Voyageur

To those who work IT

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Mad kudos to you. I'm normally an aircraft mechanic, and due to recent events I'm working in an IT-esque job for the next 4 months. I'm a month in and some of the stupidity I come across is astounding. I don't know how some of you can deal with it as a full-on career, so to you I give props.

Rant over. Feel free to share some of your craziest requests/complaints as well. :wink:

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27 minutes ago, NSEP said:

Im, sorry but what is IT? 

Information Technology. The people who come fix your computer when it's not plugged in or turn your monitor on when your "computer won't turn on". 

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IT - Inhome (Derp, Voyageur has the right one) Information Technology, a term that came about somewhere around the early 80's when the 8-bit computers were starting to make serious inroads into peoples homes.  Nowadays it's an umbrella term for anything computer related.

 

On topic, what I personally find worse than the ignorance of some of the users I've had to deal with is their sheer bloody-minded determination not to learn from their mistakes.  With some people, everything 'just happens' as if the malware fairy just came calling (and logfiles etc aren't a thing).  These are generally the people who ring you screaming for a fix like yesterday, but when you've done that, and try to give them simple hints how to not have the same problem again they all but stick their fingers in their ears and go "la-la-la can't hear you".

Edited by pxi

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28 minutes ago, Voyageur said:

Information Technology. The people who come fix your computer when it's not plugged in or turn your monitor on when your "computer won't turn on". 

Ah i get it now! Thanks.

Im the type of person who fixes his stuff by himself, by surfing the internet, and inventing little easy DIY things. I only want to get helped when i have been trying to fix it for a long time and it does not work. But im also that type of person who loses his keys and later finds out it was in their hand all the time. So, yeah, thats a problem.

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1 hour ago, pxi said:

IT - Inhome (Derp, Voyageur has the right one) Information Technology, a term that came about somewhere around the early 80's when the 8-bit computers were starting to make serious inroads into peoples homes.  Nowadays it's an umbrella term for anything computer related.

 

On topic, what I personally find worse than the ignorance of some of the users I've had to deal with is their sheer bloody-minded determination not to learn from their mistakes.  With some people, everything 'just happens' as if the malware fairy just came calling (and logfiles etc aren't a thing).  These are generally the people who ring you screaming for a fix like yesterday, but when you've done that, and try to give them simple hints how to not have the same problem again they all but stick their fingers in their ears and go "la-la-la can't hear you".

This exactly. My situation is a little different, because I still work in the unit I normally would, except I'm in charge of our network assets and not our flying ones. I've come to the conclusion that people don't really know what we do except fix their technology when it doesn't work, but that includes EVERYTHING they don't know anything about, regardless of whether or not we have authority over it.

People don't know what I do, but they come to me when whatever it is they need is something they know nothing about. They just assume I handle it. People damn near spartan kick through my door, belligerently demanding I fix their computer because it absolutely has to be done yesterday even when it's something as simple as turning the god forsaken monitor on, or cycling power, or unplugging the ethernet and plugging it back in. It's nuts. IT isn't even what I'm experienced in, I'm literally doing basic computer knowledge level stuff. Any gorilla who's ever even seen a computer ever could do the stuff I do. The blatant stupidity and ignorance is unreal.  

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4 hours ago, Voyageur said:

Information Technology. The people who come fix your computer when it's not plugged in or turn your monitor on when your "computer won't turn on". 

Honestly, the last two issues I was asked to fix were literally "Not plugged in" and "Just turned off".

And I don't even work IT.

Edit,

Since I have plenty of more important stuff to do than to waste my time on plugging stuff in, I've introduced a policy. I will just blatantly refuse to offer any help until they come back with a list of actions they attempted in order to fix their problem. More often then not, they don't come back and later I when I ask them about the issue, power cycle was a good enough fix.

Edited by Shpaget

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I worked tech support for a computer accessory for a few brief months. I was pretty good with the mechanical issues, but the biggest headache was when the driver package refused to install on certain machines, and there was nothing to be done about it except mail (!?!?!) out the latest driver version, after wasting an hour on all the other steps including downloading the earlier version of drivers. Why the latest drivers weren't available for download, I have no idea. I once had to tell someone who needed the machine to work now to take it back to the store and buy a different brand (that was what I was told by a supervisor).

Luckily I was able to find a nice easy manufacturing job after that...

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46 minutes ago, LordFerret said:

35+ years of it. Too many stories.

Can you share the most outrageous please? :)

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13 hours ago, Voyageur said:

Mad kudos to you. I'm normally an aircraft mechanic, and due to recent events I'm working in an IT-esque job for the next 4 months. I'm a month in and some of the stupidity I come across is astounding. I don't know how some of you can deal with it as a full-on career, so to you I give props.

