back to article Sysadmin flees asbestos scare with disk drive, blank pay cheques, angry builders in pursuit

Welcome again to On-Call, our Friday frolic through readers' memories of jobs gone bad. This week, meet “John” who once worked for a construction company that printed its payroll checks every Thursday afternoon. “If the cheques were not ready early on Friday morning, the superintendents were more than willing to give the …

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  1. Mage Silver badge

    Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

    Excellent.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

      Why do we never get to see the payroll clerks on Death Stars and Enterprises? Fighting off rebels and tentacled things with tax returns in triplicate. Darth Vader in a queue to ask why his tax code has changed.

      1. Steve Button

        Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

        "You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th Century"

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

          "You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th Century"

          Taxes existed before money, and will doubtless continue to exist after it.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

          "You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th Century"

          What century is it now again? I'm sure the first* film started with "Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away..."

          *For the record, I quite liked the fourth film, which came out recently. That was quite a loooong wait after Return of the Jedi for the next Star Wars movie. Changing the subject slightly, is there ever going to be a sequel to The Matrix?

          1. Steve Walker
            Happy

            Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

            AC you are in space ... just the wrong franchise - and now in it's full nerdness-

            "The economics of the future is somewhat different. You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th century. The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity." - Captain Jean-Luc Picard, First Contact

            Off now to fix some stinking COW on a Friday!

          2. Jan 0

            Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

            > is there ever going to be a sequel to The Matrix?

            Errm, I knew there was one, but a quick surf shows there are two. However, I'm sure you can guess why you've never heard of them:). How come you haven't come to dread the prospect of sequels, do you long for disappointment that badly?

            Note: a well thought out series is not a set of sequels in the Hollywood sense.

            1. Vic

              Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

              I knew there was one, but a quick surf shows there are two

              *Whoosh*

              Vic.

            2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

              Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

              I echo the 'whoosh', you're missing subtext.

              There is only one Matrix film.

              There is one Highlander film (two if you're being generous).

              One Hobbit film

              Six Batman films

              Two Terminator films

              Three X-Men films (maybe four)

              Contentiously I recognise five Star Wars films..

        3. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

          "You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th Century"

          Tsk tsk tsk. The push to go "cashless" isn't for the benefit of the consumer or seller. It's because cash transactions don't have middlemen between the seller & buyer taking a cut of the transaction. The push for a "cashless" society is driven by bankers & payment handlers wanting cuts of every transaction on the planet, and simply drives up the sellers costs & prices for the buyer.

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

            There's a big difference between a cashless economy and a society where money doesn't exist. For a start, the first doesn't really appeal to me...

      2. steamrunner

        Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

        For those 2000ad fans (both current and lapsed) amongst us, I give you: Judge Maitland.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_minor_characters_in_Judge_Dredd#Maitland

        1. Black Rat
          Coat

          Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

          Nobody quits the Tharg life.

          1. Vic

            Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

            Nobody quits the Tharg life.

            I get up when I want except on Wednesdays when I get rudely awakened by the Thrill Suckers.

            Tharg Life

            Vic.

      3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

        Why do we never get to see the payroll clerks on Death Star

        [breathes heavily]

        My lightsaber is tax deductible!

        [breathes heavily]

        What do you mean you're going to have to put me on hold? I've already been forced to listen to the Imperical March for 25 minutes!

        [breathes heavily]

        Can I speak to your supervisor... No, do not put me on hold... Hello! Hello?

        [breathes heavily]

        Admiral, move the Deathstar to Alderaan.

        No, I don't care if the rebel base is on Hoth, the tax office is on Alderaan!

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

          The sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, features Lord Vader's subsequent disciplinary interview...

          1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

            Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

            Lord Vader is on his second warning. He's already crossed swords trays with Mr Stevens the Catering Manager.

            1. ben kendim

              Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

              Pang! :-)

        2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

          You owe me a new keyboard (and a box of screen wipes)

        3. Down not across
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

          @ I ain't Spartacus

          Bastard!

          Do you have any idea how many screws are needed to remove this laptop keyboard to attempt to clean it?

          Nevertheless, well played Sir. Well played.

      4. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

        Look up Eddie Izzard's Lego Darth Vader sketch :)

      5. Servman

        Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

        If you're looking for mundane payroll, budget, and taxation issues in space, Babylon 5 is your best bet.

      6. kernelpickle

        Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

        ...direct deposit!

    2. Hawkeye Pierce

      Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

      Obligatory... you know the rest:

      https://xkcd.com/705/

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

        Randal Munro is really weird... To my never-ending delight.

  2. Steve Button

    Call Girl Principle

    According to the Call Girl Principle: the value of a service is always greater before it is received than after.

    "John" should have let the company owner know that there was no way he could get those cheques printed by the next day with the infrastructure that he'd been provided with. And then gone and fixed it anyway. Same outcome but framed completely differently.

    And the company owner might have given a lot more thought to avoid this sort of thing in the future, + provide some decent DR infrastructure rather than just "Meh, that's what I pay you for"

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Call Girl Principle

      Do you mind a little advice? Starfleet captains are like children. They want everything right now and they want it their way. But the secret is to give them only what they need, not what they want.

      Yeah, well, I told the Captain I'd have this analysis done in an hour.

      How long will it really take?

      An hour.

      Och, lad. You didn't tell him how long it would *really* take, did ya?

