back to article IT sent the intern to sort out the nasty VP who was too important to bother with backups

Monday? Again? Didn't we do that last week? Oh well, at least there's Who, Me? The Register's weekly reader-contributed tale of technical derring-try (if not quite derring-do). This week, meet "Kev" who emerged fresh from a computer science degree to a summer internship at a Fortune 500 company. This was in the mid-1990s, Kev …

  1. Korev Silver badge
    Coat

    It's lucky "Kev" fixed that or else he'd have been screwed...

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      There's no escape from VPs who think they're important...

      1. Henry Hallan
        Coat

        There is always an escape. We are employees (or contractors) not slaves.

        Self-important bosses deserve to be abandoned by talented people everywhere

        1. Not Yb Bronze badge

          One of my bosses found out the major difference between slavery and employment, when he compared working for the company to slavery in the morning all-hands meeting.

      2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        It leaves a sour taste in the mouth that they had to jump through those hoops to protect the VPs ego .

        reminiscent of the "king has no clothes" story

        I'd like to think that kind of behavior is dying out in todays inclusive , pc , environment, but probly not

    2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
      Coat

      A screw down to correct the VP's screw-up, one might say. There is a pleasing kind of symmetry there.

      I'll get me coat

    3. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge
      Coat

      At least it wasn't enough to leave him depressed

  2. Tim99 Silver badge
    Coat

    A key process…

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't stand IT

    Departments that send out the new folks to be chewed up by the bullets instead of risking it themselves. Lucky this one survived.

    I still disagree with not telling difficult users they fucked up. If they are difficult I like to know its been pointed out that they fucked up.

    A few years ago HR reported "emails are going missing" oh really? So we checked, well the other engineer did. She checked the users mailbox, then checked exchange online reports. Found the report that showed said mails had been in said user mailbox and then showed that said user "hard deleted" them. HR manger during the investigation was wondering round, would visit now and then waiting an answer claiming his staff would never delete when it was first suggested it may of been the cause.

    We had clear prove this particular fuckwhit did. I was all for telling him, showing him his staff member was actively deleting the missing emails, but our manager said no. "we know she's a fuckwhit, thats enough" so she got away with it. She had even said to the other engineer "Most of the time I don't read them, I just delete".

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Can't stand IT

      Well if you just delete them, why are you complaining they're not there ?

      And why, oh why, do companies knowingly employ incompetent people ? I mean, if you're pretending you're good and it works, good for you, but if your reputation with upper manglement is that you're a fuckwit, you should be getting a pink slip next Monday.

      This is not government administration, it's private money. Private money is supposed to be efficient.

      I guess that's not a hard rule.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can't stand IT

        "I mean, if you're pretending you're good and it works, good for you, but if your reputation with upper manglement is that you're a fuckwit, you should be getting a pink slip next Monday."

        If you're working for the person that hired you, firing you is an admission that they got it wrong. Manglement will only admit an error if they can't first pass blame onto someone else!

        1. hedgie

          Re: Can't stand IT

          It seems at my workplace that in most cases, the key to remaining employed is finding new and inventive fuck-ups to make[1] and just not repeating the same ones. So a *creative* fuckwit is much safer than a boring one.

          [1] That is assuming that certain red lines aren't being crossed.

          1. Not Yb Bronze badge

            Re: Can't stand IT

            One or two similar mistakes can be inexperience. The exact same mistake multiple times is "failure to learn" and/or "malice", so of course the more creative idiots remain on the job.

            If an employee never makes the same mistake twice, that's actually a pretty good employee, as long as the mistakes aren't ridiculously costly or ultra stupid.

            1. hedgie

              Re: Can't stand IT

              Oh, it absolutely makes sense. Although, I'm quite impressed at some of the totally out there things people do.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Can't stand IT

        "Well if you just delete them, why are you complaining they're not there ?"