Luckily, a lot of people in IT do not have to deal with this. It is the realm of the service- or helpdesk, the cannon fodder grunts of the IT world. In a lot of organisations, they intentionally act as a breakwater, as to have relative peace and quiet for the rest. It enables the system administrators to retreat to server rooms, never to be seen again, and developers to go fight semicolons, rather than VGA cables. Mind you, this will not make you immune to erratic clients and managers. Those wreak havoc across the range :D

You see the same thing in other work fields. The GP or first aid room performs a similar task in the medical world - they filter noise, address common and (relatively) easily solved problems. If more specialisation is required and the problem needs to be escalated, they gather information, so that the specialists can spend their time on what they are good at.

In IT, it also serves as an entry level position. It probably is fairly valuable to experience the full force of what people can and cannot do. I image you will be a better manager or developer if you have witnessed the extremes first hand.

Quote

Mad kudos to you. I'm normally an aircraft mechanic, and due to recent events I'm working in an IT-esque job for the next 4 months.

Do you have a background in computers? It seems a bit random to just assign an aircraft mechanic to computer duty. Generally, people with the right inclination will catch on soon enough, but it certainly is not for everyone and some problems require a bit of background experience or knowledge.

Edited by Camacha

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39 minutes ago, Camacha said:

Do you have a background in computers? It seems a bit random to just assign an aircraft mechanic to computer duty.

Probably the-guy-who-knows becomes The-guy-who-must.

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5 hours ago, Camacha said:

Do you have a background in computers? It seems a bit random to just assign an aircraft mechanic to computer duty. Generally, people with the right inclination will catch on soon enough, but it certainly is not for everyone and some problems require a bit of background experience or knowledge.

5 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Probably the-guy-who-knows becomes The-guy-who-must.

 

Nothing professional, I've just been using a computer seriously since I was about 13. I made due with a retired Dell laptop from my step-grandma's accounting company. Where I work doesn't know that though, they just saw my rank and how long I'm gonna be at the location I'm at, and that the guy who was doing my job before needed a replacement. 

It was more a stroke of luck for everybody else that I've got the knowledge I do, because most of the problems can be fixed in-house and don't have to be escalated, resulting in more time taken for simple fixes.

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21 hours ago, Voyageur said:

I'm literally doing basic computer knowledge level stuff.

In my experience*, this is about 25% of Tech Support.

2.5% actual "thinking required" problems,
2.5% rote memorization,
10% telling stories to co-workers or screaming in the break room to blow off steam,
59% bs-ing the customer with technical jargon while googling the solution,
and
1% beers after work with the co-workers (Or during lunch, because it's Christmas and 24/7 phone support is a thing...)

 

*My experience was with a company that did server hosting.  Actual end-user support will probably give a different breakdown.
 

 

 

12 hours ago, Camacha said:

Mind you, this will not make you immune to erratic clients and managers. Those wreak havoc across the range

There's nothing quite like the computer-illiterate user that has learned your direct extension.

Edited by razark

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9 minutes ago, razark said:

screaming in the break room to blow off steam,

Sounds about right, like my reaction to that buggy driver package.

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24 minutes ago, razark said:

In my experience*, this is about 25% of Tech Support.

2.5% actual "thinking required" problems,
2.5% rote memorization,
10% telling stories to co-workers or screaming in the break room to blow off steam,
59% bs-ing the customer with technical jargon while googling the solution,
and
1% beers after work with the co-workers (Or during lunch, because it's Christmas and 24/7 phone support is a thing...)

*My experience was with a company that did server hosting.  Actual end-user support will probably give a different breakdown.
There's nothing quite like the computer-illiterate user that has learned your direct extension.

 

You are pretty close on percentages to reality for Level 1 support.

I work for a small Internet provider.  So small I do everything, except pay the bills and make the large decisions.  This means I have the "What is my password?" (write it down!), "How do I get my email?" (same way you ahve been for the past 5+ years!), and "Why doesn't my computer work?" (turn on the computer, instead of JUST the monitor) as well as the "My internet stopped working." (spend 2+ hours or real troubleshooting only to find the $VENDOR device upstream (in the case I can remember off the top of my head it was an AT&T DSLAM) has failed and was being replaced as I did my troubleshooting).  I also happen to do web coding (not design, I can't make things look pretty if I tried but I do make the pretty work).

 

At level 2 and 3 you get a slightly lower percentage of bs-ing and googling, and a slightly higher on memorization and thinking, but not by much.

 

Az

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20 years in IT this year. I could tell you all sorts of dumb user stories. But I'll tell you my favorite. It's more of a horrifyingly stupid management story.