      Well, of course I did.

      Oh, laddie. You've got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker.

      1. Arctic fox
        Thumb Up

        @TRT Re:"Do you mind a little advice? Starfleet captains are like children. "

        Thank you TRT, lovely to hear Scotty's voice again. Highly entertaining. See icon.

      2. ShadowDragon8685

        Re: Call Girl Principle

        That was, by far, my favorite episode of TNG. It's a shame Scotty didn't stick around on the Big E-D; not necessarily as a main cast member, but as someone you could occasionally see in Ten Forward, regaling people with tales of the old days.

        You wouldn't even have to work at all to justify his presence on the Enterprise: he's an alumnus of the first two ships to bear the name! Besides, you can always call him a civilian expert on 100-year-old technology, and it's not as if running into Mirandas, D-7s, and other shit leftover from the Kirk years is rare.

    2. Bloakey1

      Re: Call Girl Principle

      I thought she was a payroll clerk! D̶i̶r̶t̶y̶ Enquiring minds would like to know if he made a deposit and was she into double entry ?

      it is always the case that a disaster averted has less currency than a disaster that is imminent.

    3. IsJustabloke Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Call Girl Principle

      "And the company owner might have given a lot more thought to avoid this sort of thing in the future, + provide some decent DR infrastructure "

      awww bless... it's like you've never worked in industry :)

  3. Joe Werner
    Pint

    Good job!

    Yeah, having the doors kicked down by power-tool-wielding mobs is no fun. Good save, and also what a great computer store! Rolling in and saying you want to test this suitcase of stuff does not sit well with most. Hope you bought them a beer as well (or pushed some business their way). Such places need to stay in business.

    (I regularly buy stuff at my local bike shop, the owner has a very nice return policy and lets me borrow his tools. I mailorder a lot, but not all)

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    Pint

    Typical Management Attitude

    Don't get all full of yourself, I pay you to fix things... pffft

    This one seems to be going above the call of duty, nice one!

  5. Disk0
    Coat

    Lads! given the circumstances of YOU DESTROYING MY OFFICE, for this week's payout you will receive cold hard cash directly from the boss. He's right over there behind the asbestos crew.

  6. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    electrical buss

    An electrical big sloppy kiss?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: electrical buss

      At least the asbestos laden water wasn't going to catch fire.

      1. Jan 0

        Re: electrical buss

        > At least the asbestos laden water wasn't going to catch fire.

        Oh, I dunno, try adding a little Chlorine trifluoride?

  7. Guido Brunetti
    Happy

    The customer is always right!

    I saw this ad for a DIY store on a billboard regurlarly when driving from Vienna to Bratislava around y2k. Still funny :-)

    http://www.wanderinformatiker.at/galaxy/hobbys/obi1.htm

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: The customer is always right!

      "D er kunde hat immer recht" means "The customer is always right" to save everyone else a quick google translate.

  8. Lee D Silver badge

    Nothing.

    Nothing.

    Nothing compared to the wrath of hundreds of parents at a school sports day honing in on you when their little darling miscounted their own points, or argued over a fraction of a second.

    And you're the school IT guy who was given the job - by a friendly bursar who was rewarding you for a good week's work - of sitting out on a field, in the sun, under a veranda, with a free drink and a laptop and a box of USB stopwatches, the world's most complex event scoring system, dozens of simultaneous events with hundreds of children, and a years-old Excel spreadsheet with broken formulae written by a PE teacher.

    Oh, and the overall results need to be announced in 5 minutes, and the other schools competing will ALL be emailed the results for their newsletters this afternoon, and you can be damn sure that your scoring will be scrutinised heavier than a ticking suitcase at an airport by those nice sportsman your teams just thrashed, and their mummies and daddies, and the result you give now under pressure is going to be used to award trophies, so it better match their week-long analysis of the same data perfectly.

    No pressure.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Bursar

      How you must hate that bursar. ^_^

      I think I'd leave before the second annual sports day :(

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Bursar

        Three swimming galas (in boiling hot heated indoor pool with chlorine up your nose for hours)

        Two sports days

        and a cross-country run.

        Just don't forget to take the 3G dongle or you'll be bored stiff before the first event even starts.

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge
      Headmaster

      parents at a school sports day honing in on you

      This is an eggcorn. The actual expression is "homing in".

      Sorry.

      1. Bloakey1

        "This is an eggcorn. The actual expression is "homing in""

        <snip>

        But the knives were out, perhaps they were "honing in".

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          *cough*

          Undecided.

          http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/000378.html

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "This is an eggcorn. The actual expression is "homing in"

            I think of "hone" as meaning "sharpen" or "arse" (neither of which makes much sense when put in front of "in") but maybe that's just me.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              RE: eggcorn

              "This is an eggcorn."

              I am the walrus

              Coo coo ca choo

            2. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

              "This is an eggcorn. The actual expression is "homing in"

              Or it could just be a typo. N is next to M on qwerty keyboard, it would be easy enough to hit the wrong key.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "But the knives were out, perhaps they were "honing in"."

          You don't "hone in" a knife. You just hone it. "Honing in" makes no sense and is simply wrong. Undecided my arse.

          1. Bitbeisser

            "horning in" just makes perfectly sense!

            Just picture the parents as a huge dust cloud following a herd of of angry heavy set cattle with lots of pointy horns barreling in your direction...

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