The Magician: The Fascinating Case Of Developer Bob!

The Magician

I haven’t done any posts specifically on The Magician card yet so I thought I’d remedy that today. This is one of the most popular cards in the Tarot deck. Because, hey, who doesn’t want to work a little magic on their lives.

Let me tell you a story about a bloke in the U.S. going by the delightful nickname of ‘Developer Bob’ who has become famous for the fantastic scam he managed to pull off in his workplace.

Last year a large American infrastructure company discovered someone was connecting to its computer network from Shenyang, China. Terrified the company was being targeted for its commercial secrets management hired some computer security experts to examine their systems. What concerned them was that access to their network from off-site required the user to have in possession a key fob which generates random numbers the user has to enter as a password. What concerned them even more was that ‘Bob’, the software employee the Chinese were logging on as, was sitting at his desk in the US. Clearly the Chinese had installed some virus which was sending Bob’s details back to the mother country.

Imagine their surprise when the computer experts examined Bob’s computer only to discover hundreds of invoices from a company in Shenyang. For about $50,000 a year – one fifth of his salary – Bob was getting this company to do his work for him. He’d outsourced himself. And they were doing such a good job Bob’s performance reviews from the HR department rated him the best software developer in the building. Not only that. Bob had been doing the same thing with other companies in the area. Meanwhile he’d spend his working day surfing the internet. A couple of hours on Reddit in the morning, then some cat videos, a hit on eBay after lunch, some updates on Facebook and LinkedIn then an end-of-day update to management at 4.30 each afternoon. And he kept this schedule going for years. YEARS.

Bob’s set-up was sadly seen as a scam. Despite the fact that he was producing the best IT work in the company, creating employment internationally and enjoying himself to boot. How very enterprising of him. Someone make this man a CEO toot suite! He definitely falls into the category of The Magician. Not only for making the dreams of every ordinary working man and woman come true but also because of the trickster aspect to his success.

Do you think what he did was a scam? Or is it another great example of American enterprise at work?

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