back to article Racing at the speed of light, Sage superhero bursts through the door...

Everyone has had an embarrassing moment, when you wish the floor would just swallow you up. Perhaps yours was at the office Christmas party. But at On Call we like to go one better. This time, our delve into the readers' mailbox brings out a tale from "Bruce", who writes in to tell us about a serious wardrobe malfunction. …

  1. defiler Silver badge

    Deeply concerned about staff downtime

    Nothing generates staff downtime quite like rushing a job. One mistake is all it takes.

    Not blaming the individual doing the work, but his management should have been prepared to swallow a little idle time to get it done safely.

    Also, if you're running around the office fast enough to tear your shirt off, you're running too fast in an office. That's my Health and Safety announcement for the day.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Deeply concerned about staff downtime

      and paperwork, I would have to report that as a near miss here.

      Although I can confirm Sage can be upgraded or installed fast (A simple registry file to pre-set the server, form server and TCR, Line 500 ERP Versions 5-7 with an FCE extension takes no more than 5 minutes when installed manually).

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Deeply concerned about staff downtime

      Much more concerned that there's no central update mechanism, GPO or scripting to run the client update, or even RD so you do the entire thing from one place.

      RUNNING around is a sure sign that you don't understand IT and are about to break something much more important than a bunch of shirt buttons.

      Hundreds of machines, thousands of users, and I've run more because "some guy just tried to plug in an unauthorised USB stick on the other end of the site" than anything else.... ever.

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Deeply concerned about staff downtime

        Running around is the sign you have been hired by someone who probably doesn't understand there are other methods to deploy software (Such as any small company where there is maybe under 25 people in the business). If a contractor is paid to update software on machines then that is what they are there to do, whatever the method available to them.

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Deeply concerned about staff downtime

          Lost track of the times in the past I have had to run around between desks\workstations offices on projects, especially on a few banking refresh projects in the last 5 years.

          Even when we had a installer menu to kick start the automated script at one pharma company, we had to start it manually, lab support guys ran PC Anywhere on their lab machines, we were still running NT4 at the time & just around the time I left, XP was just starting to be rolled out with RDP built in.

        2. Dsenior

          Re: Deeply concerned about staff downtime

          Most likely if it was as small accountants they would be running either sage line 50 or Sage account production,having worked with both for many years . the installer is hopeless if you want to do a automated install it just no way to do it . There used to be a netsetup exe in early version of line 50 that you could throw into a login script but that disappeared many years ago . Sadly with a lot of sage products running around installing manually is the only way. I used to work in a very large accountancy practise where we would have to do the install/upgrade manually on 300 machines through the UK

          1. TCarville

            Re: Deeply concerned about staff downtime

            Sage’s installers seem to have been improving somewhat in recent years. I’ve actually just deployed the Sage 50cloud Accounts v25 product on my network using Group Policy as it uses MSI nowadays.

      2. tip pc Bronze badge

        Re: Deeply concerned about staff downtime

        The story did say this was 15 years ago at a small accountancy firm. As this guy came in to do stuff it looks like they had no dedicated onsite support and therefore likely no central tools to do stuff larger organisations take for granted.

        The real world must look very primitive from your lofty height up their on your pedestal.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Deeply concerned about staff downtime

          i usually only run around when im gearing up for asking for something. Its always handy to be carrying a bunch of leads or a manual too.

          When the bosses ask about it, its always good to note how there has been no time lost and the flux capacitor has been fixed cromulently.

          then ask for the extra budget.

          If something goes wrong in a proper way then I try to do things remotely as kuch as possible as I have 3x 22 monitors on my desk and the server stack kvm is only a tiny 4:3 screen.

  2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    If...

    What was under the shirt was enough to make her laugh... Maybe running wasn't such a bad idea.

    Though normally I'd advise it outside. Less chance of bear chests...

    1. Solarflare
      Joke

      Re: If...

      Though normally I'd advise it outside. Less chance of bear chests...

      Really? I'd have assumed there is a much higher chance of bears, and by extention bear chests, outside...

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: If...

      I'm pretty sure laughter would result whether the exposed area was a beer belly or finely chisled abs. Seeing anyone do something that dumb is what makes you laugh, not what is underneath.

      Good thing he wasn't Superman or Spiderman, otherwise his secret identity would have been exposed!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If...