        Probably one of these people who think the bin is storage for emails they read. If they've been used to a soft delete elsewhere they'll expect it to work that way.

        1. 43300 Silver badge

          Re: Can't stand IT

          Or they knew full well what the reason was, but weren't going to admit it for fear of their boss!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can't stand IT

        The NHS is built on incompetent admin staff!

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: Can't stand IT

          The NHSReality is built on incompetent admin staff!

          T,FTFY.

          1. Tim99 Silver badge

            Re: Can't stand IT

            Sturgeon's Revelation: 90% of everything is crud (or crap).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Can't stand IT

          Yes. When I was there I visited one user who was using the bin in Outlook as a backup file system for their emails. Everything in specific folders in the bin!!!

      4. John Sager

        Re: Can't stand IT

        Small companies are better at keeping a handle on expenditure. Not so much large companies - it's only shareholders' money after all. I wonder where the turnover point is when companies grow larger - the point where they decide they need a HR department?

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can't stand IT

        >And why, oh why, do companies knowingly employ incompetent people ?

        Generally because of something done on their knees or their back for the right person in power...

        Seriously. I cannot begin to count the number of times I have worked with an invulnerable idiot who somehow mysteriously knew the big boss 'from elsewhere'.

      6. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: Can't stand IT

        "And why, oh why, do companies knowingly employ incompetent people ?"

        Red pill: There's not enough competent people to go around so let's not jump out of any frying pans.

        Blue pill: Anybody competent gets promoted until Peter writes a book about it.

        1. mirachu

          Re: Can't stand IT

          "We took both pills."

          1. Not Yb Bronze badge

            Re: Can't stand IT

            Purple is the color of royalty, so it makes sense.

      7. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Can't stand IT

        "Well if you just delete them, why are you complaining they're not there ?"

        In defense, I also delete "most" emails I get on one particular business account. It's not unusual to be scrolling through and deleting the crap that I then sometimes have an "oh shit" moment and have to go into the deleted emails folder and restore that last one back to the inbox. Her problem is how she was deleting them, not that she was deleting them unread, or possibly the email system didn't work like most modern email systems and all deletes were "hard" deletes.

      8. mirachu

        Re: Can't stand IT

        Private money is supposed to be efficient at bringing more money and nothing else.

      9. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can't stand IT

        Becauss they run on The Peter Principle at this place. Upper management are all incompetent. They hire and promote people that they also see as incompetent to hide their own incompetence. The upper management now grift as they have a buffer of incompetence below them. Its why there is such a high turn over of staff below them. Its fascinating and frustrating watching this from the wings, only staying for fear you won't find anything else close by.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't stand IT

      It works both ways. I *may* have been responsible for sending the least competent member of the IT team to certain annoying users, as revenge for wasting my time.

      1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: Can't stand IT

        But there is only a correlation, not a provable causation, right?

        1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

          Re: Can't stand IT

          Obligatory XKCD

    3. Mark 85

      Re: Can't stand IT

      Departments that send out the new folks to be chewed up by the bullets instead of risking it themselves. Lucky this one survived.

      Ah... the "cannon fodder" method. Sometimes though, the newbie has no preconceived notions and takes a deep dive. Luck is involved both good and bad.

    4. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Can't stand IT

      As a student, I wrote an application for a customer, which included a customer database. I was not.very good at hi back then, and the UI for adding and editing a customer address were very similar.

      Every time they added a new customer an old customer disappeared. I assumed that they edited a customer instead of adding without realising. The solution: Display a counter showing the number of customers. So when they added a customer the counter would go up. Editing by mistake the counter stayed unchanged. So they figured out when they got it wrong.

      In OPs case, if the escape key beeped and displayed “email deleted” she would have figured it out herself.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How was it basically the VPs fault?

