What, you know him too?
August 15, 2008 2:23 AM   Subscribe

Where Is Bob? We have a manager — Bob. Bob is incompetent, overweight, unattractive, uncouth, socially awkward, and generally, not a very nice person at all. For a while, we were convinced that Bob had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. But then, something happened — Bob stopped showing up for work on a regular basis. Sometimes he wouldn’t even bother explaining his absence, acting as if spontaneous five-day weekends were simply the norm. And that is how everyone came to wonder — where is Bob?
posted by nakedcodemonkey (117 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm afraid I stopped reading after the part stating that being overweight, unattractive and socially awkward were grounds to label someone 'not a very nice person'. I'm sure it's very funny and everything, but that's no way to start.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:37 AM on August 15, 2008 [15 favorites]


I'm sure Bob would be honored to know that you spend so much time and resources just for him.
posted by Poagao at 2:48 AM on August 15, 2008


I hate to be one of those people who sees viral advertising everywhere, but I thought this was a viral until I saw products named. The only reason those named products make me doubt that this is viral is that viral ads generally don't disparage specific brands or products (in my limited experience). I really hate that some of this jargon has found its way into my vocabulary.
posted by crataegus at 3:03 AM on August 15, 2008


crap
posted by zouhair at 3:26 AM on August 15, 2008


This is some creative writing class' homework assignment.
posted by basicchannel at 3:30 AM on August 15, 2008


Anyone self-qualified enough to critique this blog has never really truly suffered a uniquely hellish boss. The only things I can imagine being much worse than that are having hellish parents or being the victim of something explicitly criminal.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:39 AM on August 15, 2008 [6 favorites]


A clever manager would try to capitalize on Jim’s popularity with the staff and the clients by embracing his principles. A clever manager would understand that change has to be gradual, and would allow ample time for a smooth transition. A clever manager would try to embrace his predecessor’s best decisions, and avoid immediate massive overhauls in operations and culture.

I take it this girl has never worked anywhere else, and Jim was her only experience with managers prior to Bob.
posted by JaredSeth at 3:40 AM on August 15, 2008


On further reading, I think I may have worked with Bob.
posted by JaredSeth at 3:51 AM on August 15, 2008


Every post is like watching an episode of "the Office".
posted by Grums at 3:55 AM on August 15, 2008


What a piece of crap writing.
posted by miss tea at 3:57 AM on August 15, 2008


'Bob' is a not particularly imaginative amalgam of every sort of computer geek stereotype: Star Trek, World of Warcraft, lives in mother's basement, moonlights at the Apple 'Genius Centre'....
posted by Flashman at 4:09 AM on August 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Bob you say. Is that with one "o" or two?
posted by three blind mice at 4:14 AM on August 15, 2008


'Bob' is a not particularly imaginative amalgam of every sort of computer geek stereotype: Star Trek, World of Warcraft, lives in mother's basement, moonlights at the Apple 'Genius Centre'....

Yeah, a lot of this is a little too by-the-numbers. Motivational posters? Seriously?

I don't know. This would have been a lot more believable if Bob was a three dimensional persona instead of a cartoon boss. I come away feeling more sorry for Bob than the employees.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:14 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Reading Bob's blog alongside this one would make the whole thing a bit more interesting. At least that's the sort of thing that worked for The Spot in 1995.
posted by rongorongo at 4:30 AM on August 15, 2008


And which upcoming movie/tv show is this attempting to be a virus for?
posted by Thorzdad at 4:39 AM on August 15, 2008


Reads way too generic and fake. Don't compare this drivel to The Office!
posted by liquorice at 4:53 AM on August 15, 2008


She is insufferable.

"Nick does pretty much everything that Anna does, but he doesn’t have a nice title because he is from the South, which is a major faux pas at trendy, liberal, BPU."

She makes a claim like this. It's not obviously ironic, wtf? This has got to be B.S. .
posted by oddman at 5:04 AM on August 15, 2008


I'm afraid I stopped reading after the part stating that being overweight, unattractive and socially awkward were grounds to label someone 'not a very nice person'.

I read it as "he's these things [overweight, etc], AND ALSO he's not a nice person." Not, he's these things, and therefore is not nice. It is possible to be overweight and also an asshole. (And skinny and an asshole. And overweight and nice. And skinny and nice.)
posted by inigo2 at 5:09 AM on August 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


If you like inappropriate boss stories, check out the entries in the Real -Life Michael Scott Contest over at Office Tally.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 5:12 AM on August 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


I actually hope that this is a viral ad for something, because otherwise it's an incredibly mean-spirited character assassination. To dedicate a whole website to the personal and professional failings of your boss is just low. It's one thing to gossip with your friends, but it's quite another thing put this much thought and effort into publicly humiliating your boss.

Everybody needs a hug.
posted by JDHarper at 5:42 AM on August 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


This is just not very good. Is it OK to not like it for that reason alone?
posted by fixedgear at 5:45 AM on August 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'd be happier if this were fake.

If it's real, it's another grindingly mediocre manifestation of some sort of Dilbert Virus present in the modern office where people think the appropriate way to deal with poor performance, abuses of power, lack of accountability and bad management is to secretly make fun of the boss behind his/her back.

If Bob is such a problem, take it up with Bob's superiors. Send some registered mail and start a paper trail. Have the whole office sign off on it so nobody can be singled out as the instigator. Take the unprecedented step of talking to Bob rather than writing weak-kneed anonymous (presumably that's a pseudonym) complaints about him online.

