back to article Out-of-office email ping-pong fills server after server over festive break

Welcome once more to Who, Me? your weekly shot in the arm with other readers' ugly tales of lost jobs and catastrophic cockups. This week, we meet "Trevor", who tells us about a time an over-egged CV got him, and his firm, in a spot of bother over the festive season. Trevor was working for an outsourcer in Dublin and was lent …

  1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

    Exchange?

    There was an obvious mistake: using exchange.

    What stupid mail system would allow you to configure a vacation option that would bounce back indefinitely? Any normal server has an automatic limit to send the vacation automatic reply only once per sender.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Exchange?

      by default it doesn't. However, you can set some very funky replication options if you dig deep enough. Exchange is fine for a mail server - it all depends on what your client wants and what they use. Exchange does more than just send emails - yes there are alternatives out there.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Exchange?

        "Exchange is fine for a mail server"

        In short, "NO IT BLOODY WELL ISN'T"

        Exchange exemplifies the MS attitude that "email is haaaard" (spoken in that annoying Barbie voice) - and took their "unique" (ie, standards breaking) approaches to internal email to the world in general via a bunch of awful kludges that made life easier for them, whilst making life significantly harder for everyone else who had actually bothered reading, understanding and implementing RFCs. MS's refusal to interact with the rest of the RFC-speaking world when told "This is wrong, fix it" is legendary - the usual response "We're MS, we know best. Fuck off"

        (and who can forget the Halloween memos - they applied to email as equally as Linux. Remember this was an era where Compuserver or Novell or AT&T gatewayed email was $140/Mb and RFC-based "free" email was regarded as a potent threat to their money-printing machines)

        I could regale you with the way that it stripped out essential headers and bolloxed up loop protection, or the way that it replaced 4xx and 5xx messages with something internally generated (destroying most chances of actually debugging connection issues) but anyone with a long memory will already know how bloody awful it was and still is compared with properly RFC-compliant mail systems - and how the clients STILL remove essential headers when you need a user to send things across to evaluate issues.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Exchange?

          One of my colleagues has a deep knowledge of the email protocols (SMTP, IMAP, etc). You can often hear him curse MS's "implementation".

          I can never decide if MS were incompetent in the way they implemented these protocols or went out of their way to corrupt them.

          1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Exchange?

            > I can never decide if MS were incompetent in the way they implemented these protocols or went out of their way to corrupt them.

            What about "both"?

            Fun fact: they had some header X-Message "bla" (or some such), the text would be prominently displayed in the MUA. So I had X-Message "Life is to short for a shitty O/S" in every mail I sent out. Others used slightly worse such as "Mail folder corrupt, re-install Windows!". Totally not childish.

            1. EVP

              Re: Exchange?

              ”What about "both"?”

              No. It really takes some effort to fcuck up everything one touches. You can count on M$ to accomplish that. Every. Fscking. Time.

              1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
                Coat

                Well hey, they are professionals at it.

                1. EVP

                  Oh, silly me x)

          2. Chloe Cresswell

            Re: Exchange?

            "All software evolves till it can send email... except MS Exchange"

            1. Tim99 Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Exchange?

              Chloe, have an upvote and please except a drink >>=======>

          3. herman Silver badge

            Re: Exchange?

            The sad fact is that MS Exchange was created by a Unix company - The Open Group. So you can blame them for all the protocol problems and bugs.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Exchange?

              "The sad fact is that MS Exchange was created by a Unix company - The Open Group. So you can blame them for all the protocol problems and bugs."

              If anybody is still reading this thread, or reading it in the future, herman is incorrect. This bit of rumor/BS/FUD came about because Microsoft uses DCE (Distributed Computing Environment) as developed by the Open Software Foundation in the early 1990s. The OSF was rolled into The Open Group in 2005.

              The Open Group did NOT create MS Exchange.

              For more you can read up on Microsoft's MSRPC ... also see Microsoft's DCOM and their take on ODBC if you care.

              1. Andrew Commons

                Re: Exchange?

                @jake

                "...because Microsoft uses DCE (Distributed Computing Environment) as developed by the Open Software Foundation in the early 1990s"

                I think that should read:

                "...because Microsoft butchered DCE (Distributed Computing Environment) as developed by the Open Software Foundation in the early 1990s"

                From memory, they 'tweaked' certain 'standards' and built a wall between the NT and DCE worlds. Then, seven years later, they realised that this had not been such a great idea and sucked up to Kerberos. But it had badly damaged DCE by then.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Exchange?

                  Well, yes :-)

                  I was being diplomatic for a change.

            2. Kiwi Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Exchange?

              The sad fact is that MS Exchange was created by a Unix company - The Open Group. So you can blame them for all the protocol problems and bugs.

              The previous owner of my car had it for 6 months. I've owned it for several years.

              You can blame it's previous owner for the worn paint job, the wiper blades that need replacing, the dent on the backside (actually you can blame his son for the dent).. The fact I've owned it for most of it's life and done nothing to fix any problems (I do give it maintenance inc fluid & belt changes on schedule) obviously is irrelevant. The previous owner is the one to blame!

              Don't care who started Exchange (though I see Jake has come to the party with correct information - thanks!), MS has had it more than long enough to have fixed it. It's now their product, it's now their responsibility.

              Well it would be if MS knew anything about responsibility...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Exchange?

                My imagined MS response:

                The paint is an age indicator, the dent an impact indicator. These features are functioning as designed. While the wiper blade is a known issue, the user is responsible for all routine maintenance - unless, of course, they'd like us to perform the maintenance for them (for a small fee...)

                1. Myvekk

                  Re: Exchange?

                  [Exaggerated accent] "Hello, this is Phil from Microsoft Support. Your car is telling us that you need to replace the blinker fluid, and adjust your power band. I can fix this for you for a small fee..." [/Exaggerated accent]

          4. JimboSmith Silver badge

            Re: Exchange?

            Novell Groupwise allowed you to delay sending emails until a particular time. Handy for slagging people off after you've left the company etc. So anyway two staff members at a particular company were having a friendly bit of banter via email. Unbeknownst to each other they were both going on holiday at the same time. They had both had the clever idea of sending the other a mildly insulting message after they'd left for sunnier skies.

            The mail server filled up fairly quicly as one of them had included a picture of a beach in their out of office. Alarms started going off on the Network manager's desktop as the server started to reach capacity. The culprits weren't named but it was interesting what he said. In the five years since the groupwise was installed this was the first instance of that happening. When pressed further on that he said most people didn't know you could delay sending email. That lead a lot of staff to believe it was people on his team.