    Good story, but I'm not sure the VP deserves the blame here. She was using the IT equipment provided in the proper way, sliding the keyboard away on the sliding keyboard tray is hardly outside normal behaviour - it's not like she was using it to prop open a door or as a foot pedal or whatever. If anything, it's the fault of whoever installed the keyboard and desk. Good job from the intern in figuring out the issue, though.

    I remember trying to diagnose a user who complained that random words appeared on screen whenever they leant back in their office chair, to the frank disbelief of everyone who heard about it. Having been dispatched to witness the issue, I could confirm it reliably happened. Much head-scratching later, it transpired that the user in question used dictation software (Dragon Dictate, back in the day!) and their chair emitted a loud enough squeak on reclining that it was picked up by the mic and dutifully transcribed by the dictation software.

    1. SVD_NL Bronze badge

      Re: How was it basically the VPs fault?

      Because the VP has functional eyeballs (i assume).

      She should've seen the key getting pressed in and maybe make the connection herself.

      True, it's a bit of a fail with the installation, but do you really expect techies installing desks to check for more than just keyboard functionality and network connection?

      I can also imagine how unpleasant this person must be when you have to work in her office, or when she has to wait for you to finish installing it.

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: How was it basically the VPs fault?

        The article states that the keyboard was slid underneath the desk when she stood up, so it would not have been visible unless she got her very important head down to eye level with the gap.

        Honestly, I'd say this is just a racing incident, to use the wrong parlance - the VIP's crime is being a horrible person so that tips us against her to a degree.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Globally I agree.

          She was still a bitch, though.

        2. Mast1

          Re: How was it basically the VPs fault?

          Sounds a bit like a UI design "feature" I recently met at a self-service checkout (UK).

          Labels were mounted vertically, underneath the weighing scales and packing shelf, each about 75 cm off the floor.

          But, as you approach, if you are looking for a free position, you are looking at the screen, about 150 cm off the floor.

          By the time you get close to the position, and if you are tall, the shelf labels are near-invisible. They were pointed out to me by an assistant, being about 70% of the height of me, to whom they were obvious. Not her fault: the station design was poor. Tilted labels ? Or what about putting arrows on the screen where eye contact is first made with the station, rather than adverts ?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: How was it basically the VPs fault?

            I once seemed to have a not too dissimilar problem following signs in Japanese train stations, although in fact the signs were fine. It was just that shortly after striding confidently off in the indicated direction, I would only manage to think "er, hang on, just let me make sure, where is that next sign?" ... when I was standing directly underneath them, but looking anywhere but up :-/

            1. Potty Professor
              FAIL

              Re: How was it basically the VPs fault?

              I had a problem in a supermarket once. Each of the aisles had an informative sign hanging above it to allow one to see at a glance what the aisle contained, and one had only to push one's shopping cart along the headrow at the end of the aisles to find out where to turn in for the item required. Then came Christmas, and the aisles were festooned with adverts for "Special Offers", but those items were not necessarily in the same aisle. The placards also obscured the original aisle labels, so finding anything became a mad dash around the whole store, hoping to accidentally come across the required item. Add this to the fact that they had stirred the shelves with a big stick, so no item was where it had been the previous week. I complained to the Store Manager, but he just shrugged and said that he was obliged to follow Head Office's instructions.

              1. bob_r

                Re: How was it basically the VPs fault?

                This is not a mistake. This forced everyone to go down most of the aisles, thus increasing impulse buys. I've never been, but doesn't IKEA do something similar in their big box stores? It's also the reason the milk is almost always in the back of the store. In the USA anyway. Just need some milk? Why not look at all of the other things you could be buying. And it is why the candy is at the checkout lane, even the self-checkout.

                Some big stores do a 'quick station' at the front with milk and bread now. And advertise the special candy free lane for shoppers with young children. Or me, who shouldn't buy a candy bar.

      2. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: How was it basically the VPs fault?

        It’s easy to see when you know the problem. If you don’t know, then it’s a lot harder.

        And the email software deleted the email without confirmation.

      3. My-Handle

        Re: How was it basically the VPs fault?

