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This Office Has A Rat

, , , , , , | Working | May 16, 2022

I work for the IT department of a rather big company as a first-level tech. My job is to answer the internal IT-Desk helpline, open a ticket, make a first assessment of the caller’s problem, if possible, solve it if it is minor, and forward it to the right expert if it isn’t.

I answer a call with my usual greeting, which clearly states that the caller has reached the IT help desk, but I am interrupted before I even get to it.

Caller: *Loud and upset* “You need to come here right now! There’s a rat in my drawer!”

Me: “Pardon me? There’s what?”

Caller: “A rat! There’s a rat in my drawer!”

Me: “I think you’ve got the wrong number; this is the IT helpdesk! You want maintenance. Let me get you—”

Caller: *Interrupting again* “No! I need help! This is the helpdesk! There is a rat in my drawer! Now come and help me, you lazy f***!”

Me: “And what am I supposed to do with your rat? Does it need software updates? You want a new casing for it or maybe a mousepad to make it cosy in your drawer? I can’t help you, madam! Call maintenance!”

The caller falls into expletives, yelling ugly derogatives at me before I can even try to give her the number for maintenance.

I don’t have to stay on the phone with abusive idiots who don’t understand that IT doesn’t have to play nice here, so I just disconnect the call and block her number for thirty minutes so she can’t immediately hassle a colleague. I am now lost as to what to put into the ticket I have to write for every call for documentation. Finally, I just put, “Caller tried to report a rat in her drawer. Directed her to maintenance.”

Every employee has a personalized caller ID that automatically attaches their tickets to their individual call in the system, auto-filling their names and positions as well. I don’t write in about the swear words and derogatives in detail as I think she was just scared of the rat, but I flag her as getting abusive anyway and hit the button to save the recording of the call which would otherwise be deleted as soon as I closed the call.

The next day, I get called into my boss’s office. Inside is a smug-looking woman leering at me, one of the department heads, and my boss.

Boss: “Well, we’re here to clear up an accusation against you. Mrs. [Caller] here insists you’ve cursed at her, belittled her, and refused to help her with a simple issue. Can you clear that up for us? I would have looked up your logs, but [Department Head] insisted on talking through that issue.”

Me: “Well, I insist on listening to that call right now; I saved it to the ticket just in case. Before that, we’re not talking about anything.”

I see Mrs. [Caller]’s face go pale, and she opens her mouth, but before she can say anything, my boss, who must have pulled the ticket with her name already, hits play, and the call recording blasts from his speakers.

After the whole fiasco plays, everyone is silent until my boss turns to the woman and says sweetly:

Boss: “So, what was it you wanted from us for your rat? The hardware or the software update?”

The department head is red as a tomato. Between clenched teeth, he apologises and shoos the woman out of the room. My boss is grinning from ear to ear.

Boss: “Sorry for that scene. I would not have allowed this to happen to anyone else, but I know you can take it. That moron, [Department Head], is just newly promoted and already trying to push his weight in a really inappropriate way. His whole department nowadays behaves as if they’re everyone’s bosses, and they need a little pushback. And I needed a witness.”

I assured him it was all okay and agreed to go on and put in a complaint against both with Human Resources along with my boss. The next time I got that woman on the line — this time for an actual IT issue — she was very meek and subdued.

HR listened to the call, and I know she got a warning not to treat colleagues that way.

During the next meeting with my boss, he dropped that the department head was demoted again. He hadn’t even lasted a month.

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