        2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Exchange?

          Microsoft's defaults seem to fall into one of three (well, maybe four) categories:

          1. Ooooh, look! New! Shiny! We just *know* you will love this.

          2. Our advertisers and/or marketing people have requested us to [enable | disable] this by default.

          3. This is the way it's going to be [e.g.: "The Ribbon"]

          4. Because it's the only sensible default [have not seen this since XP]

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Exchange?

            There's 5, something MS has specialized in:

            We do it this way because it will break competitor X's software in a subtle but fatal way that will not be traced to us until the market has moved decisively against said competitor's product for "unreliability".

            1. ROC

              Re: Exchange?

              Ironic that Google has dished them the same kind of dogfood ...

        3. IGnatius T Foobar !

          Re: Exchange?

          Exchange has become such a beast that now Microsoft simply says "just pay us every month forever and we'll run it for you."

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: Exchange?

            Exchange has become such a beast that now Microsoft simply says "just pay us every month forever and we'll run it for you."

            The problem with paying Danegeld is that you never get rid of the Dane.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Exchange?

              I've just been reading up about the period. I now realise that that saying was propaganda put out by tax collectors. The reality is you never get rid of the geld.

              1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                Re: Exchange?

                I now realise that that saying was propaganda put out by tax collectors.

                You are correct, but few bother to look it up and the principle still stands. They got rid of the Danes by outliving them.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Exchange?

                  Not out living them. Assimilating them. Thre are still plenty of genetic Danes in the North of England.

              2. Myvekk

                Re: Exchange?

                I've just been reading up about the period. I now realise that that saying was propaganda put out by tax collectors. The reality is you never get rid of the geld.

                On the contrary, you definitely get rid of the geld! (Geld==gold)

        4. Trixr Bronze badge

          Re: Exchange?

          I totally agree with breaking some of the RFCs in relation to message headers (FU MS for screwing up message threading), but I've never encountered Outlook actually stripping out message headers in the client. They're a bitch to find if you don't know where they are, but they seem intact to me.

          I have made a deliberate policy of refusing to enable POP or IMAP in an Exchange environment. If "the business" wants Exchange, fine. They can then suck up using their native client protocols and all the additional stuff that might entail (ActiveSync, blah blah) for the "full experience".

          The other point is that Exchange isn't just an email server. It bundles together scheduling and a pretty simple way of delegating access to other mailboxes. Of course, the latter causes all manner of security issues when a CEO forgets that the secretary they bumped out of their office still has access, but it's about the "end user experience".

          I will say that nothing beats Exchange in terms of setting up a resilient configuration with data replication etc. Outlook, however, is still a pile of shite as a client. And of course you can't (shouldn't!) use Exchange as a front-end MTA.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Exchange?

      "There was an obvious mistake: using exchange."

      Yup, and "Trevor" was far from the only 'admin' who bolloxed the configuration in this manner. There are a lot still misconfigured like it.

      Usually people only noticed when OoO notices bounced between a couple of people on the same server, but occasionally it'd happen between a couple of misconfigured systems across the net.

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: Exchange?

      Not just Exchange. I've seen nothing but trouble with automated out-of-office responses, mainly because they aren't really automated in that all require some kind of human intervention at one point or another. I generally advise against them, kind of like with Tesla's so-called "auto pilot".

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Exchange?

        "I've seen nothing but trouble with automated out-of-office responses"

        I regard them as "I'm away from home, please burgle me" responses.

        1. MatthewSt
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Exchange?

          You'll get a fun surprise to find out I'm on a staycation then! That'll be a sight you don't want to see, and one you'll never forget

          1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Exchange?

            > That'll be a sight you don't want to see, and one you'll never forget

            I imagine a very ugly person with a 20 mm cannon in his living room. Thanks for that mental picture.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Mushroom

              Re: Exchange?

              > That'll be a sight you don't want to see, and one you'll never forget

              I imagine a very ugly person with a 20 mm cannon in his living room. Thanks for that mental picture.

              Nope. Just me lounging around in my underwear.

              Sans underwear.

              (El Reg - can we have a "mindbleach" icon please? Till now --> best way to clear your mind and remove all traces)

    4. Domquark

      Re: Exchange?

      "There was an obvious mistake: using exchange."

      No. The obvious mistake was letting an unqualified person mess with it in the first place. He had lied on his CV and should not have been anywhere near an Exchange Server - let alone a customers live server.

      As the story shows, his incompetence nearly took down an entire worldwide network.

      Exchange wasn't the mistake - his lies and bullshit were.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Exchange?

        Exchange was the first mistake, compounded by the lies and bullshit. Strangely enough, lies and bullshit often accompany Exchange. I wonder why that is.

      2. IGnatius T Foobar !

        Re: Exchange?

        Hold on there, cowboy. There's a difference between "doesn't know Exchange" and "doesn't hold an MCSE". Holding a Minesweeper Consultant Solitaire Expert certificate simply means that someone knows how to take tests well. It has bugger all to do with the person's actual skill set.

        1. JJKing Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Exchange?

          Totally agree IGnatatius. I passed Exchange 5.5 as my last exam and was informed by MS that I was now an Exchange Expert. It nearly caused me to choke laughing as I knew nothing about 5.5 except how to do a basic install.

          I kept quiet about having an MCSE because it it was good for was learning the basics. Novell on the other hand..........sigh......

      3. Olivier2553 Silver badge

        Re: Exchange?

        Configuring email is not easy. Exchange may give you a false sense of facility, while a much dryer system will help you to remember that you must be careful and you must understand what you are doing and you must read the fsck'ing manual.

        So yes, presenting something difficult in the cloak of easiness may led one to lie about his competencies more than if it was a brutal configuration system.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Exchange?

      I recall a similar situation with autoforwarding that brought down the email system of one of the world's biggest oil companies (about 20 years ago).

      An engineer had been sent from the UK to the USA for a short project (as was quite common). Before departure, the engineer set up an OoO message, intending to continue using the same (corporate) account. However, the project team in the USA issued him with a new project email address that he was required to use; so keep things simple, he set his UK address to forward to his new one. So far, so good. Unfortunately, the last thing he did before returning to the UK was to set an OoO on his project email AND an autoforward to his UK account.

      It wasn't so much the OoO (as internal rules had been set to limit those to one per sender) as the two accounts autoforwarding to each other...