        I don't think the VP "should have found" this issue. It's the kind of thing that anyone could miss. I once called out an electrician to fix my kitchen light because it was getting no power, regardless of which of the two switches I used. Turns out that the fridge had backed into a third, unknown switch and had trapped it in a half-switched state, effectively cutting both lines. SMH, thanked the electrician, and decided that I was just happy that the light worked again.

        That's the kind of attitude the VP should have taken in this circumstance - thanking the person who diagnosed the fault and going on with her day now knowing how to get around that issue. Instead she had a reputation for finding insult where it didn't exist and firing anyone nearby when it happened. That's why the VP is at fault here.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: How was it basically the VPs fault?

      "She was using the IT equipment provided in the proper way"

      Not really. Note this sentence from TFA: "When she got up to leave, she did not log out of her computer or save her work."

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: How was it basically the VPs fault?

        "When she got up to leave, she did not log out of her computer or save her work."

        Not required _here_ if she has a private office, though maybe policy was different _there_. Notice she had to be persuaded to let the tech remain behind, so she was not clueless of security concerns.

        1. Not Yb Bronze badge

          Re: How was it basically the VPs fault?

          She was basically a glorified hotel manager, the security concerns of "letting someone who proved they were from IT work alone" are mostly in her own mind. Or she's got some interesting side business.

  5. SVD_NL Bronze badge
    Boffin

    "She would never accept the explanation"

    No need to lie when this happens, you just need to be creative!

    "Moving the keyboard caused a transient electrical signal to move through the network, which the mainframe interpreted as an "escape" command. This caused the email to be deleted whenever this occured. The keyboard has been adjusted to prevent this from occuring in the future."

    1. simonlb Silver badge

      Re: "She would never accept the explanation"

      I'd have shown them exactly what the issue was and referred them to facilities (or whoever provided the office furniture) and say they'd need to request a custom desk as their 'standard' one couldn't handle her 'Professional' keyboard.

  6. Julian 8 Silver badge

    No the same, but I uate that a lot of modern keyboards have a power button added. I have a couple where extra functions (That I never use) are just above the function keys, and are where are many years of muscle memory I grab when moving said keyboard around.

    Even the keyboards software has no way to stop them from doing things, so a few bits of paper are deployed to stop them being pressed

    1. SVD_NL Bronze badge

      That sounds horrible... good thing i've never come across one of those.

      I've seen ones with sleep function keys but that's just something else.

      I'll put those on the naughty list next to power strips with power switches.

    2. Killfalcon Silver badge

      My newest work laptop has the power button right where "delete" is on the previous laptop.

      Last week, mid conference call, I found a rogue value in a spreadsheet and hit what muscle memory insisted was the delete key. Cue me hurriedly apologising to the rest of the people on the call as my laptop started to shut down!

      1. Paul Kinsler

        muscle memory

        ... and then there is what firefox insists on doing in response to Ctrl+W (close tab), but which is -- in very many other editor-type things -- merely "delete selection". Thus an attempt to remove an extraneous phase instead becomes "delete my entire carefully constructed prose/argument/rant", and throw away the tab to boot. I read somewhere online of someone who said they have to go as far as patching and compiling firefox from source itself to avoid this, because that is apparently what it takes (!).

        1. Barry Rueger

          Re: muscle memory

          Dell laptop, Mint Linux. Tapping the middle of the trackpad = paste, especially when you've previously copied a three page document.

          For me it's a nightmare, but I wouldn't even mind if there was an easy way to disable it.

          I honestly can't comprehend the thought processes of many people in IT today

          1. djack

            Re: muscle memory

            Middle click to copy and paste the selection has been a unixy standard function for a loooooong time. Incredibly useful too, not only for time saving but you end up with two easily accessible clipboards (CTRL-C .. CTRL-V and middle click can contain different things so you have so much more flexibility). Complaining about that is on a par with complaining about the use of '/' instead of '\'

        2. midgepad

          Ctrl+w

          That seems standard for other applications here.

