back to article The server is down, money is not being made, and you want me to fix what?

A reminder of who is really in charge and how one should set one's priorities awaits in today's episode of On Call. The story comes from "Aziz" and tells of the time he was working for a New York private equity firm that, according to our reader, "managed obscene sums of money and expected its upper echelon staff to be treated …

  1. UCAP Silver badge

    Not quite in at the same level, but once I worked for a company as a consultant, and my line manager decided that I should write all of his correspondence for him since I was well known for writing very good documentation. I tolerated this for a while, up to the point where he told me to write a very complicated and highly self-serving letter to a customer, while at the same time complaining that my project schedules where slipping since I could not spend as much time on them as I should be doing (being distracted with other things). At that point I handed him another letter I had just written, my resignation, and told him that he should write his own letters - I was not his secretary.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I would have probably written that letter to the client with a couple of extra sentences tucked away - something like "UCAP is too busy doing my job instead of his own because I'm a self important PHB"*

      * or what ever

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Help! I'm being held prisoner...."

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I added a sentance...

        "I hate you and everything you stand for."

        Given I was on my last few days before my two week notice period expired & I was not likely to still be around when the client got the missive in the post, I wasn't worried -- I mean, what could my soon-to-be-ex-boss do, fire me?

        I heard from one of my ex-coworkers that the client called up said ex-boss & yelled at him through the line loud enough to be heard through a closed office door. I almost wish I'd been there to hear it.

        1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

          Re: I added a sentance...

          Beautiful. Oh, well done!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tea

    I was working as a contractor for general IT support which migrated into App packaging.

    In the middle of trying to roll up a tricky app I was asked to make the IT manager and some sales reps some tea.....

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Tea

      I have absolutely no problem making tea for people at my normal consulting rate.

      I'll even serve biscuits.

      1. tip pc Silver badge

        Re: Tea

        Are you sure your qualified Adrian, you need at least a decade in Yorkshire to make tea properly

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Tea

          This Californian has that box ticked ... perhaps I should increase my rates.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Tea

            Of course you should. As a Yorkshireman/Californian Rancher, you should be more than aware that "where there's muck, there's brass!" :-)

            1. martinusher Silver badge

              Re: Tea

              >Yorkshireman/Californian Rancher

              That's almost fighting words. I'm aware that Yorkshire people think they can make tea but experience has shown that Londoners are better at it. Its the water.

      2. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        Re: Tea

        Are you ISO 3013 certified?

        1. KarMann

          Re: Tea

          Did Tom Scott send you?

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Tea

            Love the first comment: "Quietly edited out of this video: two minutes of waiting for the kettle to boil because I forgot to push the button to start it."

            Even experts can be forgetful...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tea

          Absolutely disgusting that the USA didn't object.

          Everyone here in the southern US knows that tea is only properly made as an ice-cold supersaturated sugar solution, and milk is absolutely never allowed anywhere near it.

          1. Nutria

            Re: Tea

            My grandmother was born+raised in segregated Atlanta, and always drank hot tea with milk in the morning.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tea

            My wife and I have lived in the southeast US all our lives. Went to London for our honeymoon. After a couple of rather warm days (80+ °F), we decided we needed some iced tea. The local Texas-themed restaurant actually had it on the menu... but it turned out to be a bag of Earl Gray and a cup of room-temperature water with a single ice cube. That's really not what we had in mind...

            So, it was time to make our own. Popped down to the local store, looking for what I'd call "plain" tea (a cheap black tea, anything would be ok). No dice. But they had some mint tea, ok, that'll do, we have mint in ours sometimes too. Made up a pitcher and chilled it in the tiny little refrigerator overnight. Next morning, the wife and I poured a cup apiece, toasted each other, took a sip... and both nearly had spit-takes. I took another look at the box - PURE mint tea. Whoa. After the initial shock, it was pretty good. Especially in water bottles while picnicking in Hyde Park. (Again, 80+ °F)

            Note to eastpondians - to make iced tea, start by making hot tea using a black tea. Something cheap is fine. Then sweeten as desired (SE US says VERY sweet, NE says unsweetened), chill, and serve already cold but with several ice cubes, to keep it cold. While certainly not as refined and cultured as a proper afternoon tea, it's a great thing to sip on a hot day.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: Tea

              This item is not uncommon in the UK, on the rare occasions that temperatures remain high for more than 3 consecutive days. Any self-respecting restaurant offering "Iced tea" should give you something approaching what you'd expect. Other places may well sell the Liptons stuff which is OK I guess.

              However The local Texas-themed restaurant ....

              If in the USA ( or anywhere else) I would remain as far away from an English themed restaurant as it was physically possible to do without requiring my passport. So I assume the equivalent holds for Americans in Europe.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Tea

                "So I assume the equivalent holds for Americans in Europe."

                From personal experience, even more so.

      3. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Tea

        I know how much most consultants cost, screw that if you are doing something for our department, I'll be making the tea and telling people to bugger off with stupid questions, making sure we get our monies worth.

      4. VBF
        Happy

        Re: Tea

        May I refer you to https://dilbert.com/

    2. trevorde Silver badge

      Re: Tea

      I always ask: "Sure - one spit or two?"

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Tea

        The best tea I ever had was when I had a meeting with a partner at Cazenove & Co. in their old London Offices. He was the partner 'responsible' for the IT, I was an IT security consultant. The tea was superb, the meeting, somewhat less so...

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: Tea

          At a Swedish supplier's place, their people buggered off to discuss something and left us with tea and biscuits.

          One of my colleagues held up a heart-shaped biscuit and said; "Ah. That proves that they love us."

          I held up one that was a sort of extruded swirl shape, highly reminiscent of something nasty you might find on a pavement and said; "Well, what does this say about what they think of us then?".

          The three of us were still howling with laughter when the suppliers returned and we couldn't tell them what was so funny.

        2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: The tea was superb, the meeting, somewhat less so...

          Did you remember what your mother told you about drinking out of the saucer?

          1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: The tea was superb, the meeting, somewhat less so...

            Why bother with a saucer when the pot has such a nice spout?

            Ohh, is that why the meeting didn't go so well, I did wonder why they all just looked at me?

      2. Earth Resident

        Re: Tea

        Well, after all, Baldrick is making the coffee.

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

          Re: Tea

          Ahh, Cappuccino!

          ;o)

    3. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: Tea

      Did you know know you were there to do ITea support?

