Glorious sunshine yesterday; the park was full of happy people not moaning about work, and instead swapping insights about that night's much-anticipated football match, England vs. err...somebody else. It must have been an important match I figured, as the bosses told us there was to be free beer and pizza in the boardroom for anyone interested. Free beer – how could I refuse?
On the way out of my office (cupboard, to be technical) for lunch in the park – an email ‘boiiiing!’ noise echoed, from the boss’s PA, marked ‘Urgent’. Definitely can’t ignore this one.
“What can this be?” I snigger. “Forgotten where she sits, has she? Mailed me by mistake? Left her laptop on the bus?” Oh, if only it was one of the above…
Opening it, my eyes dart across the words: “Hi Steven (Really! I’ve been here a year now.) I hope you’re well. I tried to turn on the plasma TV in the boardroom and I can’t get anything on it. Can you come up please? I’ve got some biscuits.”
“She’s probably tried turning on the microwave,” I mumble to myself while waiting for the lift. Must try those stairs out. One day.
I eventually got to the seventh floor, and the lift doors creak open, just, allowing me to make my way over to her office.
“Right then – what’s the problem?” I can’t help but notice the lack of biscuits, which was the main reason for getting up there so fast. Very disappointed.
“It’s not doing anything,” she replies. “Look!” And she walks up to the 65-inch plasma; points the remote control (the right way round!), and presses the correct buttons whilst reading from the idiot-proof instructions. True enough, no response from the screen. Change of batteries; cables all plugged in...nothing. I plug in her laptop, and that works fine, so why no TV signal?
“Um, has anybody been in lately, who wanted access to the roof?” I ask, as I eye up the access door right behind her desk.
“Oh, no, nobody. Apart from those guys last week who had to service the helipad.”
“Helipad! We haven’t got a helipad,” I sigh. Grabbing the keys from a hook by her desk, I run up to the roof; stepping over empty Coke cans and an old adult ‘art magazine’ on my way. Why do all stairwells smell the same? Not that I really want the answer...
Up, out, onto the roof: There’s a huge empty space where our satellite dish once was. She’s only let them walk in and nick the flippin’ dish!
“But they looked so honest!” she exclaimed, as I drew a picture of what had happened. No, really… I had to draw a picture.
In a few hours we’ll have half the building up here for free beer, free food, and a front row seat watching ‘En-ger-land,’ and they're going to be severely disappointed if the TV isn't working. Should I run away? No, they’ve seen me already today. Stream it in and show from a laptop? Not with the 10MB pipe we’ve got running at 100 per cent capacity; it’ll look like two teams of Lego men playing 5-a-side.
Drastic action was called for. It’s time to call in a favour...from HR Susan, I think. I’ve got some brownie points there from last week, so let's cash 'em in now. Free beer is worth it, I remind myself.
“Hiya Susan. You OK?” I casually enquire.
“Yes thanks Ethan, how are you?” She got my name right! I must have scared her good and proper when I told her I saw (and downloaded) those Facebook photos.
“You know you said your dad has a large house… with a large TV screen. And a pool. And a housekeeper.”
“Err, yes…” she replied, very nervously.
“Well, I think that for the good of the company and to keep things that may have happened with confidential data, you know, quiet, you could let about 30 of us in there tonight to watch the game. Don’t worry, we’ll bring our own refreshments, and it’s all for the good of the company...”
“We’ll be very well behaved,” I add, hoping it may sway her.
Well, it took a little (quite a lot actually) of persuading, and a promise of a new laptop (not to mention crossing my heart and hoping to die that I would never ever ever mention her little accident with the company personnel files), and a return of the memory stick with all the pictures of her from Facebook in a state of, well, "happiness." An hour later, we were all in a huge mansion in Chelsea, beer and pizza flowing, everybody happy. Shouting loudly at the TV, like the animals we are.
If you don’t ask, you just don’t get it. Cheering and holding a pint up as England scored (amazingly), I looked over to the boss’s PA and heard her saying the following words that haunted me all night:
“Steven, you won’t believe where I left my laptop!”
So you know what I’ll be doing today whilst nursing a rather sore head…As well as trying to explain where those stains on the carpet came from.
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.