I was working for a semi-major retail chain based in Southern California. They owned a huge distribution center in East Los Angeles that was in a famous state of disrepair. We had recently completed installation of a wireless network in the DC that allowed the forklift drivers to actually receive and update their pick sheets electronically. So, it's February, it's raining cats and dogs, and I'm out at lunch, when I get a call that the entire DC network has gone down. My boss was out of town, so I was the chief point of contact. I drive back to the DC and meet one of my network admins, the operations manager, and DC director in the office, and we walk out to the DC to see what is going on. We get out to the main DC office, which is where the UPS (uninterruptible power supply, or battery backup, for those who don't know) for the entire wireless network resides. It was like a little building within the larger building of the DC. When we get there, I see that there is a huge leak in the roof of the DC directly over the office. It is pouring water on the roof of the office. We go into the office, into the room where the UPS is, and there is water pouring through the roof of the office directly onto the UPS. It is literally standing in two to three inches of water, with water dripping out of the front panel. I turn to the operations manager:

"Well, there's the problem."
"What?"
"The UPS tripped because there is water pouring all over it!"
"What do you mean? It always does this when it rains. It's never been a problem before."
"Wait. You mean to tell me that the UPS always has water pouring on it when it rains!?"
"Well, yeah. We figured it was waterproof or something."
"NO! IT IS NOT WATERPROOF!

Meanwhile, the DC director is outside the office with my network admin trying to explain to him that the water couldn't be the problem because there was electrical switchgear on the outside wall of the office that had water dripping down it, and that was fine, so therefore water running all over live electrical gear was not a problem. He was dumbfounded.

So I gathered everyone in the office and said, "So, this is what is going to happen. I am not going to touch that UPS. You are going to call a licensed electrician. He is not going to touch that UPS either. He is going to go into your wet breaker panels on the other side of this wall and figure out how to deenergize the UPS so that you can move it somewhere that it can dry out. Then you might be able to turn it on and use it, assuming that it hasn't just completely died."

My network admin comes into my office later that day:

"So, they got the wireless back up in the DC."
"Did they call an electrician?"
"No. They rigged up some plastic sheeting to keep the water off the UPS. Then the operations manager had one of the supervisors stand next to the UPS and press the reset button with a pen."
"You've got to be friggin' kidding me?"

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Jeez, what a great story!!!

 

Mostly what I get is:  My computer is running slow, can you fix it?  I say:  give it a reboot and let me know if I need to come over.  Them:  I can't reboot, I have 40 word docs and 25 emails open!  Me:  There's your problem.

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Oh, that whole company was full of winners, from the top down. I could tell you stories for days. The CEO was the guy who had started the chain with one store back in the 70s. He had absolutely no business being the CEO of a NYSE-traded company. He micro-managed everything. For example: He would stop at the front desk every day after the UPS and FedEx drop offs. He would gather up all of the packages that were sent overnight or 2-day, anything except ground, and take them to his office. He would call each person those packages were sent to and have them come to his office and read them the riot act, because he believed that there was no reason to ship anything any way other than ground, anything else was an unnecessary expense. This is how the CEO of the company spent his afternoon.

So Brian, the guy who managed the help desk and the cabling, had to buy this really bizarre connector for splicing fiber optic network cable in a freezer. He scours the Internet for it, and the cheapest vendor he can find is a place where the only shipping option they offer is free 2-day air. He orders it, thinking that he'll just intercept the package before Dave, the CEO, gets to it. He is unsuccessful. He gets called into Dave's office, and the conversation goes like this:

Dave: "Why did you feel the need to ship this package 2-day air?"
Brian: "Well, Dave, I needed this part to fix the cable run in the freezer, and this vendor was the cheapest I could find, and the only shipping option they offered was free 2-day air."
Dave: "No! If 2-day air was the only shipping option then this vendor was not your cheapest option. Because shipping is never free. If the vendor won't let you ship by ground, then you have to find another vendor."

So we were sitting around the office afterwards laughing about it, imagining the conversation Brian would have to have with the vendor in the future: "So, could you do me a favor? Instead of offering me free 2-day air on my order, could you charge me for ground shipping instead? Otherwise my CEO is going to make me go find another vendor who will charge me more for the same product. Why? Because this is how we save money at our company."

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13 hours ago, TheSaint said:

"They rigged up some plastic sheeting to keep the water off the UPS. Then the operations manager had one of the supervisors stand next to the UPS and press the reset button with a pen."
"You've got to be friggin' kidding me?"

Great.  Now, there's a bunch of people with the following thoughts:

A. It worked.
B. Obviously, that guy in IT has no clue what he's talking about.
C. We should all ignore him (and by extension, all IT people), since we could figure out a perfectly workable solution to a problem he said was impossible.

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1 minute ago, razark said:

Great.  Now, there's a bunch of people with the following thoughts:

A. It worked.
B. Obviously, that guy in IT has no clue what he's talking about.
C. We should all ignore him (and by extension, all IT people), since we could figure out a perfectly workable solution to a problem he said was impossible.