          Should the HTML form text box be capturing that, if you want it to be an editor, rather than passing it on to the application?

        3. diguz

          Re: muscle memory

          sorry but i have to disagree. Ctrl+W is "delete" only in bash. EVERY other window manager/browser/file explorer uses it to close the current tab or window.

          1. Paul Kinsler

            Re: every other

            To be pedantic, *every other* is not only an ambitious claim, it is also wrong: Notably, xedit, the minimal default X windows editor uses it to delete selections, not windows; as do both xterm and xfce-terminal, and aXe (an old school editor). My (perhaps unreliable) understanding was that Ctrl+W as delete-selection was standard/default X windows behavior (as is somewhat implied by usage xterm and xedit), although naturally that isn't enforced by the X-police.

            "Many other" might be correct, I suppose, but given the extraordinary variety of editors and other programs out there it might be hard to be sure. It seems that in your usage, one thing is dominant, but on mine the other is.

            Mainly, I am just irritated that since programs I usually use follow X, that I cannot at least set a config option to remap Ctrl+W in firefox, especially given all the other weird things firefox allows me to change.

            PS: naturally, as I typed this, a muscle-memory use of Ctrl+W as delete-selection meant that I lost the first draft. :-/

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: every other

              "Many other" might be correct, I suppose, but given the extraordinary variety of editors and other programs out there it might be hard to be sure. It seems that in your usage, one thing is dominant, but on mine the other is."

              In my (early) world, CTRL-W is scroll up one line. Likewise, other cursor control keys were up^/E, down/^X left/^S and right/^D because not all computer or terminal keyboards had arrow keys on them. This layout was pretty common across a lot of programs back in the day, especially in CP/M world. Many of the more common WordStar and SuperCalc keyboard commands are still ingrained in my "cold storage" memory :-)

    3. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      I used pincers of a specific series of Fujitsu keyboards: Get the power button out, clip away some plastic which would press the contact, put power button back in. On nearly 100 of them, 'cause the new fire department cannot accept such an easy way to accidentally-sabotage when you enter literally for-the-life-important data in a hurry. Not only that: To get the PC going again you'd have to go to the server room where the ACTUAL rack-pount pizza-box PC was to turn it back on.

  7. simonlb Silver badge
    FAIL

    Unimportant Important People

    In my previous job supporting the email system for one of the UK government departments there was a person classed as a 'VIP' who thought themselves much, much more important than everyone else and was absolutely paranoid about their emails and was convinced their mailbox needed to be backed up separately. Despite the email system being hosted on a forest of Exchange 2003 servers in stretched clusters connected to EMC DMX3000 sans and backed up every night, they insisted that wasn't enough and eventually, after making a tremendous fuss, an automated export of her mailbox was set up for every evening and a step added to the morning checks to confirm that it had completed successfully. I disagreed with us having to do this but was overruled as the directive had come 'from the client' so we had to do it, and the export was done nightly for a good few years.

    Eventually, we got a note that this person had left the organisation, so after a quick couple of emails to get confirmation I took great pleasure in disabling the nightly mailbox export, deleting the PST file from the server and updating the morning checks to remove the confirmation step for the export.

    In case you are wondering, you probably won't be surprised to learn the mailbox export was never needed.

    1. R Soul Silver badge

      Re: Unimportant Important People

      I'm still wondering how Liz Truss found out about backups.

      And. That. Is. A. Disgrace.

    2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: Unimportant Important People

      Of course it was never needed. Only the catastrophes you DON'T prepare for happen.

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: Unimportant Important People

        So you can all thank me for being prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse!!!

