David Starling, IT Manager, was at his desk working on a PowerPoint presentation. He looked enviously at Chris Tackle who was sat next to him writing code with his headphones on. Just then, Flux Larson, Dave’s boss arrived.
“Don’t worry about that PowerPoint, Dave. Brenda has taken us off the project.”
“Yeah, she got wined and dined by Price Ernst MG, she’s given the work to them instead.”
“How are they going to do a review of our systems for cross site scripting vulnerabilities, they don’t have access.”
Flux smiled. “You haven’t worked with consultants before, have you?”
“They don’t do the work, you do it. They come in, ask you where the problems are, write down what you say in a report and give it to management, along with a bill for about two million dollars. It’s money for jam.”
“That’s crazy! I’m half way through this thing and I’ve only been working on it for a few hours. I could be finished before they get here. Why pay them?”
“Fucked if I know. Old boys club probably, they all played rugger at the same private schools.”
“Did Brenda go to a private school?”
“No, I don’t think so. But she did used to work for Price Ernst MG before she started here, so that’s probably the connection.”
And that is how Dave Starling found himself in a meeting room with Lars Effendic, Head of Security and a consultant from Price Ernst MG, who went by the name of Percy.
“How did you get into consultancy?” Dave asked Percy, since he had been told that small talk was now a management thing and no longer a programming language. Percy looked like he didn’t really want to answer.
“Well if you must know, I’m just out of prison for murder. There isn’t a lot available to me. I had to take this job. I’m a trained social worker, but kill one kid in the heat of the moment and your whole career changes.”
Dave wished he hadn’t asked now, but felt compelled to continue in order to get this conversation to a better place. “Did you study IT in prison?”
“No, I made number plates.”
“But we are paying three thousand dollars a day for you because of your expert knowledge on this.”
“Listen mate, the terms of my parole prevent me from throwing you against this wall, but if I can find somewhere to get rid of the body, it’s all sweet.”
Dave felt the meeting wasn’t going as well as it could.
Lars ignored this. “What information do you need from us to complete your report?” he asked.
“Company name. Key contacts. That’s it.”
“And you will talk to the key contacts and take it from there?”
“No. I’ll put the company name and the key contacts into the PowerPoint and save it as a PDF. Then email it to you.”
“Don’t you need to do some investigation and write down your findings?” Lars asked.
“Nope. It’s all done. Just change the names. Sometimes we don’t even do that properly. We’ve sold this report to four other banks already.”
Lars and Dave looked confused and huddled together.
“Okay, so its nothing like the work that we engaged them to do, its just a generic report, but I bet its got some brilliant insights on industry best practice and what everyone else is doing. It must be good for the money we are playing.” offered Dave.
“Nope.” interjected Percy, flexing his knuckles so that the word “HATE” stood out even more, “I’ve read it. Its a pile of shite. Alright, I know fuck all about IT, but even I can tell that this is a steaming turd of a report.”
“Well, that’s that then.” sighed Dave, standing up to leave.
“Not so fast.” Percy said stopping him.
“What else is there?” asked Dave.
“You’ve got to train our grads for us. Its part of the deal.”
“He’s right.” Lars added. “They send us a bunch of graduates who know nothing, and we pay two grand a day each for them and teach them about IT. How many are we getting?”
“Only six this time, you’ve signed up to have them here for three months.”
“And what are they going to do?”
“Write the report.”
“But you’ve already written the report! You just said so.” cried Dave.
“Can you explain it to him, Lars? I haven’t got the time or inclination.”
“Its a win-win situation Dave.” said Lars, “We need a report from one of the big names such as Price Ernst MG so that we can show it off to people. They need to get their graduates trained and they want lots of cash. So everyone get something.”
“What do I get?”
“The shitty end of the stick.”
Flux Larson was back from lunch early today, the sun was still up as he slumped into his chair.
“How am I not dead yet?” he said, “I drank enough last night to kill a football team and I just had three bottles of wine for lunch.”
“Who did you have lunch with? Three bottles isn’t that bad across a few people.” Penelope Crank asked.
“Couldn’t find anyone. I had lunch alone. No food, just the wine. How did you go with the consultants, Dave. All sorted?”
“I feel like I’ve been buggered with a rubber truncheon, and then handed a large bill.”
“Yes, but they do it so nicely don’t they? I considered working for a consultancy firm once. But, I’d rather tell people I’m a convicted paedophile who kicks dogs than admit to being a consultant. Bruce Forceknife calls then cuntsultants. It has a certain ring to it. Anyway, I can’t sit around here chatting to you lot, I’ve got a pub to go to.”
And as quickly as he had arrived, Flux Larson vanished again.