        "Good thing he wasn't Superman or Spiderman, otherwise his secret identity would have been exposed!"

        If he were Superman, his secret identity would only be revealed if someone accidentally put glasses on his face.

  3. ciaran

    So his "2 minute jobs" make him loose a shirt regularly?

    2 minutes isn't really embarrassing, but generally you don't shout about it...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So his "2 minute jobs" make him loose a shirt regularly?

      Why can people no longer spell 'lose' correctly - why 'loose' every time. Does my fucking head in.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: So his "2 minute jobs" make him loose a shirt regularly?

        No longer? They never could, near as I can tell. It just that nowadays, what with the ubiquity of TehIntraWebTubes, you get to see all of them.

        Whoever "they" are, of course.

      2. David Webb

        Re: So his "2 minute jobs" make him loose a shirt regularly?

        Loose I can handle, even Choose instead of Chose, I can put up with there instead of their or they're, I can even put up with "could care less" instead of "couldn't care less". But why in the name of all that is holy do people write paid as payed! I swear, every time a person writes payed instead of paid, they should be forced to watch the entire twilight film series in one sitting, then they will have payed their due.......... oh fu.....

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: So his "2 minute jobs" make him loose a shirt regularly?

          Your more tolerant then Im able too be.

        2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: So his "2 minute jobs" make him loose a shirt regularly?

          My current bugbear is seeing "lead" instead of "led" - it drives me bananas! Grrrrr!

          1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: So his "2 minute jobs" make him loose a shirt regularly?

            My current bugbear is seeing "lead" instead of "led"

            Not to plumb the depths of your patients, but this truly must way on ewe.

  4. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    And then there are...

    ...company shirts

    I have a relative endowed with some fairly large breasts, at least a DD cup but I am neither interested in nor authorized for more information about specific geometry.

    She works for a nursing school and the school had some tee shirts made for a picnic. When she tried hers on there were peals of laughter and some mild language. Emerging from her room we all saw displayed - far more prominently than she wanted - St Mary's SCHOOL OF NURSING. With the all caps part stretched across the relevant parts.

    Not cool!

    1. VikiAi Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: And then there are...

      As a teen, I got a free T-shirt at a sports event which went to my brother a few seconds after I tired it on and my mum pointed out that the two hands holding the carton of flavored milk (event sponsor's product) pictured on the front of the shirt were also cupping my breasts rather provocatively!

  5. ma1010 Silver badge
    Flame

    Not me...

    ...but my wife. She worked for a company that required women to wear skirts and nylons (yeah, this was a while ago). Then they were doing a big project that involved getting a lot of documents from the archive. The archive was a set of boxes on and under tables (on the floor) in the sort of dark, dusty and dingy basement room where people who annoy the BOFH might disappear.

    She wound up having to crawl, in a dress and nylons, on the floor for hours each day for several days pulling documents from the archive boxes. Sore knees, torn nylons and revealing far more of herself than she had any desire to reveal to co-workers. She was not in a happy mood when she got home during that project. I thought it wise to take her out to dinner most nights until that was over.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Not me...

      Was she at least compensated for the torn nylons or not even that?

      1. ma1010 Silver badge

        Re: Not me...

        No such luck, not from those buggers. They're out of business now, so I figure she got revenge.

    2. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Not me...

      An upvote for having the common sense to buy her some dinners and make nice. That job sounds like a real treat.

      I had a "win" one day; two other guys and I did some field work under some really nasty conditions. As we walked into our building to change, our immediate line manager bumped into us and laid into us for "unprofessional appearance", "careless attitude" and perhaps even "moral depravity"

      Just as he asked "what the hell do you think you are doing?!" HIS boss happened to walk up and said to our immediate super, "Well, by the looks of things I'd say they were working their asses off. Unlike you. GTF in my office, now."

      Looks at us and says, "Thanks, guys. I will be in touch. Carry on." Took care of us, too. And we got a written apology.

      1. ma1010 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Not me...

        Sweet!

        1. IceC0ld Silver badge

          Re: Not me...

          not me :o)

          but in my time pre IT, I was an electrician, worked on same site as my dad [RIP] we were working to alter some wiring runs, in a VERY hot spot in factory, dad decided to remove his shirt to give him a chance of staying cool ish, I was already a hot sweaty mess.

          anyway

          after the work was completed, we were coming down ladders / scaffolding to return to the site box where we kept tools and kit etc, to find a fitter [ mech type guy ] using dad's shirt to clean his hands ...........

          cue merciless hoots of laughter from moi

          and a decidely filthy shirted dad making his way home later to try and explain that one to mum :o)

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Not me...

