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Sysadmin's £100,000 revenge after sudden sacking

a very well known company supplying fantasy wargaming products

in which Edition? :P

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Re: a very well known company supplying fantasy wargaming products

Regardless of the edition.

I bet it is the same fantazy wargaming company which tries to explain that people (the permies) there work not for the money and because it is kewl. They also run 1 day long team pseudo-interviews on all candidates to ensure that any marks are gullible enough to be locked into the Ponzi scheme.

My discussion with them ended the moment it became clear that I am neither gullible, nor willing to take a 50% pay cut. They are located in the local swamp near the sewerage works. Traditional place for fantasy characters (in most fantasy games I have played the liches and other unded scum).

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Re: a very well known company supplying fantasy wargaming products

No wonder their figures and kits are so expensive in the last few years - they are still trying to recoup their losses.....

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Re: a very well known company supplying fantasy wargaming products

Having been involved in the "Space Marine" incident of a few years ago (I was one of the bloggers that helped break the story and show that said "gaming company" didn't have a leg to stand on) I have zero sympathy for them. Heck, the Space Marine incident meant they even got slated by ex-employees, didn't help that one of the old White Dwarf artists happened to be friends with the author of "Spots..."

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Headmaster

Re: a very well known company supplying fantasy wargaming products

"near the sewerage works"

Ah so NOT a UK company then? ;)

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Re: a very well known company supplying fantasy wargaming products

Alien8n - Space Marine incident? Got a link to share?

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Re: a very well known company supplying fantasy wargaming products

Company claimed "Space Marine" was it's IP.

World points out that the term and idea existed long before said company.

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Re: a very well known company supplying fantasy wargaming products

Here's a space marine link.

<arse covering>NB: May be completely unrelated to the "large phone bill" story</arse covering>

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Re: a very well known company supplying fantasy wargaming products

Yup, that was the one :)

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Re: Space Marine Link

Thanks Moiety and co, have an upvote!

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Re: a very well known company supplying fantasy wargaming products

Can't help but to remember recently several items on Disney hiring foreign workers to replace local help at a cheaper rate then getting rid of local workers (after having to train them). Talk about chutzpah.

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Paris Hilton

So when he put the phone down?

schadenfreude?

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James is a dick...

Yes, it would be satisfying to leave knowing what was coming, and yes, technically this is the fault of management for not handling the exit process very well - had the same thing happen to me earlier in the year...

But here's the thing - I would have called / emailed them and said "You need to be aware of this...". True, my plans for revenge would be scuppered, but my former colleagues whom I presumably would have cared about would be able to continue to eat.

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Trollface

Re: James is a dick...

He was fired... he had no obligation to tell them AT ALL...

And since his IT director was being a bag of dicks himself and all...

Yeah, I would have done exactly the same, not my problem...

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Re: James is a dick...

Nope.

Once a company kicks you out, you have no ongoing responsibility to function or plan for them. If a company kicks you out then its up to them to replace your skills or accept they don't need them.

And presumably he had better phone calls to make to ensure he could 'continue to eat'. I suspect they wouldnt pay him for any information he had.

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Anonymous Coward

@Martin Milan

Here's my live reaction to your comment:

Nope.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: James is a dick...

I would agree with the ongoing responsibility thing IF HE HAD LEFT VOLUNTARILY.

He was made redundant - that means that the management said "we do not need you, your skills, your experience or your knowledge". So he had absolutely no responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

I also disagree with the headline thought - this was not a "revenge" thing - again that implies some planning on the part of James.

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Re: James is a dick...

Given the company in question has shops in most large UK towns and had a turnover of £123M (~$185M) last year I think 'continuing to eat' wasn't an issue.

Unless there's another well known Nottingham based games company...

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Re: James is a dick...

It's the biggest (IIRC) company selling little pieces of metal/plastic/resin. It's generally hated by everyone else in the industry, and is very good at lawyering people into submission.

Considering how derivative it's main product lines are, they are insanely protective about copyight infringement. Because none of their fluff is at all borrowed/stolen at all.

They are pretty shitty to their staff too, last I checked.

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Re: James is a dick...

Further to this - the second they stop employing you they become the competition, you will work for someone else (probably in the same market segment) and the last thing you should do is reduce your new employers chances of success by helping the ones that fired you.

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Re: James is a dick...

