Word Imperfect

| Los Angeles, CA, USA | Working | September 30, 2016

(I visit a client’s desk to review a problem she is having viewing PDF files. She claims that they are regularly crashing and it is severely impacting her workload.)

Me: “Can you demonstrate the problem for me?”

Client: “Sure.”

(She proceeds to minimize each application individually. She then double-clicks the Microsoft Word icon on her desktop. Once it loads, she goes to the File menu, and clicks Open. She then browses to the main network folder, then, in sequence, to her own folder, a folder named “WPDOCS” (a holdover from the WordPerfect days), and a folder in THAT called “PDFs.” In there she finds the document she wants, right-clicks it, and choses “View in QuickView Plus.” QuickView Plus then opens and loads Adobe Reader, embedded within its own window, to finally display the PDF document. After regaining my composure at the circuitous route she takes to get there, I explain how the program within a program within a program method she uses adds so many points of failure it is no surprise this happens.)

Me: “Why don’t you just browse to the file in Windows Explorer and double-click it to open it?”

Client: “I didn’t say I wanted to OPEN it. I said I wanted to VIEW it.”

Me: “Those are the exact same thing. There’s no technical distinction.”

Client: “Well, how am I supposed to know these things?!”

(I guess she had me there.)

Schedule In Some Secrecy

| Chicago, IL, USA | Right | July 30, 2016

Me: “[Firm]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Yes I’m calling for [Attorney].”

Me: “Sorry, he is not available.”

Caller: “Do you know when he might be available? I have a meeting with him later today.”

Me: “Sorry, I can’t say when that will be.”

Caller: “What, is it a secret?”

Me: “No, I DO NOT KNOW when he will be available.”

Caller: “Oh, okay! Thanks, honey.”

Inheriting An Impossible Request

| Helsinki, Finland | Right | July 2, 2016

Me: *phone rings* “[Law Firm], [My Name].”

Customer: “Do you handle inheritance cases?”

Me: “Yes, we do.”

Customer: “Well we have this disagreement in my family that has been going on for almost twenty years.”

Me: “Okay.”

Customer: “The problem is that a couple of relatives won’t sign any documents and we are all absolutely adamant that court proceedings are out of the question.”

Me: “Those are really the only options, I’m afraid. Either you can make an agreement or go to court.”

Customer: “No, that will not do. I want you to resolve it.”

Me: “I can write the contracts for everyone involved to sign, or I can take the matter to court. There is no third way.”

Customer: “No! Those options will not do! I want you to resolve it now. And I mean immediately!”

Me: “You mean at this very moment, over the phone, talking to you?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but that is impossible.”

Customer: “Why?!”

Me: “It just is. I would have to do magic to resolve your disagreement of twenty years instantly, talking to just one party over the phone.”

Customer: “You are just absolutely useless!” *click*

I Wish I Knew How To Quit You

| TX, USA | Working | July 1, 2016

(One of two secretaries does not do her job; she barely answers the phones and manages to even mess that up most of the time. She spends the entirety of her time on Facebook.)

Boss: “I really need to fire her, but if I do she’ll file for unemployment against me.”

Me: “You want me to get her to quit?”

Boss: “You think you could?”

Me: “Sure, give it a few days.”

(I go into the router, and block Facebook. Three days later:)

Secretary: “Umm, is there something wrong with the network?”

Me: “What do you mean?” *peeking out from behind five different monitors*

Secretary: “Well, I haven’t been able to bring up Facebook…”

Me: “You’re wasting my time over Facebook? Do you have any idea how busy I am?”

Secretary: “Well, I just thought—“

Me: “In what way do you need it to do your job?”

Secretary: “Er… well, I don’t…”

Me: “Good. Let me know if anything important breaks.”

(She quit two days later.)

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Google Will Be There From Youth To Your Grave

| Milwaukee, WI, USA | Working | June 21, 2016

(The office has only me and the attorney. He’s a relatively unknown ambulance chaser in his 50s and I’m his legal assistant. He’s not very tech or Internet-savvy. One day, he does a Google search for his name.)

Boss: “[My Name]! Get in here now!”

Me: “What’s up?”

Boss: “Look at these pictures!” *pulls up Google images* “There are two other [Boss’s Name]. This is terrible; people will think they’re me!”

(One of the other Boss’s name is a 20-something skateboarder in California; the other is an old man in his 90s in New York.)

Boss: “People will search for me and think I’m a punk. Or on death’s door! Can we do anything about this?”

Me: “No, sorry, you’ll just have to take that chance…”

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