I can see why the easy and cowardly approach is appealing: you get to look fun and cool compared to ol' Dean Wormer. Because you're secretly smarter and better than the boss!

But guess what, chuckles?

1. This does nothing to improve things where you work, and

2. While you're spending your free time blogging about how much you hate your boss, your boss is taking five-day weekends, doing presumably almost whatever he wants, and making tons more money than you. So you may want to re-think that "smarter and better" angle, too.
posted by Shepherd at 5:49 AM on August 15, 2008 [31 favorites]


If I had a red pen or magic marker, I would mark an F on her paper and hand it back to her, complete with a frowning smiley face.
posted by willmize at 5:52 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


look fun and cool compared to ol' Dean Wormer

PAR-TAY!
posted by DU at 5:59 AM on August 15, 2008


Metafilter seems angry today.
posted by maxpower at 6:08 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Where Is Bob?

Maybe he went to get some gnarly thrash boots.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:09 AM on August 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


It IS, a 2 demisional caricature of her bosss ans quite unfair. It's a pparent this is a personal thing. None of her and her colleagues' grievances are alid or proven on hte blog. If she DID have valid complaints, then she would take it up with Bobs superiors like shepherd said but. She's done nothing of the sort except groan, Thus rendering this effort a shallow base, robbing it of credibility. The truth is stranger, and funnier than our fictions.
posted by Student of Man at 6:13 AM on August 15, 2008


I was certain that this was a self link...
posted by HuronBob at 6:13 AM on August 15, 2008


Taking it up with the superiors is all well and good in theory, but in many cases that is simply not possible due to office politics, and even if it were possible, nothing would be done due to the same politics. So all you're left with, assuming you want to keep your job, is bitching.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:16 AM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


It makes me feel lucky to have a job where my bosses are far more experienced and accomplished than I am.
posted by mrmojoflying at 6:19 AM on August 15, 2008


Unsubtle fake. Don't be taken in-- it's an obvious, bad work of fiction. If you're wondering if it's fake, it's not.

Even the first few comments read like they're less-than-spontaneous reactions.

If the people responsible for it should read this:

If this is some sort of fun project with no commercial aim behind it (unlikely), it's terrible and obvious and you should be ashamed.

If it's some sort of commercial viral project, you're lazy hacks of very average intelligence. Stop patting yourselves on the back because this sucks. If it pitches something for television or film, when the product is revealed I am going to start a whisper campaign that the project was funded by NAMBLA, Scientology and the Aryan Nations. If it is a product, I am going to tell everyone I know that it's made with lepers' shit.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:28 AM on August 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


Wow, am I the only one who was amused by this, and thought that it might be real? I've worked in a university IT group environment, and we've had some really inept bosses. Nothing I've read seems false or unbelievable to me. Of course the boss is a caricature - it's a bitchfest blog! What do you want, Franny and Zooey?

Aside from vague "smells like marketing", can anyone point to a reason they think this is a fabrication?
posted by TheNewWazoo at 6:35 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure it's fiction. And bad, boring fiction at that.

If it's real, it's another grindingly mediocre manifestation of some sort of Dilbert Virus present in the modern office where people think the appropriate way to deal with poor performance, abuses of power, lack of accountability and bad management is to secretly make fun of the boss behind his/her back.

The Dilbert virus? It seems like a pretty universal thing. If people are unhappy about something, they'll complain, be petty, etc.
posted by delmoi at 6:39 AM on August 15, 2008


What the hell kind of workplace would this be, where you can just not show up? My very professional law office used to have the rule that if you didn't show up for three days without calling, that you were assumed to have abandoned your job and you were fired.
posted by agregoli at 6:40 AM on August 15, 2008


can anyone point to a reason they think this is a fabrication?

Can you imagine anyone in your group at the university IT department posting the anecdotes to the web, with more than enough information to play "connect the dots" if you were connected to the department? Not only is it a good way to get fired, it's a good way to attract enough notariety to keep you frm working in your field for a long time.

Did your department havge such perfectly compartmentalized characters? Sure, Bob is the epitome of the bad boss. He's also every single nerd stereotype. Then we have the narrator: the observant, wise, literate woman. And we have the everyman hero who steps in for Bob with no recognition*. This is a sitcom, and one so bad that if it was currently on TV you would be embarrassed to even know its name much less admit to watching it.

*Because he's a southerner? He can't have a title because he's a southerner? And the narrator agrees that this is the reason the guy's being shafted? COME ON!
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:46 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Meh, it feels fake. The east European geek who is an evil genius is straight from User Friendly, and the rest reads like a bad The Office knockoff.

Also, last time I checked, most people in IT were into at least one geeky thing, and don't usually consider geekery to be a bad thing. Obsessive and stupid geekery maybe, not mocking someone simply for being into Trek, or Firefly, or collectible card games, etc simply does not ring true. It sounds more like a non-geek faking it, except for the actual tech terms which do mostly seem to be correctly used.

The BOFH did it first, better, and didn't pretend to be real.
posted by sotonohito at 6:48 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's really a viral campaign for higher humanity. (*SPOILER*) The super-secret mystery that you're supposed to finally figure out is that Bob is actually a sterling example of the finest kind of human being, a man who's discovered that it's pointless to be at work when there are other things to be done, who delights in a simple card game like Magic because he's discovered something beautiful in it, who has no shame and conversely no hatred.