        Once in the rain I stopped and helped a lady with a flat tire. After waving her on her way, I put my jack & lug wrench away, and carried on to my destination, somewhat dirtier & soggier than I wanted to be. When I arrived I apologized for my appearance, told the gal at the front desk that I was there to talk to the Boss about bidding on a network upgrade. The secretary spoke into the phone, and the Boss came out to meet me. He allowed as to how most folks bidding on lucrative contracts at least took a little care with their grooming, and told me to fuck off. In those words. As I was leaving, his wife walked out of the office. It was the lady I had helped. Later that afternoon, I got an apologetic call from the guy, offering me the job. I told him to fuck off and hung up the phone.

        1. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

          Re: Not me...

          @Jake,

          Epic. Have an upvote. Life is too short to waste working for idiots like that; glad you found out what you were getting into up front.

          1. Solarflare

            Re: Not me...

            You shared that one two months ago. I do like the story though :)

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Not me...

              Yes, I did. The way I see it, if I can get a chuckle out of somebody by repeating myself occasionally (when on-topic), then no harm, no foul.

              Edit: Besides, I don't presume that anybody other than a couple of my most ardent fanbois has read even a tenth of my drivel ... and of course there are many folks who have joined this august forum since I last posted it. For varying values of "it".

              1. Nick Kew Silver badge

                Re: Not me...

                There's repetition and repetition. I certainly remembered your recent anecdote, perhaps 'cos it was eye-catching first time round (and I expect you got my upvote - though that's not the level of detail I commit to memory). Had it been years rather than months ago, the reminder might have been entertaining in its own right.

                Did I mention ... erm ... OK, yes I did.

                1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
                  Headmaster

                  Re: Not me...

                  Did I mention ... erm ... OK, yes I did.

                  real friend

                  [ree-uhl, reel] [frend]

                  noun Someone who has never heard that story before.

        2. ShortLegs

          Re: Not me...

          Many moons ago, the company I worked for was Cisco's biggest customer, and likewise were paying tens of millions for a maintenance contract with them. Didn't take long to work out how we could reduce spend by >90%. Cue a very urgent meeting request from Cisco.

          Now although being a PBH at the time, I like to keep my hand in so was helping some of the engineers with an install, thinking I would don suit and tie after, in time for aforesaid meeting. Am outside, in raggy chino's, grubby company polo shirt, smoking a dog-eared rollup when Cisco execs arrive and enter building. As I follow them in, one turns round, scowls at me, and shuts the door in my face.

          Decided not to wear a suit, walked into meeting and let colleague introduce me as " shortlegs, the senior manager who is hosting this meeting and deciding our maintenance strategy". The expression on the face of the Cisco exec was "Mastercard".

          Not that we were immune. One of our customers had secured a multi-billion contract in the US. Cue our Account Manager (salesman) walking into a meeting with them, turning round to the only female present and saying "white two sugars love". He then went on to ignore her all afternoon.

          Not the cleverest attitude to take with the Director, Service Management.

          Lesson 101: don't pee off any individual at a client site, you have no idea who they are. Most especially when they are the most important person in the room.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not me...

            Slightly reminds me of Ricoh sending their legal team to our site to "discuss" the issues we've had and discuss the contract they weren't furfilling. Bellend bought his Merc on-site into our car park that wasn't so private. When he came out later, some chavvy fuck had snapped off and stolen the Merc badge from the bonet. We couldn't help but snigger (obviously not in eye shot).

      3. Nick Kew Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: Not me...

        Looks at us and says, "Thanks, guys. I will be in touch. Carry on." Took care of us, too. And we got a written apology.

        Oooh. If ever there was a true dream situation @work, you just described it.

        1. Lilolefrostback

          Re: Not me...

          Not a clothing story, but along similar lines (not as happy an ending).

          One of our engineers stayed late one night to solve a problem for a customer. Worked about 5 hours extra, but managed to get to work the following morning, only about 10 minutes late. Well, one of the gits from mahogany row was at the employee entrance with a stopwatch and gave him an earful for being late (didn't even ask why he was late, even though he knew that engineer was a very professional lad).