      1. beaker_72

        Been there

        Back in the very early days of my career when I was still a phone monkey on a "help" desk, before we'd hit on the concept of having a single email address to contact the help desk on, our customers would contact each of us individually depending on who their pet help desk operator was (there were only two of us). One day, for a laugh, I decided to set up an autoforward rule so that any email that came in to me got forwarded on to my colleague for them to deal with.

        It didn't take them long to realise what was going on, so in a moment of brilliance they decided to set up a similar rule to forward any email they received to me. It doesn't require a genius to work out what would happen next, and we certainly weren't geniuses. Within only a few minutes the exchange server fell over and our phones started ringing off the wall as our users started phoning in to complain that email was down. Of course we immediately escalated the issue to our second line support and in a flash of brilliance decided it might be best to delete those autoforward rules.

        In our defence we did come clean to the manager of the team that looked after the server, but we waited until everything was back up and running and the fuss had died down. Luckily she saw the funny side....

        1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: Been there

          "so in a moment of brilliance they decided to set up a similar rule to forward any email they received to me."

          When I was working at a certain business in Hertfordshire we once managed to do that with the telephones. Resulted in every incoming call hitting a continuous busy signal.

        2. Olivier2553 Silver badge

          Re: Been there

          And it takes a genius mail server to notice it had already seen and processed that same message and is about to do the exact same thing and maybe there is a loop and it would be better to break it...

        3. PBXTech

          Re: Been there

          Know of system that used to be set up to auto-generate a trouble ticket when a message was received in a specific mailbox. It would then email the ticket number back to the email that the request was sent from.

          That concept went away after several instances where customers sent emailed requests from their help desks, which of course had an auto-reply to tell you that they had received your email.

          So they would send an email, the ticket was generated, and the ticket number was sent back to the customer. Their system received the email and auto-replied. Of course the auto-reply generated a new ticket, with accompanying email back to the customer with the new ticket number....

          Wanna guess how many trouble tickets can be generated by dueling email servers over a three-day holiday weekend?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Exchange?

        Office365 users are able to specify multiple resource calendars they're a delegate for as their own delegates. Hilarity ensues.

    6. hmv Bronze badge

      Re: Exchange?

      And has a way to detect mail loops - wasn't it something like over 28 Received headers indicates a mail loop?

    7. Nick Kew
      Flame

      Re: Exchange?

      Yes, MS was absolutely to blame. Email had been around for a long time before there was ever a MS exchange (or outlook), and a lot of gotchas were well-known, well-understood, and well-documented. In short, solved problems. No excuse for re-introducing them in a new product, particularly one marketed as suitable for technician-level admins with a box ticked on their CV. Mail loops were just one of those.

      Though to be fair, MS wasn't the only offender to p*** in the pool of 1990s (and early-this-century) email. Lotus also did some inexcusably dumb things. And then world+dog inflicted pseudo-HTML on us.

    8. David Given

      Re: Exchange?

      I do interop development with Exchange as a target.

      Exchange supports an API for accessing the server. It... functions? More or less.

      It's based on SOAP, which on the plus side is relatively standard, and on the minus side is a W3C XML based abomination involving more namespaces than any sane namespace would namespace if it was raining namespaces. The API is self-describing; a client can query the server for its WSDL file, which contains the description of the API, with all the methods, data types etc which it supports. It's not actually a terrible idea.

      Microsoft's unique variation? The WSDL file you get from Exchange servers is syntactically invalid and needs to be manually tweaked before it'll parse correctly.

    9. Dal90

      Re: Exchange?

      >What stupid mail system would allow you to configure a vacation option that would bounce back indefinitely?

      Mid 1990s...more than just Exchange. Novell GroupWise, for example. Was working for 3,000 employee corporation when there was a bad address response meets out-of-office reply loop that took a three day weekend to fill up the mail server.

  2. Dave K Silver badge

    You would have thought that even a rookie with Exchange could have configured default mailbox quotas...

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      I have never been trained via microsoft, but i've always thought this to be prudent. I've always set quotas as the available disk space divided by the number of users.

      1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

        I have never been trained via microsoft, but i've always thought this to be prudent. I've always set quotas as the available disk space divided by the number of users.

        So much this. I've seen Exchanges purring along without any quotas - and left the sysadmin (ME) with the nightmare of managing the resultant overflow from all the crap.

        Implemented quotas, but lusers started to bitch when their preciouses mailboxes was too large for them to mangle properly. Bah and humbug.

        At least Exchange is now outsourced, and that is somebody else's worry (storage, backup etc). |

        Never again, have had enough of being an email admin.

  3. Rudolph Hucker the Third

    Some might say : He should have used the MSexChange.com website before he started that.

    1. pavel.petrman Bronze badge

      Or, if he wanted an independent opinion, he could of course consult the popular ExpertSexChange.com.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        After this debacle, do you think he used findtherapist.com?

        1. caffeine addict Silver badge

          I can't decide if therapistfinder.com would have been better or worse...

          1. KittenHuffer

            How about whorepresents.com?!?

          2. LewisRage

            And then everyone can go on holiday to penisland.com

  4. mr_souter_Working

    obviously wasn't a recent thing

    Exchange sends a single OOF response to each recipient - until you turn off the out of office, and turn it back on - has for quite a long time

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: obviously wasn't a recent thing

      aye, I think it was exchange 5.5 that I first worked on and it would do some really weird things at times. It was also very sensitive to mailbox sizes and database sizes. I remember making registry changes to override some restrictions (a shiny new server 2000 system at the time). It was fairly voodoo back then (but the client was moving from Lotus Notes, hard to say which was funkier to work on).

    2. defiler Silver badge

      Re: obviously wasn't a recent thing

      Didn't stop an old boss of mine demanding that it should autoreply each and every time.

      I saw the madness which might result and told him that that version of Exchange simply couldn't do it. He wasn't pleased, doubly so since he'd had me perform an in-place upgrade of that self-same Exchange server on a Wednesday night so he could run Outlook from Dubai.

      Glad to be far away from him.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

    Yesterday. I was (physically) looking around computer labs for the computer that hosted a hidden but public FTP server which is used by the lecturers (supposedly unbeknownst to us mortal students) to store software ... the machine in question used to have a Windows 8.1 ISO, but somehow, someone replaced it with a Windows 8.0.

