As a result of the PFY's evil machinations he and I are in one of those disgusting huggy-feely sessions where everyone tells everyone else how they feel about their place in the world. Or, in this case, the company. As if it isn't bad enough having to rub shoulders with users, we're supposed to share our thoughts with them.
And of course the tweed-suit who's chairing the session has loaded it with people who the boss feels are victims of the Systems and Networks 'aggressive policy of solving problems'. The theory is that the PFY and I will see the error of our ways when we come face to face with our former 'clients'.
"Now, who would like to start?" Tweedy smiles, looking around the group expectantly...
Ten minutes later, we're back in the office because no one had anything to say. Maybe the PFY's dictaphone put them off - but he only had it because he wanted to reflect upon the users' feelings afterwards...
The boss, noticing our rapid return, forgoes the 'I hope you've learned your lesson' speech. And distressingly, there is still no promise of an Easter bonus.
Being the dedicated type, I decide to put the disappointment out of my mind and do some preventive maintenance on the beancounters' asset audit server machine. After all, they were the ones complaining about our level of service the loudest before the PFY and I walked into the room. (The old sub-miniature microphone in the RJ45 'terminator' trick never fails). Apparently the machine is running slowly.
Our telling them yesterday that they're using twice as many sessions as they'd specced the machine for wasn't seen as constructive criticism.
"Careful with the hammer," the PFY cries, ducking under the backswing of one of my more enthusiastic applications of maintenance.
"Woopsy," I say guiltily, "got a bit carried away there."
"No harm done - to me anyway," he murmurs as he lifts up a floor tile and kicks the results of the 'maintenance' into the subfloor area.
"Takes a licking but keeps on ticking," I say, tapping the battle-scarred machine cage. And, inadvertently, pressing the power-off switch.
In my mind's eye I can already see the chief beancounter hitting the panic button to counter the potential threat to asset security. Not being a believer in coincidence, he's bound to think the outage is a deliberate (which - at least in this case - it isn't) effort to perform some non-audit trailed modifications to the fixed asset inventory.
Like we didn't do that a fortnight ago. During the day. Logged on as him so if the audit trail is ever investigated... However, this isn't going to help much when he sets eyes on the server that looks as though it's done several tours of duty in Beirut.
Sure enough, he's not at all happy when the boss drags him into the computer room to assuage his fears.
"What the hell happened to that?" he gasps, seeing the battle-scarred casing. "It's all bashed about!"
"Well, nothing lasts forever - wear and tear..."
"It's only two months old."
"Two months is a long time in computing," I chip in.
"Besides, it was pretty battered when the courier dropped it off," the PFY adds.
"Why did you sign for it then?"
"Well, it seemed to fire up OK," I said
"Good grief, it looks like it's been beaten with a hammer. Are you sure the couriers did all that?"
"Well, the couriers did some of it, but the cleaning staff probably helped."
"We don't allow cleaners in this room," the boss interjects.
"Yes I know," I say sadly, "That's why I have to do it."
"So you damaged our machine?"
"I'm afraid so," I sigh. "I'm a system administrator, not really a cleaner."
"And I'm a lover, not a fighter," the PFY adds, obviously having tipped a little too much tape-head cleaner on his Weeties this morning.
The humour break is interrupted by the server plummeting to the floor, as the screws holding the shelf in place - loosened during maintenance - lose purchase on the rack.
The aftermath of this little accident doesn't bear thinking about, but, suffice to say, we're in huggy-feely central the next morning, and Tweedy and cohorts are in attendance.
"Now, who would like to start?" Tweedy asks benevolently.
"Ah, I would," I say. "I'd like to share my feelings."