          Engineer took the full brunt of it and then proceeded to find his manager to inform him that he, the engineer, would be working normal hours and nothing more thereafter. He left a few months later, and it was a definite loss to the company.

          That was my first introduction to MBAs. I've see little to indicate that that incident was not representative of the typical MBA.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Not me...

            Upvoted, but in fact I'm guessing that the management type on the door wasn't that senior ( they don't stand by the door unless it's a very small company as far as my experiences have shown). So probably some poor Junior Jobsworth having his instructions from a paranoid manager who is under the cosh from a beancounter driven executive suite.

          2. defiler Silver badge

            Re: Not me...

            Worked about 5 hours extra, but managed to get to work the following morning, only about 10 minutes late.

            I've been that guy. I'm sure we've all been that guy at some point, but I was that guy who watched the multi-site Active Directory fall to bits one Thursday, spent from noon until about 9:30am Friday trying to fix it, got home, napped for a half-hour, went to the airport and flew to the other site, worked there until 10pm, <hotel>, back onsite at 7am Saturday, worked until 9pm and had by then found the cause of the problems and fixed it, <hotel>, back onsite at 9am Sunday, worked through until about 3 getting everything tidied up at that end, back home, back into the first site around 7pm, worked through until 9:30am Monday, made sure that everyone could get logged in and everything was nice and stable, grabbed my coat and headed to the door to get an earful from a senior member of staff asking where I thought I was going.

            Would have been nice to get an apology...

            Also would have been nice if Bulldog hadn't spuriously broken the MTU on the SDSL at the remote site, which was the reason that domain replication traffic, file transfers and emails had suddenly gone to rat-shit, but pings were absolutely fine across the VPN...

            I never realised I could function with so little rest. Good practice for kids!

      4. juice Silver badge

        Re: Not me...

        A friend once relayed a similar tale, when they were working for a large telecomms company with several layers of management, some of whom had a tendency to ferociously guard their rank and territory.

        They'd been doing some physical work at a remote location, and were being berated by a local manager for being dishevelled/disorderly, when their manager walked in.

        "Why are you berating these people? What management level are you?"

        "Level 3"

        "Well, I'm level 2, so I outrank you. Go get me and my staff tea and sandwiches..."

        Truly a thing of beauty!

    3. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: "Under the table"

      I remember on my work experience, being tasked with fitting some signage at local stores. Was at the estate agents, and moved a cupboard door that was poking open, to put some leaflet holders down or something...

      ... nearly jumped out of my skin, when this little work experience lass was looking back up at me. She was hiding in the cupboard doing the paperwork. LOL

    4. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Not me...

      "I thought it wise to take her out to dinner most nights until that was over."

      I would have considered buying her a set of knee protectors and gloves too. Can't do much about the uniform requirements but at least she'd be a little less sore.

  6. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    ... and the other extreme

    In the late 1960s Grayshott Hall was basically a slimming farm for those with more money than sense but the need to maintain appearances, and I worked for the firm that got the lucrative contract to install and maintain brand-new colour TVs in all the rooms. Well the catch was that it was a polished shoes, shirt and tie job - even the vans had to be glistening. However our manager (the guy who snagged the contract) was one in a million, and obliged the hall to pay our cleaning costs and where necessary replacements - these TVs with the old shadow mask tubes were seriously heavy, and had lots of sharp edges. They then had to be converged once in place, which in itself was not a nice clean job.

    I don't know quite how it happened, but we were also given clearance to take our breaks in the kitchens, where some rather exotic dishes were prepared. Indeed there was no 'ordinary' food at all - we all coped as best we could. These breaks could be quite long, as we needed supervisors to let us in the rooms, having checked they were empty and paying guests not likely to turn up unexpectedly. As we still had to run the regular business, we were sent there on a strict rotation to give everyone a fair chance.

    I've never had such a good time since {sigh}

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: ... and the other extreme

      I've done the "visit banker after cleaning the hog pens" thing. I completely lost track of the time[0], until SWMBO reminded me. Fortunately she (the banker) grew up in a barn and can look past my peculiarities :-)

      Another example: The last 9-5 I interviewed for (in 1989), I was wearing my racing leathers. When the interviewer queried my choice of "uniform", I pointed out that he had asked me to drive up from Palo Alto to South San Francisco by 10AM ... and had called at 9AM. I knew I could make it on the bike, but there was no way I was driving the Bayshore without armor ... I got the job.

