It's a nippy afternoon when I get to work to find an e-mail memo indicating that the computer has randomly selected me for a supervisor appraisal scheme. My supervisor is especially surprised because he distinctly remembers having my name removed from the list. "Random" can be such a misleading word.
Late in the afternoon I get to the interview with one of the senior execs and a Mr Grey (by name and nature) from a staffing resource company. The interview kicks off with:
"Simon, I believe you're aware of the purpose of this interview?" Grey smarms.
"Yes, where you discover that my supervisor ALMOST has the technical competence to remember his phone number if prompted eleven times."
"I don't think it's quite that bad" Grey chuckles..
The exec looks slightly uncomfortable.
"His HOME number. His office number is 4 prompts. That's only an extension."
"Yes. Well, he must be technically competent to be in this position!"
"Or be related to the CEO or the CEO's wife. Or plays golf at the same club. Or knows someone who plays golf at the same club. Or knows what a golf club looks like ..."
"I take it your opinion of your supervisor isn't particularly high?"
Exec looks distinctly uncomfortable now.
"For what reasons?"
"Well, let's be honest. Prior to this position, my supervisor paper-shuffled in a large factory known for its baked beans"
"I see. His network experience?"
"..resulted from him being the CEO's wife's second cousin" I reply.
"In all honesty, the guy couldn't examine a litter and find a runt, let alone a network. When I told him we should consider getting ATM in the Computer Room he ordered a new Barclaycard. I told him we had an internet firewall and he asked about extinguishers to go with it."
"I see. Perhaps his knowledge is more the planning field, as expected from a supervisor?"
"Possibly. Still I wonder why, when I suggested a heavier move to fibre he thanked me but said he was quite regular as it was."
"Ah. Well, what do YOU expect from someone in that position?" Grey asks
"The ability to add, subtract, read and write without having to stick his tongue out. The sense to sign his name to everything I put in front of him no matter how controversial it might appear"
"So you envisage that he is nothing more than a 'yes man'."
"Well, We'll perhaps agree to disagree on that one. Surely you can't expect him to sign anything without a thorough examination; after all, a delay of a few days is not likely to inconvenience anyone. As to your relationship, whilst it seems apparent that your supervisor is not optimum for the position, your opinion seems stunted and mostly reprehensible"
"Hmmm." I say, feigning concerned thought, "I see that we've probably reached an impasse" then I get up and leave.
On the way out I hear Exec warning Grey not to use the lifts or get into any computer controlled access areas. For that he shall be punished ...
. . . .
I'm watching the closed-circuit-tv at 6:17pm when a shadow detaches itself from the others and breaks for the doors ...
A quick >clickety< >click< on the keyboard and the revolving door halts mid-spin as the security alarms activate.
I wander downstairs 20 minutes later as if to exit via the doors. A crowd has gathered to watch security attempt to free Grey from inside the door. I smile benignly as Grey catches my gaze.
"DON'T WORRY" I shout "WE CAN ALWAYS BREAK THE GLASS TO GET YOU OUT!"
"Armour Glass" a guard chips in. "Have to put a car into it to break it - wouldn't do him much good"
"There's always the emergency override" I add helpfully
"Something went wrong. The whole panel's dead"
"Really?" I say, looking at Grey. "Well, the maintenance contract was part of the budget request MY SUPERVISOR REFUSED TO SIGN THIS AFTERNOON. STILL A DELAY OF A FEW DAYS IS NOT LIKELY TO INCONVENIENCE ANYONE. "
The guard mumbles. "We thought if we cut the wires to the locking plate it would release"
"If it were that simple any burglar could get in." I say, "NOW IT'S ON AN INTERNAL INDEPENDENT BATTERY. TAKES 48 HOURS TO DISCHARGE!"
"What can we do?" the guard asks.
"Well, Taco Shells and cheese slices sound like a good idea"
"To slide under the door to him. He's got to eat! I just hope he's BEEN TO THE TOILET RECENTLY. WOULD HATE TO SPEND 48 HOURS LOCKED IN A GLASS CABINET WITH FULL EXPOSURE TO THE STREET AND ONLY MY BRIEFCASE AT MY 'CONVENIENCE!"
Life can be so cruel especially when you're trying not to think about things ...