back to article BOFH: An architect and his own entirely avoidable downfall

"Well, you know what they say," the Boss says, faking sadness. "The candle that burns twice as bright..." "... Should be thrown into the pool of diesel from a safe distance?" the PFY responds. "No, the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long." "Is that a thing though?" the PFY asks. "I mean, if you're talking …

  1. Maverick


    Friday afternoon, BOFH pre-beer o'clock

  2. Alistair Silver badge

    why, why how WONDERFUL

    Thank you Simon for a nod to one of my favourite movies......

    Now, where is that damned owl.

  3. earl grey Silver badge

    nicely played

    And a beer for pleasure and enjoyment and a good start for the weekend.

  4. DropBear

    Why do I get the feeling the BOFH could straigh-up break a Voight-Kampff device just by answering honestly...

    1. breakfast

      You don't ask the BOFH to list only the good things that come to his mind about his mother.

  5. Rumournz

    Anyone taking bets on when accident #176 happens? the boss is getting a little suspicious...

    1. John G Imrie

      Not sure about that

      The boss and the BOFH seam to be fighting individual but parallel battles against upper management.

      1. seven of five Silver badge

        Re: Not sure about that

        > [...] to be fighting individual but parallel battles against upper management.

        are there others? Everything else is just ... clashes.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "the boss is getting a little suspicious."

      No problem about suspicion until he gives signs of intending to act on it.

  6. malle-herbert

    Good thing...

    They didn't ask him about his mother...

  7. Tom Maddox Silver badge

    Going soft

    Sounds like Simon and the PFY are going soft. After all, three "accidents" occurred wherein the victims survived!

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Going soft

      Occasionally, pity plays a part. As "It's a pity we weren't 2 floors higher when he lost his balance and fell out the window".

      1. Peter Simpson 1
        Thumb Up

        Re: Going soft

        Have an upvote for the Bored of the Rings reference!

        1. perlcat

          Re: Going soft

          It's not pity. If there were no survivors, then how would people know to not trifle with the BOFH?

    2. Paul 129

      Re: Going soft

      Nahh, problably angling with the boss to get moved higher in the building.... 6th floor sounds like a good hint.

  8. ma1010 Silver badge

    There are some things man was not meant to know

    Things like how the Halon system got hooked up to the ventilation system for the boardroom. And how this happened, by some amazing "storm of the century" coincidence, at the same, exact time all the doors in the boardroom were jammed shut. Right after that unfortunate decision to replace the windows with unbreakable polycarbonate. And just when the building telephone's system went out-of-order.

    While we all deeply feel the pain of the loss of our leadership, we will somehow find the inner strength to carry on the firm's business. In our individual offices.

  9. Martin Summers Silver badge

    I wonder...

    Have we got any real life BOFH's amongst this sites esteemed readers? How far have or would you go to protect your own interests/empire?

    (I ask this being somewhat worried about any potential AC 'accident' confessions!).

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: I wonder...

      Do you really want to know or are you just musing out loud? Some things are best left unknown.

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        Re: I wonder...

        Oh I *really* want to know!

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: I wonder...

          To be honest.. I find a bit of implied intimidation works well at times.. such as: "That's an interesting idea but can we think about it for a bit because right now I need to go check the firewall and server logs.". The key is to keep them off guard such that they never know what you're capable of.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I wonder...

            One (terrible) idea got delayed eighteen months before they managed to corner me. Fortunately the fallout only landed on the supervisors having to do trouble log maintenance on their off-time. Not worker bees.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wonder...

          (Un)fortunately, we'd lose some people overboard and never found. Never needed on my ship, apparently. I was transferred (my choice) before....

    2. Maynard G. Krebs

      Re: I wonder...