    Eventually found the server, and found something else. A whole lab was being prepared for a reformat and reinstallation of the OS, yet the lab's folks (all female) were initially planning to use USB drives to format each and every machine by hand. A (male) lecturer was there, and as he had happened to have heard the word "PXE" somewhere, he was throwing it around the place. One older lab tech disagreed ("Nobody does this anymore! We used to do this stuff on the IBMs!", "What IBMs, 386s?" "Dunno, long time ago, but IBMs!")

    The lecturer happened to hear me talking about FTP and Windows 8.1 and stuff to the lab tech, so he took me aside, and asked me about my skills. Told him that I knew a thing or two about network administration, OSes, programming, and the like. Then he asked me, "Ever heard of PXE netboot?" I replied in the affirmative, having planned to start experimenting with it on VMs after the term finishes a few weeks later, my IT self-education being lacking in that area. I told him that I was a second-year medical student, not IT, I do this as a hobby, so nothing is guaranteed, and he agreed ... Stupid Me thought it's basically running a PXE server and booting the machines, innit?

    Nope.

    I sat on his desk, then, he pointed me at a five-minute YouTube tutorial, and told me he was trying to apply that, yet it wasn't working. Of course it wasn't ... it was using an obscure Windows PXE server and an even more obscure tool (with a GUI that defaulted to Vietnamese or something) to shoot stuff at the PXE server involved ... For some awful reason, the tool *required* a USB drive to which it extracted some stuff. Heck! We're trying to netboot here, aren't we! USBs?

    Anyhow, tried my luck with another server ... cue 30 minutes of failed attempts. But I impressed the lecturer with my over-overuse of the keyboard, which looked to him like key dancing (I rarely if ever use the plastic rodent, even on Windows)

    At least I scored the old 2 GB USB thumb drive we used for the PXE server tool as a token reward for the two hours wasted running between labs ... any suggestions about what to do with it, aside from the usual stuff online?

    EDIT: Before you ask, the SOP is to have a standard image from which the machines are restored via something like Ghost or Acronis, yet this particular lab, for some reason, didn't.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

      Finally managed to talk our manager into setting up a PXE-Boot environment for setting up our new PCs. When we got them, we were spending a couple of hours doing the initial set-up and installing updates. Set up the PXE-Boot server and we can now throw out up to 7 PCs (simple NUC as server on an old 8-port switch) at a time and it takes around 30 minutes unattended to install the OS, the updates and all the default applications.

      At my previous employer they were using NUCs as diskless workstations attaching to a Linux terminal server. All the NUCs PXE-booted a standard network Linux image with an X server and logged onto the TS. It worked very nicely.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

        The first paragraph is exactly what I was talking about!

        The second is a good idea, but if the network goes down, nothing gets done unless you have something to fail over to.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

          Yes, but being virtual, we could start up a copy of the FTP and DHCP servers in a couple of minutes and there was a secondary Linux TS for load balancing, so if one died, the other could take on the load, even if performance was then slow.

          It was a security company, so all data had to be stored on servers, on site, no local storage and no taking data off-site without permission and encryption - including no cloud storage.

          As admins, we had laptops, so that we could administer things if key infrastructure went tits-up.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

            Now one last point .. if what I said wasn't really wrong, why the downvotes?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

      What's with the downvotes?

      1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

        Re: When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

        Downvotes? It's a method for people to show disapproval for, or that they do not agree with what you've posted. Some sad people within not much else to occupy their minds really lose their shit over it, but in reality it doesn't mean anything and you really shouldn't pay it any mind.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

          Vote count is usually irrelevant to me, but I'm totally intolerant to coffee. And coffee + lack of sleep = one very irrationally nervous, irritable me.

          It's over by the night, thankfully.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

        Possibly because it came over as sexist "all the lab folks (female)..." for example.

        Or they just didn't agree with you. It really isn't worth worrying about.

      3. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

        Because you are implying that the staff (all female) are less capable of doing this than the sole (male) person present despite having literally no idea whatsoever what you are doing. This is firstly grossly unprofessional, and secondly massively sexist given that the only reason for mentioning the sex of the people concerned is implying the inherit superiority of the men concerned over woman, and you then immediately proceed to demonstrate in your next paragraph that you have literally no idea what you are doing, apparently being unaware of both the sexism and irony.

        A fairly large percentage of the people reading this site do this sort of thing for a living and find reading your post outright painful, hence the downvotes.

        If you have a PXE environment (probably Windows Deployment Services, available free of charge for Server 2003 and upwards) installed and correctly configured then all you need to do is press F11 on each computer, it searches for the PXE environment, downloads a bootstrap program from the PXE server, boots from the network and then asks you which image setup on WDS that you want to install.

        The job should be about as simple as doing the setup, walking around the room tapping F11 and then selecting the image required and then going to dinner or the pub and then coming back and renaming the newly imaged PC's to what you wanted rather than the defaults.

        Which practically everybody here knows and has done, including quite a lot of woman working in IT.

        1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

          I did it (a fair few years ago) with a startup script to prompt for and set the name on the PCs (and subsequently delete itself and reboot) - the more automation, the better!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

          What?!

          I purposely mentioned the genders of the people involved to show that he was bragging in front of them (being a dick, because he bragged about it but knew nil, getting somebody else to do his donkey work), NOT AT ALL because I believe that women are inferior or anything!

          This is firstly grossly unprofessional, and secondly massively sexist given that the only reason for mentioning the sex of the people concerned is implying the inherit superiority of the men concerned over woman[sic]

          Definitely not what I intended! I have absolutely no idea how it was mis-read that way, and by multiple people too ...

          A fairly large percentage of the people reading this site do this sort of thing for a living and find reading your post outright painful, hence the downvotes.

          The apparent sexism aside, isn't Who, Me? supposed to be about sharing experiences? And is an IT person necessarily a jack-of-all-trades?

          If you have a PXE environment (probably Windows Deployment Services, available free of charge for Server 2003 and upwards) installed and correctly configured

          This was to be provided by a PXE server application (namely Tiny PXE Server and Serva) on the lab admin's Windows 10 workstation (servers running Windows Server 2012 R2 are available, but of course locked away from cowboys). However, it's probably the configuration, especially that I had only an hour to get the whole shebang up and running, with no networking people to provide pointers.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

            Don't worry about it. We're going through a neo-Victorian period of exaggerated righteousness with the usual population of umbrage seekers. In a few more years we'll be in a period when everybody's laughing at it.

          2. David Nash Silver badge

            Re: When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

            I believe you but if you go back and read your comment it really doesn't come across that you were suggesting he was bragging. I wondered why you mentioned female too.

