How to make easy things difficult

An odd week at werk.

I’ve now got my feet fully back under the table and everyone’s stopped freaking out that I’m back, well, mostly – one colleague who had been on holiday last week came into my office on Tuesday (his first day back) and actually rushed in and gave me a huge bear hug and then rested his head on my shoulder continuing to hug me for at least a minute saying “I’m sooooooooo glad you’re back mate, I’ve missed you”. One of my teccies was in the office at the time and sat there dumbstruck literally with his mouth open. You have to remember that this teccie (I’m his boss) had only worked for the company himself for two weeks prior to my return so he’s not quite realised what a throbbing asylum of nutcases it really is. I’d forgotten how well I get on with some of the people at the company.

Can’t remember whether I’d mentioned this before (and I’m too lazy to check back in the blog) but assistant teccie said to me at one point “this is the first time since I joined the company where I’ve wanted to come into work and felt like I’d done the right thing accepting the job, I’m glad your my boss” . 🙂 Stop it, I shall cry. I do do things like randomly say to my staff out of the blue “Hey X, you are making my job much easier, I’m really glad to have you around” and other such motivational stuff so perhaps it’s rubbing off on them, who knows. One of the best things I was ever taught about good management is that it is vital to catch your staff doing something right. It works. I also point out that I am doing virtually the same job as them and on the same team but someone has to have the casting vote and I’m the one. I also make it clear that when the shit hits the fan it’s my job to stand in their way and stop it hitting them, usually by turning the fan off. It seems to work. I also point out that rank has its privileges and therefore I rarely make the tea (they all get the hint). Heh heh.

First odd thing to happen this week was I was asked by a local customer to come and speak to one of “their ladies” (his words not mine) who did not wish to use the door control system (we supplied) because she had ‘religious objections’ to it. This device is a fingerprint reader that unlocks the door to a secure area. The employees just put their finger on it and the door opens. Normally, anyone that raises an objection to using the fingerprint scanner does this based on a fairly shaky understanding of the technology and a completely spurious reason with a hidden agenda such as “I believe this infringes my human rights” (it doesn’t) or “this infringes the data protection act” (it doesn’t, and I was, in a previous job, one of the original test cases for the act in the 1980s – so there). These people usually raise their objections by claiming all sorts of misguided things. My usual answer is “this machine could no more recreate your fingerprint than you could do a drawing of me based on my inside leg measurements and chest size”. It uses minutiae to create the biometric signature – that’s NOTHING like a fingerprint image and it would be of no use to the FBI, homeland security, MI5, labour government [shudder] or George Bush. Even if I sent them the biometric ID every time you used the device.

I perhaps should point out that I usually explain the details of how the system works far less rabidly to employees of customers who raise a specious objection. So far, everyone has gone away and used the system. It’s making me an absolute fortune now because I get paid 100 pounds by MI5 for every person’s fingerprint details my program emails to them *see note 1.

However, back to our lady with religious objections:

To cut a VERY long story short I chatted to this new lady for an hour and it turns out that she can’t use the system for quite different reasons. Apparently it is the living embodiment of the mark of the beast.

No – REALLY – her exact words “I have been specifically warned about this technology by the bible as it will make me bear the number of the beast so you see, I really can’t use it”.


After chatting to her I now understand her arguments and I’ve arranged for her to use a PIN number instead of the fingerprint scanner and she’s happy with this and using the system.

The basic argument went like this: “if I use this system it will generate a unique number based on my physical presence. This is also true of iris scanners and hand scanners”. [both of which we sell]

Me: “Do you use a Tesco’s club card?”

Her [way ahead of me]: “Yes, but I can choose when or if I use this card and to associate it with me. I can decide to stop using this card and number at any time and destroy it “.

Me: “But you can choose not to use this system, isn’t that the same?”

Her: “No, because the number is not generated by a human it is generated from my physical being”.

Me: “Ah…are there many people in the world with the same beliefs as you?”

Her: “Hundreds just in MK and thousands around the world”.

Me: “Bugger.”

So, it appears I have become the tool of Satan – some would say, not for the first time.

Oh, and then on Friday we found out that my predecessor has stolen loads of stuff and gone to work for one of our largest customers after tricking one of our suppliers into giving him things for free whilst pretending to still be in our employ. So, court injunction and affidavits next week….deep joy… 🙂

Note 1: Of COURSE I was joking about it sending the details to MI5. It actually sends them to the wife of the recently deposed president of Nigeria so that she is able to offer you exciting opportunities via email such as viagra and best meds without prescription, easy money (some small investment required, there is a problem with her bank) and ‘pretty girls waiting for you now quick quick’. *See note 2.

Note 2: Yes, I’m lying about that too. Honest. I *could* tell you what it does with any fingerprint details…but then I’d have to kill you….or sell your story to the Sunday newspapers…


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