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They’ll Let Just Any Jerk Be A Big Wig

, , , , , , | Working | January 4, 2022

About two years ago, I started at a tech support help desk. I don’t have any certifications (A+ or N+, for example), but it’s not really needed here since we aren’t supposed to handle networking issues and we don’t have any actual hands-on with hardware. I just get computer stuff, so I just naturally fit the job. The tech support job is to do basic troubleshooting and learn basic software troubleshooting for the proprietary software that the company designed and supports.

There is no real training offered. New hires just get sat down by another tech that has a bit of experience, listen to them take incoming calls, learn how to create a new ticket, and maybe pick up on some basic issues and how to resolve them during their first day on the job. The second day, they are kind of just tossed to the wolves. There is no training manual to follow and the troubleshooting guides for the hardware and software we need to help customers with are scattered across multiple places; this includes new hardware and old hardware and new software and old software. Needless to say, it’s a cluster bomb.

I spent countless hours in my first six months constantly asking questions, reading up on software and hardware, and tracking down resolutions for problems, and pretty soon, I was more experienced than people that had been there for a couple of years. I taught myself how to navigate the MS Access databases used in the older software and learned how to rebuild databases from scratch. I found easier workarounds for problems and learned how to talk down to customers (without making it sound like I was) to find out specifically what their problem was. I excelled at the job, and the manager for the help desk took notice.

After about a year at the job, the help desk manager had me helping on calls when needed, but I was mostly going around and coaching other Tier 1 techs on how to resolve issues that are very suitable for T1 techs to handle and to stop escalating tickets to Tier 2 so often. Too many stupid issues were pushed to T2 because T1 didn’t know how to resolve them and no one was around to really train them.

I did this for about a year. I got a lot of T1 techs up to a reasonable level, but what I didn’t realize was that my own metrics were bad compared to all other T1 techs. Most T1 techs would usually handle thirty-five calls a day on average and close around twenty tickets a day, but with my manager having me walk the floor and help others, I handled around ten calls a day and closed around ten tickets a day. In my position, I was given a $.50 raise and therefore made more than the other T1 techs because I was considered a lead.

Around the two-year mark of my working at the company, in comes new upper management. They want to make an example of how good they are and they want to weed out the bad employees. This “big wig” manager runs his metric data and sees that I’m paid more, but I produce fewer results. He wants to fire me on the spot to set an example. Thankfully, my immediate manager takes the bullet.

Manager: “It was my call to pull [My Name] off the phones to help others. You shouldn’t fire him for my decision.”

Big Wig: “Put him back on the phones. If I don’t see any good results, I’m going to fire him.”

My manager pulls me off to the side the next morning.

Manager: “I have to put you back on the phones because your metrics aren’t good. I took the blame for my decision to pull you from the phones. I want to make sure I don’t lose you as an employee.”

Most T1 techs, as I stated earlier, average around thirty-five calls a day and close around twenty tickets a day. On my first day back on the phones — which is hard to get through — because I have so many T1 techs wanting me to come and help them — I take seventy-four calls and close out fifty-two tickets. This is a normal day for me; I just hammer out calls and close out tickets.

The very next morning, the big wig manager walks past me and pats me on the shoulder.

Big Wig: “Keep up the good work!”

My immediate manager sits and talks with me.

Manager: “I’m thrilled that you were able to put [Big Wig] in his place by blowing the rest of the help desk out of the water with your metrics! I walked into [Big Wig]’s office earlier with my chest puffed out and told him that it felt awesome to straight-up tell the new management team that was the reason why I took you off the phones — so you could help other T1 techs, so we’d handle more issues and take more calls as a team and not just rely on you to pick up the slack.”

A short while later, I was promoted to Tier 2 because I handled harder stuff that most other T2 techs didn’t know how to do. Then, I became the T2 lead, and the story kind of repeats itself. In came new management, and the whole song and dance started again.

Thankfully, I left the place right when the third new management team took over a few years later.

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