Sometime in the second half of 1997 at Unisys Melbourne we got ourselves a new boss. You understand that it wasn't voluntary. We'd done well with Grumpy, which nickname wasn't deserved but he liked it. He knew how we worked and we knew how he worked and we played it for a win win. But things change and Grumpy moved on to other things and we inherited a new boss.
Bernie was, to be frank, an idiot. Almost the perfect example of someone who goes into management because they can't do anything else. You understand of course that I speak as one who plays the management role reluctantly. But I've been around long enough to have seen many examples of the species and to model my behaviour, when I must play the role, on those I can respect.
On the other hand, if Bernie was an idiot he was an amiable idiot and that made him ripe for the exploitation. All we had to do was make him look like he was halfway acceptable as management material and, as the quid pro quo, we could demand that he let us do our thing.
So one Monday morning in 1998 I walked in to the office, to find Bernie on his knees under a desk, running a network cable. Bernie just didn't do that kind of thing but the explanation was right at hand, in the person of the new secretary, Lisa by name. She had legs and that seemed to be the major reason for Bernie's new found interest in manual labour!
And so, over the next couple of months, Bernie carried a hopeless torch. He was in his forties; she in her twenties. He was married; she single.