Whereas Anna Shore is the lowest, most disgusting type of corporate human being, a vile, hate-spewing, small person, who spends absolutely every waking moment either trying to think of something awful to say about someone else or trying to corral another human being into wasting her or his time listening to bullshit like this about how "silly" or "geekish" or "socially awkward" someone else is, ha ha, aren't they ridiculous? Anna Shore is a piece of shit, the type of person that we all are haunted by, and once humanity is rid of people like her, we'll all be able to breathe for the first time in millennia.

But I don't think they're supposed to reveal the viral secret until the ninth or tenth post.
posted by koeselitz at 6:50 AM on August 15, 2008 [25 favorites]


This is a lousy post.
posted by Daddy-O at 6:52 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


John McCain:" We are all Bop now.
posted by Postroad at 6:54 AM on August 15, 2008


Quoth Mayor Curley:
Can you imagine anyone in your group at the university IT department posting the anecdotes to the web, with more than enough information to play "connect the dots" if you were connected to the department? Not only is it a good way to get fired, it's a good way to attract enough notariety to keep you frm working in your field for a long time.
Absolutely, especially if this is the first time this person's blogged. Hell, I made the mistake of posting some stories once to a website that, if a reader had been even passingly familiar with the theatre department of my university, would have easily revealed the characters' real identities. It's dumb, sure, but it's believable.
Did your department havge such perfectly compartmentalized characters? Sure, Bob is the epitome of the bad boss. He's also every single nerd stereotype. Then we have the narrator: the observant, wise, literate woman. And we have the everyman hero who steps in for Bob with no recognition*. This is a sitcom, and one so bad that if it was currently on TV you would be embarrassed to even know its name much less admit to watching it.
Let's see, at my old job we had...
  • The paranoid, perpetual-victim non-white manager brought in from the outside (who was later fired for using the root access he demanded we grant him to read his bosses' email)
  • The hard-working and demure Asian guy who stayed because of his visa
  • The young slacker-type who was a tech whiz but who looked too young to command respect
  • The artsy and friendly web designer who really just wanted to be left alone
Were these people more complex than I've painted them to be here? Sure! But it's a fair bit more interesting, at least initially, to cast them thus. Characters are always thin at the beginning of a story, and not everyone is the next Dickens.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 7:02 AM on August 15, 2008


Watch out, nakedcodemonkey! Now they're turning on you!
posted by bicyclefish at 7:05 AM on August 15, 2008


I believe absolutely everything I read, but this is badly fake.

The whole office met at a Starbucks at 9PM to go visit their boss at his other job? None of them had anything better to do? "Even Jason the intern showed up to see what the 'crazy old folks' were up to." He called them "crazy old folks"? Can you imagine anyone actually saying this?
posted by creasy boy at 7:14 AM on August 15, 2008


There was a point during my IT career that our group of eight went without a manager for about 15 months. It was some of the most productive time for us group wide during the ten years I spent in that department. Having the boss around can be overrated. Obviously, Bob understands that.
posted by netbros at 7:17 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes, this is totally fake. Someone's trying to score a book deal, half-assedly.
posted by cellphone at 7:28 AM on August 15, 2008


"24-hour Apple store?"

Really?

Does the world need such a thing?

If the story is fake, I very much hope that's one of the made-up parts.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:30 AM on August 15, 2008


TheNewWazoo: Were these people more complex than I've painted them to be here? Sure! But it's a fair bit more interesting, at least initially, to cast them thus. Characters are always thin at the beginning of a story, and not everyone is the next Dickens.

That's fair. It's supposed to be a funny blog, for god's sake. But the issue, I think, isn't that the writing is bad, per se, or simply not done well; there aren't spelling errors or ridiculous things all over the page, although that might have been interesting. The issue is that the writing is vile, as in morally reprehensible. She's not talking about how a department should be run or wishing for a better manager; she's mostly just taking pleasure at tearing down another human being.
posted by koeselitz at 7:36 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whoa awesome! A fat IT guy! No way!! An awkward IT guy! Whoda thunk?
posted by Mister_A at 7:38 AM on August 15, 2008


DevilsAdvocate: Not made up.
posted by emelenjr at 7:38 AM on August 15, 2008


The 5th Ave NY Apple Store is 24/7/365, don't know about any others. Ashamedly, I've been there at both 2am and 6am. But I was, thankfully, not alone.
posted by bashos_frog at 7:45 AM on August 15, 2008


Where is Rob?
posted by grateful at 7:53 AM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Cruel, fake and boring. I couldn't get through the post that tried to make me dislike Bob.
posted by saturnine at 8:00 AM on August 15, 2008


Where is Matt?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:05 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have had some bad bosses in my time but none as bad as this. When they went on extended bad behaviour binges they always invited me along. This Bob is bad. Unbelievably bad.
posted by tellurian at 8:12 AM on August 15, 2008


Yeah, this is shite, and it's annoying that there as many recurring characters as posts. It's trying terribly hard, but failing even harder.

And the whole quips thing? The good manager spent time writing this and maintaining it? C'mon, if you want fortune(6), you know where to get it, and for free, too.
posted by scruss at 8:13 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


He called them "crazy old folks"? Can you imagine anyone actually saying this?