      You didn't actually mention whether you made it or not. I'm with the other guy who said if they're happy to pay me my normal rate I'll happily make the tea. I've long lost any hangups of a job being beneath me if I'm being paid to do it.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Tea

        Kryten: That's "why, Mr. Kryten sir" ... You call those triangular sandwiches? Did you use a z-square? I think not! And the chocolate fingers display is laughable. Don't just pile them higgledy-piggledy onto the plate. Make them into an attractive interlaced log cabin structure or something. This will just not do! Kindly return to the gallery and start again.

    4. Aseries

      Re: Tea

      Now you've done it, switched the whole conversation to tales of tea.

      Wife and I in the USA watch many British police dramas (best in the English speaking world). When the cops show up at some citizen's door the first item of discussion is always TEA. Is that reality?

      1. Richard 36

        Re: Tea

        Yes

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Tea

        Probably, yes.

      3. UCAP Silver badge

        Re: Tea

        Absolutely! The police, like the rest of the country, are fuelled by tea. Best drink of the day!

      4. KillStuffMount

        Re: Tea

        If you're taking a witness statement or something and not there to arrest them, usually. Plus each copper will know their tea stops during a night shift and I was warned, under dire sentence, not to mump a colleague's tea stops. The stern advice was to "find your own", so as not to piss off the various security stations dotted around the patch at factories and the like by making them feed and water every random probationer and special who might just be bored/cold/thirsty at 3am.

        We were especially told not to take marked vehicles around the circuit at *redacted*, or if we couldn't resist, don't rag road tyres on racing tarmac and leave a vehicle unusable.

        1. Sequin

          Re: Tea

          When I was younger I worked behind the bar at a local social club.

          Every couple of days we got visits from the local bizzies, usually about 11pm, dropping in for a couple of free pints. I expect they did this at other places too, and would probably have failed a breathalyzer at the end of their shift.

          One night a couple of them were there until about 2am, at which poit I said that I wanted to lock up and go home. Kindly they gave me a lift home in their panda car. An hour or so later there was a banging at my door. I looked out the windo to see a cop at the door. Assuming there had been a break-in at the club I threw on some clothes and ran down. It turns out that one of the cuntstables had left his radio in the club and would get a bollocking from the seargent at the end of his shift if he didn't have it!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dark Monitor

    I had the senior director yelling at our tech support staff that his brand new IBM 327x Terminal was completely dead as he could not get any response form it. He was incandescent as it had failed after 2 days use, I found this strange as we had very carefully checked this device out and tested over a couple of days in advance because we knew if anything went wrong it was going to be DEFCON 5. We were at the time working 200% on preparing the release of the new banking application and a whole ton of new products were going to be launched based on the new capabilities, so every minute counted as any delay was going to be a major issue, so I was not at all keen on any interrupts. So I went on a personal visit to his office on the top floor, where I was greeted as if I have killed his first born. It was obvious what the issue was, so I sat him down, using plain simple language directed his hand to the brightness control and turned the brightness control up so he could see the screen. He was of course not happy as he believed the control had somehow managed to change itself when he was not there and demanded a new terminal. So we swapped it with one from the ops room that we cleaned up which had been in use for about 2 years and bagged ourselves a new one. He of course took credit for the successful update to banking application and the new products launch. As with every story there was a happy ending, when he got out of line with a new female employee in the secretary pool (For this was some time ago!), his tear down of the poor young woman did not go down well with the chairman as it was his grand-daughter. So he departed to explore new exciting opportunities ...........

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dark Monitor

      "if anything went wrong it was going to be DEFCON 5"

      Sorry to be pedantic, but DEFCON 5 is "Normal". I think you meant DEFCON 1 :)

      1. drand
        Headmaster

        Re: Dark Monitor

        Never be sorry for being a pedant!

        1. Jou (Mxyzptlk)

          Re: Dark Monitor

          I call that "Taking care of details". Because, if your don't, they take care of you.

      2. Ben Trabetere

        Re: Dark Monitor

        Or it could mean they had tested the monitors to the point where any problem that arose would be related to PEBCAK and other wet-ware issues rather than a hardware issue.

        1. TangoDelta72

          Re: Dark Monitor

          How shall we create the new scale of PEBCAC5 to PEBCAC1? Soft pastels or harsh neons?

          PWEI may have a thought: DC1

          1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

            Re: Dark Monitor

            Soft pastels or harsh neons?

            Light to dark shades of shit brown.

      3. Anonymous IV
        Headmaster

        Re: Dark Monitor

        I feel sure that DEFCON has something to do with the USA...

        Why not use the clear, obvious and straightforward British GCSE grading system [9 to 1, U] or the previous, even more clearer, [A*, A to G, U]?

        No chance of confusion there!

        </sarcasm>

        1. Psmo Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Dark Monitor

          I thought we did "Mildly perturbed" through "Pretty ratty" up to "Pissed off" levels?

    2. Eclectic Man Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Dark Monitor

      Umm, I was all set to go to the repair shop as my laptop screen was completely dark, when I noticed the brightness buttons. I'd been using it like that for about three weeks, squinting at the screen as it was the laptop I use solely for Internet banking.

      (I hang my head in shame.)

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Dark Monitor

        No shame needed. So many of these machines have little dials that might get caught by a finger, hidden away, or fn keys that can be fat fingered. Until you've been caught by one of these you just wouldn't expect it. And, of course, for non-techie users the mysterious loss of any screen image is a good reason to go onto panic mode if there's urgent work to be done.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dark Monitor

          Not to forget that some lapdogs have a small discrete toggle for "enable/disable wifi". Of course I have never missed that one and spent time perusing settings and config files, what kind of noob do you take me for?

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Dark Monitor

            "Not to forget that some lapdogs have a small discrete toggle for "enable/disable wifi"."

            I'd rather they had a small, discrete toggle to enable/disable woofi.

            A method to permanently disable yip-yip-yip-yip would be even better.

            1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

              Re: Not to forget that some lapdogs have a small discrete toggle for "enable/disable wifi".

              Connecting the Kensington Lock to a lapdog is not a good idea when dog is in full wag-salivate mode.

              (I did get caught out once by the discrete/discreet Wi-Fi slider. The owner of the laptop said he was surprised at my not spotting it. Can't win 'em all. Never got caught out since).

          2. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Dark Monitor

            You can fat-finger an F key on Lenovos so the webcam get turned off. Only it's not turned off, to Windows it looks like the webcam doesn't even exist and it doesn't give you any clue how to turn it back on.

            That was an interesting problem to fix for a neighbour during lockdown on TeamViewer.