      The 9-5 prior to that, I wore the same outfit, for similar reasons. When queried, I responded along the lines of "are you hiring an engineer or a fashion plate?" ... They made me an offer. I counter offered, they hired me at my price point.

      [0] Time flies when you're having ... uh ... fun?

      1. RockBurner

        Re: ... and the other extreme

        Nice to see another biker still about.

        I once passed an interview with flying colours, including the tale of how I was still perfectly on time despite the throttle cable on my bike unexpectedly snapping en route, whilst in the fast lane on the M40. Good knowledge of the machine and the ability to work fast to resolve unexpected issues got me the job.

  7. Alistair Dabbs

    Let's split

    I worked with a guy who turned up late one morning because he had to go shopping for trousers, having split the ones he was wearing during the commute. Half-asleep and trying to look cool, he had been keeping his hands in his pockets as he took a seat on the London Underground. Unfortunately it was a seat with armrests.

  8. carolinahomes

    deja view

    I recall a couple of these comments that were posted to other recent on-call topics.

    Keep 'em coming, but not so so often!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: deja view

      Lol, me too, perhaps the commentard numbers need massaging before the end of year...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: deja view

        I've recently been looking through my previous comments. I'm surprised how many times I've repeated myself!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: deja view

          I've recently been looking through my previous comments. I'm surprised how many times I've repeated myself!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: deja view

            I've recently been looking through my previous comments. I'm surprised how many times I've repeated myself!

            1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: deja view

              I'm not.

  9. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Worst one I've heard of

    My dad was an Army officer. He got sucked into the Pentagon for a briefing and got lost in the maze. While looking for the cheese, he split his uniform trousers. With no time to hit the tailor shop, he grabbed a stapler, went to the head, did some itchy-but-effective mods and had a VERY uncomfortable time briefing.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Worst one I've heard of

      It's a good thing he had his briefs ... going commando in that situation might lead to issues more worrying than an itch ;-)

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Worst one I've heard of

        I'm confused. I can see the necessity of wearing briefs to a debriefing but why attend a briefing if you are not going commando?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Worst one I've heard of

          "why attend a briefing if you are not going commando?"

          It's a belt & suspenders (braces to you brits) thing.

          This reply brought to you by the DoRD.

        2. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: Worst one I've heard of

          If you are forced to "go seal" I guess you have to wear a mask, flippers and snorkel to briefings.

          And a big knife strapped to your leg, of course.

      2. Nick Kew Silver badge
        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Worst one I've heard of

          I decided to sit down & watch that one the other night on ITV Player.

          Cheered me up on a quiet Christmas Night.

          1. Trollslayer Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Worst one I've heard of

            Wonderfully, delightfully daft!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Worst one I've heard of

            up the khyber defo the best carry on film!

  10. phuzz Silver badge

    I've not lost clothing on a job before, but I can tell you that a short ethernet cable (cat5, not 6) will serve as a field expedient belt.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      ethernet cable is wonderful stuff. I used to be in signals and the army equivalent if D10 single core wire, that stuff can be used for anything too. We partially rewired a landrover with the stuff too once.

  11. SVV Silver badge

    It's good to be known for fixing things quickly

    But not too quickly. I've often developed reputations as a reliable fixer, but realised it's best to combine this with a calm and methodical demeanour. Panicky bosses looking over your shoulder asking how long it will take need to be informed that it will take much longer unless they move away and stop interrupting your concentration. Get it done, take notes so you can write up the "way to avoid a repeat performance" email or document afterwards and be sure to circulate it to a wide audience within the organisation. Add on a suitable amount of time unless a real code red emergency to manage future expectations. A calmly managed incident will do your reputation more good in the long run than a flustered response and make life far easier in the end for both you and the company if managers see it being effective.

    Sometimes, of course, things can get really bad and you have to deal with calamities, but make sure you don't try to handle everything as though it's that bad, otherwise you will go crazy at some point.

  12. Stuart Halliday

    I've setup a simple script that scans a folder and executes that file.

    No need to rush around.

    A real IT person does minimum running....

  13. royprime

    Meh, at least it was his shirt and not his pants.

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