Dear bosses: Grow up or get lost

To discourage the business owners' meddling, a techie tries to keep them occupied while the employees (gasp!) do their jobs

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A sound plan

I decided to turn their high school antics against them. When I built their machines I made sure they had speakers. I also set the Windows startup sound on each of their machines differently. Then I waited.

My desk was near their office door, which allowed me to hear what was going on in the office as they settled in for the day. I'd ignore the bootup sounds from the first boss's computer, but when the second machine with a different audio file came online, I set my plan in motion. Across the corporate LAN, I used an old utility called syndrop on the first machine to crash his computer. Then that boss would reboot his machine and I would syndrop the second, and so forth.

Whenever one of them turned his machine on, the other's computer would crash. Before long, they were yelling at each other, "Stop crashing my computer!" and fighting in their office, rather than going out on the floor and disturbing the employees.

It didn't take much time on my part, and it kept them distracted and in their office, so we could get some actual work done. Surprisingly, they never asked me to figure out what was going on with their computers. They just assumed the other person was doing something to make their machines crash. Then they'd retreat to the wet bar and would often leave early, giving us peace.

This went on for about a month, then the situation worsened. These guys maintained multiple bank accounts for the business in question and started "forgetting" to transfer money into the payroll account on paydays.

At that point, I kept them distracted while people faxed resumes to potential employers and nailed down starting dates with other companies. My new job was the first to start out of the group. The owners actually seemed surprised when I marched in one day and gave notice. One of them even said, "You can't leave! I won't let you!"

But we did.

Last I heard, the business had been sold to someone who knew what he was doing and is now thriving, without distractions or disruptions or bounced paychecks -- and a new, probably happier, staff.

Send your own IT tale of managing IT, personal bloopers, supporting users, or dealing with bureaucratic nonsense to offtherecord@infoworld.com. If we publish it, we'll send you a $50 American Express gift cheque.

This story, "Dear bosses: Grow up or get lost," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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