Obviously can't know for sure, but if I were in his situation I'd have assumed my line manager was aware of what was going on with this and was going to be dealing with it. The fact his line manager was made redundant immediately after him (which he might not have been aware of at the time, and I would have to assume *also* without handover meetings) would probably explain why they weren't aware of it and he didn't think he had to contact them about it

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Re: James is a dick...

James owes this bunch of feckwits nothing.

First off, if the ISDN contract was for £50k a month then someone senior should have known about it. By making both James and his Manager redundant in such an abrupt/backhanded way this knowledge was lost.

Secondly, having been marched out of the building in such a way, I would also not be in the most co-operative of moods.

Thirdly, it sounds like the company had their own "cost management" plan in place. Wait until James and the team get the new system up and running, then bin them off to reduce headcount/save money. To see it backfire so amazingly must have been satisfying.

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WTF?

Re: "James is a dick..." What part of the way he was treated in being............

.........summarily dismissed in such a cavalier fashion leading to him having no reason at all to show that company any residual loyalty did you fail to understand? See icon.

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Re: James is a dick...

Personally, I couldn't approve of deliberate sabotage but:

It sounds like it's just not something that occurred.

Someone else would presumably have to take over his day-to-day responsibilities, someone else would be watching what was going in/out the IT budget, he wouldn't be the ONLY person to know about the existence of such a line - hell, accounting should have queried it a LOT earlier!

As such, it's a reasonable expectation that someone (maybe even the IT Manager that "left" soon after) was responsible for it and clearing up loose ends. And for that I wouldn't be able to fault them.

Deliberately not telling them when you're AWARE it's going to go unnoticed until it hits the hundreds of thousands is being just as dick-ish as DELIBERATELY making that happen.

But I can quite envision that this was unintentional and all those people who walked or were made to walk had responsibilities that were just ignored for the sake of cost-saving, and the accounts department were so unaware of what was happening that they didn't question anything at all. Their incompetence couldn't be his fault. But his deliberate ignorance of a potentially large problem would be. Even if it's slightly more blameless than, say, deliberately running up a huge bill before he left.

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Re: James is a dick...

Even if he hadn't left voluntarily the important thing was they marched him off the premises not giving him an exit interview or allowing him to talk to colleagues. So he literally had no more company time to hand over, and expecting someone who you've just thrown under a bus to have anything going through their mind beyond "How am I going to pay my rent next month" is the kind of person that fires a sysadmin without a debrief.

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@Lee D

"he wouldn't be the ONLY person to know about the existence of such a line - hell, accounting should have queried it a LOT earlier!"

Indeed, considering you're talking about a 50k a month spend accounting should really have been on it, but that isn't James' problem.

"Deliberately not telling them when you're AWARE it's going to go unnoticed until it hits the hundreds of thousands is being just as dick-ish as DELIBERATELY making that happen."

Deliberately not telling James that he's up for redundancy as soon as the project's done is also rather dick-ish. If the firm wanted a proper, mature and open debrief then they didn't exactly go about it the right way.

If I were in the same situation I'd keep quiet as well. If, on the other hand the handover was more mature and, quite frankly, pleasant, then I'd not hesitate in mentioning it.

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Re: James is a dick...

No matter how badly you are treated, you are a professional person and should do what an honourable and decent professional person would do, which is to take responsibility. In this case, it could have been a pleasantly-worded email to the Powers That Be reminding them of an expensive time-bomb ticking and what the next steps should be. I think that the said Powers That Be in this case would have done nowt and the results would have been the same, but you could go to your next employers with head held high knowing that your conduct and your commitment to quality were beyond reproach.

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Re: James is a dick...

Professionalism is a two-way street...

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Re: James is a dick...

Have to say I'm with the majority on this one. The point is, when you're a director or a senior manager, you can and should delegate some authority, but you cannot delegate responsibility. It seems pretty clear that the IT Director intended to toss James and his boss out as soon as the network connection was established - but failing to ensure he or another member of staff knew the details is entirely his fault. He was ultimately responsible, so it serves him bloody well right.

And if it turned out he had next-to-no IT knowledge then he had no business calling himself an IT Director, no matter how big a mouth and MBA he had.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: James is a dick...

Focus and awareness.

James' focus would of been on his immediate future employment and the ISDN account certainly wouldn't be in the forefront of his mind.

His colleagues should of been aware of the high price and step over plan, assuming they all weren't made redundant at the same time.

So what did he do wrong? He didn't foresee his management making himself and others redundant that would end up loosing knowledge of the ISDN contract.

