Can’t See Through His Windows

, | UK | Working | December 31, 2014

(I am working at an IT company that takes on new staff every 3 months. I started four months ago and am working on a project with the newest set of new starters who have been here for a month. Up until this point they have all been using temporary computer login accounts while I have had an official login for several months now. Today they all receive emails containing their login credentials.)

Me: “Hey, [Coworker #1].” *no reply* “Uh…  [Coworker #1]?”

Coworker #2: “Hey, [Coworker #1]!”

Coworker #1: “Hum, yeah?”

Me: “Are you able to login to your new account?”

Coworker #1: “I’m trying but it’s stuck on the email configuration.”

Me: “That fine. Can you try to run [Software]?”

Coworker #1: “Why? I’m already running it.”

Me: “Great, so your account is fine?”

Coworker #1: “I haven’t tried my account but my email isn’t configuring.”

Me: “Well, your email won’t work until you login as it’s configured from your account. Please login to your new account.”

Coworker #1: “Yeah, I will.”

(A few minutes later.)

Coworker #1: “Do I need to add the domain?”

Me: “Sorry?”

Coworker #1: “For my login. Do I need to add the email domain?”

Me: “No, in the email you received it will tell you your username. Use that.”

Coworker #1: “I have but should I add the domain on the end?”

Me: “Why would you add the domain on the end? It’s a standard Windows login!”

Coworker #1: “Oh, okay. It worked. My email is configured, too.”

Me: “Yay…”

Coworker #3: “Did you really just talk [Coworker #1] through the Windows login process?”

Me: “Apparently so.”

Not The Brightest Of Coworkers

| Seattle, WA, USA | Working | December 21, 2014

(I work in a long office space that has windows all down one side. It is very open and well-lit, and at night the parking lot lights and streetlights stream in. A coworker works in the workspace farthest from the main door, by insistent choice. Her workspace is bounded on two sides by windows and is closest to the streetlights, so it gets the most exterior light of them all. I regularly work late, and am almost always the last person to leave. As I walk out the main door, I turn out the lights, since this is the only placement of the switches for the main lights. One morning I come to work to be confronted by Coworker, who is almost shaking with anger.)

Coworker: “You turned the lights out on me last night! You left me in the dark!”

Me: “Oops! Sorry about that. I thought I was the last one here, like usual.”

Coworker: “Well, you weren’t, and I yelled at you. Why didn’t you turn them back on?”

Me: “Sorry, but I didn’t hear anything.”

Coworker: “Of course not! That’s because you were all the way down there!”

Me: “Well… yes. That’s where the door and light switches are. Again, sorry, but—”

Coworker: “Well, you shouldn’t have done it! I couldn’t see anything!”

(From the light coming in the windows, and the various bits of light coming from power buttons, etc, I find I can almost read by the ambient light when the lights are off at night. The cleaning crew has shut them off on me a few times, so I know that the office is far from pitch black… especially when you’re sitting in front of two 24″ monitors throwing light everywhere. As a bonus, less than twenty feet from her workspace is a motion sensor that turns on one office’s lights, providing ample light to the entire area.)

Me: “I’m sure you were fine.”

Coworker: “No! I could have fallen and hurt myself, and no one would have found me until morning!”

Me: “Look, I’m not sure what you want me to say at this point, but I know you’ve had this happen before, and it just upsets you. Why don’t you buy a cheap flashlight, and keep it in your desk drawer or something?”

Coworker: “Oh, I do have one, but it doesn’t help.”

Me: “Huh? Why not?”

Coworker: “How can I find it in the dark?!”

1.21 Gigawatts Of Laughter

| Augsburg, Germany | Working | November 7, 2014

(I’m responsible for a 24/7 tech-hotline we provide for one of our customers. We recently made contract with an external call center to take our calls during the night. To check out, if everything works, I test the call center and play one of our customers – an IT company.)

Agent: “[Our Company]. My name is [Agent]. How can I help you?”

Me: “Hi, this is [My Name] from [Other Company]. My Flux-Capacitor is defective.”

Agent: “Mhm.” *suspicious* “Your Flux-Capacitor is not working?”

Me: “Right. I need a technician right now.”

Agent: “Mhm, well, let’s see. So, you said your Flux-Capacitor is not working?”