    3. Mr Humbug

      More than one way to go about this, but the essentials are:

      A PXE boot server that your DHCP server can point to

      The bootable environment on the PXE server

      The image file that you want to install (if this is Windows then you MUST run sysprep on the machine you take the image from)

      Any post-image scripts to customise individual machines or to complete the Windows Out Of Box Experience.

      If you have Windows Server then MS provides the whole thing in Windows Deployment Services (WDS)

      And whatever you use to deploy a Windows image, that image will need appropriate licences and istallation media for reimaging (OEM licences and media don't work properly, you need a volume licence key)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Guess I have to do some practice time on my VMs ... just have to make it to the end of this term.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

      I have never sexed up my CV. How can I? I work at DXC so have had zero training, negligible supervision and our projects have a 5% success rate.

      1. mr_souter_Working

        Re: When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

        I also work for DXC - training is available (if you can persuade your manager)

        I agree about the negligible supervision (but that is one thing I REALLY like about the place)

        and how did it get as high as 5%? I don't think we complete 5% of projects, never mind successfully.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

          And thats a 3rd for DXC. perhaps it is my projects that are getting us up to the alleged 5%

    5. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: When was the last time you sexed up a CV?

      Never did, as I never had to. When I changed careers from tech writing to IT, I put down my training and skills. Also sent a floppy with some small utilities I'd done and samples of a game I had in the works. I'm self taught along with having quite a bit of training in the first career as was the first person in the company to get a PC.

      When I changed career path, I had two days of interviews and "tests". Managed to pass the interviews and tests although on a couple of the tests (writing utilities for querying the database) I had to ask questions which were points in my favor.

      All in all, just be honest with the CV and don't be afraid to admit you're not sure or don't know but willing to learn. IT isn't static and a willingness to learn new tech, etc. is a big part of it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sexing up the good old CV

    Like most people, I applied a few tweaks here and there. Nothing like some candidates from South Asia who put down all the technologies/products used on a project even though they'd never used it at all...

    I sent of my CV via an agent to a job and got a call that night from my old manager.

    Opps. Yep, he was the one recruiting for the job that I'd applied for.

    "When did you really become an expert in ********?" he asked.

    cue embarrassing silence at my end.

    He knew exactly the product I was referring to in my CV.

    Bang goes my chance of getting the job.

    I got the job and spent just under two years working for my old boss once again.

    The day I started, he showed me the CV's of the other people he'd interviewed complete with his comments. He knew people who knew most of the applicatants so it was eacy to find out who'd been telling real porkies.

    "Yours was the least embellished of all of them," was his comment.

    A bit later, we hired someone whose CV checked out but after a couple of weeks it was plain to see that he was a total numpty when it came to key areas of the product he was supposed to be a certified expert in. He didn't last.

    After that I just kept to the truth with the information on my CV.

    Posting AC as some of those people described are still working in the Industry. I'm retired and even though I get regular calls about going jobs, I'm done with IT for a living.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sexing up the good old CV

      After that I just kept to the truth with the information on my CV.

      So do I - what sort of relationship with an employer can you expect if you start off being dishonest. Also, being autistic I'm somewhat inclined to just "say it as it is" which has it's upsides, but also tends to get me in trouble with manglement when they are trying to hide the trust from clients !

      But, being truthful on your CV puts you at a distinct disadvantage to all the BSers - typically meaning that you don't get past the first "does it tick all the boxes for the over-egged job spec we've posted".

      1. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: Sexing up the good old CV

        But, being truthful on your CV puts you at a distinct disadvantage to all the BSers - typically meaning that you don't get past the first "does it tick all the boxes for the over-egged job spec we've posted".

        That is very true. Hopefully it works both ways, and employer that is unable to weed out the obviously embellished ones is one you wouldn't want to work for anyway.

        1. Amentheist
          Unhappy

          Re: Sexing up the good old CV

          Same thing with a friend who wants/needs to move to IT from doing manual labour jobs because of a medical condition which may or may not prevent him from doing any manual labour in the future (as he's still young and can use his legs) but has to penetrate the market with only passed certifications and no experience nearing his 30s. And you can't exactly pull the disabled card as well unless at an interview I suppose.

          1. my farts clear the room

            Re: Sexing up the good old CV

            I applaud anyone with the cahones to change industry.

            Send him to www.cybrary.com where he can have a crack at the training courses and see if they float his boat.

            There's room for everybody, just recently I had to explain to a newbie that IP addresses don't get activated, if it doesn't work there are loads of things to check from the floor port to the clips on the network cable plugs, via the voip phone, the wattage of the PSU powering the docking station, is wifi connected (and should it be) and of course typos in any fields that matter.

            12 years ago I employed an HGV driver who wanted to move into IT so he'd been learning SQL, he was the most balanced and normal person I have ever seen in an IT department. The day before I interviewed him he had been 'in Glasgow, in front of a man in a hat'. Just recently on LinkedIn I saw that he was promoted to a senior management position. The direction changers have the drive and wherewithal to overtake those in their comfort zones.

            It takes a lot of gumption to actively change direction, but with so many in IT being nearer to Moss than Roy, there are plenty of incubation niches to be found.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sexing up the good old CV

            My own half-a-degree got me out of a post-room and into a Finance job that's slowly turned into the cursed life of a VBA developer. IT is definitely a field where practice and willingness to try and Fix Things can eventually become a job.

            AS for entire industry shifts: a friend of mine moved from retail Pharmacy to IT a few years back - retail pharmacy is like regular retail, except your mistakes might kill someone and you're deep in student loan debt to get in the door. She did an HND or something of that order to get a paper qualification, and managed to turn that into a serious IT job.

          3. Korev Silver badge

            Re: Sexing up the good old CV

            Depends on the job. One of my friends in the UK was very surprised to have beaten a disabled transwoman to a job in the charity sector as she "only" has mental health issues.

        2. VonDutch

          Re: Sexing up the good old CV

          I've helped with vetting CVs to select who to put forward for interviews in the past.

          We would let a few of the obvious BSers through because we wanted to hear how they performed in the interview (sometimes testing practical skills in the lab).

          Frequently they were fresh graduates and therefore "experts" on everything they've heard about at Uni but have no practical experience.

          Would that be the Dunning-Kruger effect?