I think there is a limit to responsibility and it usually supposed go hand in hand with level of pay.

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Re: James is a dick...

and ISTR way back in the mists of time they turned a once entertaining magazine into dross. I never forgave them for that.

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Re: James is a dick...

If a company kicks you out then its up to them to replace your skills or accept they don't need them

Unless they request verbally or in writing some form of transition support and agree reasonable terms which will not be shot down in court on a non-compete or contract law. These idiots (and I think I know which ones too), did not agree them. Well, tough.

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Re: James is a dick...

"No matter how badly you are treated, you are a professional person and should do what an honourable and decent professional person would do, which is to take responsibility."

I disagree. The key is "effective immediately" and "walked off the premises". You are in no obligation (and have little incentive) to do them a favour at that point. Your contract ended before you even reached the front door.

They decided that his job and responsibility would end right there and then. No handover, no exit interview, no retainer, nothing. They take responsibility and bear the consequences.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: you are a professional person

even the fire department will let you burn your house down, if you won't let them near it. That's between you and your insurance company.

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Re: James is a dick...

"would have"

"lose"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: James is a dick...

This is not revenge - it's just watching the boss shoot himself in the foot and having a good laugh at it.

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Re: James is a dick...

Hey, look! Their IT director browses El Reg!

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MORE DETAILS NEEDED

I think we need more details of exaclty how it went down to establish if "james is a dick"

It dosent even say why he was sacked / redundanted

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Re: James is a dick...

In theory, often in practice it is all about the individual, "someone" upstairs has decided some person has to go, and the redundancy is just a means to en end.

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Re: James is a dick...

Hangon! When they phoned him he responded and let them know why he thought something was costing that much, he could have just told them to do one (which I am assuming his old boss told them to do which is why they called him).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: James is a dick...

Bet those that like to take advantage just love you. Here's your cheque now **@# off and bent over on the way out so we can give you one last shafting.... And don't forget to say thank you.... Gullible or what.

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Happy

Re: James is a very nice man

Given the number of times "James is a dick" appears in bold print on this comments page, I bet he wishes he hadn't told El Reg.

;-)

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Re: James is a dick...

>>"No matter how badly you are treated, you are a professional person and should do what an honourable and decent professional person would do, which is to take responsibility"

I mostly agree and have worked to the best of my abilities for employers even whilst being unhappy with their attitude to me and until I find replacement work. However, I have also been in this situation - terminated without warning and escorted from the building immediately without even a chance to say goodbye to people. It is a deeply unpleasant experience to be treated like that and their reason was that they decided to cut costs by hiring new cheaper people to replace myself and two colleagues. They didn't understand that programmers are not like fuses which can just be swapped in and out as needed.

James was probably more concerned with how the Hell they were going to pay their rent and it does sound very much like they simply kept secret from him that he was going to be kicked out the moment they got what they wanted (along with his manager).

I try to avoid revenge for reasons of professionalism but when someone stabs you in the back like that, and especially cuts you off from your chance to reply by summarily throwing you out and closing off preventing you from having a chance to talk with the people you've worked with, I think it's pretty understandable to let them drive off a cliff when they've actively stopped you trying to save them.

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Re: James is a dick...

Except at the time we are talking about, most people's only email account was the one they had at the office.

He'd just been escorted out of the office with no opportunity to talk to anyone, or indeed read or send any emails.

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Pirate

Re: James is a dick...

Wow, 137 downvotes (and counting) in the 7 hours since this commentardary was posted. Is that an El Reg record?

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Re: James is a dick...

Given the company in question has shops in most large UK towns and had a turnover of £123M (~$185M) last year I think 'continuing to eat' wasn't an issue.

Now that might be the case. Back at the dawn of broadband their stuff wasn't quite so horrendously overpriced. Though all things considered I don't think the company in question has ever been in danger of going under.

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Re: James is a dick...

Maybe the number of downvotes ought to imply that either we're immoral people, or maybe we think that if you get escorted out the door, screw them and the horse they'll ride away on...

There are amicable ways to do things. Had they done that, they would have been in the loop. But their way was offensive and unnecessary and made it fairly clear that they didn't want to hear any more from that person.

Or, put it another way. Decisions made often have consequences. Here's a great example of exactly such a consequence biting hard.

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Re: James is a dick...

If James is indeed a dick then said management were surely entitled to eat a whole bag of James' when they came calling for help?

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