Me: “Yes! And as I already know that you know what the Flux-Capacitor is, for your information: this is a test call to check if everything works.”

Agent: “Ah, I see. Well, let me see if I can get a technician for you.”

Me: “Thanks!”

Agent: “You’re welcome. I hope your DeLorean will work again quite soon.”

Me: “I hope so!” *giggling*

(He then called my technician and told him what the call was about and transfers me to him. Seconds later I had a laughing technician on the phone, joking about how I could fix my Flux-Capacitor.)

If They Weren’t Disgruntled Before…

| OK, USA | Working | March 13, 2014

(We’ve picked up a new privacy and security employee. He’s very gung-ho, but seems to lack any real understanding of how things work in IT departments and aims for change just to say that he did something.)

P&S Employee: “So what we need to do is restrict the ability of anyone making changes to the production database so that it is secure.”

Me: “We’ve already locked it down as far as we can logically take it. You can’t remove the access any further without making it impossible for the batch programs to run against the database.”

P&S Employee: “But we need to guard against the possibility of a disgruntled employee making changes.”

Me: “And we’ve done that as far as it can go.”

P&S Employee: “But you could still make a change to the database that wasn’t authorized.”

Me: “As could anyone in the system administrators group or any of the database administrators.”

P&S Employee: “What if we developed a process where you had to have approval to do it?”

Me: “We already seek approval for any changes outside of normal business needs. And even if it is a process, that doesn’t prevent anyone from doing it.”

P&S Employee: “We could switch it out of the developers group and into the business administration group.”

Me: “That wouldn’t work at all. The business administration group doesn’t have the technical knowledge on how to do anything like that. Furthermore, you are expanding the number of people who would have the ability to make changes to the production database. And the business administration group is far more of a disgruntled group then we are.”

P&S Employee: “But if you became disgruntled you could still make changes.”

Me: “Why is it that you think that I’m the one who is going to be disgruntled?”

P&S Employee: “It could happen!”

She Needs Her Brain Scanned

, | IL, USA | Learning | May 26, 2013

(I’m head technician at the call center for the campus IT department and receive a call from one of the program directors at an off-campus location.)

Me: “IT, how may I assist you?”

Program Director: “This new computer they sent me is broken! It won’t take my document!”

Me: “I’ll see what I can do, but you’re going to have to tell me a little more. First, what do you mean by ‘it won’t take’ your document?”

Program Director: “I have all these correspondences from all these people, and I’m supposed to put them on the computer. It won’t take them.”

Me: “Are you trying to type them in to a word processing program? Or are you wanting to scan them in using some kind of scanner device?”

Program Director: “DON’T GET TECHNICAL WITH ME! I’m an educated person,; I have TWO DOCTORATES, SO DON’T YOU DARE TALK DOWN TO ME!”

Me: “I’m not talking down to you; I assure you. If you don’t understand the terms I just used, I can define them for you and we can try to get you back on track here. Do you know what a word processing program is? Or a flat-bed scanner?”

Program Director: “There you go again, belittling me! I demand to speak to your supervisor!”

Me “Ma’am, you can speak to my supervisor, right after we fix this issue. I have no problem at all transferring you to the supervisor, but right now, I’d really like to just fix whatever the problem you are having, and then you can speak to the boss. Would that be alright with you? Fix the issue first, and then speak to the supervisor?”

Program Director: “Well, okay, but this had better not take much longer!”

Me: “I’ll go as fast as I can. Please tell me exactly how you are attempting to get the documents into the computer, one step at a time, if you would?”

Program Director: “Step by step? This is stupid, but okay, here goes. First, I pick up one of the letters that need to be in the computer. Got that?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. Got it. Then what do you do with it?”

Program Director: “I hold it up in front of the big screen thing, but NOTHING HAPPENS. And so WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? I need to get going on this,; it is very important.”

Me: “Just one more question, I think, should do it. By ‘the big screen thing,’ do you by any chance mean the white box that kind of looks like a television, and has [brand name] on the front of it?”

Program Director: “Yes. That’s it exactly.”

(Turns out she was holding papers up to the monitor, and expecting the computer to be able to read them in, as if it was an eyeball or something. When she found out that she would have to type all these documents in to a word processing document, she about hit the ceiling.)

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