I don't think the author meant that he actually said that. I think she imagined that's what he thought of them.
posted by Evangeline at 8:15 AM on August 15, 2008


It's like Dilbert, but funny. I've worked with plenty of people who neatly fit caricatures in their work personas. I don't see anything viral about it. Banal, perhaps, or lacking good judgement, but what's being sold here? mySQL? PHP? Bugzilla?
posted by notashroom at 8:23 AM on August 15, 2008


Nthing fake. Too many things have happened in the three month timeframe, and the narrator knows too many details. Bad bosses exist in real life, but everything about this blog seems very contrived.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:28 AM on August 15, 2008


I thought it was entertaining. I haven't had my haterade yet this morning though, so this might change.
posted by schyler523 at 8:29 AM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Banal, perhaps, or lacking good judgement, but what's being sold here?

I think the suggestion that the author is gunning for a book deal might have some merit. Write your cookie-cutter, mean-spirited, "My boss are dumb" blog, infuse it with a strong odor of mystery, attract an equally medicore literary agent and bam - on the cover of Parade magazine as some office everyperson.

"And did you ever notice how someone always takes the last of the coffee, without starting a new pot? Don't you just hate that?"
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:31 AM on August 15, 2008


can anyone point to a reason they think this is a fabrication?

i'd vote fake. there are a few comments there that contradict her, like this one:

25 Charles Miller

It’s a funny story, but the bit about JIRA doesn’t ring true at all. I work for the company and we don’t do sales like that, mostly because the size of our outgoing sales team is… zero.

The most expensive JIRA edition costs about 8k. If we sent four guys out to sell it, we’d never make any money. If someone wants to buy JIRA they can download it and get a 30 day trial, but the entirety of our communication with them until you buy a license will be by email.
posted by merelyglib at 8:33 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Gah I cannot read those comments. Someone just compared her to Coupland.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:40 AM on August 15, 2008


Fake or not, the author does have a good understanding of how University hiring and (lack of) firing policies work. You hire somebody who seems to have all these amazing qualifications, they're willing to work for a University salary and seem to not be a total freak. Then in a few months, they start showing up erratically and being all bizarre. What do you do then? Give them a raise. Or tenure. And let them be a thorn in the institution's side for the rest of their lives.
posted by teleri025 at 8:43 AM on August 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


1. Fake
2. Quite obviously so.
3. Actually, I found it quite enjoyable. Where's everybody's sense of humor?
4. Author is looking for a book deal. There's even a page asking for one.
5. ???
6. Profit!
posted by sour cream at 8:47 AM on August 15, 2008


I'm going to hazard a guess here that "Anna" is some feckless twentysomething that is trying to deal with her fury at being passed over for promotion to the managerial position after the saintly Jim left. I mean, Bob really could be a work-skipping, overpromoted, waste of space PHB, but she just can't keep herself from the low blows.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:50 AM on August 15, 2008


Isn't the only 24-hour Apple store the one on Fifth Avenue? I couldn't find evidence for one in other 24-hour cities (Chicago, SF), but feel free to correct me. At the very least there's only a few cities this can be in.

Okay assuming that it is at 767 5th Ave there is indeed a Starbucks "just around the corner from the Apple Store," at 725 5th Ave. which actually is the only Starbucks in the area, at least in the general several block area, no Starbucks across from Starbucks here (as far as I can tell from Starbucks store locator). I wouldn't call it "around the corner" as it looks to be a straight shot, but I'll give some leeway on a the phrase "around the corner" meaning "down the block" and not as some sort of absolute.

Okay so where would he work? How many big private universities are there in NYC? One that would have gone from a "one man shop" to a "respectable IT department?" That sounds like some sort of out of the way liberal arts college in Vermont, not for a Manhattan university. I would assume that Columbia and NYU would be funded well enough to be more than a one man shop, even in the early days of IT departments. What other big private universities would there be in Manhattan?

Delirious with Oracle dreams and Java fantasies, Bob failed to realize that university IT budgets were about as opulent as a PhD student whose stipend check hasn’t cleared yet.

See that's another one that's confusing. NYU and Columbia are very well funded, even if their IT budgets are comparatively small. I can't imagine Oracle and Java would be "opulent" for top tier universities. The IT manager I know at small private university is fairly well funded for being a liberal arts school, at least where Oracle isn't a fantasy but what they use to enroll students.

So while I know this reeks of fake, this should be pretty easy to verify. We have a lot of Metafilterians living in Manhattan and geeky, shouldn't someone know the IT departments at one of the big private universities on the island? Or at least someone who works at the Apple store? Or someone who goes to the downtown comic book stores and partakes in the whatever they do there?
posted by geoff. at 8:52 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


koeselitz: But the issue, I think, isn't that the writing is bad, per se, or simply not done well

Maybe not the issue, but one of the issues, certainly. To choose pretty much at random from the first entry:
“So, you are the girl at the office,” he uttered with a smirk. “We had a girl at the office at my last job. She made the best coffee! Better than Starbucks!”

“I am in charge of the Windows environment,” I replied, deciding to give him another chance. Sexual harassment could be charming, if done properly.

“I know a guy at Microsoft. VP,” he said definitively, and looked away.
In three lines of dialogue, we have an "uttered" ("with a smirk!"), a "replied," and finally a plain "said" but used so insecurely it has an adverb tacked on to it.

This is lousy writing.
“And you know what they say about the women in Odessa, Mark, eh?” he whistled and winked.
Really? He "whistled and winked?" Really? Try to do that. You'll look like you're having a seizure. No one does that. This writing is up there with classics like: "'Come on then!' he hissed."