            1. YetAnotherLocksmith

              Re: Dark Monitor

              That's pretty standard. It makes sure pesky hackers can't remote in and watch you "working". I don't trust it as much as the sliding cover I added though.

      2. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

        Re: Dark Monitor

        >(I hang my head in shame.)

        No shame. You're now much brighter for the experience.

      3. CuChulainn

        Re: Dark Monitor

        When I was on tech support, we used to get a lot of people phoning in with 'blank' screens.

        After checking the brightness thing, standard procedure was to get them to squint at the screen to see if they could actually see something.

        If they could - and they usually could - we called it in for the backlight to be replaced.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Dark Monitor

          "standard procedure was to get them to squint at the screen to see if they could actually see something."

          The other test for this is to shine a torch(flashlight) onto the screen at point blank range and see if things start to become faintly viewable

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: Dark Monitor

      Terminator 7 : Dark Monitor

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. GrumpyKiwi

      Re: Dark Monitor

      Back in the mid 90's when contracting for a part of Brutish Rail I got sent to Bletchley (no not the park) to the depot where a terminal had "stopped working".

      Got there, wiped the inch thick layer of dust off the screen that was preventing it from being viewable and job done. Even got a nice cup of tea out of it, so I considered that a pretty decent result.

    6. pirxhh

      Re: Dark Monitor - might have been the cleaners

      I had a call-out once where a terminal (actually, a NorthStar set similar to a thin client nowadays) was equally dark.

      Turned out the brightness dial was placed just so that a wipe down the side of the screen turned the thing utterly dark. The cleaners had been doing their job, the user was suitably red-faced, and I became the company's go-to techie.

  4. PerlyKing Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Re: made a bigwig happy with a mere twiddle of a knob?

    Fnarrr! ;-)

    1. the spectacularly refined chap

      Re: made a bigwig happy with a mere twiddle of a knob?

      Damn... beat me to it.

      1. PerlyKing Silver badge

        Re: made a bigwig happy with a mere twiddle of a knob?

        As the kids say, "user name checks out" ;-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: made a bigwig happy with a mere twiddle of a knob?

        Beating could be part of it in this context..

        :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: made a bigwig happy with a mere twiddle of a knob?

      So, I had to google that.

      And thus discovered that former city councilman and vice mayor Finbarr Saunders shares a name with a rather unfortunate cartoon character.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On call

    There was the time I was dispatched ~50 miles out of my way to collect an item from a holiday camp in Blackpool. The item turned out to be a small carrier bag of dirty underwear belonging to my MD's younger son whom had left it there the previous week. At the rates I was normally charged out for site visits, he could have bought new undies ten times over.

    My uncomplimentary writing up of this on my pre-timesheet notes got me called up to the MD, where I was told off for my attitude, and given words to the effect of I was no longer wanted. So I went home, phoned a specialist employment law solicitor, whom jumped at the chance to claim costs off them of more than I earned in a month! I think it only took one phone call and they settled! Those were very expensive undies indeed!

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: On call

      That's the call that every employment lawyer is just waiting for! Easy money, and a good war story to tell your colleagues.

      What I wonder... how many managers on the receiving end of this would be clever enough to take note of that lawyers contact information privately in case they need a good employment lawyer at some time...

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: On call

      The only thing that would have made it better was making the MD's waste of money known the owners/shareholders, so he would have had to look for another job over wasting company resources to pick up dirty laundry, then getting the company in legal trouble when called out for it.

    3. el_oscuro

      Re: On call

      Back in the 90's, I left a government contract for another one, then got hired back to it 6 months later. When I showed up on the first day, the senior government accounting official was waiting for me and had a list of long distance calls I had made from the government phone.

      Most of these were to the Oracle support number, while a few others were to my home number to check messages (on this side of the pond, phone companies would charge extra for in-state "long distance" calls). After going through all of these, the total price of the "long distance" calls to my home number was $1.25, which I paid on the spot with spare change in my pocket.

      This whole mess took me about 15 billable minutes at $50 an hour, plus however many hours the senior accounting official spent researching it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The daughter of the company's owner rings up. Her computer keeps beeping. Turned out she'd left a heavy book on the keyboard.

    1. Imhotep Silver badge

      I had the same call. The arms of the desk's chair were on the keyboard. Just pulled out the chair.

      The embarassment for the user was that the desk was in the front of a classroom full of students in our 'technical' training center. He was a good guy, but understandably under some pressure....

      1. swm Silver badge

        I've done the same thing. Takes a few minutes to find the problem.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I got that call this morning.

          Handled it over the phone, user denied anything was on the keyboard, of course. But it being a laptop used as a desktop replacement, I had them unplug the external keyboard then turn it upside down "to dislodge any dust", and the problem miraculously disappeared.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Perhaps the hive mind could advise me just how I should have communicated to the Principal's PA, that the reason for the strange and intermittent behaviour of her computer was due to her ample chest interacting with the keyboard..

      1. jake Silver badge

        Lose the fourteen-year-old boy's locker-room childishness and keep it professional: "It looks like you are leaning on your keyboard."

        Or you can turn on audio key-clicks. Tell her "This is only for test purposes, I'll turn them off again in a day or so" ... I guarantee she'll figure it out for herself.[0]

        Both options have worked for me. The second usually gets me a giggly phone call "You're not going to believe what happened ... can you please turn off the clicks now?"

        [0] Now you know why there are no such reports from the days of the typing pool. It happened, but went unreported. The Selectric tends to announce itself, no observing tech required.

  7. chivo243 Silver badge
    Windows

    I have an Open Ticket!

    Just as I read this, display says no signal, user, Saint somebody can't be bothered, except to fire off a Flare, another new computer issue to be sure!

  8. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    Many moons ago I got the sack for refusing...

    Manger wanted me to interrupt a quite complex bit of fault finding to post a letter, even after I informed him I was going that way for lunch later, and the morning post had already gone. Was told to get out, so I did, and contacted head office. The guy there said while he agreed it was over the top, it was not company policy to reverse a mangers decisions (or something like that). Off the record I was then given the contact details of a similar company with vacancies - dramatically better environment and pay.

  9. lglethal Silver badge
    Trollface

    and expected its upper echelon staff to be treated with a degree of reverence most often reserved for saints and dictators."

    We know just the sort of place.

    Admit it, you're talking about El Reg HQ right?

  10. AdamT

    Not that exciting but....

    While doing my PhD I ended up in the group of (unpaid) BOFHs who looked after the lab's IT equipment and generally helped out with IT support stuff. I was overrunning a bit on the PhD and get a surprisingly stern talking-to from my supervisor about completing my actual research work and stopping the (technically voluntary but someone has to do it) BOFH/IT Support stuff.