          1. swm Silver badge

            Re: Sexing up the good old CV

            I was once assigned to recruit candidates from Cornell. I put on a coat and tie so I looked like a "suit" and started interviewing students. Each student was allotted 1/2 an hour (minus 5 minutes I used to scan their resume). One candidate was optimizing something to do with integer programming but the resume was weird. So I thought i would cut to the chase. My first question was, "do you mean that you can solve an NP-complete problem in polynomial time?" The response was amazing - he looked at me and said, " Oh, you understand this stuff - let me tell you what I am really doing." He was quite bright and we had quite an interesting conversation. I gave him high marks for intelligence but unfortunately couldn't find a match in our company for someone with his skills.

      2. H in The Hague Silver badge

        Re: Sexing up the good old CV

        "I'm somewhat inclined to just "say it as it is"

        Well, you'd better move to the Netherlands then - that's what everybody does here! Saves a lot of time, but new arrivals from the South of England occasionally need a bit of time to get used to it. Though folk from Yorkshire fit right in :)

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Sexing up the good old CV

      I rarely embellished my CV, but I caught a couple of agencies doing it. I was applied for a couple of positions, where the interviewer asked me about my experience with product X, to which I replied, truthfully, that I'd never used it.

      They then replied it was in my CV, I pulled out my copy to check and, no, not in my CV. But it had crept into the CV before it got to the client... One of the reasons I always carry a copy of my CV for my reference when in an interview.

      I explained that it was similar to product Y, of which I had extensive experience and I should pick it up quickly. They gave me a chance and I was right, I picked it up and was running with it in a couple of hours.

      Another time, I went for a job as a PHP developer. I crammed the night before the interview, got a simple PHP page running on my home Apache server and tested some POST, GET and Ajax scripts. I got through the interview and a trial day, got a 3 week contract, which turned into a permanent position... That was in 2008. I got a message on Xing (German equivalent of LinkedIn) from a manager at the company last week, saying he hadn't used Xing for a while and thanking me for the product I wrote whilst I was at the company!

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Sexing up the good old CV

        I rarely embellished my CV, but I caught a couple of agencies doing it. I was applied for a couple of positions, where the interviewer asked me about my experience with product X, to which I replied, truthfully, that I'd never used it.

        They then replied it was in my CV, I pulled out my copy to check and, no, not in my CV. But it had crept into the CV before it got to the client... One of the reasons I always carry a copy of my CV for my reference when in an interview.

        Happened to me a couple of times as well. My standard at a job interview now is to hand out copies of my CV to everyone present and ask for a copy of the version they have. Some people require an explanation, but those are becoming pretty scarce. More than one agent has landed in hot water because of this kind of despicable behaviour.

        1. Korev Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Sexing up the good old CV

          I was interviewing someone in a situation like that a few years ago. He'd been unemployed for a while and was desperate for a job, the recruiter had added all sorts of things to his CV. The "additions" to his skills and experience had worked as I wouldn't have interviewed him otherwise. It was a bloody awful experience for him as I tried to tease out how he got that experience when it wasn't obvious from his CV, I could feel the awkwardness down the phone... Once we realised what had happened he calmed down a bit.

          I was livid (see icon!) and wanted to see if I could get the recruiter blacklisted; but the candidate asked me not to take it further so I respected his wishes.

  7. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Never trust a CV

    Many years ago, I learned not to trust CVs. An interview and a test are required for anyone wanting a technical role with me. It catches out the BSs every time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Never trust a CV

      Especially if the applicant is a fresh grad. I've witnessed CS grads sharing brilliant CVs with just the names changed. When asked about anything within the CV concerned, hilarity ensues.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Never trust a CV

        > ...CS grads sharing brilliant CVs with just the names changed.

        Ugh.

        Once asked an applicant whether he had ever opened or repaired a computer. "Yes" was the answer to the "repaired" part. I asked what the problem was and how it was solved. "CD drive" and "just kicked against the case" came back. No shadow of embarrassment on the side of the applicant...

        For another job (more design-y) we just got sent a floppy disk and a note "See disk!" on paper. Disk contained just a link to C:\something\. We called the person and tried to explain the problem. You may guess whether our explanation was understood (hint: no).

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Never trust a CV

          "just kicked against the case"

          But as we all know the professionalism lies in knowing where to kick and how hard. Obviously the man for the job.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Never trust a CV

      "An interview and a test are required for anyone wanting a technical role with me"

      The test my employer uses is rather amusing - and very effectively sorts out the wheat from the chaff

      What gobsmacked us was when one applicant for a fairly technical security role responded: "Oh I don't know any of that, i just get a man to do it for me." - the scary part being that she was working a similar role in a large uk government department at the time, had a couple of similar jobs earlier in her CV and had glowing references (which we'd checked).

      Needless to say, she didn't get the job.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: Never trust a CV

        I have story starting very similar. Just, she DID get the job. Now get you barf bag ready...

        Made triple of what I did. Fired half of the IT guys who (rightly) complained about being overworked. Hiring replacements? Hell, no. Even though these people were at the arse-end of the salary range. Cue unholy mess IT-wise and extra terror at those poor chaps remaining.

        Left for greener pastures, taking with her an amount of stocks that were at more than ten times my yearly salary.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Never trust a CV

          In charge of a Banks IT by any chance?!

          1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

            Re: Never trust a CV

            > In charge of a Banks IT by any chance?!

            If banks hire PhDs in computer science who do not know any programming language and need help with tasks like surfing the web, then may be.

            Nothing above is made up or even exaggerated, seriously.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Never trust a CV

              [Toy Story Buzz Lightyear jpg]

              People managers. People managers as far as the eyes can see...

    3. DuchessofDukeStreet

      Re: Never trust a CV

      Not even just technical roles, I know at least six people whose LinkedIn profile (and probably their CV although I've not seen all of them) states that they were the Programme Manager for a large scale multi-company implementation and transformation programme. In reality, every one of them was a project manager looking after the business acceptance side of one or more workstreams in a single company in the group. Not an ounce of actual technical delivery amongst them.

      I automatically downgrade "lead for" on a CV to "worked in a project/team that had people working on" unless I know otherwise but it's really not easy unless you're familiar with the specific technology that's being claimed. I know a little about a lot of things but most importantly, I know my limits!

    4. Def Silver badge

      Re: Never trust a CV

      An interview and a test are required...

      I used to give a technical quiz when interviewing potential candidates back in the 90s. The first question was:

      Write a C++ class that stores a signed 32-bit integer. Include member functions to change and retrieve the stored value.

      About half the people we interviewed couldn't even do that.

      The questions became progressively harder from there. I dread to think what the Stack Overflow Brigade would make of them today.

