Emails From the Command-Line: A Greek Investment

By Ethan Net on at

Glorious sunshine intrudes through our office venetian blinds, and taking a quick look at the server, it appears only half the staff are in today. Jolly good; I'll see if I can find the keys to the roof terrace and work up there. With a cold beer. And some crisps.

Just as I begin hunting around for my laptop case, the phone rings. What could spoil this beautiful day, I ask myself. Answer: A sudden trip to Greece!

"Ah, Steven, we've just gone global," says the boss with pride in his voice, and still no realisation he's got my name wrong. And has done for two years now.

"Excuse me?" I ask nervously.

"It's the future, my boy. We've just snapped up a foreign advertising agency in Europe, Greece, to be precise, and you're going to have to get over there pretty sharpish and get all their IT things talking to ours. Plane leaves tomorrow, all going live on the Jubilee weekend."

They haven’t been reading the newspapers have they? Or watching the news, by the sounds of it.

My brain grinds to a halt. Is it the enormity of the task; the ridiculous deadline or the fact that they've just bought a company, which, let's face it, hasn't got the makings of a long and happy future? I don't know how to get out of this one. And Colin (the hairy goth-in-the-cupboard) can't go in my place -- he's allergic to daylight and they have quite a bit over there, I seem to recall.

I'll have to go. It'll all be on expenses, so I'll try and make the most of it; decent hotel (should be loads available I'd imagine); flash hire car (plenty to choose from). Just don't mention the Eurovision song contest. Or the Euro. Or Germany. Or anything really. Note to self: pick up some Drachma from petty cash on the way out.

Light bulb moment! Turn it into a holiday and get Sophia to come along, as my, er, IT assistant. (Alright, I know she can't spell 'IT,' but that's not important right now.) If I can convince her boss to let her go for a couple of days, we could be on the beach, having loads of fun and the boyfriend will be out of sight and out of mind. Perfect-o.

Typing "Greece" into Google to see what the weather's like, I catch sight of some news headlines: Further economic turmoil in Greece, as the latest advertising campaign for Greek tourism gets banned across the world. Apparently, totally naked girls on the beach eating kebabs; drinking lager and pulling each others' hair over a chiselled-looking Greek boy breaks quite a few broadcast regulations? Best sit on this trip for 24 hours, and see what happens.

The next day, the boss calls me, with a plaintive tone to his voice: The Greek agency we've just bought has gone bankrupt overnight thanks to that banned campaign; our lot upstairs just lost goodness knows how much on their first step into world domination, and my trip -- the hotel, the expenses, Sophia on the beach – all cancelled!

Colin looks over at me as I hang the phone up mournfully. “Err, just caught some info that you won't like, Ethan,” he grunts.

“Go on, surprise me with even more bad news,” I say.

“It seems that we’ve just bought another agency. This time, in Spain.”

You couldn’t make this stuff up! “Are they trying to lose us all our jobs?” I ask.

“Well, it seems that the boys upstairs have just agreed to take over Scratchi & Scratchi in Spain, and word is, we'll be asked to start working with their new system straight away.” It’s amazing what he can glean from a few emails that happened to be open when he remotely viewed the boss' screen to fix that iPad issue. (Nothing but a flat battery, if you’re wondering.)

Their new system?”

"Apparently they’ve just kitted out their entire company with a new IT system which does everything, and we'll have to start using it tomorrow. Oh yes… and it’s all in Spanish," Colin spits out the side of his mouth.

Oh well, up to the roof to work this one out then. Beer and crisps and a battered laptop get bagged, as I think to myself that at least I can get some time alone to brush up on the tan; tap into next door’s satellite footy, and wonder if Sophia is doing anything tomorrow. Do you think she likes paella?


Ethan Net is a pseudonym for an overworked and underpaid IT Manager. It doesn’t matter where he works or who he is — unless he happens to be your IT Manager. Look out for his column every Wednesday afternoon here on Gizmodo UK.

Image Credit: Server Room from Shutterstock