back to article BOFH: Putting the gross in gross insubordination

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns It's a law as old as the jungle itself: there comes a time when a young lion will desire the pride-leader's role for himself. Tired of being excluded from the full rewards of leader of the pride, bored with the second fiddle role and unhappily familiar with the sharp sting of a cattle …

  1. ObSolutions, Inc
    Black Helicopters

    Suspense at a whole new level

    What a rollercoaster, right from the first paragraph I knew this was going to be good, and Simon delivered!

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

      Re: Suspense at a whole new level

      Yep, absolutely brilliant this week. I always felt the BOFH and PFY relationship was akin to a Sith Lord and his apprentice. I see I was right! :-)

  2. Korev Silver badge

    An Onion bhaji pizza? Looks like the BOFH is trying to curry his favour...

    The likely scene in the loo a few hours later -->

    1. msobkow Silver badge

      Never mind the loo - vacate the building if you don't have a hazmat suit or gas-mask! :)

  3. steelpillow Silver badge

    There are no equals in the jungle

    There are only those on the way down and those on the way up - or who think they are.

    Looking forward to the next episode with bated breath.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: There are no equals in the jungle

      In the case of BOFH that's likely to be baited breath.

  4. Ozan

    Good old PFY still has things to learn.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge

      Yes, but being kept at the level of padawan for too long risks a dark side invasion.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Risks? They ARE the dark side!

      2. HammerOn1024


        A departure at a time the of the padawan's choosing that provides maximum management burn.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    There can be only one BOFH

    The PFY will have to leave the coop and fly on his own elsewhere.

    Or he can decide to be assistant for the rest of his life. His position is rather comfy, after all.

    As long as he doesn't cross the BOFH, that is.

    1. UCAP Silver badge

      The Rule of Two

      There can only be two: The Master BOFH, and the Apprentice PFY. He who has power, and he who wants power. Sooner or later, the Apprentice will try to become the Master. This is the Natural Order of Things.

      1. deadlockvictim


        The film 'Wargames' came to mind: The only way to win is not to play.

        Surely it is time for the PFY to leave the nest and take over a new one.

        1. msobkow Silver badge

          Re: Wargames

          But the PFY doesn't want just any nest. He wants the nest he grew up in. Unfortunately, he is still a youngling and not brave enough to wander the datacenters and networks in search of his own nesting place yet.

        2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

          Re: Wargames

          Shall we play a game?

          1. Down not across Silver badge

            Re: Wargames

            It's not on the list.

        3. herman Silver badge

          Re: Wargames

          That sounds Russia vs Ukraine.

      2. Flightmode

        Re: The Rule of Two

        Tread carefully, sweet BOFH. I hear there's a vacant spot in management that a PFY might try to convince the upper-levels that you might be the best fit for, and get you blackmailed into. If your only options are to accept or leave, the PFY becomes the BOFH either way.

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: The Rule of Two

          Bastard IT Manager From Hell (BITMFH)... Doesn't really roll off the tongue. Though I don't suspect anyone at that company to be alive to remember, Simon did do a stint as manager. He didn't like it long term.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The Rule of Two

            BBFH: bastard boss from hell.

            Could be an interesting journey as the PFY learns of the existence of some deadman switches (literal or figurative).

      3. Stumpy

        Re: The Rule of Two

        This is The Way.

      4. Stoneshop Silver badge
    2. Evil Scot

      Re: There can be only one BOFH

      Strike me down will only return stronger.

      Is it time for the PFY to work for a customer site.

    3. BOFH in Training Bronze badge

      Re: There can be only one BOFH

      Didn't the PFY try to leave in a older story and the BOFH forced him back?

      So he may not have a choice in being an assistant.

  6. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    Thumb Up

    Very nice indeed

    Selling the car to one of the accountants as a preemptive move shows real cunning

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Very nice indeed

      But also a real win-win. You'd have thought the beancounters might suspect something but obviously the young and the weak are targeted by the pack!