I can't even bear to keep reading and find out how long it takes for the word "wryly" to appear, but I'm assuming it does.
posted by rusty at 8:57 AM on August 15, 2008 [8 favorites]


I have no idea whether it's fake or not, but I'm amused by those who are shouting that it's OBVIOUSLY FAKE!!!

Yeah, a lot of this is a little too by-the-numbers. Motivational posters? Seriously?

Seriously. My last office job was run by idiots like this, who put those fucking posters up all over the place.

What the hell kind of workplace would this be, where you can just not show up?


At the place I worked at before the motivational-poster place, the first boss of our department spent hardly any time at the office. She'd show up maybe once every two weeks. She had a flunky who covered for her and reported back to her whatever the rest of us got up to in her absence (at least, what he observed on those occasions when he wasn't sleeping at his desk). Finally she went too far, as crazed entitled powermad assholes will, and pissed off her flunky, who went to the top bosses with full documentation of her absences over the last couple of years.

Now, here's the best part. Everybody was so terrified of this woman that they cleared the entire floor when they fired her—we were told to go across the street to a restaurant/bar and wait for a phone call telling us we could return. Some guy came in from HQ and told her she was being let go, and reportedly she hit the roof, threatened him, and ranted and raved for over an hour before leaving. We were all sorry we missed it.

And she was not such a bad boss, nor is "Bob": I've had far worse. Some of you seem to be rather inexperienced in the wonderful world of office jobs. And those of you who don't find the linked site funny? Well, what we have here is a difference of opinion.
posted by languagehat at 8:59 AM on August 15, 2008 [9 favorites]


I knew a Bob. He was a tutor on a network course I was on. Compulsive liar, claimed to know Bill Gates personally, had worked for google in the early years and was now a multi-millionaire, that kind of thing. Didn't know much about networking, either.

He got fired. Even in New Zealand, where it's very hard to get fired unless your Gross Moral Turpitude involves bathing naked in a pool of freshly strangled kittens in the lunchroom, he got his butt on the wrong end of the Great Boot of Goodbye. There's bad, and then there's just not capable of doing the job. The latter tends to get picked up on eventually, by even the dimmest of suits. So colour me amongst those unconvinced by the bland prose.

Bob, on the hand, vanished to Australia, which we only knew because he tried to use the job he'd been fired from as a reference.
posted by Sparx at 9:01 AM on August 15, 2008


It's like Dilbert, but not funny.

ftfy
posted by fixedgear at 9:03 AM on August 15, 2008


It's like Dilbert, but in that it's not funny.
ftfy
posted by boo_radley at 9:07 AM on August 15, 2008 [8 favorites]


Seriously. My last office job was run by idiots like this, who put those fucking posters up all over the place.

Damn. Well, sorry to hear that.

I have to admit, the validity of the details doesn't bother me as much as just how painful this is to read. J.T Leroy turned about to be a completely invented writer, but that didn't make me suddenly not enjoy The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. The author(s) behind that story might have lived through some of it, might have culled parts from other peoples' persona tales, might have made parts of it up, or all three. But it was still damned good writing.

So whether the individual details in her story are indeed comparable with reality or not isn't the main issue for me, really. It's the hackneyed prose. Hell, Solzhenitsyn was able to write a book about one day in the life of a labor camp worker and make it interesting. There is nothing new in this tired, oatmeal, cubicle drama.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:08 AM on August 15, 2008


I think the person that wrote this IS the boss, and instead of spending Fridays/Monday's at a bed and breakfast, because he's got no social life, he's in his office behind closed doors vomiting up his self-loathing into blogger. yes, he's a man, the gender change is to throw you off.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:09 AM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Gah I cannot read those comments. Someone just compared her to Coupland."

And why not? I compare her to Coupland, too.

Like this: Anna S. you suck, compared to Coupland.

Or this: Hey you know that Coupland guy that wrote those well-regarded books about Gen X? Yeah, you aren't anywhere near as good.

Or how about: Coupland was a pretty good auther, to say the least, the person that wrote this stuff? Not so much.
posted by oddman at 9:22 AM on August 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Bob is incompetent, overweight, unattractive, uncouth, socially awkward, and generally, not a very nice person at all."

Man, if I worked in an office where an employee's public comments about management began there, you can be damned sure that, were I the manager, I'd start scouring about for things to do other than show up to work, too.

Either that, or exercise one of the happy perks of management and fire his / her sorry, ignorant ass.

(My apologies if someone else in the comments thread has already sailed this tack. I read the intro, got a mite ticked, and just jumped straight to the end of the comment stream.)
posted by Mike D at 9:24 AM on August 15, 2008


What the hell kind of workplace would this be, where you can just not show up? My very professional law office used to have the rule that if you didn't show up for three days without calling, that you were assumed to have abandoned your job and you were fired.

I work in one of those places. A simple "I'm working from home today" will give anyone who is not an admin endless opportunities to sleep in. In previous jobs, I have also worked for the irrationally insecure boss who wanted to fire everyone and start over, a guy with an "asian girlfriend" that we contemplated doing an intervention on to get her away from him (he left incredibly explicit letters written to her on his computer when he left), a boss who was given the company as a wedding present and openly paid all of the women less because they were "being taken care of already."