    Literally the next day he phones up to ask me to help get his printer working!

    He had the decency to look at the floor while I was there which could have been embarrassment but could also have been to avoid my massive grin.

    (and he did say thank you)

    1. Potty Professor
      Angel

      Re: Not that exciting but....

      When the company I was working for took over its main competitor, suddenly we had 8 offices scattered all over the Midlands, instead of just one Birmingham. I was made Deputy IT Manager for that office, while our original IT Manager took on roving responsibility for all 8, with a Deputy in each. Some time later, we had a new Office manager assigned, and after a few weeks, he called me to his cubicle and started berating me on my lack of output in the Technical Manuals field, spending too much time messing about with other employees' computers, and that I had done no Editing or Proofreading at all. He said that if I didn't pull my socks up, he'd have to "let me go". I asked if he had actually read my job description, to which he replied "Of course I have". I went back to my lair and printed off my new Terms of Employment and took them over to him. Ten minutes later he phoned me, very apologetically, he'd rung my Boss, the IT Manager, and had his ears scorched. I was awarded a 20% pay rise and a further apology from IT Manager for not increasing my salary when he had promoted me.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If there was a way to genetically identify self-important overpaid ay-holes who treat other people badly, then I would fully support that Wuhan virus lab in actually creating a virus to target them, and them only.

    1. Sherrie Ludwig

      If there was a way to genetically identify self-important overpaid ay-holes who treat other people badly, then I would fully support that Wuhan virus lab in actually creating a virus to target them, and them only.

      That would be a virtual slate-wiper for the human race, I bet everyone except maybe the Dalai Lama has been a PITA once or twice. Me included.

  12. ColinPa

    What kind of idiot do you think I am?

    We were having a team meeting, and someone came in and said please phone xxxx who is very unhappy.

    We phoned the senior technical guy who had the usual rant and ignored some of the suggestions the team leader offered.

    The bad guy then said "what kind of idiot do you think I am". One of our team (on the autistic spectrum) who takes things literally replied

    "well let me go through out list our list, ah yes, there's the idiot who doesnt listen, there is the idiot that shouts rather than ask politely, ah yes... there's the idiot who hasn't checked his mail" and hung up.

    We sat there aghast, and the brave person said he didn't take that sort of behaviour, and had worked with xxx before.

    We carried on with the meeting, and a few minutes later the same someone came in and said "xxxx said the problems been fixed, it was in the email".

    I haven't been brave enough to do this.

    1. nichomach

      Re: What kind of idiot do you think I am?

      An event which must make you wonder whether autism actually IS a superpower...

      1. UCAP Silver badge

        Re: What kind of idiot do you think I am?

        My eldest son is on the autistic spectrum. While clearly has its downsides, it definitely has plenty of advantages in this sort of situation.

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

          Re: What kind of idiot do you think I am?

          Reminds me of a couple of lines from the remake of '101 Dalmatians':

          Cruella; "What kind of sycophant are you?"

          Snivelling employee: "Umm, what kind of sycophant would you like me to be?"

        2. Janne Smith

          Re: What kind of idiot do you think I am?

          I always make people aware I have Asperger's, along with a request that they tell me if I ever say or do something that is socially unacceptable.

          That said, at one job the project manager took me to meetings with internal stakeholders with explicit instructions to call out any bullshit I heard. He had "prewarned" the attendees that I was both autistic and a programmer - so doubly weird in their eyes. My occasional comments kept the requirements gathering focused apparently.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: What kind of idiot do you think I am?

        >autism actually IS a superpower

        0, Not understanding why people who know less than you think they are more important

        1, Not caring about upsetting these people

        2, Being one of the few vital people who understands stuff the company needs someone to do.

        3, Understanding this stuff means you are also in demand by the dozen other companies around you.

        4, Demanding that lists start with 0

        1. stiine Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: What kind of idiot do you think I am?

          1) never start at 0 because if you have to insert a new step without renumbering everything, there'd be no where to put it

          2) 'these'? what do you mean by 'these'?

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: What kind of idiot do you think I am?

            > if you have to insert a new step without renumbering everything

            There are an infinite number of real numbers between any two integers, and indeed between any two real numbers.

            And I can prove it

            And I will in the middle of a meeting

            1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

              Re: if you have to insert a new step without renumbering everything

              When we were learning Algol at Polytechnic, we found the computer room had a load of boneshaker teletypes hooked into a Basic system. A lot of us succumbed to playing around with that for a while, it being a lot easier to write ad hoc programs than Algol.

              A lot easier to get oneself into a mess, that is.

              IIRC there was a program renumbering facility where, if you run out of line numbers, you can renumber your program with a simple command (you could specify the increment). So easy peasy... Why do we need Algol?

              Except that Basic allowed you to have a line saying GOTO 5600 when line 5600 didn't exist. Yes, program flow would go to the next line that existed past 5600, so if line 6000 was next, it would goto that line.

              However, the renumberer wasn't that intelligent*, so renumbering your program would effectively shred your code as it left any unmatched GOTO statements as they were. In hindsight, before renumbering you needed to check for unmatched GOTO's and match them. By going to all this trouble... Why don't we use Algol? No fiddling around with line numbers, and by banning GOTO's, no spaghetti code.

              So all in all it was a good lesson for us to learn.

              *It would be a trivial exercise for the renumberer to take orphaned line numbers into account, but maybe the shortcoming was there to teach us a lesson.

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: What kind of idiot do you think I am?

      The bad guy then said "what kind of idiot do you think I am".

      "Why, First Class, of course!"

      //Nick Danger, Third Eye

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: What kind of idiot do you think I am?

        The bad guy then said "what kind of idiot do you think I am".

        I don't know, what kind are there??

        my dad was famous for that one!

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: What kind of idiot do you think I am?

        Nick: "What kind of chump do you take me for?"

        Rocky: First class!"

    3. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
      Pint

      Re: What kind of idiot do you think I am?

      "What kind of idiot do you think I am?" - Junior manager (whatever that was) who seemed to think he could do no wrong.

      "Sorry, how many types are there here?" - me, consulting and having "While you're here" mini consults doing help-desk sort of stuff around the office (not unusual in my part of the country due to the isolation and lack of folks wanting to travel out bush).

      Got a raving lunatic shouting at me.

      Sent my invoice to <company> stating that I would not be available for consulting work there again, outlining issue with whatever type of idiot the junior manager was.