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

        Re: Unimportant Important People

        Yeah, true. That's probably because the it's not a catastrophe even if it does happen, if you are properly prepared. Worst case, it's a disaster, best case, a minor inconvenience, but not a catastrophe :-)

  8. Andy Landy

    not escape

    but had one coworker panic when his keyboard started freaking out. problem was rapidly diagnosed as an open reference manual then had been moved and was resting on some keys with just enough weight to cause mischief

    henceforth known as "shift key virus"

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Space bar

      I believe it was just last week that we had a commentard mention a near-sighted secretary who had a problem with spurious spaces appearing in her documents. The intrepid IT bod noticed that these were caused by her...um...rather impressive attributes interacting with the spacebar as she leaned forward to read the screen.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which keyboard?

    Every ergonomic keyboard I've seen raises in the middle. Never seen one where the top left was raised higher than the rest of the keyboard.

    1. Killfalcon Silver badge

      Re: Which keyboard?

      The 90s was a very long time ago - I can imagine someone thought it'd work and sold it.

      That said, a lot of mainframe software puts cancel on function keys (the one I'm using right now often cancels on F3, for whatever reason), which would be more likely raised on modern ergonomics, and the details in the story lost over the years.

    2. KarMann Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Which keyboard?

      Another possibility that comes to mind is that maybe the desk opening into which the keyboard slid might not have been a straight horizontal line. If it were curved downward near the edges, an effect I could imagine some posh and/or antique desks having, that could explain it hitting the key there.

    3. chivo243 Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Which keyboard?

      Back in the day, I had one of M$ finest ergonomic keyboards with the hands splayed outward, and some portions of the keyboard raised higher. It also was height adjustable in the rear… where the escape key lives…

  10. Kane
    Boffin

    ...you get to be the hero mainly because other people don't know what you know...

    "Ninety percent of most magic merely consists of knowing one extra fact."

    - Terry Pratchett, Night Watch

    GNU

    1. Not Yb Bronze badge

      Re: ...you get to be the hero mainly because other people don't know what you know...

      I'd really like to work out something magical involving the fact that both the Concorde and HMS Invincible used 4 Rolls-Royce Olympus engines.

  11. Gomez Adams

    Been having a similar problem with my aging laptop with the trackpad not working or working intermittently. Finally figured it out that resting the heel of my hands on the case next to the touchpad was causing the problem with a slight deflection of the case causing unintended signals in the touchpad.

    1. collinsl Bronze badge

      Common one but a load of our users kept hibernating their laptops by resting their phones on the palm rest next to the touchpad and triggering the magnetic lid closed sensors, or for some people magnetic jewellery clasps had the same effect.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Likewise for us techies, working on a bunch of identical laptops. Never be tempted to place the one you are working on on top of another closed one!

        1. Mike007

          My first task when I got a job working a helpdesk type role: Image these 10 laptops.

          Laptop 1 went fine. Folded closed and placed laptop 2 on top, screen kept turning off. Declared laptop defective, pulled out laptop 3... Pulled out laptop 4... Took about 10 minutes to figure out wtf was going on.

  12. DailyLlama

    Once had a similar thing with a laptop whose keyboard had not been installed correctly, and the delete key was in the top right corner. Every time the lid was closed with the device running, and Outlook open, all of the user's emails vanished...

    After several people had looked at it, and recovered all the messages, they finally brought it to me, and after discounting the hackers or the malware, I just pushed the keyboard into place and voila, problem solved.

  13. that one in the corner Silver badge

    Square footage

    > Said exec believed her importance to the company should be reflected in "the square footage of her office."

    Knowing that sort of person, had a happy daydream about movable partition walls being tied into the company dashboard metrics for a bit of real-time, real-world infographics.

    Hmm, CyberMonday; just looking for any sales on pneumatic rams...

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: Square footage

      They had one of those in Episode 4: A new hope!

      Complete with the tentacle monster incentiviser!

    2. chivo243 Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Square footage

      Have you been watching Brazil again?!