I enjoyed reading the blog, but I'm going to have to say that it's a bit too much to be true. 1 or 2 of these quirks I can believe...all of them...not so much.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:30 AM on August 15, 2008


Fake.

Although I once worked with a guy that was incompetent, overweight, unattractive, uncouth, socially awkward, and generally, not a very nice person at all, who was also prone to taking several-day vacations without warning. He claimed he had "water on his knee."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:35 AM on August 15, 2008


If this isn't a real blog, I'll eat my hat.

My delicious bacon-hat.
posted by jabberjaw at 9:38 AM on August 15, 2008


this is utter, office rip-off, boring, horse feces.
posted by punkbitch at 10:05 AM on August 15, 2008


Mayor Curley: Can you imagine anyone in your group at the university IT department posting the anecdotes to the web, with more than enough information to play "connect the dots" if you were connected to the department?

The Reddit thread has someone shocked by recognition. geoff is noting some similar giveaways.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:20 AM on August 15, 2008


LOLZ you guys are such noobs this is TOTALLY FAKE. Also, your girlfriend? She's photoshopped. And your cat is a viral.

Trust me, I'm from the internet.
posted by danny the boy at 10:29 AM on August 15, 2008


That reddit thread is a lot more interesting than this MeFi thread. They have some pretty interesting discussion; here we have a bunch of people shouting FAKE!
posted by rajbot at 10:30 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Bob should team up with Dennis, my now former(?) coworker... we were gonna start an awesome blog dedicated to him. Maybe we still should.
posted by ph00dz at 10:41 AM on August 15, 2008


"I'll become internet-famous writing this fake blog about "my boss" and then maybe NBC will hire me to write for one of their scary-bad sitcoms like The Office."
posted by Zambrano at 10:42 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I actually think she's quite intelligent, judged from her writing style and observations. This is obviously an outlet for her. We don't know all the details, I wouldn't jump down the blog writers throat with so much criticism just yet.

In a university setting, no one ever gets fired. I know, because I worked in uni IT for a long time. Generally, everyone's related or knows someone or is connected in some capacity. Sometimes having someone incompetent fired is harder than it's worth.
posted by teabag at 10:52 AM on August 15, 2008


Really, none of you have ever worked with, or for, someone like this? Have you people had jobs?

I have known several people who have had really interesting stories to tell, but no ability with which to tell them. So they write with an overwrought, overthought style that that they think is in service to the story, but that ultimately destroys it. What you get when you put ordinary people in extraordinary situations is shitty blogging.

And this is my most relished hate: people on the internet who love to claim that something is a "fake." The people who want desperately to be discerning, rarely are.
posted by danny the boy at 10:53 AM on August 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


I have been in IT for 12 years and never had entirely competent management chain. There is always somebody who is so old that he thinks ethernet is a new fangled flash in the pan, or who has an MBA from University of Pheonix online, but thinks he can establish network security policy, or started off in this business back when everybody had a secretary to type for him and everybody had an ashtray on their desk.

Is Bob real? it doesn't matter. Think of it like Not Always Right it doesn't matter if the writing is "factual" as long as it is "truthful"
posted by Megafly at 11:10 AM on August 15, 2008


Really, none of you have ever worked with, or for, someone like this? Have you people had jobs?

18 years of federal government service. I have met dozens of people like Bob, male and female. I work with 2,500 people, so yes. It sill strikes me as really bad writing, as you noted, but also fake. Not fake because I'm a big intenet debunker - I know exactly the type you are talking about - but fake because of all the reasons cited above. The characters are just too streotypical to be true. She says 'please give me a book contract.' Etc.
posted by fixedgear at 11:11 AM on August 15, 2008


languagehat: I have no idea whether it's fake or not, but I'm amused by those who are shouting that it's OBVIOUSLY FAKE!!!

Hey there, 'hat. How do?

I agree. I mean, I may really dislike her tone, but I start to think it's really not fake. If it was fake, I have this odd feeling that she might have emphasized very different things; that is, if somebody wanted to write a fictional "boss from hell" blog, it seems like it'd go in very different directions. There are a few moments that are hard for me to believe (Bob saying his parents are dead? Then using their illness as an excuse to take off from work? Hard to believe.) but even those moments aren't things I'd make up if I had a choice. Whereas Anna nails the complaining employee tone pretty well; she sounds a lot like coworkers I've had.

If anybody's taking requests, I would like a blog (fictional or not) about how somebody's boss seemed like the biggest jerk on the planet until something happened that revealed the boss' true self. Plenty of people are sucky bosses and decent human beings. Most are, in fact, and the worst thing about corporate culture is the habit we all seem to have of judging people solely on the basis of their office performance, as though that were in any way a metric of their depth or worth.
posted by koeselitz at 11:18 AM on August 15, 2008


fake or no, can we at least agree it's terrible? I'd like to bring metafilter together here.
posted by boo_radley at 11:23 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm with other people that it seems too much an amalgam of other sources, Dilbert and stereotypical nerdism et cetera, to be very genuine. Like the bit about people bringing their spouses and relatives along to see Bob at the Apple Store because "they never believed any of our outrageous stories about Bob"... isn't that joke straight out of the U.S. version of The Office?