      Phone call from MD - apologising, junior manager seeking work elsewhere, with me being suitably welcomed back.

      MD ran a reasonably happy shop and paid well and promptly so was always popular with contractors and the like - he was the sort you didn't mind going the extra mile for or 'having a quick look at his daughter's laptop while you're here' but he was quite strict on not having any bullies on his staff and Junior Manager fitted the bill after MD talked to other staff.

      Sadly, he died a few years back and the company's never been the same since.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: What kind of idiot do you think I am?

        "he was quite strict on not having any bullies on his staff"

        We used to use the word "asshole" instead of "bully". Yet another example of the namby-pamby hand-wringers sanitizing the workplace?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: What kind of idiot do you think I am?

          No, just a "separated by a common language" thing.

          We might say arsehole on this side of the pond but bully has been a normal term at least since I was a kid in the 60's.

          1. Glen 1 Silver badge

            Re: What kind of idiot do you think I am?

            Asshole: a stupid, irritating, or contemptible person.

            Bully: a person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable

            While there may well be a large overlap, I would say the main distinction is the aggression.

    4. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: What kind of idiot do you think I am?

      "carefully prepared sarcasm" may be not exactly the right phrase for this case, but I fondly remember one Peanuts cartoon with Lucy van Pelt and her younger brother Linus. It appears to have been written before I was born.

      https://www.gocomics.com/peanuts/1962/09/02

  13. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    appreciation

    > We're sure the warm glow of a job well done was recompense enough.

    I'm equally sure that it had to be, as there wasn't going to be anything else.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I get it at least once a week. Green port for speakers, red port for microphone.

    Speakers have a green jack plug on them to make it even easier.

    But the teachers still plug it into the red socket.

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      As someone who is deuteranopic, I find such colour coding rather discriminatory!

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Greetings, fellow chromatically challenged techie!

    2. The First Dave

      But plugging a speaker into the mic socket DOESN'T make the internal speaker cut out...

      1. mneimeyer

        Computers trying to outsmart their users might... I get peeved when the driver asks me what I just plugged in. If you click Speakers it wouldn't matter which socket was actually used.

    3. nintendoeats

      Note helpful to those who are colourblind >_>

      Every time I have to plug in a 3.5mm jack to something with multiple ports, it's like I'm in some kind of quantum hell. It's just random whether I get the right one or not.

      But I wouldn't call IT over it.

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Every time I have to plug in a 3.5mm jack to something with multiple ports, it's like I'm in some kind of quantum hell. It's just random whether I get the right one or not.

        And if you're using Linux, the effects will be completely random as well.

        Tried to make an import Zoom call with Xubuntu yesterday. Previous one worked fine. For important one, the system would only let Zoom choose the webcam as microphone, but would only show input from the actual microphone.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In addition to the colour codes don't the ports also have a small icon on/near them designating what device you're supposed to plug in?

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Yes, but they're generally gently stamped into the metal using an ant's slipper, so completely unreadable.

      2. Old Shoes

        Yes they do have icons, but they are inscrutable, tiny, and not exactly in logical order.

        I used the Jack next to the picture of the headphones until I realised the icon referred to the port on the left, not to the port on the right.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Putting my own labels next to ports - and on top of the laptop, for instance, not on the sides - is one of my usability interventions.

          1. pirxhh

            As I never need the microphone socket anyway, a dollop of hot glue works wonders.

    5. jake Silver badge

      And just to be extra confusing ...

      ... generally, when you plug a PC's speaker (headset, whatever) into the microphone jack, it can be used as a microphone. Thus bringing about "but they can hear me, but I can't hear them!" confusion.

      I recommend that you do NOT mention the hows and whys of this to your more ... excitable ... users. Just fix it and walk away like a cat, tail up, without looking back or saying anything. Trust me, it's easier that way.

    6. Ryegrass

      RE: Green port for speakers

      Or you could have a MSI motherboard where the correct way to attach the speakers is to put the green plug into the orange socket.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A nice thing about working in the NHS

    I tell people that my priority is directly related to the possibility of someone falling on the floor and bleeding.

    Most of the time, life proceeds contentedly but if A&E need me and some administrator wants my help, the former wins.

    1. UCAP Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: A nice thing about working in the NHS

      I tell people that my priority is directly related to the possibility of someone falling on the floor and bleeding

      Your a cleaner?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A nice thing about working in the NHS

      I had been told by a user, that her computer was the most important in the whole (NHS) hospital, that I had to drop everything to fix it because it made the hospital money. (It was connected to the tills in the restaurant - and she was some supervisor

      1. adam 40 Bronze badge

        Re: A nice thing about working in the NHS

        Oh she wasn't as important as the car park manager then!

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: A nice thing about working in the NHS

          She certainly wasn't as important as the cleaning staff, who tidy up the end result of the swill known as "hospital food".

  16. IGotOut Silver badge

    Constantly, in a fashion.

    OMG all the systems are down

    Yes I'm aware and I'm already working on it.

    What's affected.

    Not sure yet, still checking.

    ....

    5 mins later

    Boss wants you in the office NOW!

    But I'm still...

    Now!

    Boss: I need to. Know what's affected in detail and how long it's going to be down for.

    Me: Well it will take me 15mins to gather everything affected. 10 minutes to explain it to you and then about 30 seconds to finish fixing the problem.

    Rinse and repeat.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Constantly, in a fashion.

      Ah yes, the classic "do you want me to explain in simplified details what's gone wrong, or would you rather I just waste my time by fixing it?"

      Been there, done that, installed it as my mantra...

    2. David Neil

      Re: Constantly, in a fashion.

      While working as an Incident manager/Ops manager for a big 4 consultancy, more than once we lost a very large datacentre somewhere in Germany.

      Was always fun having to explain that we could only guess at what was actually hosted there as we'd inherited all sorts of shit from various country practices and no bugger had done anything like proper documentation until about 2 years beforehand.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Constantly, in a fashion.

        >more than once we lost a very large datacentre somewhere in Germany.

        Careless. where did you last have it ?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Constantly, in a fashion.

          Well, since you always find it in the last place you look, most sensible people will look in the last place first. It save time.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: Constantly, in a fashion.

            Of course you always find something in the last place you look.

            After you've found it there's no point in continuing looking.

            1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

              Re: After you have found it ...

              Of course there is a reason to go on looking. So that you cease to waste time by only ever finding things in the last place you look.

              1. Stoneshop Silver badge
                Devil

                Re: After you have found it ...

