July 24, 2009


Today was a relatively quiet day at work. A couple of my colleagues had the day off, but those of us at the office today worked together well and collaborated. The spirit of teamwork I felt today was a good bit of rejuvenation.

The phones weren’t especially crazy today, in fact, I expected to be a little busier than we were. As everyone said goodbye at the end of the regular 8 to 5 shift, I wished them off with a “have a good weekend” and began finalising the few things that needed tending to as I was scheduled to work until 6. While I enjoy the folks in my department very much, I revel when I’m in the center alone between 5 and 6 during my on-call weeks. I like the peace and quiet and the opportunity to embrace my tendency of being a loner.

That’s when all hell broke loose.

Mother Nature must have been tricked with Chiffon because several storms passed through the area. The phones started ringing like crazy and because of the time of day, I was working solo. No worries, really, just work my way through it and do the best I can do.

That’s when Todd, a DSL customer, decided to read me the riot back because he couldn’t send an e-mail that had over 50 full-sized pictures attached to it. He was clocking in around 60 MB on the e-mail attachment, something that is a bit of a no-no in the tech world. He didn’t like my answers to his questions, he couldn’t really understand what I was trying to explain to him and he was just not a happy camper. As other phones were ringing, I politely asked if he could hold for just a moment; he said he didn’t need my help anyway, proceeded to tell me why the company I work for is deficient and then slammed the phone down.

Have a nice day.

I shrugged it off; life in a Network Operations Center sometimes goes that way and that’s just the way it is. I learned not too long ago not to let it bother me, I did the best I could do and that was that.

Before I knew it, it was six o’clock. I finished up the loose ends, powered down the laptop and packed up to head home.

The phone rang.

I wondered if I should let it go to the service and let them page me in 20 minutes or should I just deal with the issue right then and there.

I answered the phone.

Her name was Judy and she had a new computer. She couldn’t get her Outlook Express to work.

Sigh. I hate the Outlook Express calls. You see, like the parody of tech support people from SNL, I find dealing with Outlook Express to be a little degrading. It’s not a good e-mail program, it was never a good e-mail program and unfortunately much of the world is still using it.

Judy explained her problem to me and was very vague in the error messages. Worse yet, she was using Outlook Express’ evil cousin, “Windows Mail”, the default program in Windows Vista.

Double ugh.

I walked Judy through the steps of troubleshooting when it turned out her problem was a simple typo in her configuration; we fixed it and presto she was up and running.

Judy thanked me over and over again for my assistance, called me by my name without mangling the letters and then told me to “Have a nice weekend! You’ve been very helpful.”

“You have a nice weekend too, Judy. Thanks for calling.”

The ying and yang of the callers. I needed the kind voice of Judy to end my work day.