  7. chivo243 Silver badge

    Cha cha cha changes

    I've once run the gauntlet, got my prize and found it was "not so sweet" after all. Perhaps the PFY should have a re-think on this one... He who stick his neck out risks having his head removed.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Cha cha cha changes

      I've once run the gauntlet, got my prize and found it was "not so sweet" after all. Perhaps the PFY should have a re-think on this one... He who stick his neck out risks having his head removed.

      That rethink only occurs after experiencing the prize is "not so sweet" after all, it is in the nature of the game.

      1. Joe W Silver badge

        Re: Cha cha cha changes

        Oooh, promotion. Or getting promoted. Finding yourself in the position of now having to shovel the horse dung out of the way so the team can work unmolested by managements' brain farts.

        Not sweet.


      2. chivo243 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Cha cha cha changes

        That rethink only occurs after experiencing the prize is "not so sweet" after all, it is in the nature of the game.

        Oh, too true! But a little fatherly advice can go a long way ;-}. Listening to my father saved me from lots of dumb learning moments, especially since most of them were wrapped in humor, but the kernel of truth was there.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Cha cha cha changes

      I can't help but recall Mirror Spock's words...

      "I do not desire the captaincy. I much prefer my scientific duties. I am frankly content to be a lesser target. "

      1. Klaatu

        Re: Cha cha cha changes

        Spock : Stonn, she is yours. After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.

    3. Horst U Rodeinon

      Re: Cha cha cha changes

      "He who stick his neck out risks having his head removed."

      Behold the turtle. It makes no progress unless it sticks out its neck.

  8. Coastal cutie

    So, Mutually Assured Destruction principles rule for now..... Perhaps it is time for the PFY to fly the coop to become the BOFH another IT department so desperately needs and for a new PFY to enter the den, to learn from a master.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      I remember posting a few weeks or so back that I thought the PFY was getting a bit old to still be a Y, but could conceivably still be PF. Did I influence they thrust of this weeks episode? Probably not, but I like to think so :-)

      1. Blackjack Silver badge

        Also it is IT, not only Simmon has to deal with his apprentice but with the company wanting to get rid of old people.

        And it will only get worse the older he gets.

  9. RyokuMas

    Oh dear...

    After two decades, you think you know someone... then they go and disappoint.

    Surely the PFY should know that it's better to be the right-hand man, the grand vizier, than the king? Enough power to influence and push through decisions, but not the first in the firing line when it all goes wrong?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Oh dear...

      The art of being a BOFH is to ensure that (a) you're not in the firing line and (b) something going wrong os somebody else's way of looking at things.

  10. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    What's left after the security guard burps?

    An advert for a junior sys admin?

  11. Outski Silver badge

    Misread that

    something that will annoy Security when they wake up from their nightly carb coma at the end of their shift

    I didn't see the F in shift at first

    1. DishonestQuill

      Re: Misread that

      Having worked as a cleaner for many years, I can safely inform you that the "f" in shift is certainly option when it comes to night security.

  12. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Well, that was a surprise

    But nevertheless inevitable.

    The PFY still has things to learn. One of which is to actually enlist the BOFH's help in taking over a new domain (in another unsuspecting company) of his own.

    1. msobkow Silver badge

      Re: Well, that was a surprise

      If he needs Simon's help to take over another company's site, he has learned nothing from the BOFH and is doomed to forever be a PFY. I'd like to think he's better than that. :)

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: Well, that was a surprise

      You think leaving the BOFH needing to train a new pfy is a situation in which you can enlist his help? Are you new round here?

  13. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    There are two paths for the young lion

    Try to usurp the dominant male, or leave and form your own pride in unsettled territory.

    Is it time for the PFY (no longer pimply-faced or youthful) to move to pastures new? To become a BoFH of equal standing, elsewhere? To be replaced by fresh blood, one with unbridled optimism, as yet untainted by reality?

    Thus the circle of life repeats...