      As a fledgling helldesk jockey, I once had to assist the second assistant to a director, her desk size reflected that she was second. I think I had a bigger desk… She had the duty of transcribing handwritten minutes to digital. The paper notes that she was charged with transcribing were in large three ring binders. This day, she complained of jibberish characters filling up her documents. Sure enough, lots of jibberish filling up the document and binders everywhere, including one on the control key… I ever so gently nudged the binder off of the control key, and presto! No more jibberish. She was not very amused…

      1. collinsl Bronze badge

        Re: Square footage

        The UK Civil Service and other government-close organisations (like the BBC) used to issue equipment based on status - if you were a relative junior for example you'd share an office with another junior with a flourescent strip light and a peg board on the wall for documents, whereas if you were an adviser you'd get an office to yourself with a coat hook on the wall. If you were another grade up you'd get a small wall painting, basic carpet on your floor (rather than Lino) and a freestanding coat stand, as well as a basic meeting table. And of course the most senior advisers got an old master on the wall, plush carpet, a secretary of their own in an outside office, coat stand and umbrella stand, and a grand meeting table in their office.

    3. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: Square footage

      I could swear this came from a comment here on El Reg, but anyway... Story goes that a particularly obnoxious boss goes on holiday for like 2 weeks or something. While they're gone, the entire office hires some contractors to come in, put up drywall in front of their office door and make it look as if the office was never there. Obnoxious boss gets back and the entire office pretends like they have never met the guy and that there has never been an office where he claims his was. Either the original commentard never told how the story ends of I forgot, but it's probably one of those things where it's better not knowing.

  14. Herring`

    I can't be the only one

    who has seen instances of certain senior people's usernames being hard-coded into a business system so that, while they appear to have super-user access, the system will stop them from doing anything really damaging?

  15. aerogems Silver badge

    Sonic Screwdriver To The Rescue

    Is there nothing the sonic screwdriver cannot do?

    But the line about the red shirt ensign made me laugh. My late friend had a meme image in his cubicle at work. Under some image from an episode of Star Trek it said "Accountability. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Ensign Ricky all beam down to the planet. Guess who's not coming back."

    1. PRR Bronze badge

      Re: Sonic Screwdriver To The Rescue

      > "Accountability. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Ensign Ricky all beam down to the planet. Guess who's not coming back."

      https://blog.josephscott.org/2006/08/08/star-trek-inspirational-posters/

      (I think the RedShirt in that image did _not_ die.)

      1. PRR Bronze badge

        Re: Sonic Screwdriver To The Rescue

        > I think the RedShirt in that image did _not_ die.

        "crewman", "guard", "Connors", "Rand" and "Mister Leslie", played by Eddie Paskey.

        "He had been working at the gasoline station where all Desilu studio trucks and cars were serviced when studio vice-president Herbert F. Solow (or assistant director Gregg Peters?) got him the job on Star Trek."

        https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Leslie#Background_information

        He body-doubled Shatner; also hand-doubled Doohan, who was short a finger. He killed Edith Keeler.

        Somewhere I read that he survived because when the call came for extras, he read the script, and if the dude died he made a point of being late to the set so someone else got the featured (fatal) part first.

      2. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: Sonic Screwdriver To The Rescue

        That was it! Guess I got the wrong "ability" but the rest was pretty spot on.

  16. aregross

    Easy-Peasy

    I would've gone out of my to seek her out and just say "It's fixed now". Then when she asked what the issue was, if she even did ask, I would'a just said, "What does it matter, it's fixed" and walked away, leaving her to ever-so-slightly be concerned that it may have been something she herself had (or hadn't) done. She'd never ask you about it though, as she may then need to fess-up that she was actually responsible for the "Issue".... it'll still bug her though!

  17. Jim Whitaker

    So this was an important ($$$$) company who thought that backups were something you left end-users to do? I presume they are bust or selling vegetables now.

    1. Killfalcon Silver badge

      Backups of unsent draft emails are a pretty new thing, surely?

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