      Oh we are here, and we do watch and record everything in the office. I had one job as BOFH for an accounting firm in Alaska. One of the partners thought that the IT department was also the janitorial staff. Kept asking us to clean the kitchen, take out the office trash, the final straw was when she asked me, The IT Manager, to vacuum her office one afternoon as it was a bit dusty. The next day her PC, mysteriously would not boot. Took us 2 weeks to get that sorted out. When asked by another partner why it was taking so long to fix her system this tech illiterate was informed that it was because of all of the crap she had downloaded from the internet and as she had locally saved data that was critical it was taking extra time to recover that before we rebuild her system. Oh those were the days. Never let the BOFH have your password and a key to your office when you yourself don't know how to read log files..... As an aside after her abusing 3 other employee's to the point that they turned in resignations this partner was fired. Talk about a happy dance.

      1. Fatman

        Re: I wonder...

        <quote>One of the partners thought that the IT department was also the janitorial staff. Kept asking us to clean the kitchen, take out the office trash, the final straw was when she asked me, The IT Manager, to vacuum her office one afternoon as it was a bit dusty. </quote>


        Probably the shortest tenure at any employer I have ever had - all of 20 minutes.

        Hired on to """improve""" their complete IT estate, by mom and dad; because it had slowly deteriorated into a clusterfuck, no thanks to the meddling of """sonny boy""".

        FIRST day on the job, """sonny boy""" THINKS I was a member of their janitorial staff, because he demands that I:

        1) mop the bathroom floors,

        2) sweep out the warehouse, and

        3) throw out the garbage.

        I was NOT hired to perform janitorial duties, and once """sonny boy""" finished spouting off the mouth, I walked over to the receptionist, and asked: "WHO the fuck foes he think he is?"

        "The owner's son." she replied.

        "Well tell the owners that, upon reflection, I have decided NOT to take the job, and I wish them luck in finding janitorial staff that can double as IT techs. Also tell them NOT to even bother calling me, as I will block their number, and if they want to know why I changed my mind, just tell them what their `little precious one` had done."

        I walked out the door, and never heard from them since. Later, I did hear that the shit hit the fan shortly after they found out what had transpired. My understanding was that """sonny boy""" was swiftly promoted to a position at another employer. I wonder how hard the door hit him on his ass as he was ejected from mommy and daddy's company.

        I do remember that word got around to avoid them like the plague, and it must have been more than 6 months later before someone was desperate stupid sufficiently cash strapped enough to take the job.

      2. Rick Giles

        Re: I wonder...

        One of the partners thought that the IT department was also the janitorial staff.

        Place I worked at many moons ago (VAR) tried the same shite with the hardware techs. It seems that one of the account managers didn't like us in the weekly staff meeting and convinced the owner that our time would be better spent cleaning keyboards, telephones, carpets, bathrooms, et al.

        We quickly rescheduled service calls to that time and made sure that none of us were in the office on that day.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    timing ..

    office move going on around me ... and no-one really knows what people are moving to ...

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: timing ..

      I just moved offices within the past year. An OPEN plan! My boss is the only one with an office, but they shafted him too. 1.5 x 2.0m is the box they shoved him into! The meeting room is 1.5 x 3.0 too!

  11. swissarmyknife

    happy burbles....

  12. tony2heads

    The guys should have said

    wake up, its time to die

  13. Mike Moyle Silver badge


    The Boss got the best of the PFY in a fair, dirty fight...?

    Simon may have finally got a Boss who can give him a challenge!

    Stands to reason, though... Pure Darwinism... Having taken the weak ones out of the corporate gene pool, he was BOUND to make the survivors more able to compete.

    1. Grikath

      Re: Uh-oh...

      Well.. It's not as if the ...proactive defense tactics... of the BOFH and PFI aren't known by Management, HR, and other relevant departments. It's simply that they have as yet been unable to prove anything, or ran into adamantium contract clauses.

      There have been "decent" Bosses in the past, and it seems HR have chosen the angle of...containment... this time around, with a Boss who can take as good as he gives, a Balance of sorts, in the hopes of limiting the Threat from Mission Control.

      Fighting fire with fire can work, unless one of the Clueless ignores the ..sensitivities of the controlling fire, and crosses the Boundaries. Then you will find that, as in this case, you got *two* fires with a common goal fueling on each other, coming your way....

