back to article BOFH: A question of urgency

"How's that job going?" the Boss asks hurriedly, ducking into Mission Control. "Which job?" I ask. "The installation," he responds, obviously believing that I have some idea of what he's talking about. "The installation?" I ask. "The server installation." "What server installation?" I ask, beginning to wonder if the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I really can't believe this

    So the idea is that a manager doesn't do a job properly, then demands that a junior gets him out of the effluent whilst simultaneously implying that they are underperforming by not solving it immediately ?

    We're supposed to believe this actually happens in the real world....?


  2. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Gone to the dogs....

    Sounds typically PC.... much ado about nothing and hence the Chaos.

    Is IT Alzheimers/Ignorance/Fear/Children at Play/Trauma/Psychological Flaws?

  3. Mike Peachey

    SNMP Coffee

    It's been a while since I wet myself while reading BOFH, but I did today.

    /me takes a PO to finance for an SNMP capable coffee machine.....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It can, and it does.

    "We're supposed to believe this actually happens in the real world....?"

    Yup, because it can and does happen! Classic example of a team wanting a server for their "mission critical" database, they logged a ticket with the priority of "Urgent" around 4:30pm and wanted the server ready at 9am the following morning. Naturally, the server build didn't get done until the following week (management approvals, etc). To coin a phrase, "don't blame me for your lack of planning".

  5. Kevin Campbell

    re: It can, and it does.

    er, I do believe he was being a wee bit sarcastic... ANYONE who's been in IT for any length of time realizes this is SOP for management...

  6. yeah, right.

    re: It can, and it does.

    Actually, it's "your lack of planning is not my emergency". At least, that's the poster I had at the entrance to my office when I was a sysadmin. Management regularly ignored it, of course, then learned the pitfalls of having tried to enforce company policy on me while trying to circumvent said policy to their benefit. Ah, I miss those days. Sometimes. Well, rarely actually.

    BOFH rules!

  7. Christopher E. Stith

    best BOFH in a while

    I thought I was going to hyperventilate at the end of this one. I haven't laughed this hard over much of anything anywhere in a good while. I check out the BOFH a couple times a week or more -- once to read it, and once or more to re-read an episode along with parts of the archive if I have time. This one is even better than most of the others that keep me coming back. Great job, Simon. You've outdone yourself, and no one even died in this one.

  8. Highlander

    lack of planning

    The version of the truism I have seen is;

    Lack of planning on YOUR part, does not constitute an emergency on MY part.

    Why do I always hear Apu from the Simpsons finishing the thought with "Thank you and come again!"?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A question of urgency...

    I am always bemused by management types who try to overrule the laws of physics, computer science, or whatever, by pulling rank. We see this with governments, trying to ignore hard facts of life and 'make it so', often with disastrous results. Why *can't* you fight cannon with cavalry?

    It seems that IT is one of the places where the interface between management and reality-oriented people is particularly critical. That may be why we get BOFH's...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All behold the power of The BOFH!

    i work for an IT Helldesk (unfortunately) and got put onto the BOFH blogs by my old manager. i now put all new minions on the desk onto the blogs to continue their "training"... as a result there are plenty of budding new PFYs here to cause plenty of havoc...

  11. bill oxley


    now I wonder what they would make of a task that asked them to produce at ton of bog standard cack documentation

  12. Mitchell Jones


    I figured that once it hit super duper critical status the boss would be sent to the sub basement for some coffee beans.And does the PFY have to be "pimpily faced"

  13. Chris Tucker

    The IT Crowd/BOFH

    It's an ongoing documentary series, not a sitcom.

    Just as BOFH is an ongoing written documentation of life in the IT sphere, only slightly exaggerated for comedic effect.

    This edition is, essentially, what happens on a daily basis in much of the IT environment.

  14. Luiz Abdala

    Been there...

    I used to work as Mechanical Engineer (yes, I carried a large hammer as a Fix-it-All tool) and when some equipment failed, we had 30 running days to fill a report explaining the failure, in order to find out if any written procedure was not being followed (so we got properly shafted later on) or if the scheduled maintenance was not being executed (so the maintenance personnel got shafted later on), or anything else happened (so the Boss got shafted later on).

    Well, it turned out that my Boss handed me down one of those TWO FREAKING DAYS before the expiration time, on a freaking FRIDAY, meaning I should deliver it on the following Monday. Since he didn't hand me down the report 28 days before, it was his fault (but he wouldn't get shafted for that).

    When there is conflict, there is opportunity, OVERTIME BONUS!

    So I grabbed a mechanic on Saturday (bonus for him too, he saved my hide a number of times with inside intel from the Head, like the janitor of the BOFH), we dismantled the gear, found the problem, I pulled the report out of my *rse and delivered it on Monday. It was a half-baked report (no accompanying mind-numbing Powerpoint with pictures of the failure, mind you, the report itself was spotless), but it was very accurate to the truth... I loved when I found out the machine died of natural causes (poor material choice...), no procedure was disregarded, and the Boss got shafted...

    ...or so I thought, but he rewrote it (revised... pfff) in such a way that everything I said was still there, but it didn't sound as his fault. Of course, I had to approve his 'revision', but what the hell... sigh... I still got my bonus!

    That's why I love BOFH, he solves the matters at hand swiftly and without mercy...

    And he never gets the shaft...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh the memories come flowing back

    "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an Emergency on my part" was my motto for many a year.

    Along with "They say that a problem shared is a problem halved. So is this your problem or half of someone elses?"

    I have lost count of the no. of times the Boss has demanded that I ignore the rules/priorities and "sort this now!"

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Service systems

    The other great con with Helpdesk ^h^h^h service systems.

    You ring the vendor, they are some dumb question with no relationship to the fault that you don't know the answer to -- like "when was the router last rebooted with a different hardware configuration". You go off to look in the logs, they set Customer Pending after 0 seconds of actual work on your fault.

    When you come back they flip the BOFH Calendar and have another totally unrelated question. Again your task goes into Customer Pending.

    Just when you are about to call them on this behaviour they get smart. They work for 1 second on the part of the fault you don't give a toss about, like sending a link to explain what "underflow buffer incomplete" actually means. The part you actually care about, like OSPF dying, they do nothing on. Since they've answered your question, they close the call. The first you know about this is when the service e-mail robot asks you to rate their performance.

    The "service" agent's statistics look good -- they have all jobs under control -- but the actual experience of the customer is just crap.

    BTW, unless you want to spend the next month on the phone, don't bother rating them poorly on that survey. I'd prefer to spend that month helping the company that hires me, not helping the one we're already paying.

    Go ahead, make my day. Ring the ##### ### with a fault and see who long it takes them to move your fault into Customer Pending on some pretext.

    Let's say you don't bother with fault-finding anymore. You read the source code, ring the ##### ###, and tell them what file and line has the error and ask for a ETA on the fix. That's when they tell you the bug is known, has been known for years in their top secret internal database, and is scheduled to be fixed in software that ships just prior to global warming flooding the POP. Of course, when this fix slips to just prior to hell freezing over they don't think to tell you that. Rightly so, since you'd probably even consider the Hauwei gear at that point. Sure, you might need to speak Chinese to get decent support, but that's not as huge a hurdle as coping with the Helldesk.

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