Posted by sean on February 19, 2020 at 9:35 am in Confessions with No Comments

This is the second of five confessions, which after many years, I have decided to finally come clean about and tell you all.

My previous confession occurred 27 years ago. While this latest one isn’t quite as old as that, it still occured a long time ago.

Besides being closer to the modern day, this second confession also has one major difference to the first – I have changed the names of all involved. This is because I still remain in contact with one or more of them – although this may not necessarily be in a professional capacity.

The way I am building up this story, you would be forgiven for expecting a tale of murder, or at least a bank heist. If this is the case, then sadly you are going to be very disappointed. Think burst ink cartridge in the bogs (Confession #1) and you’ll be close to the severity of the crime…


Across the course of my career, I’ve generally enjoyed my jobs and going to work. Like most of my colleagues, past and present, I feel that I work hard, but also find the time to have a laugh, without going too far.

Even a goody-two-shoes like me can overstep the mark from time to time, and while no damage was caused by my naughtiness, there could have been.

Ollie had a temper on him. There have been many folk tales of him exploding with rage and damaging equipment and threatening to damage colleagues. Luckily I think these threats to members of staff were just that. Threats.

I know that I am painting Ollie to be a right arsehole, but he was a genuinely good guy.


On a rare slow and boring afternoon, I was on the hunt for some work to do. If not work, something to provide me with a laugh and keep me entertained until home time.

I noticed Robin, looking equally fatigued and disinterested with the prospect of spending an afternoon in the office.

It was by chance that Robin and I spotted each other sharing the same dull expression. We also clocked sight of Ollie, engrossed in his work, looking very stressed and busy. It was at that moment, Robin and I decided to play a practical joke on Ollie.

We made this decision for two reasons…

1) Ollie had recently been getting unnecessary angry, so deserved it.
2) Ollie had recently been getting unnecessary angry, so causing him further fury would be hilarious. For us, at least.

I don’t know how the two of us decided upon the trick. I may have wheeled my office chair all the way to Robin’s desk, he may have approached mine.

Given my hazy memory of the event, we could have even emailed each other our plans – therefore exposing us as the perpetrators, to anyone with the ability to monitor user mailboxes.

Considering I was working within an IT Department at the time, there was an abundance of people with that level of access. You could say Robin and I were Bath’s Dumbest Non-Criminals.

Whether it was Robin or myself who instigated the trick is irrelevant. We both played an equal part and were jointly guilty of the crime that wasn’t a crime, that we were about to commit.

For the sake of this story, let me say that Robin made the first move, before I jumped in and inadvertently made things worse.

OK… are you ready to read about an atrocity so bad, that it has made it into my five greatest confessions, over the course of my 37 years on planet Earth?

Along with my colleague-cum-accomplice, I decided that it would be funny to shrink the size of Ollie’s mailbox, meaning that he would no longer have enough space on his account to store his emails, or send and receive any more.


Hilarious. Well, it would have been, had our joke gone to plan…

Robin did indeed lower the mailbox quota on Ollie’s account (get me with the technical jargon!). Ollie did indeed notice something was amiss and predictably exhibited rage. As a potty mouth would say, it was “funny as f**k”… for about three minutes.

As I have previously mentioned, an angry Ollie is a dangerous Ollie. It wouldn’t be unfair to compare him to an enraged male chimpanzee. A chimpanzee full of testosterone, feeling very territorial, and worst of all, one that has not had its morning cup of PG Tips.

Robin and I, fearing a little for our jobs, but more importantly our lives, decided that it would be best if we immediately restored Ollie’s mailbox to its former state. The error messages would then disappear, Ollie would assume there had been a glitch in the matrix, calm down and make us all a cup of tea. Coffee in my case.

The solution didn’t quite go to plan…

I accessed Ollie’s mailbox privileges and was able to successfully reverse the changes made by Robin. Hooray! Three cheers for me! Hip hip…

The problem was, that despite successfully granting Ollie lots more mailbox space, his damn computer failed to notice what I had done.

Basically, Microsoft Outlook instantly noticed and applied the changes, once Robin had LOWERED Ollie’s mailbox size, but when I INCREASED the quota, it didn’t want to know. It was almost as if the software was laughing at my worry and Ollie’s fury. Outlook is shit.

Totally oblivious to the fact that the mess was a result of two of his stupid colleagues messing around, Ollie rang Victor – a member of the network team.

Victor checked Ollie’s mailbox himself, and was naturally left very confused. Of course Victor was confused – everything would have looked absolutely fine. There was no indicator on the network, to state that two idiots had been pissing about!

By this point, Victor had left his office and arrived at ours. Probably to check that Ollie hadn’t done anything idiotic…

One thing that is commonplace with people who work in an IT Department, anywhere in the world, is that they believe somebody with less computer knowledge than them must be stupid. This prejudice extends to colleagues within the IT Department, as well as anyone outside of it.


Victor clearly – but unfairly – believed Ollie must have done something stupid, in order to shrink his own mailbox. Most likely, following a hyperlink within an email from a Nigerian prince, telling him that he had won the lottery.

Consumed by guilt and worry, I asked Victor what would happen in the event of somebody changing Ollie’s mailbox size, before switching it back.

I would make a terrible murderer, as I would give the game away before even being questioned by a police officer.

Victor told me that changing the mailbox size would be a very silly thing to do, but something which would correct itself by the morning.

He knew what I had done. It was clear that Victor knew. Luckily for me, he didn’t give a shiny turd.

While I was sweating with fear, in sharp contrast, Robin was chilled out – most likely munching his way through a packet of biscuits, while surfing the internet. There’s a joke about cookies there, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Ollie’s bubbling rage had now reduced to a luke warm annoyance. My guess is because his home time was fast approaching.

My worries continued throughout the evening. I wasn’t stupid. I didn’t need Victor to tell me that Ollie’s mailbox would be fixed by the morning. I knew it would.

That didn’t prevent me from having an evening meal, consisting of bitten fingernails. This, as well as spending hours searching the internet for websites confirming what I already knew – NOT TO PISS ABOUT WITH MAILBOX PRIVILEGES!


The next day everything was ok. The events of the previous afternoon weren’t even mentioned.

What was meant to be a light hearted and harmless joke, clearly backfired. The only person left affected by the incident was me – and not for the right reasons.

While I am sure that Ollie was pleased his email was working again, I was the happiest chappy in the department, when I realised everything was back to normal.

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