                If you have time for that. Because in eleven cases out of ten the manager ordering you to FIND!!1! THAT!11!! ITEM!11eleven!! needed it half an hour ago of course, and you still have to bring it over, set it up, activate it and guide said mangler through using it as he of bloody course didn't have time to read the manual and that is for those tech peons anyway.

            2. Rodderstoo

              Re: Constantly, in a fashion.

              But then how would you ever find the things that'll 'just turn up'?

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Constantly, in a fashion.

                If they "just turn up" you probably weren't looking for them in the first place.

        2. el_oscuro

          Re: Constantly, in a fashion.

          Well at a data center I worked at while I was in Germany, all of the equipment was brand new. The reason why is they had a trash can fire about a year before I started. The problem is, it activated the sprinkler system, and it wasn't just water. It was some highly corrosive agent which made all of the previous equipment look like it had been in the bottom of the ocean for 20 years.

    3. chivo243 Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Constantly, in a fashion.

      My boss gets it... If there's a meltdown, and I say I'm on it, he only asks "How long to you think?" And if that time + 30 minutes elapses, he asks again... I gotta give him credit, he has my back, even if I'm the cause of the issue... until his boss asks ;-}

    4. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Slightly different

      Important VAX is down due to a power supply gone phut. I've already identified the bastard and called Logistics to send a new one; unfortunately it's halfway across the country and needs some paperwork finished before it can be sent. It basically had to be imported into the country from a warehouse holding stock for most of Western Europe, but that's a standard process. ETA is 3 hours from now.

      IT manager comes in and demands to know why Important VAX is down, and why is it taking so long when he's paying lots of money for its service contract. I reply that I'm unable to conjure power supplies, or any other type of spare part, out of thin air and that a replacement is being sent.

      "We run the repair facilities for these devices, why don't you take the power supply to the guys across the road and have it fixed?"

      Argh.

      The repair facilities itself are basically "international area" and anything going out would be subjected to the same customs process as the part being sent is, and that one is already partway into that administrative mill. The borked PSU would ALSO have to be exported first to be allowed to enter the repair facilities, and they don't have that paperwork stuff at the reception desk. Nor at the loading dock where those parts normally come in, as that side of the process is handled by the country Logistics department. So it's definitely not going to be any faster, if it even would be possible at all.

      "Excuse me, my pager shows "call the office". Right, that was Logistics who wanted to inform me that the new PSU has gone through, will be picked up by a courier shortly, and should be here in about two hours".

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Slightly different

        My favorite variation on the theme, as personally experienced by me:

        The magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake hit us on October 17th 1989, at 5:04 PM-ish Pacific time[0]. It was centered approximately 30 miles SSE of my home. PG&E power and Ma Bell landlines were out over almost all of the Bay Area. My acting boss called my DynaTAC at 5:10 PM & screamed that he would fire me if I didn't fix it immediately. I told him that he needn't have wasted money on the phone call, he could have just opened the window and bellowed. And then I hung up.

        I have hated cellular telephones ever since ... not because of what they are, or what they can do, but rather for what they are actually (ab)used for.

        [0] The so-called "Bay Bridge World Series Quake".

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Fix it

          Ah yes. Move back those tectonic plates, make the buildings stand upright again, reconnect all the snapped cables, water, gas and sewage lines (and no mixing) and a few more such matters.

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

    6. uccsoundman

      Re: Constantly, in a fashion.

      So often the answer is 15 minutes of gathering, 10 minutes to explain is preferable to the 30 seconds of fixing because "I said so"

  17. MOH

    Years ago on college work experience, we had an issue where users randomly couldn't log into the network. Seemed to be intermittent, the same user might be able to log in one morning, but fail after lunch. This went on for a week or two.

    After a while I noticed the problems typically happened mid-morning, or a while after lunch, and came up with the theory there might be a limit on the number that could log in at once, with anyone after that being refused. Licensing issues and the like were above my pay grade, it was just based on empirical observation. A bit of trial and error and I reckoned I'd worked out what the limit was.

    As it happened, we were building a new PC for the managing director. Keen to make a good impression, my manager had insisted we work through lunch to get it finished. Finished it shortly after lunch, tested everything including the login credentials, all worked fine. Manager breathed a sigh of relief.

    I checked how many people were currently logged onto the network, saw it was at my expected maximum, and suggested we prove my theory by logging the MD off, me logging in on my own machine, and then if we tried to log him in again it should fail.

    Manager was aghast at the suggestion, and insisted that we quickly deliver the PC to the MD while everything was working OK.

    Of course if was about two days before the MD called to complain he was unable to log in, and somebody finally checked and discovered we'd hit our license limit.

  18. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Yupp

    Laying on the floor under the oil leaking machinery and struggling to replace the split oil line thats caused the machine to spork out..... and the PFY knocks on your boot to say the mangler needs you NOW!

    After a 5 min wiggle to remove my body from the machinery and going and finding said mangler, I find out I have'nt signed the vacation request slip I gave him 3 days ago that should be booked on the system within 30 mins of handing it to him...

    And then get told off for using all sorts of very rude words on him, questioning his parents marriage status and species, and threatening to stuff him inside the machine to fix said leaky hose....

  19. anothercynic Silver badge

    Private equity and New York...

    That said it all for me. I can fully understand.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Private equity and New York...

      London is no better.

      1. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Private equity and New York...

        True, although in London it's a little bit more difficult to fire someone over something as simple as "where have you been! My speakers don't work!"

        :-)

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Private equity and New York...

          Although in the USA the chances that the worker you are firing has a gun ....

          1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            Re: Private equity and New York...

            In that kind of office, the worker could do a lot of good before they are stopped. Not that the ends justify the means.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Private equity and New York...

            Americans do seem to have a different interpretation of being fired.

  20. Ilsa Loving

    Fix the company, or get a pen

    One time we had a major failure (I can't remember exactly what the problem was now...) that had brought down the entire company. I was feverishly working to fix it, and even people who came buy to offer encouragement saw the look on my face and made a 180.

    My desk sat not too far from where we kept the stationary, and cue one of the Einsteins of the company who was wandering around looking at stuff, occasionally looking at me. At one point we made eye contact and I shook my head in a very obvious "No" gesture. Apparently that didn't deter him because after another dozen seconds of looking about, he came over to me.

    "I need a pen."

    You know how you have 5 million little pieces of infrastructure floating in your head as you're connecting the dots, troubleshooting, etc., and that even a brief interruption makes it all go *pop*?