  8. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Listserv, out of office replies, long weekend

    30,000+ messages later, it stopped! The mail client for that system made a little ding when a message was received, it was a good thing a colleague had forgotten to log out, and the constant ding ding ding got his attention ;-} We asked the vendor about it, they seemed puzzled that their guy didn't turn on "Limit to one reply per message"

  9. Petergwilson
    FAIL

    I once got to interview a candidate for a technical role where he had stated on his CV that he had been solely responsible for a major e-mail migration project for a certain client. We went all the way through the interview and than I started to ask him about the project. I knew he wouldn't know about it as I had been the person solely responsible for that project and I had never met him before. That piece of CV embellishment really backfired and he didn't get the job.

  10. adam payne Silver badge

    Never embellish a CV as it will usually come back to bite you.

    If my refusal to embellish my CV puts me at a disadvantage over people that have flat out lied then so be it. Better to be honest from the start.

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Never embellish a CV as it will usually come back to bite you.

      If my refusal to embellish my CV puts me at a disadvantage over people that have flat out lied then so be it. Better to be honest from the start.

      I agree 100%. Never embellished, never will. A good recruiter can catch you out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Absolutely...

        I always just make a boring list of what I've actually worked on and leave the rest to interview.

        My first IT boss would choose people purely on the basis of 'good team fit' by having an entirely non technical 'interview' where candidates were invited to join the team for dinner or drinks. He was explicit about his approach --- he took the CVs on trust and if there was any indication you had lied you were gone before your 1 month probation was up.

        "Rather have an average team player than a genius nobody likes" was his motto. Although, weirdly, he did get a couple of geniuses using this method (not me, I'm the *maybe* average team player). However, I have found sticking with my lifelong dual strategies of "let's all be honest" and "can't we all be nice?" usually seems to work surprisingly well.

        1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

          Re: Absolutely...

          I have found sticking with my lifelong dual strategies of "let's all be honest" and "can't we all be nice?" usually seems to work surprisingly well.

          That works for me too. If you've f**ked up and you go to your co-workers and say "I've f**ked up, can you help me out" they're more likely to be willing to help than if you shit on them at every turn.

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            Re: Absolutely...

            they're more likely to be willing to help than if you shit on them at every turn.

            Agreed. Don't be afraid to take the blame, and if you work in a good environment you can also use hyperbolic language to describe just how stupid you were when you fucked up, purely to make people laugh. It lets people know it's safe for them to cough up to errors and few people can pass up an opportunity to make their mates laugh too. Better to catch a problem early rather than have to fix the problem and any cover-up.

            That said, there have still been a couple of cockups I've made which I've only been able to report here as AC...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Absolutely...

              >Agreed. Don't be afraid to take the blame, and if you work in a good environment you can also use hyperbolic language to describe just how stupid you were when you fucked up, purely to make people laugh.

              At least one former job had a "FUBAR of the week" board, where people where encouraged to admit to their mistakes publicly and so we could all learn the lessons from them.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Absolutely...

                But imagine the shame of owning up only to find you'd been out-FUBARed for the week.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Absolutely...

          I always just make a boring list of what I've actually worked on and leave the rest to interview.

          My CV has shrunk every time I update it (which isn't often to be fair), too many years obsolete tech to bother explaining. The opposite of embellishment! Didn't even write the 1st formal version till HR asked for it a week after starting a job - managed 18 years without one till then.

          The 'non-technical interview' has always been kind to me, usually just retiring straight to a pub after a token period in the office. Happy times.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Absolutely...

          "candidates were invited to join the team for dinner or drinks"

          That sounds like a technical interview in disguise. The team would catch the bull-shitters.

      2. Nick Kew

        A good recruiter

        Wow! South Africa really is different? How come you haven't long-since overtaken us?

      3. PerlyKing Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: A good recruiter can catch you out.

        I think I've spotted the flaw in your plan....

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A good recruiter can catch you out.

        It's usually the recruitment agency trying to talk me into "making a few changes to make my CV stand out."

  11. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Angel

    Hmmm - last time eh.

    That would have been in the late 1960s when I said I had 'colour' experience, but didn't point out that it consisted of switching on and adjusting the tuner at customers' houses.

    I sweated buckets for about 3 months and learned fast. Never repeated the experiment!

    ...

    ...

    But on the plus side, not many 19yolds were pulling in £25/week and driving a brand new Escort Estate in those days.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i sexed up my cv by changing my asian name to something less foreign sounding.

    ahh.. the joys of finding a way around institutional racism.

    i have to remind myself I'm now Winterford Chester-Oxley when they call my name for interview.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Being from Hong Kong, my wife has an English "first" name. Being married to me she has an English surname. When recruiters call for Mrs English Englishname and a chinese woman walks in, there are often glances of confusion.

      Tho', in her current job she's set for life, as they are trying to downsize, but daren't make her redundant as it would kill their diversity figures.

  13. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Many moons ago, when server disk storage was far more expensive and far less plentiful than it is nowadays, someone in HR sent out an email to every member of staff. Nothing unusual in that, but this one included an attached PDF that they had prepared using a shedload of super-high-res images and other nonsense, and so weighed in at a heft (for the time) few megabytes. In a company our size, that many emails with that large an attachment brought the email server down.

    IIRC the Gods Of Irony were involved as the attachment was something about a vacancy for someone in system administration.

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      This was far from unusual. Once Powerpoint appeared the mass mailings with images etc. poured into company systems. At LargeCopierCompany it was common the get mass mailed an announcements of birthdays, engagements, pregnancies, closing of the toilets for maintenance etc. etc. etc. Even today sending a space-hungry PDF, often containing a scanned image of a text announcement, will routinely appear when a simple text e-mail would have been enough.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Even today sending a space-hungry PDF, often containing a scanned image of a text announcement, will routinely appear when a simple text e-mail would have been enough."

        It didn't involve a PDF but I did get an email from some marketing type which consisted of a brightly coloured image of the few words he wanted to send. As the sender worked for the Co-op I took great pleasure in pointing that it wouldn't have worked for a blind recipient depending on a screen reader and that it therefore conflicted with his employer's sense of social responsibility, inclusion or whatever.

      2. A-nonCoward

        The relevant mandatory XKCD is today's

        Disk Usage

  14. TomPhan

    I'll stop lying on my CV...

    ...when they stop lying in their job description.

    1. Jamie Kitson

      Re: I'll stop lying on my CV...

