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What Is This, A Preschool?!

, , , , | Working | January 21, 2021

At work, I am the “young guy” to call when a printer doesn’t work. Nine times out of ten, one of the older guys is trying to print on the wrong size or it just needs resetting. However, as most of the team is part of an older generation, I quickly become the font of all knowledge for IT, even though I don’t know what I am doing 90% of the time.

I don’t mind; the guys are always appreciative, and they’re understanding when I can’t fix it and have to call the real IT guys. And I am learning lots from them.

This goes on fine until our office is merged. One of the workers who move to our office is a woman who is only in her late forties but treats all technology as alien. She will cuss and bang her keyboard and sarcastically state how “great all this modern technology is.” 

I admit, [Worker] gets under my skin from the word go; I am grateful that she works for another team and I can (try to) tune her out.

A few weeks in, I hear her talking with someone about some issue she has.

Worker: “Oh, is he our local IT guy? I didn’t know that.”

I know what is happening and, despite there being some sort of desperate hushed clarification attempted, I know [Worker] has decided that I am the go-to for all of her issues.

Nothing happens for a few more days, but then she attempts to summon me to her desk, a feat made more painful as she doesn’t bother to learn my name. Eventually, I give in and walk over.

Worker: “Listen, I am having an issue with this program. It’s not saving where I want it to. How do we fix that?”

Me: “Well, I’m no expert on these things, but I would suggest using ‘Save As,’ rather than saving on closing. That should give you control every time.”

Worker: “I have no idea what you are talking about; you will have to show me.”

Me: “Okay, I can do it this time. I don’t work for IT but I can point it out.”

I show her the big, named button. She seems unimpressed.

Worker: “Okay, I guess I will try that.”

She turns away from me and I gratefully leave her desk.

This happens on and off for the next few weeks. Each time, I repeat that I don’t work in IT or just give her the helpline number. I have taken to wearing headphones, as is allowed in our office. This seems to work until one day when I feel something whiz by my head. I jolt up, whipping my headphones off.

Worker: “Oh, good. You’re paying attention. I can’t get this to print.”

Me: “Did you just throw something at me?”

Worker: “It didn’t hit you. Now, come on, snap snap. I need this printed.”

I thought of all the things I could say and instead just walked out of the office. I kept waking to calm down. I must have been really out of it as I missed three calls from my boss. By the time I’d collected myself, I rang him back but couldn’t get hold of him. I reluctantly went back to my desk.

The office was largely empty, which was very, very odd. I checked I hadn’t missed a meeting. For the next hour, I was slightly paranoid that I should be somewhere else. I got a phone call from my boss; he wanted to see me in Human Resources.

It turns out that someone had complained about [Worker] throwing things at me; she’d made some pretty serious accusations about me when questioned. This meant several more of the team were brought in to confirm. When she was brought back the second time, she repeated her claims, this time going on and on about how, as “IT,” I wasn’t doing my job, I was lazy, I was unprofessional, etc. She even admitted knowing that I didn’t work for IT but thought I should do it anyway.

She was eventually removed from the office and stuck in some dingy below-ground office somewhere. I’ve never had to deal with her since.

This story is part of our Best Of January 2021 roundup!

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