  14. TeeCee Gold badge


    That'll be 144 battles that you don't need to fear then.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And here I was anticipating a theme where the PFY planted an Apple AirTag on the BOFH, knowing full well he would only use Android devices. Detection of the AirTag by a custom device would automatically trigger some type of "action", you know, an Apple Standoff Weapon. Perhaps even program the pan-tilt function of the security cameras to track him as he passed, adding to the psychological warfare aspect.

    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      The BOFH doesn't use Apple products - even quite powerful demons don't attract the attention of the Dark Lord himself if they can avoid it.

      1. RJX

        Exactly, that's the beauty of it. Apple devices will warn you if they detect you're being tracked by an AirTag that's not yours. Android devices have a scanner app available but it must be run manually.

    2. msobkow Silver badge

      Air tags? Seriously? Instead of hacking a spy satellite to follow his every move? Pshaw!

      1. RJX

        Kind of hard for a satellite to track someone inside a building. You'd have to nuke the whole building from orbit.

  16. Irony Deficient Silver badge

    The PFY launches a knight to king 4

    Which king’s fourth? (Was that launch Ne4 or Ne5 in metric?)

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: The PFY launches a knight to king 4

      To make it a bit easier for those less familiar with the chess board, that knight landed on E4.

  17. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    So the PFY moves to pastures new as the BOFH. All is well.

    Until, that is, corporate machinations conspire to produce the scenario where one company takes over the other. Again, the situation will dictate there can only be one BOFH.

    The decision will be dictated by who survives. Management involvement will only be to endorse the result.

    This could be but the opening gambit.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    [A]nother part says I should have mentioned the missing can of silicon spray lubricant I noticed yesterday afternoon.
    Damn. I thought this lot would know the difference between silicon & silicone better than your average luser.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Si-e??

      Silicon spray lubricant. An extremely expensive but incredibly useful tool. You spray it inside your server or laptop and the silicon chips will work much faster and generate less waste heat, saving you a fortune in upgrades and power usage. Only available from BOFH Enterprises Inc.

  19. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Remember the BoFH rule you must

    Never teach your PFY all you know

    EG.... its friday... and a wander down yonder house of liquid refreshment is due.... PFY is all keen as are the setters (and the hell spawned operators.. but they dont count), however astute ears hear the noise of a mighty airleak in the pnumatic system... given we cant turn the air compressors off until the factory is shut down for the weekend, a selfless BoFH decides to stay behind and repair said leaky pipe... which takes him 15 mins (almost as if he knew exactly where the leak was, and how long and what size replacement airpipe to fix it).... and our BoFH arrives late at the pub where the PFY has got the first round in... and the rounds flow until exactly 1 hour 52 mins after work ends when the BoFH's phone goes and its alledgedly the other half (and not the spare mobile phone at home cunningly programmed to dial the BoFH's mobile at that time) and our hero has to leave the pub and go home...... strangely avoiding buying the next round......

    Thus brownie points from the manglement and the PFY is left wondering how come she's had to buy 2 rounds to my none ......

  20. Marty McFly Silver badge

    Does the PFY still have any 'Y' left?

    Seems the 'P' and the 'Y' should have been outgrown by now. Maybe time for a replacement?

    Sure would like the BOFH end up toe-to-toe with the shenanigans of a new PFY....Pretty Female Yeoman. A whole new set of literary genius for Simon to explore, especially if she is secretly as devious as the BOFH.

    '....using her perky personality as a decoy, the bean counters failed to notice the PFY's cattle prod....'

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: Does the PFY still have any 'Y' left?

      My PFY is a charming 24 yr old lady(our production engineer's niece to be exact)

      And being completely corrupted to the dark side by yours truely (not that she's had to go far ;) )

      Lets say I keep my work PC and desk securely locked at all times....

  21. Fullstop

    Time for a little chili oil in the bidet...

    The time of hell calls...

  22. earl grey

    thank you


  23. razzaDazza1234


  24. The Dogs Meevonks


    Come to the dark side my new apprentice, we have onion bhaji pizza instead of cookies.

  25. Blackjack Silver badge

    I kinda expected the PFY to not even be in the building but I guess drones are outlawed after that nasty incident last year?

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