      Before you're hired:

      1. A binary tree?

      2. Currying?

      3. Higher-order function?

      4. How does event loop work?

      5. What is prototype?

      6. What is encapsulation?

      7. Can you draw an algorithm?

      After you're hired:

      1. Hey, can you add login.

      https://twitter.com/js_tut/status/1117090012930162689

  15. grahams_xwing

    Reverse Problem

    I had quite the opposite problem when I applied to my previous job as a print composition dev. I turned up to my interview to be faced with the guy who would be my line manager. He spends a loooong time reading through the CV in front of him (with me thinking - nice of you to have prepped for this before hand...) and then opens with: -

    "So you have a fair bit of experience with xxx?"

    **Long pause**

    "Um... no?"

    "Oh. How about yyy?"

    "Um... no, and I don't recall putting those on my CV either" - After all, I didn't fancy taking on a role using software i'd never seen before.

    "Ah... you are Gareth yes?"

    "Nooooooo, Graham - I suspect you have someone else's CV in front of you"

    Somehow - despite not technically being chosen for interview, I got that job, and of course I was known jokingly as Gareth for my whole time there, much to the bemusement of the higher managment who my line manager chose not to tell....

  16. matthewdjb

    And from the subcontinent

    The comments on this blog https://blogs.sap.com/2014/02/21/why-faking-your-cv-would-hunt-you-for-life/ indicate that many of our off-shore colleagues consider lying, faking and cheating to be perfectly moral and justified.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Filter them

    I had one customer who filtered out all auto-reply emails at the server level and binned them.

    Then they had the nerve to escalate our lack of reactivity to their urgent support emails when the requestees didn't receive any OoO outlining their alternative points of contact for support.

    Went all the way up to senior VP shitstorm level.

    And even after we sussed what they were up to, the blame was still ours and to my knowledge they still do have this filtering in place.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Filter them

      And even after we sussed what they were up to, the blame was still ours and to my knowledge they still do have this filtering in place.

      The blame is rightly yours if you didn't drop that customer. The customer is always right, right up to the point the customer is wrong and it isn't a customer anymore. Most get rather upset by that, but that is their problem.

  18. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Not quite sexing up the CV but when I made the transition from science to IT I came from using a system that had the Rand editor and not vi. I was given some minor stuff to look at on the first day and got by with some half-remembered ed commands - or maybe just catting into files. A quick trip to Dillons (RIP) at the end of the afternoon to get a vi book (still living a quiet life in my bookshelves and problem solved.

    1. jake Silver badge

      You can still get a copy of e ...

      ... should you wish.

      https://github.com/blakemcbride/Rand-E-Editor

      The reference manual:

      https://www.rand.org/pubs/notes/N2239-1.html

      Interesting piece of history, if nothing else. Was WAY ahead of it's time.

  19. A-nonCoward
    Happy

    Thank you, everybody - y'all touched a nerve

    At times I feel myself unemployable, and I haven't really needed to think about it until recently, being sort of happy enough with a few months work each year from a client where I am really respected as the cat's meow - but where they can't afford me full time, and they're struggling more and more to keep their business. Made for a smallish but acceptable income, going down the last few years, action is needed, and my own business (non IT) is not yet going well enough.

    So I went through two revisions of my CV this last month, as two very different jobs came up as possible. One of my problems is that, by now, as a consultant and etc., I've simply done too many things, so it's hard to focus on what is relevant, cover reasonable options of what I know and can do, yet stay within two pages. Nobody cares for a "generalist", right? The other problem, you guessed it, I'm self taught. So give me some stupid test where you want some official classwork definitions, it won't do. However, if yours is a real world problem that you need solving, you will not be the first that set me aside at first as an also-ran, but then give me a phone call a couple weeks later because your expert certified degreed wonders couldn't actually find their behind with both hands. For crying out loud, when I was a kid I built a LOGO programming environment within the 16K of a ZX81, because I didn't know such things were supposed to be difficult, etc. Created an inter-office messaging system using a Windows 98 IIS (had to reboot the server often, would fill with crud). At some moment later, was hired to develop a University's coursework for Mechatronics, because their previous teams couldn't get the job done - I learned later that my proposal has been implemented and is the current coursework. Was doing IoT years before that expression became popular, with encrypted communications, natch! (C, of course) Nowadays building an app to directly handle data within a database, right now taking a break a few minutes 'cause tired.

    Who knows, 5% by now? of my current useful "knowledge", besides a lot of trivia, comes indirectly from ElReg, ideas I've picked up here, mistakes to avoid, etc. For example, today I learned about cybra.it right here in this comments section. I need to really work on my resume, straighten up my genius with a bit of boring "normalcy", because I need to figure out how the 2019 Christmas presents will be paid, and so far my CV is essentially unbelievable, employers must think it's blown up beyond any reality and/or they think I'm overqualified?

    Also, here in the comments section I find people who can run circles around me "genius", and that feels good, I'm tired to be the only one that knows the right thing, and has to struggle in convincing others, or just move on because they'll never get it. I just want to be coding, peacefully, hopefully within a decent healthy team, hopefully not for a Facebook or Google or Microsoft (the later quite unlikely, I know I'm blacklisted there). I've coded myself out of a job too many times, and it just looks weird in my CV... Oh well.

    Ok, back to my coding. Once I finish this, in a week or so, will need to find something else, sigh.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Thank you, everybody - y'all touched a nerve

      People keep telling us the future is "portfolio" employment, but recruiters see a portfolio of experience on a CV and drop it like it's on fire.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have I told some little white lies?

    Hell yes, I have. I've told a couple of big whoppers too. You have to these days to get past the morons in HR. Back in the day when a department manager looked at resumés, they could spot good candidates whose background wasn't an exact match to the job posting, but similar enough that it made no difference. Bring on HR "professionals" that know nothing about the qualifications needed for a particular opening and may not have a real grasp of what the company really does. This is a huge problem in technical fields. Most CAD software looks the same. Some vendors have different packages that cater to different companies based on the scale of the projects being done but the basic engine is the same so if you know how to use one, you'd have no problem with the other flavor. An engineering manager would know that as a matter of course. HR, not a clue.

    The bottom line is you need to write a CV that matches the job posting to a very high degree making sure you have identified and ticked all of the boxes. When you've passed that barrier and finally arrived at a in-person interview with the department head, that's when you hand over your real tear sheet and ask for forgiveness in gaming the system to get there. If they toss you out on your ear, bugger them. They're likely too much of a stickler to be much fun working for.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019