    2. stucs201

      Re: Uh-oh...

      Go read it again - the PFY is fine. Both the BOFH and PFY had the Suit who was interrogating them fall out of a window. The Boss is actually siding with the BOFH and PFY on this occasion in the face of a common enemy (probably not a long-term truce though).

  14. Dan Paul

    Excellent...The candle that burns twice as bright and those investigators burned so very brightly

    Always like to see someone channeling Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner.

    Simon must have been watching it when he wrote this since there are so many Blade Runner references used.

    "Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion..."


    "... I watched C-beams... glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate," I continue.

    "What beams?"

    "All those moments will be lost in time. Like... tears. In rain..."

    Looks like the BOFH and PFY had their stories "straight" from the beginning.

    Good to see a little communication go so far, like 3 stories far.

  15. Baudwalk

    Keep fighting the good fight...

    ...nobody who does any actual work likes open plan offices.

    1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme Silver badge

      Re: nobody who does any actual work likes open plan offices.

      even those who DON'T do any actual work dislike open plan offices.

      Hard to concentrate on updating farcebook with the latest cat vid with all that incessant "work" babble and phones ringing and printers printing. And don't EVEN get me started on the difficulties of napping...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: nobody who does any actual work likes open plan offices.

        If you can't look like you're doing real work while fannying around, you haven't even started on the road to being a professional.

        Must try harder.

  16. Rick Brasche


    that was almost a close one. Either someones getting sloppy, or the opposition is becoming slightly more clever.

  17. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge


    Reminds me... got booted from our office into the finances' old office recently.

    We lost the space that could have had a ping pong table. Next to a pool table.... with a snooker table in the distance for good measure. All with a window(!?!) looking out over the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside.

    Now we've barely got enough space for a pool table and nice view of the boss' office. bastards...

    (Not AC because I'm 99.9% sure the boss ain't a reg reader)

  18. Terje

    I'm starting to get just a little scared that the BOFH and PFY are getting affected by huggy feely team building events and other such dross. letting the Architect live might be acceptable negligence but not only one but two management goons make me fear that even the bottom drawer hammer might be replaced with a foam rubber version!

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Letting the architect live.

      How could they!

      If ever there was any group for whom there should be no second chance it's the corporate architect. People who design homes may be fine and dandy. But having worked in school and local authority buildings for a good few years I have absolutely no reason to think they deserve any kind of mercy.

      There have been the South facing glass walls that allow temperatures to shoot up to unbearable levels from April to October. Windows that are perfectly located to slice the head off any happy nine year old running past. Central staircases that open onto a busy corridor to create a dangerous gridlock at the end of every session or fire alarm and god forbid a real fire. Atrium entrances with the reception area yards from the door, that waste loads of limited space and make it easy for the casual thief to do a runner. Wiring that runs nowhere near the work stations. Meeting rooms with such terrible echo that you can't hear anything properly, add corridors that amplify every sound so that a door closing sounds like the gates of hell. Lighting that can't be reached to change the. strip when it starts to flash. Carpet tiles that give shocks of static to everyone who comes into the room. Fitted cupboards that open out in front of doorways. The works.

      1. Giraffe67

        Re: Letting the architect live.

        @Terry6..... You forgot the roofs! I've never seen any roof leak like an architect designed roof.

        Other than that I echo every word.

        I remember seeing a line like 'Subject to local council building permits' whacked on the bottom of a drawing that was for a big shed. Not a stadium, just a shed with a cement floor.

        $170 thousand and that doesn't even mean it can be built, wow!

        If I ever had to fix a computer for that company I'd bill them to crap with the bottom of the bill saying "Repaired subject to user not connecting power".

        "Routine retirement of a replicant"......where "a replicant" == "an architect".

  19. EngineerAl

    Pet peeve 487 - meeting rooms in engineers' offices with paint that won't tolerate tape holding up plans. What do they figure we use the d--m meeting rooms for if not to look at plans?

    1. Trygve Henriksen

      Have you tried thumb-tacks, staplers or nail-guns?

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