, and I only make the tea!

    1. Chika

      So why argue? You make the tea, you say, so you are in charge of boiling of water and mixing of ingredients.

      That makes you a Refreshment Assembly Engineer, at the very least!

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Or a chemical engineer in charge of superheated solvent management and liquid extraction processes.

        1. theModge

          An ISO 3103 expert perhaps?

          All standards experts should be well paid....

      2. oldcoder

        Drop the "Refreshment"

        And put in "Office"... Then you get "Office Assembly Engineer" just because the office staff assemble around the coffee pot...

        Add the doughnuts and you get "Chief Office Assembly Engineer"

        1. pepper

          Re: Drop the "Refreshment"

          Chief implies he has underlings!

          Good news, you can now sod off and do nothing!

    2. John G Imrie

      Job Title

      Brownian motion inducer?

      Now what happened to that IID I left lying around here.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Remember, you can't spell 'Team' without 'Tea'

      1. moonface

        Re: Title

        I started off in workstation local support\helpdesk with Windows 3.11 machines and I now work with server services (Windows 2008R2, Vmware, Netapp, etc) and my official title has never changed in 15 years from 'Information System Technologist'. I still feel a little embarrassed whan I have to write it on a form.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mint, and so much truer than people think

    the bit about architect going in the job title made me laugh, and I need to be an ony mouse because of it, and office politics...

  12. SiempreTuna
    Thumb Up

    TF the BOFH is Back!

    .. is just me thinks el Reg has been getting a bit serious of late? Like nearly everything actually has actually had an easily discernable technical angle?

    Just not on ..

  13. davidp231

    Our prayers have been answered!

    Fridays are good again. Long live the BOFH and PFY.

  14. DJO Silver badge


    I mean, ye gods, if my PHB ever read any of this he’d might work out I haven’t actually done any work for several years.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Architect " is getting so overused that real architects are going to have to become "actual real building architects" so they don't get mistaken for know-nothing PowerPoint jockeys....

  16. Daniel B.


    Just yesterday I noticed that there hadn't been BOFH episodes since November...

  17. sisk


    Just what I needed. A good BOFH.

  18. Moeluk

    Yup, the bit about the salary of the manager not being related to their worth is 100% true

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I love these stories - they make fantastic reading for anyone considering outsourcing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Super

      You do realise even mentioning the word 'outsourcing' around a BOFH is a recipe for a unfortunate fall down a lift shaft, right? Regardless of context, because we can't be too careful.

      1. Fatman

        Re: mentioning ... 'outsourcing' around a BOFH ... unfortunate fall down a lift shaft, right?

        At WROK PALCE, mentioning outsourcing (of IT) usually leads to a visit to the roof top deck, and an invitation to take in the view from the plank.

        Watch for falling MBA's is printed on a sign attached to the wall below the plank.

  20. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    New BOFH!

    Today has been the best Friday in a loooong time.

  21. Marty McFly Silver badge

    I was worried....

    ...BOFH died again or something. Glad to see you back in the new year!

  22. Steven Roper


    also noticed the increasing use of "Architect" as a JD buzzword.

    First we had "Manager". Everyone from the janitor up was a "manager" of some kind. Then there was "Specialist". Then "Engineer". Now we have "Architect". What's next? Doctor?

    That'd be good: Toilet Cleaner -> Waste Manager -> Hygiene Specialist -> Sanitation Engineer -> Health Systems Architect -> Epidemiology Doctor...

    1. chris lively

      Re: I've

      Wow, your part of the planet must be really behind. "architect" was taken over by IT over 10 years ago.

      A company I worked for back then was in the same building as a real architectural firm. Every day I'd here how unhappy they were that their title had been absconded with. It was similar to the grumblings of EE grads about the term engineer years before that. As I recall both groups tried to get the terms locked down through the legal system; but that seems to have failed miserably.

      I can't say I know what the current hot titles are now. Haven't paid attention to them in years. Not that it ever mattered, except in large companies where titles like "software specialist III" mIght be found.

    2. Fatman

      Re: I've

      We threw that one up, against the wall, and came up with this:

      That'd be good: Toilet Cleaner -> Waste Manager -> Hygiene Specialist -> Sanitation Engineer -> Health Systems Architect -> Epidemiology Doctor...->Asshole Manager

      Now, why did that chick from HR suddenly turn beet red when that one got suggested??

      Enquiring minds want to know?

  23. bag o' spanners

    I actually know a User Experience Architect. Kill me now.

    1. Fatman

      RE: User Experience Architect.

      We shot1 ours, as she came up with this clusterfuck of a GUI for an in-house app that NO ONE LIKED. There was loads of bitching about it. When the (tech savvy) CEO says it is a piece of shit, then you know you are in trouble.

      1 "Shot" as in fired, not executed.

      Now, can anyone describe a (L)user Experience Architect?

      The consensus (at WROK PALCE) is that such a person works at Microsoft, in the Windows 8 department.

  24. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Defragging Management

    Brilliant phrase, must implement that soon

    1. Fatman

      Re: Defragging Management

      Or how about: Defragging Manglement? I must pass that along to my co-workers.

      I am trying to picture that one ("Defragging Management") in my mind's eye!!!! Visions of a Viet Nam era military practice comes to mind.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    #include <stdio.h>

    #include <stdlib.h>

    #include <limits.h>

    #include <errno.h>

    #include <string.h>

    int main(void)


    char *g1[] = {"Essential", "Directed", "Measurable"};

    char *g2[] = {"Vision", "Service", "Delivery"};

    char *g3[] = {"Targets", "Metrics", "Outcomes"};

    size_t n1 = sizeof(g1) / sizeof(g1[0]);

    size_t n2 = sizeof(g2) / sizeof(g2[0]);

    size_t n3 = sizeof(g3) / sizeof(g3[0]);

    unsigned int seed;

    int w1, w2, w3;

    FILE *dev_random = fopen("/dev/random", "rb");

    if ( dev_random == NULL )

    return EXIT_FAILURE;

    if ( fread(&seed, sizeof seed, 1, dev_random) != 1 )

    return EXIT_FAILURE;



    w1 = n1 * (rand() / (RAND_MAX + 1.0));

    w2 = n2 * (rand() / (RAND_MAX + 1.0));

    w3 = n3 * (rand() / (RAND_MAX + 1.0));

    printf("%s %s %s\n", g1[w1], g2[w2], g3[w3]);

    return 0;


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