It must first be understood that I am currently in the middle of the two largest projects I have ever undertaken at work. It must then be recognized that the VP to whom my supervisor reports has a different view of reality than anyone else I have ever know (think: SUR-reality). My boss informed me that, despite the vast quantities of work I am currently undertaking, I must also move offices. For most people, this is not that big a deal, right? Simply pack your stuff into boxes, and tell the moving people where to stick them (er, where you want them moved). My new office contained nothing more than a phone; its voice mail light blinking in wanton disregard for the pain and anguish felt by the people who obviously left voice mail for my new office’s previous occupant – five years deceased. But I was talking about my old office…
I work in the server room. My office is shared with what we affectionately refer to as the “elephant’s refrigerator.” The ER contains – no exaggeration – over a TON of equipment that provides mission critical data and services. In the interest of keeping the reader from leaving now, I’ll spare you the boring tale of herding the snarling, feisty ‘fridge up a spiral staircase. Did I mention that’s where I was moving? No?!? How forgetful of me.
I will also spare you the tales of moving from a room with 6 white boards (a requirement, really) into a room with no wall space to hang a white board. That’s OK, though, since the walls are entirely concrete and thus impervious to any hanging equipment, anyway.
Instead, I will tell you about the absolute brilliance of our IT group; meanwhile, my new phone is blinking.
My old office contained a hateful, spiteful, vindictive phone line that only rang during one time of day – whenever I was trying to get any work done. This phone line was listed on every web page of the aforementioned servers. As the technical support extension. Needless to say, I took the opportunity to request a new phone extension. Everything seems fine, right? There was even a phone blinking forlornly in the other office, so all IT needed to do was simply reset the name/password on that extension and everything would be fine. Except for the strongest force on the planet.
The Strong Stupular Force.
Science has been baffeled for ages over the near-godlike power of the strong stupular force (SSF). Once thought to be related to the similarly named strong nuclear force from physics, the SSF has been shown in countless experiments on management and users alike to be infinitively more subtle in it’s inexplicable incomprehensiveness. But one question that I’m sure the reader would like to hear answered is this: “What does the SSF have to do with the quagmire that is your voicemail extension and the blinking phone?”
I’m glad you asked. Responding with blinding speed, the IT group had the new phone extension in my office changed to my name in a matter of mere months. Clearly the fates were on my side, assisting me in my brave trailblazing through the amazonian like jungle of IT bureaucracy. There was only one tiny glitch, barely worth mentioning.
The IT people reset the voice mail password. “But wait,” I hear you saying over the sound of the IT people doing large quantities of nothing in my office, “isn’t that what you wanted them to do?” You are most astute, and correct in your assumption. I did indeed want them to reset the voice mail password. The only thing that would have marginally increased my satisfaction index would be if they had shrewdly opted to inform me the password they chose.
That’s right. They didn’t tell me what they reset it to. But wait, there’s more!
I called IT and informed them of this less-than-complete ending to my saga of moving woe. I was told, “passwords are almost always set to the same four digit number.” I replied that I had tried this number, and it did not work. After a brief exchange, they assured me that they would reset it, and get back to me to let me know when it was finished.
I hung up the phone with a sense of mounting awe and dread. They wouldn’t… They couldn’t… I didn’t actually need to tell them to let me know over email, did I? (If you are still reading this, then perhaps you deserve a bit of literary foreshadowing. Otherwise, you’d probably only find this post amusing for its poor grammar and spelling).
For the next week, ever day I would try the “typical reset” number to see if I could get access to my voice mail. After a week of no satisfactory response, I finally received an email! They were vindicated! I was silly to think they wouldn’t email me. What a chump I had been. The email said, quote,
We have marked your service request closed.
“Great!” I thought. My saga is at an end. “I’ll just login quickly and delete all the dead dude’s voice mail and start my new office life fresh.” An optomist’s life is never easy. Bold I approached the blinking phone. I steeled myself to download the 10 million messages I anticipated were waiting for me. Deep breaths. I am calm. I am a rock in the stream. I am getting an automated response that my entry is an “invalid security code; please try again.” Blink. Blink. Blink.
I called the support line. “We reset that right after you called. I called you right back to tell you I’d reset. I even left a message with the new extension.”
Silence. “Hello?” says the cheery voice on the other end of the line. “Are you still there?” I requested she walk me through the steps to retrieve my messages, including her most recent one. She gladly, cheerfully began walking through the steps. She blindly barged past the phrase “login using your security code,” and would have continued for another 5 minutes. I stopped her. Can you elaborate on that last step?” I asked, proud that I had kept my tone so level. After the ensuing disgustion, er, discussion, I received a gracious confirmation that I would be sent an email with my new pass code.
That conversation took place in May; I’m still waiting; the phone is still blinking; science remains baffled by the SSF.