    The entire floor heard my very profanity-laden monologue as I tore him so many new ones he (figuratively) couldn't have been recognised as human afterwards.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Fix the company, or get a pen

      Did you tell them to fill in an authorization form? Or just something which sounded quite like that?

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Did you tell them to fill in an authorization form?

        For which he would need a pen.

        %PROC-F-NOBOTTOM, maximum recursion level exceeded, stack overruns heap.

        1. Nutria

          Re: Did you tell them to fill in an authorization form?

          VMS error messages... gotta love them!

  21. Ordinary Donkey

    Not directed at me, but how often have people seen foreign colleagues pestered to help a manager's child who is studying their language in school?

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Trollface

      Well

      The ideal moment to teach said sprog some choice local invective

  22. skeogh

    Back in the late eighties and early nineties, I used to work for a merchant bank with a large department of Fund Managers. All of whom expected to be treated like royalty. Each Fund Manager team had a secretary, and one of their jobs was to run reports, via a convoluted system involving a terminal emulator, over a serial connection to the minis, scripting, and Lotus Symphony, and a report writer package. I got a call from a fund manager, demanding that someone come up to his floor IMMEDIATELY as the secretary's computer wasn't working, and the afternoon reports were VITAL!!! (Added ! marks to model the tone of the Fund Manager in question, an ex-army officer who, even among the rarefied atmosphere of the Fund Managers' floor, had a VERY superior attitude).

    So I slogged up there, and got the full treatment, shouting, hand banged down on desk "IT around here has to be ROBUST!!!"

    I took a look. These were old IBM ATs with CGA graphics and old IBM colour monitors. The tell-tale light on the monitor was on. Guess what wasn't? I reached over, pulled the Big Red Switch, turned to the still-fuming Fund Manager, and in my best, most polite voice, said "Fund reports work best if the computer is actually switched on" and walked out. Never heard from him again. Secretary had never switched the PC system unit on before, she thought that switching on the monitor was switching on the computer. Sometime earlier (probably the previous evening) someone had switched the unit off (which of course you had to do physically, the old ATs couldn't switch themselves off). Happy Times? errrr.....

  23. Semper Phoenix
    Coat

    coughs gently *Ahem*

    Oh, Richard? Can you please correct "whinging", to "whingeing"? Thank you :)

    Mine's the duffel with the dead tree dictionary in the pocket....

  24. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    'Delegation'

    Once, working at my desk (yes, even I used to get some work done in the office once upon a time), I became aware of a gentleman standing nearby who seemed somewhat 'lost'. He asked me how to get out of the building. It transpired that he had been visiting a senior (but not as senior as his ego) manager, who had signed him in on a 'visitor -escort at all times' pass and when his meeting ended had just let him out of his permanently booked meeting room (he called it his office, but in fact he wasn't senior enough to rate a permanent office) and left him to fend for himself. The thing was that you needed a pass card to open the doors to leave the floor*, and a visitor card would not do it. So I had to interrupt my work and escort the chap down the stairs and to the front desk.

    I didn't make a fuss as this manager was known to be a bit of a nob / vindictive, but it did rankle. But then he left under a bit of a cloud a couple of years later, didn't even get a leaving do, or so I believe.

    *Safety regulations meant they would fail 'open' in the event of an emergency alarm.

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: 'Delegation'

      I had that the day I left my employment at one place, I couldn't swipe out (I'd been out on a field call most of the day & had to get my expenses done before I left).

      At 5.03 my expenses\mileage submitted, the usual mass exodus was done & I'm stood in the empty lobby looking for any manglement on-site to let me out.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: 'Delegation'

        Ah well, in that case, the 'In Emergency, Break Glass' box is your friend. As you were then an ex-employee, you were technically being 'detained unlawfully against your will', and entitled to use 'reasonable force'* to escape said 'unlawful detention'. In addition, as an unescorted visitor, any injuries you sustained in escaping the 'unlawful detention' would be the responsibility of your ex-employer and therefore litigable.

        :o)

        I cannot help feeling there is a sub-'Diehard' action thriller that starts with the recently fired employee (hero) being unable to leave the building and therefore the sole inhabitant over the weekend the 'bad guys' decide to enact their felonious little plans ...

        *Unreasonable force involves things like smashing the whole place down or setting off the sprinklers, one has to have some sense of proportion, after all.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: 'Delegation'

          >In Emergency, Break Glass' box is your friend.

          Phone fire brigade.

          Same advice if you are ever stuck in an elevator/lift.

          The emergency contact number, even if it works, will connect you to a call center who will call an engineer who will get round to you later when they have done all their other jobs for the day, unless that would go into overtime.

          Calling the fire brigade means they get to drive big red trucks with flashing lights and use big tools to break into things. This makes them very happy and gets you out 5 mins.

          1. ShortLegs

            Re: 'Delegation'

            If only I could upvote that multiple times

          2. Noram

            Re: 'Delegation'

            Going back many, many years (before mobiles) we had to do that at the local library when my mother and sister got stuck in their lift.

            The firemen arrived very quickly, although to be honest I don't think they needed to bother with the appliance given the entrance to the fire station was just across the road.

            The total distance from the station garage to the lift was about 10 fire engines, but as you say they got to put the flashing lights on :p

            No breaking things though, I was rather disappointed at the time that they just had a large key and a crowbar to unlock the lift door and force it open the first inch of so to allow them to get their hands in and pull it open the rest of the way.

            1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

              Re: 'Delegation'

              Maybe they were after the Guinness World Record for the shortest blue lights and siren run?

              To be fair, if they had needed heavy equipment, driving it there instead of carrying it the 10 fire tender* length's distance would probably make sense.

              *For some reason fire-fighters are picky about calling their vehicles fire-tenders, not fire engines.

              1. YetAnotherLocksmith

                Re: 'Delegation'

                Tender about it, you say?

              2. gnasher729 Silver badge

                Re: 'Delegation'

                A relative may have had the shortest ambulance wait. She arrived at a roundabout and had to wait for an ambulance on the roundabout to pass. Some idiot drove into her car. Ambulance driver had seen it in his back mirror, went round the roundabout and stopped to help her.

        2. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          one has to have some sense of proportion, after all.

          That would require a piece of fairy cake, to start with.

  25. Emir Al Weeq

    Happy ending

    I was hoping that this story would end with an account of how the post-outage report included the delay in the recovery timeline.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Happy ending

      It's just like time sheets.

      There's never a line item for stating the time needed to enter the time sheet data.

      "You're in a maze of twisty little reporting codes, all alike."

