back to article HR botches redundancy so chap scores year-long paid holiday

What's that it says on the calendar? It's Friday! Yoinks! That means it must be time for On-Call, our end-of-week stroll through readers' memories of odd office occurrences. This week, meet “Anj”, a reader whose Christmas was once ruined when, on December 1st, he and his colleagues were told their department at a broadcasting …

Holmes

And this is how the BOFH started...

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Anonymous Coward

…Actually no, he had more antipodian origins… namely the University of Waikato.

(Yes, that's a Wayback machine link; it seems bofh.ntk.net no longer resolves.)

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it seems bofh.ntk.net no longer resolves

Indeed - as a result we do not have access to some of the best (actually better than BOFH) Simon's early rants like "Departmental Scapegoat Required" and the spoofs on Startrek Enterprise, etc.

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Pirate

Thanks for the link. The Kiwi Bloke's pages kept me going for a while. Good way to end a Friday.

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Wow. That's one of the coolest stories ever...

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I can think of several words I'd substitute for "coolest". And "stories" doesn't do it justice, either.

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Private sector

The thing is if this happened in the public sector there would be headlines in the Daily Fail and, as they say "Deputy Heads would roll".

I'm sure these cock-ups happen in both sectors from time to time.

Errors and covering of the rear are probably just part of human organisation.

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Re: Private sector

God yes. I've worked in both and the public sector far from has a monopoly on pissing money up against a wall.

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Re: Private sector

Isn't that the normal state of affairs in the public sector?

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Re: Private sector

I'm sure these cock-ups happen in both sectors from time to time.

They certainly happen anywhere that you allow the parasitic organism "HR" to take root and grow. If you've got more than a payroll team, then be worried. And that payroll team only needs to be about 1 FTE per 1,000 employees.

I wonder if you can buy HRicide in convenient spray canisters? My employers could do with a bulk delivery. But to be honest, looking at the presence, calibre and contribution of most HR "professionals", it is possible that simply sprinkling salt on them would be sufficient.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Private sector

wonder if anyone has ever done the study: profitability vs [HR people per 1000 other employees] ? Substitute appropriate metric for profitability in non-profits / public sector, etc .....

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Re: Private sector

When an organisation gets large enough to have an HR dept - leave

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Re: Private sector

"Isn't that the normal state of affairs in the public sector?"

A lot of retards believe that...

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Re: Private sector

"If you've got more than a payroll team, then be worried."

Nope, I once knew a chap who was an HR consultant. Companies would bring him in to do the dirty axe swinging work, pay him a fat cheque then send him on his way.

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"......a misfiled document on the system detailing all the criteria and key words for the salary points scoring system.”

Given the choice of the two, you can shove your Holy Grail where the sun shineth.

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Careful what you wish for

I was in this situation for three years once. My colleagues were all made redundant, but I was kept on to look after the computer system that was now considered leagcy, but still brought in money from a handful of customers. I just had to keep it running, which only required an hours work each day at most. I was even given a pay rise at the start. So I had three years of very easy life.

Then the last customer left, the server was shut down, and I was sacked. I then found myself screwed because I had no up to date skills to show, or even when I tried to wing interviews, I couldnt' give any practical example of my work.

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Re: Careful what you wish for

So by spending three years wasting your time, you complain that your skills are rusty?

Can't really see that as anything other than your own fault. The remaining 7 hours per day should have been ample time to have some sort of project on the side you could spin into something fancy.

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Re: Careful what you wish for

Hah, you could have been and done a degree in that time.

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Re: Careful what you wish for

Exactly. And since the title of this article is 'year-long paid holiday' then it sounds like the author is going the same way as I did.

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Re: Careful what you wish for

The Matthew Smith from Manic Miner fame?

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Re: Careful what you wish for

"The remaining 7 hours per day should have been ample time to have some sort of project on the side you could spin into something fancy."

Yes. And given the chance, one of these days heat is going to start passing spontaneously from a colder body to a warmer one, scout's honour! And people will start proactively applying system upgrades on late Friday afternoons instead of going to the pub! And cats and dogs will live in harmony too! And pigs will... oh, get a f##### clue.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Careful what you wish for

Didn't see anyone complaining. Hindsight is an amazing thing.

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Re: Careful what you wish for

To be fair, what would likely happen is you'd think that I'll enjoy this for a while, get comfortable and never really get around to it.

Freelance work during the other 7 hours would be good though - get paid twice and keep the CV up to date.

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Re: Careful what you wish for

It's an easy trap to fall into. I've had a boring job where I only had to do something for an hour or two a day. After a couple of months, I started teaching myself things like C++, "how to wipe a server clean, tear it down and then re-build it including operating system, etc. And free-lance work... that makes the CV sparkle.

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Re: Careful what you wish for

I have a mate who actually did this.

Back in the mid-90s (I'm guessing) he was paid good money (if you include the penalty rates) to baby sit a bunch of servers. Not content with just restarting the troublesome ones when someone rang to complain it was not responding he fixed the worst of them. After all, such calls seriously cut into his nap time and often interrupted his Quake playing. If you are going to be really lazy you need to do some work first, you see.

