BOFHness Overtime and Crazy People

I seldom seem to write about my actual life on this blog, which could be a good or a bad thing, depending on your feelings about blogs.

Today I am writing about my life in a carefully lateral way, because there are real actual people in my life, some of whom are in charge of my paycheck and some of whom have the potential to be litigious or otherwise prickly.

There have been Retrenchments. I can say that with aplomb, because its in the press already. This has led to a distinct increase in the number of hats I wear at work. This has so far led to 55-hour weeks, not counting overtime. Strangely though, it has also given me a new-found perspective. I am no longer laboring under the delusion that certain kinds of time-management are under my control. The resulting sense of freedom has seen my actual productivity soar, and my general workplace morale begin to climb also.

At the same time (pure coincidence) one of the banes of my existence at work, an entity which gave to me the hardest-working Christmas Day and Boxing Day I have ever known last year, has finally leapt into long-overdue motion. This has yielded an abundance of overtime work. It has also given rise to innumerable phone-calls and meetings with an individual who reminds me uncomfortably of a really horrible former employer. I would really like to character-assassinate this individual in a public place, picking over their foibles in gruesome detail, but I fear my present employer would frown upon such behaviour. Maybe some other time. Suffice to say that some people are just walking explanations for how wars and murder and generalised hatred remain a part of modern life.


This burst of activity has also given me an unusual opportunity to interact with (as far as I can tell) a much younger and more naiive version of myself. At first I found these interactions deeply upsetting: no fault glares so brightly as those which fester in our own past. But yesterday I had a bit of an epiphany about it all: I am the Big Dog here. This unsettling younger self I seem to have found regards me as some kind of spooky old legend, to be learned from and *boggle* emulated!

Once I understood this, everything changed. I suddenly found myself freely talking in acronyms I haven’t used in years. The arduous pain of explaining why I did it that way became a rewarding geeky chat. It came as an astonishing revelation to me that I can just do my job without any need for gratuitous showing off, and to this young critter I will seem like some kind of guru. It feels damn good to suddenly see myself so clearly from the perspective of my somewhat younger self.

I have to admit though, there is a strong temptation to behave like a BOFH. The world-view and attitude of the BOFH had never tempted me before, until suddenly I found myself interacting with a genuine (literal!) PFY. I have this sudden desire to swathe myself in the thoroughly opaque robes of UNIX lore and generally act like a Tolkien wizard! Fortunately, the dictates of Real Work for a Real Employer intervene. Telling someone to go RTFM in the middle of a hectic deadline-stricken project is generally frowned upon by management.


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