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Happy ending

        I had a holiday job at British Aerospace (Aircraft) in Hatfield, and there was a time code specifically for completing your time sheet (although you were only allowed to book 15 minutes for it). At my last employee (BT) there was the annual 'ping pong' of whether completing your timesheet counted against the project budget or the admin budget. Project managers thought the admin budget, but line managers disagreed... Oh what fun!

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Happy ending

          I've come across a good few organisations, both corporate and governmental, where filling in record sheets of how time was used would use a considerable chunk of it. To the point that having a few staff skiving off would have wasted conspicuously less time than the aggregate spent preventing this.

          Or as I once put to one of the suits, in a slightly different context, "We spend so much time being accountable we hardly have any left to do the job we're meant to be accountable for."

        2. YetAnotherLocksmith

          Re: Happy ending

          I was at Warton, and wow, it wasn't half a job to input the hours across some of the schemes! Plus it was running on some antique VAX/VMS what you had to telnet into (iirc - it has been a while) and the screen updates could take 30 seconds per key press! It took some staff half a day on a Friday...

  26. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    More of the same

    Most of the people and management where I work are pretty reasonable, but I do remember from some years back we had a high-paid consultant working in a guest office for a 3-month stint. (and making an easy 6 figures for it, it was rumored) She had that look in her eyes best described as glittering madness.

    I was in the middle of about 3 things when I got a call from her because her monitor was showing a blank screen. I attempted to walk her through the basics such as "Can you check to see if all the cables are plugged in tightly?" and "Have you tried the power button?" My basic questions were met with an angry "Of course I've checked that! I'm not an idiot!" I made the trek across the building to her office, walked in, pressed the power button, and walked back out. No eye contact was made, no words were spoken. She never called me again for anything after that day. To be fair to her, we do all have bad days, though thanks for paying yours forward to me.

  27. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Back in my days ...

    ... at Boeing, I was recognized as the department's "computing wizard". Fortunately, due to some fortuitous insight, when the rest of the department switched from Macs to PCs, I was given permission to switch my desktop to Linux (I worked with numerous flavors of UNIX. Can't do that from Windows.) Every time I was about to be wrangled into fixing some silly *ss desktop problem, I'd just say, "Windows? I don't know that."

  28. Terry 6 Silver badge

    OK

    As a specialist teacher, employed at a relatively good salary, highly trained etc etc by the local authority to sort out kids who hadn't attained basic literacy, back in the days before "Local Management of schools" meant that services like mine were no longer considered affordable ( but that's a rant for another day) I walked into a school with classrooms built onto a central open plan area, to see a kid with urgent literacy needs, who'd come to the top of our lengthy waiting list. To be met by a terrible pong and the headteacher.

    "The drain's blocked", he said. Can you fix it?"

    "Er you have a school keeper for that" I pointed out sagely.

    "Oh", responded the HT. "He's too busy".

    I didn't. He wasn't my boss. Luckily.

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: OK

      In one of Gervase Phinn's memoirs of being a school inspector in Yorkshire, he and a colleague arrive at a primary school sometime in winter to be welcomed very warmly - they have been mistaken for plumbers who are going to fix the boy's toilets, which are blocked.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: OK

        Sadly, this headteacher knew exactly who I was. But the kids with special needs in his school mattered less to him than a blocked drain, (or the specialists that sorted them out for him- kids not drains that is).

  29. Brad16800

    Worked for a law firm early 2000's and when one of the partners called with an issue (any issue). You were expected to be at their office by the time they put the phone down. At least we had stairs between the floors as the lift could take a while.

    Oh and one time in healthcare a Dr threatened to stab one of my collogues for not dropping everything to help him with a minor issue (he was actually holding a scalpel at the time). Was swept under the rug as this Dr brought in big $$$.

    3rd one I can think of when IT actually won was back in 1990's was an office manager that brought in his work laptop about once a week riddled with malware/porn pop-ups. He always insisted it was is son using it at home but yea we knew better. We'd fix it up for him but Friday afternoons IT would all play multiplayer games (I was about 18), this was before there were IT managers so office manager was our "boss". If he turned up we'd just keep playing and ask him to wait, he did.

  30. Hazmoid

    ah Stockborkers

    Having worked for a Stockbroker Pre GFC, I can confirm that some of them have this God complex, and it seems to be instilled in them at private Boys Schools.

    I can remember working an email server outage and answering the phone simply to tell people that it would be fixed when it was fixed and they had now made the fix time 10 minutes longer.

    On the other hand, some of them were great people and the sort of person you would hang out at the pub with, even though they were bosses.

    One Executive director gave me his Business class seat (pre 911) for a flight from Sydney to Perth simply because he felt guilty about having been in the Qantas club enjoying his free booze and food while I was at the gate.

    This same director insisted that the IT manager and I be given Qantas Club memberships if we were going to be flying back and forth to the East coast on a regular basis. (we were an IT "department" of 2 people at that stage and looking after about 10 offices spread around Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Darwin and Brisbane). At one stage I was up to Gold class simply because of the number of flights I had to take.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At my last job I seemed to be the only person who understood the new asset database system. "You see, when a delivery arrives you have to 'transfer to stock' and then 'assign to location', when it goes out on site you have to 'remove from stock' before you can 'assign to site', see it's all logical if you just go through the steps...." Of course, this was introduced two weeks before my contract there ran out.

  32. Pantagoon
    Facepalm

    I can't fix that.

    Rather unrelated but amusing.

    My boss, who was a very decent bloke, wandered into the workshop of the hospital I worked at and asked me "Do you fix TVs?" I said I'd have a look and so during a busy working day he took me back to his house. His TV was a massive old school CRT job that took both of us to lift into the back of his car to bring back to the workshop.

    When we arrived, he opened the tail gate of his car and we watched as the TV, slowly and majestically, rolled over and fell screen first onto the tarmac. Amazingly, it didn't shatter everywhere and his only comment was "Do you think I'll be able to claim on my insurance?"

    How we laughed...

  33. Spanners Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    IT knowledge is deemed hereditary

    When my daughter started school, she seemed to be the only person there who had ever touched a computer - an IBM AT that I had put some educational software on.

    She soon was doing very basic support...

    "Is it plugged in Miss?" - it frequently wasn't.

    "try typing in your password again but slowly. I promise I won't look."

    and so on

    Over a quarter of a century later, she still has the low opinion of humanity that we now teach level one support...

  34. uccsoundman

    Nobody leaves

    How about "I don't care if there is an active shooter in the building, anybody who leaves this meeting is FIRED!". Real life; several people died.

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