So there he is, being paid to sit in an office doing a job that really only generates a couple of hours work a week and he starts taking on small contract and commission coding and troubleshooting jobs to fill the time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Careful what you wish for

If you are going to be really lazy you need to do some work first, you see.

Funny reading this after just watching "Yes Minister"… I started reading that with the voice of Paul Eddington.

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Re: Careful what you wish for

I'm flattered to have anything I wrote read aloud by Paul Eddington - even if its only in someone's head. If it had been Nigel Hawthorne I'd also be slightly worried.

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LDS
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Joke

The rest of the story...

HR1: hey, Anj is here

HR2: Anj - didn't we let him go two days ago?

HR1: No, he asked for vacations and returned just yesterday

HR2: So we didn't entered his layoff into the SAP system?

HR1: No, we didn't, he didn't sign module 455-X2772-B yet.

HR2: Let's call HR3

HR3: Oh-hum, wait, I'll need to escalate it. I'll be back to you.

.... time passes ....

HR2: Any news about Anj?

HR3: We would need to reopen the SAP procedure which was closed on January 1st. But we can't because the system doesn't accept it. I need to escalate it.

... time passes...

HR3: I asked to reopen the layoff procedure in SAP but only HR4 did know how to do it, and she left a month ago. We'll ask the SAP consultant.

... time passes...

HR3: the SAP consultant asked us <crazy amount of money> to modify the procedure. He told us it's not so simple (although HR4 did, but we can't find her, she's on a travel in Namibia), and it requires to update this and that because they are "out of support", but we have no budget, all spent in consultants for the new scoring system (and I can't find that damned document anymore).

HR2: oh well, maybe we can wait the next round of layoffs...

... time passes...

HR1: Anj, would you like to work in IT?

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Pint

Re: The rest of the story...

Better than original story, have one on me

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Re: The rest of the story...

Or was it like the HHGttG seen where the Vogon captain orders a guard "When you’ve shot the prisoner, shoot yourself. ... Then throw yourself out of the nearest airlock!!"

On the first of January the HR team responsible were told to sack everyone and then to sack themselves. So come the 3rd of January there was no one left who knew what they were supposed to do with Anj. Anyone left in HR was probably hoping that head office in the US had forgotten them too. So the only course of action was to keep stum.

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Joke

I assume that

Accidentally misfiled is code for "only secured by weak encryption"?

Corporate gold dust that should have been monetised!

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Re: I assume that

depends some places are really backwards

One place I worked HR stored their pay spreadsheet in a public directory... just outside IT the rest of the staff were too inept to figure out how to open it as it involved running the program, and manually opening the file as for some odd reason the extension wasn't set in windows.

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January 1st?

When has anyone ever worked on New Years Day?

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Trollface

Re: January 1st?

>>When has anyone ever worked on New Years Day?

Err ... bartenders and A&E staff?

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Re: January 1st?

Not since the early 70s when they made it a bank holiday. They finally noticed that making people work on the day after new year's eve was a Bad Thing.

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Pint

Re: January 1st?

You know, in Scotland, the 2nd is a bank holiday as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: January 1st?

That's because the Scots REALLY know who to celebrate News Years Day. One day to recover is not enough (and sometimes neither is two).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: January 1st?

In addition to IT, I also teach dance fitness at weekends to a class of 30 something to 40 something women up in Glasgow. The Saturday class starts at 10am, and by 10:15 the room reeks of scotch as 40odd women all sweat out the night before. By 10:30 I'm as intoxicated from the fumes as they were from the scotch the night before, and probably still are :p 11am I stagger home!

Classes south of the border don't seem to have the same alcoholized air on a Saturday morning.

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Re: January 1st?

"When has anyone ever worked on New Years Day?"

Ever since mission critical 24 x 7 businesses have had IT departments?

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Re: January 1st?

1st January 2000 for the Millennium Bug.

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Happy

Re: January 1st?

Re. Millennium Bug: I know what you mean, except I had to work on 32nd December 1900.

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IT Angle

Re: January 1st?

The real question is: when has anyone in HR ever worked on New Year's Day?

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Re: January 1st?

You really don't know Scots..we don't stop the drinking and start the recovery till the 3rd

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Re: January 1st?

Quite a few of us over the years. You probably like having electricity, entertainment, water, etc. on New Years day, for a start.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: January 1st?

Not since the early 70s when they made it a bank holiday. They finally noticed that making people work on the day after new year's eve was a Bad Thing.

Even here where I work in the USA the office is closed Jan 1st.

And that's one of only 6 days a year it's closed with mandatory time off.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: January 1st?

Thats an odd date. I fixed my millenium bugs on Jan 1st 19100. (They still use COBOL in the year of our lord 19100 in case anyone was wondering).

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Re: January 1st?

The real question is: when has anyone in HR ever worked?

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Re: January 1st?

Or, another variation - has anyone ever worked out what HR does?

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Re: January 1st?

"32 Dec 1900" Grampaw? Is that yoooo?

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Re: January 1st?

"Or, another variation - has anyone ever worked out what HR does?"

a) They write contracts of employment

b) They do the legal paperwork required for redundancies

It's worth keeping an eye on the size of the HR department. A sudden expansion is a good indicator that redundancies could be imminent.

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