But really because it's an amalgam of all that amusing stuff, I did find it entertaining to read. She doesn't deserve a book contract, though.
posted by XMLicious at 12:02 PM on August 15, 2008


danny the boy: Like it or not, when a whole thread full of people on MeFi say something's fake, it usually is. The number of years of collective internet experience here? Over 9000.
posted by rusty at 12:14 PM on August 15, 2008


Author is looking for a book deal. There's even a page asking for one.
"If you would like to offer me a book deal, please send mail to anna.whereisbob@gmail.com.

I can guarantee that I am exactly what your publishing company needs. Together we can produce the kind of book that young urbanites will buy as a birthday present for somebody about whom they know very little, and for whom they care even less. As far as business ventures go, it’s a sure thing.

Comments not from publishers or literary agents are also welcome, but understandably, less anticipated."
posted by ericb at 12:30 PM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Just click on "contact".
Anna is looking for a book deal. She's a writer, not a "windows environment developer" or whatever.
posted by sour cream at 12:33 PM on August 15, 2008


Man, I really wanted to like this. But the writing is so uninteresting. It doesn't hit the right notes. The simple inability to tell a story and highlight the funny parts makes it a slog. Quit reading . . .

I think it's fake, or at least highly dazzled up. "Then We Came To The End" should be the standard for stuff like this. . .
posted by matthewstopheles at 12:44 PM on August 15, 2008


She's a writer, not a "windows environment developer" or whatever.

And not a good writer. Not that ever stops anyone from writing books that sell well. Actually, she's just mediocre and obvious enough that this book might be really popular. If I were in publishing, I'd be cynical enough to make her an offer.

Every mouthbreather who fancies themselves edgy and smarter than their boss would read this and then maybe buy a t-shirt to let other people know that they read it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:49 PM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm one of those socially awkward type of men*. I lived in my parents' house through my 30s (because, I always told people, they go to Florida for six months of the year and stay at a trailer another four months, so most of the time I have the whole place to myself and what I pay allows them to cover all the costs of keeping it). I could move across the continent and still sense fingers pointed at me every time I see the words "his mother's basement". I sure do hate how it has become often used shorthand for the lowest point of human existence, even it does match the level of achievement but contains none of the excitement of living under an overpass.
* who, please note, never held enthusiasms for Star Trek, or superheroes, or role-playing
posted by TimTypeZed at 1:16 PM on August 15, 2008


Plenty of people are sucky bosses and decent human beings.

This is true, and the sad fact is that their sucky-bossness overrides their decent-humanness as far as most of their subordinates are concerned. It's especially sad when one of your pals becomes your boss; this almost always results in the end or significant diminishment of the friendship. I've only had one boss I stayed friends with, and he was a natural anarchist who hated being a boss and encouraged us to join him for two-hour drunken lunches.

The fact that the blogger is looking for a book deal certainly suggests she may be exaggerating and adding comic details, but it doesn't necessarily mean the whole thing is a fake. It seems to me perfectly reasonable that the thought process would be "My boss is so awful I crack my friends up telling stories about him... Say, if I blog the stories I could get a readership... And maybe a book deal!"

Hey, koeselitz!
posted by languagehat at 1:30 PM on August 15, 2008


I'm not sure what is says about me if I picked up on the fakeness due to claims of an all night Magic the Gathering tourney down at a local comic book shop. Those don't happen but for big set releases, and when they do, they're on Fridays, not work/school nights.

And hoping for a book deal from a blog that's under a month old seems a bit... ambitious. I mean, it took Waiter Rant how long to go from blog to book? That said, literary agents, please see the link to my blog in my profile!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:56 PM on August 15, 2008


The people who want desperately to be discerning, rarely are.

And they also link to bad stick figure comics.


Embarrassing.
posted by Zambrano at 2:06 PM on August 15, 2008


Zambrano: The stick comic is more coherent & relevant to the thread than you. You should step away from the computer for a bit.
posted by Pronoiac at 4:19 PM on August 15, 2008


It's right there in the about page:

What is lacking in facts has been more than made up for with an overactive imagination.

It's not much better than the stuff we'd review in creative-writing classes in college. In fact, it's generally worse, because there's no real plot or character development. And I didn't laugh. Not even on the inside.

The Real-Life Michael Scott contest is much funnier, imo.

whenever I ask him what he’s doing, his reply is always the same ... “secret squirrel shit.”
posted by mrgrimm at 4:20 PM on August 15, 2008


(i gotta admit, linking to an xkcd comic as support for a blanket misstatement was pretty lame and funny too. i laughed at the FAIL--the comic didn't really apply either.)
posted by mrgrimm at 4:22 PM on August 15, 2008


Once we were having a Halloween party at my office. First and Foremost my boss dressed as a Jamaican Bobsledder from the film Cool Runnings. All this costume required was a green, yellow and black jumpsuit, which he previously owned and worked out in, and saying the word mon’ after everything. I must have heard “Do the Monster Mash mon’” a thousand times. He received the reward for best costume, he was the judge.

Secondly my boss has a band called The Rock Krispies and an album called snap crackle and rock. They cover mostly songs everyone is sick of hearing such as Paradise City, Love in an Elevator, and Free Falling.

Lastly, he bought a ghost piñata, he of course had the first crack at it. Inside the Pinata were tootsie rolls and cassette tapes, Yes this happened last Halloween. The cassette tapes were of his band The Rock Krispies. As he cracked open the piñata in true Michael Scott fashion he misquoted Scarface by saying “Say Hello my little friend”.


