Every now and then, Iíll have an off day. Iím sure all support people have them, and Iím sure users are aware when my coffee was too cold or the traffic was too bad. Thatís why when they call Iím telling them to reboot for a Word formatting problem. I just donít make sense sometimes.
Like the time I misunderstood a user who couldnít get her mouse to work correctly. The call went something like this:
Me: Good morning, Help Desk.
User: My mouse isnít working.
Me (assuming that, as usual, the mouse is dirty): Did you clean it?
User: No, I didnít.
Me (lecturing): You have to clean your mouse or youíll see that jumpiness on the screen.
User: My mouse isnít moving at all.
Me: Well then it must be really dirty
Five minutes later, the user calls me back. The mouse still isnít moving. So I, in a huff, march my silly behind up to her desk and tear the mouse apart, being sure to point out the dust bunnies living in the mouse as I clean it with as much attitude as I can muster. I put everything back together, flip the mouse over, and (lo and behold) itís still not working. Thatís when I realize the mouse isnít plugged into any port on the PC. Sure, it wasnít moving. If Iíd been ďon my game,Ē Iíd have asked first what the user meant by ďmy mouse isnít working.Ē
Then there was the time when I was troubleshooting a printing issue. No one could print to this printer. If thereís one type of problem which drives me absolutely crazy, itís anything dealing with a printer. For some reason, the devices irritate me to the nth degree. So, on this particular day, no one could print to the printer. I powered it off and back on (my famous ďon-off method of repairĒ). I printed a test page. I opened the cover, checked for jams, closed the cover, repeated three times. Still not printing. The users, of course, are frustrated beyond belief because theyíve been out of the tree-killing business for almost an hour while Iíve just been pushing buttons. I reach my uber-frustration level and ask my supervisor to look at the printer. He plugs in the network cable, which had been removed or simply come loose, and I grin sheepishly and vow to always check for connection issues before asking him for help.
These examples are just silly mistakes, which (besides making me look pretty dumb) donít really cause any harm. But Iíll never forget one call, where I felt like I was going to lose my job because of my own stupidity and carelessness. Any user who calls a Help Desk dreads something like this happening. All I can say is, I feel your pain. Iíve been on your end, and the other end (you know, the one causing irreparable harm). Not pretty or fun.
User calls me with a simple Word problem relating to workgroup templates not showing up where they needed to be. User specifies (multiple times, if I remember correctly) that the document currently open must not be lost in the resolution of this problem. In order to fix the workgroup template problem, I need to shutdown and restart Word. So, I click File, Exit, No.
WHAT?!?!?! You clicked NO? Yep Ė I clicked no to the save prompt. The sound of silence was deafening from the userís end. She was too angry to say anything, so she hung up on me. There I am, holding my phone, stuttering to myself in disbelief that I did something so undeniably stupid, knowing thereís no way for me to recover the document. In my bitter, defensive response when later asked what happened, I explain that the user shouldnít have worked on a document for three hours without once saving it. But that didnít mean it wasnít my fault it was gone.
Iím much more careful now. That user doesnít know it, but her lost document made me better at my job. At all costs Ė protect the documents! Iím not perfect Ė and boy have I shown it a few times! Itís nice to get that off my chest Ė now I can pretend again that it never happened.