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Sometimes You Need A Refresher… Or Five

, , , , , | Working | May 11, 2022

I am a twenty-seven-year-old engineer who works at an engineering consultation company. Basically, we work with large clients to help them solve their most complex engineering projects. Oftentimes, these are issues that a fleet of PhDs cannot even solve on their own, and we are giving these tasks to a single person —often with only a Bachelor’s degree to their name. This is a long way of saying that I work with a bunch of smart people.

I am one of two female engineers, surrounded by mostly men who are “older” than me and all have at least a Masters. (The oldest one is thirty-one years old.) This means I end up holding their hands quite a bit.

Coworker #1: “What is the password for the [Desktop]?”

Me: *Walks over* “Uh, no idea. Why do you need it?”

Coworker #2: “We are trying to connect to the VPN.”

Me: *Pauses* “Why?”

Coworker #2: “We are trying to access the shared folders and we need to connect to the VPN.”

Me: *Addressing [Coworker #1]* “First of all, the VPN is to access the Internet remotely. This guy is connected directly into the Internet via that Ethernet cable.”

He seems to get it.

Coworker #2: “But how does it connect to the Internet?”

Me: “See that green cord coming out of the computer and going into the wall right there?”

Coworker #1: “Oh, yeah!”

Me: “It is connected directly to the router.”

At this time, I get onto the URL that allows you to access data remotely on any web browser.

Coworker #2: “So, it is already connected?”

Me: “Yeah. Second of all, the login that you use for this computer isn’t connected to the network. It is a basic guest login. So, knowing the password to it to get onto the VPN wouldn’t have done any good.”

Coworker #3: “What do you mean by that?”

Me: “My login credentials allow me to log on to any company computer, right? Well, there is nothing like that set up for [Desktop]. I mean, you can log onto it using your credentials, but not to [Username]. That is a local account to store our network licenses on.”

Coworker #1: “I see. So the password wouldn’t have worked to connecting onto the VPN.”

Me: “Correct.”

I motion toward the website and show him me logging in.

Me: “We can also remote into the Shared Folders using our login credentials. As you see, there are the Shared Folders.”

Coworker #2: “But we are having issues with the share folders.”

Me: “Yeah, well, you can still access it using the method I just showed you.”

I log out so [Coworker #1] can try.

Coworker #2: “So, is this an [IT] issue or what? Because we cannot access the Shared Folders on this computer.”

Me: “Well, normally, you can put in your credentials and access the Shared Folders remotely from the desktop, but I am guessing this is a you-did-something issue. Restarting the computer can help.”

Coworker #3: “So, we should restart the computer?”

Me: “If you want to kick everyone off the network licenses, sure. Or you could just use the URL I provided to download files. It doesn’t affect me, but your other coworkers might be mad.”

Coworker #1: “I only have a couple of files anyway.”

Me: “Sounds good to me.” *Walks away*

This is the fourth or fifth time I have had this conversation with these three. Their heads are just so full of complex problems that the basic solutions elude them. Documentation doesn’t help. I’ve tried. 

So, any time you are feeling down about yourself, remember the time a PhD, a PhD candidate, and a man with his Master’s in computer engineering all tried to connect a desktop to the VPN. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.

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