Now that's gold.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:28 PM on August 15, 2008


The only thing this blog has in common with The Office is it tries to be funny and entertaining to its audience but fails cringingly, much like David Brent to his co-workers.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:02 PM on August 15, 2008


I was entertained. There seems to be a lot of snobbery going on here as regards the writing. Fake? Who gives a shit?
posted by greytape at 5:08 PM on August 15, 2008


Fake? Who gives a shit?

That is a good question. The funny stories in the Real Michael Scott Contest are funny, regardless of whether they are true.

Bob just isn't funny. Not once (though I only read the 3 in the FPP).
posted by mrgrimm at 5:15 PM on August 15, 2008


It's like that movie Tropic Thunder.

Me: That movie's gonna bomb
Somebody: I think it looks kinda funny
Me: Have you seen a single funny joke in the trailer or commercials?
Somebody: ... Yeah, you're probably right.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:17 PM on August 15, 2008


Dave started shortly after Bob. He is yet to forgive Anna for tearing him away from a lucrative, Bob-free career.

Also, the grammatical and writing errors are legion, as Rusty "fumed about" earlier.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:21 PM on August 15, 2008


They've outed Bob already on Reddit. Or the author of the blog actually used the real staffing details (some names, job titles) of a "small IT group" within a "large IT group" at an actual "Big Private University" in NYC as a basis for their fiction. The latter possibility would be quite cruel to both Bob and the real sole woman in this department, lest either of them be fired (though just deserts for Bob, arguably).

(The one flaw with the theory is that the outed "Bob" on Reddit has been working in said small IT group since at least 2005 according to Google.)
posted by rafter at 5:49 PM on August 15, 2008


Holy $#%$.

I was reading through these comments and when I came to the ones that stated this must be a fake blog because it's impossible that a worker could go awol from the office for hours, nay, days at a time and not be fired, I thought of my sister's horror stories about a guy in her IT department at NYU. Her "Bob" rolled in around 2:00 and left at 4:30 on the days he deigned to show up at all. He was eventually let go, but it took a couple of years to get him out the door.

So. Um, yeah. Good job Reddit.
(No, my sister did not write this blog, and "Bob" was not the same guy I'd heard about.)
posted by stagewhisper at 6:55 PM on August 15, 2008


I'm intimately familiar with a situation that is hilariously similar to this—it could be written about the same guy, in fact, without any exaggeration at all. (Not at my job, it must be said.) To those declaring this fake by way of being so improbably, rest assured, this sort of thing has been spotted in the wild.
posted by waldo at 7:05 PM on August 15, 2008


Have they outed Bob on Reddit? One person said Bob is "Doug Carlson," but a couple minutes on Google indicate that Doug Carlson's been at NYU since at least 2005, so that person's wrong.

Everything else seems to be "internet_tough_guy" saying he knows who it is, and the names haven't been changed, but asking people not to investigate.

I wouldn't be surprised to find out that this is vaguely based on one person's experiences in an IT department. I would be extremely surprised to find out that it's accurate down to details like the JIRA meeting and the "moonlighting at the Apple Store turns into a pay raise" episode.
posted by lore at 11:50 PM on August 15, 2008


I don't think it's fake because any given aspect of the story is impossible. I think it's fake because all of the episodes taken together, happening to one boss over the course of three months, stretches credulity, especially because so many of the episodes tie themselves up in a nice little sitcom bow.

Bob's got a girlfriend! How can that possibly be? Oh, she's going to be deported! But she decides that being deported is better than being with Bob. (Waaah waaah waaah!)

Bob's taken a second job! One he can't handle! Just like five hundred sitcom episodes over the course of the last fifty years! So he gets talked to by upper managment! Is this the end of Bob? No, he got a raise! (Waaah waaah waaah!)

It's like saying you know someone just like George Costanza. Yeah, you probably know someone who's self-obsessed and neurotic and sabotages relationships with his own insecurity. But you don't know someone who gets into a different hilariously wacky mix-up twenty-four times a year like clockwork.
posted by lore at 12:10 AM on August 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't be surprised to find out that this is vaguely based on one person's experiences in an IT department. I would be extremely surprised to find out that it's accurate down to details like the JIRA meeting and the "moonlighting at the Apple Store turns into a pay raise" episode.

Pretty much: a writer takes her world, adds elements of fiction to it, for whatever reason, and here is this author's result. As mrgrimm pointed out, she says on the About page that "What is lacking in facts has been more than made up for with an overactive imagination." Even autobiographies are written like this (maybe even especially autobiographies).
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:15 AM on August 16, 2008


(maybe even especially autobiographies)

Auto-manipulative biographies.
posted by Sparx at 4:26 AM on August 16, 2008


It's like saying you know someone just like George Costanza. Yeah, you probably know someone who's self-obsessed and neurotic and sabotages relationships with his own insecurity. But you don't know someone who gets into a different hilariously wacky mix-up twenty-four times a year like clockwork.
I guess I'm not being clear enough. This situation is so incredibly similar to this situation that I'm familiar with that I'm actually going to ask around, just to make sure that none of the people involved are blogging about it with the identifying details changed. There's no difference w/r/t a compressed timeline, neat plot lines, or anything like that. No exaggeration required.
posted by waldo at 12:50 PM on August 16, 2008


I enjoyed it. Whatever seems "obviously fake" about it just isn't striking me. Maybe y'all just needed something to hate on today. Alternately, maybe some of you are Bob.
posted by tehloki at 1:48 PM on August 20, 2008


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