In case you missed the introductory article, the back story for this piece is that I recently located the key to a locked deed box, the contents of which I had completely forgotten. This and any others beginning with the word “Treasure!” are the tales associated with the items I found in it.
The first item was one of those Identity cards that you get if you visit a strange company. It consists of a clear plastic pouch with a clip enabling it to be attached to jacket or trousers. Into this pouch is inserted a ticket that you write out in the visitors book and tear out leaving a carbon copy behind for the record.
The ticket in question relates to a job I had back in 2004 after I was made redundant from my first IT job which had lasted nearly five years.
Through the good offices of a “friend of a friend” I was taken on (at a daily rate that I haven’t managed to equal since) for the task of replacing 300 old leased computers with 300 brand new ones.
That, of course, was not all there was to it – I had to put the company’s standard image onto the new ones which had been ordered to arrive in batches of 25 at regular intervals and install them at the desks of the staff concerned. Following on from that I would try to deal sympathetically with the whines and moans emanating from said staff!
“I was quite happy with the old one and don’t want a replacement!” was quite easily dealt with by my kind, caring and considerate response, “Well you’ve got to have it! Get over it!”
I then had to back up any documents that may have been mistakenly saved to the hard drives of the old PCs and then digitally wipe them before returning them to Hewlett Packard’s collection depot in Wokingham using the company’s big van.
And that would have been the entirety of the task had not their network administrator suffered from some sort of breakdown shortly before I started. When he found that I could do those duties too the Manager put me to work on routine network and desktop support jobs with orders to do the rollout as and when I could fit it in.
For that reason what had been envisaged (completely unrealistically, in my opinion) as only a three week contract actually lasted from the beginning of June until Christmas Eve!
Actually, and completely away from the point, the person whose job I was doing resigned his position with the company and I applied for the vacancy. I was interviewed but lost out to a really nice guy with a ponytail, a beard, a computer degree and some programming skills – all things that I did not possess.
The company in question builds luxury floating gin palaces for people with about 2 million quid to spare on a boat and does this on three sites which I had to deal with in turn. By the time I had done a few weeks work at the main site I was quite well known and had been told that although a “contractor” I didn’t need to wear a badge any more.
However, this acceptance of my status as an employee in every respect but the way I was paid cut no ice whatsoever with the foreman of the second biggest site who, incidentally I had met several times at the main office and who knew who I was as well as what I was there for! This officious idiot told me in no uncertain terms that while on HIS territory I would wear a badge stating my name and purpose!
Now those of you who either know me or are coming to know me through these articles will be aware that I no longer accept that sort of stupid, bad-mannered behaviour from ANYONE! I felt sure that as long as he could see what he THOUGHT was a company ID badge he would feel that he had asserted his authority and would have no cause to hassle me further.
So I completed a proper badge form at his reception desk then “tippexed” out the information on the top copy so that the true details were only on the carbon copy.
Then, for three whole weeks, I was in and out of the offices and shop-floor workstations at his site, frequently asking for help from other workers in carrying computers or monitors out to my car, and wearing a badge proclaiming:
Name: Jack D. Ripper.
Purpose of visit: Computer Theft.
While the IT Manager and my colleagues in the department knew about it and thought it was quite amusing NOT ONE person at the site in question ever noticed!