Darwin Award nominees in the making. I really, to this day, have no idea how people could get that far in life (The DC director had a master's degree for Pete's sake!) and not understand that manipulating energized electrical gear while standing in a puddle of water is life-threateningly dangerous.

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9 hours ago, TheSaint said:

I really, to this day, have no idea how people could get that far in life (The DC director had a master's degree for Pete's sake!) and not understand that manipulating energized electrical gear while standing in a puddle of water is life-threateningly dangerous.

Think positive. Maybe the mathematical expectation of the assistant replacement price was cheaper than the roof repair.
(Unlikely lemmings would cost a lot.)

9 hours ago, TheSaint said:

because he believed that there was no reason to ship anything any way other than ground, anything else was an unnecessary expense

Probably he was spending all his vacation on wheels, unless he was the only really important thing to deliver him to a spa by air.

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2 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Probably he was spending all his vacation on wheels, unless he was the only really important thing to deliver him to a spa by air.

TBH it wouldn't surprise me if he never took a holiday and actively believed the company would fall apart without his presence.

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6 hours ago, pxi said:

TBH it wouldn't surprise me if he never took a holiday and actively believed the company would fall apart without his presence.

Dave take vacation? Ha! Never happened. He worked six days a week and expected everyone else to as well. (Didn't happen.)

The full story was this: They took the company public back in 1996 (because it had always been Dave's dream to run a publicly-traded company). When they passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002 (You know, the one that made it a crime for corporate officers to knowingly falsify SEC filings, accounting documents, and investor statements.), Dave and the other family members that ran the company suddenly felt a burning desire to take the company private again. But they didn't have enough money. So they wound up going half-and-half with a private investment group and took the company private in 2011. But the new investors figured out all of the family's shenanigans, so in January of 2013 they leveraged all of them out of the company and off of the board. Three months after that, Dave dropped dead of a heart attack. Because, as was no news to any of us who had worked there, Dave loved that company more than anything else in the world, even his own wife and kids. In the immortal words of Rupert Giles, "The words 'let that be a lesson' are a tad redundant at this juncture."

But I was long gone at that point, they walked me out in January of 2005. Everyone in that company got fired. (Of the six guys I hired there, five of them ended up getting fired. One of them got fired twice in one week.) My boss got fired the summer before because he got into an argument with one of the family members. I saw the writing on the wall at that point and was already looking for another job. His replacement (Mike) was hired the first week in December. First meeting with him, he walks into my office, sits down, and says to me, "I just want you to know that I have someone in mind for this position, and it isn't you." I didn't really care, I was already moving on. But apparently word may have gotten back to someone in HR, who may have informed him that "I have someone else in mind" is not a cause for termination in the State of California. So he comes into my office again two days later (which was only the second time I ever laid eyes on him), "So, I think that some of the things I said in our last meeting may have been misconstrued." ("Misconstrued" :rolleyes:) He blows all this smoke up my butt about how he's going to send me to some ridiculous leadership training and all this crap. I'm still nodding and giving him my best, "You're boring, can I go back to browsing job sites now?" look. Christmas comes and goes, I literally don't see him again. First week in January, I get a call from HR. I shut my computer down, pack my bag (I'd had my office cleaned out for months), and walk down the hall. Jennifer looks at me and says, "Mike told us that he set some specific goals for you back in December that you haven't met." "Nope, never happened." Jennifer starts to look a little nervous, like I'm going to get argumentative or something. I reached across the desk and patted her hand, "It's okay, I'm already looking for another job. Now I can do it full time with unemployment checks."

So, months later, after I found another job, I'm having lunch with Brian (yes, same Brian from above), and my old boss. Brian has a story. Mike brought his new guy, Logan, in to interview a couple of weeks later. (It turns out that Logan was actually someone I had worked with at a previous company. Small world.) After the interview he walks him around to meet everyone, and they all decide to go out to lunch. Brian says, "Hey, Logan, you can come ride with me." So they get in Brian's truck and head out. As they're driving, Logan asks, "So, how do you like working here?" Brian says, "Actually, it's a %*&#@!^$%# nightmare. Everyone in management is insane. They're all moronic workaholics with rage issues. Everyone is just walking on eggshells praying they don't get fired. Nobody gets raises, nobody gets promotions. I'm just here milking paychecks until I get fired, but I'm not too worried because I've already got a side business I'm building. If you join on I suggest you do the same." (All of which was completely true, but Brian just laid it on all thick and serious.) By the time they got to the restaurant and met everyone else, Logan looked like he was attending a funeral. And, lo and behold, he wound up turning down the job offer! Brian finishes up his story with, "So, to the list of all of Mike's failures and shortcomings you can add, 'Let Brian drive the new guy to lunch.'" :D

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