From jon6, TalesFromTechSupport
QBG and I worked long and worked hard. Machines were building while machines were unwrapped while machines were repacked - this time with larger address labels as per Angie’s demands. The previously arid air infected by Roland seemed more pleasant now that Angie had declared he had "far more pressing duties to attend to."
That didn't stop Angie's persistence in micromanagement. Each visit brought a new list of vices which had to be adhered to; her elephant-like memory seemed to retain every minor piece of misdirection she spluttered, her leathery face and tongue breathing fire at the slightest transgression.
QBG and I pulled overtime on Wednesday/Thursday. Our thanks came with a company-sanctioned pizza on one night, followed by an impromptu trip to the local Chinese takeout the next. We both worked diligently for our cause until sometime on Friday afternoon when the last batch of laptops sat imaging. The IT cupboard looked like a bomb site. Discarded baggies, hastily recorded CD-Rs with various drivers on them, several cardboard cups which once contained cheap, cost effective canteen coffee and shreds of ill-cut tape and inners littered the floor. I sat on the trolley, gently rocked myself back and forth, thoroughly shattered as QBG lounged on the chair. Our hands were grubby from the manual lifting, but we were finally done.
We still had no idea if our plea for clemency from BHIT was the real reason for Roland’s absence, but were glad of the break. The last laptop completed its imaging process as I struggled to my feet. After loading the correct user profiles, we loaded the last box onto the trolley. We turned the lights out on the IT cupboard as we rolled out the door which clanged loudly, echoing through the lifeless corridor as the electronic lock whizzed, sealing the cupboard with a tomb-like finality.
As I pushed the trolley towards the mail room, again filled top to bottom with our efforts, the conversation turned to the conference next week. Angie's plan of having a support presence seemed unnaturally forward-thinking, yet seemed to be yet another construct of some great demonstration of incompetence. We had no real idea of what we were expected to do there and we still had another 50 machines to image as reps waited.
QBG and I had also realized that our unanticipated team-building time had come to an end; a valuable insight we would have never gotten had Angie not interfered in the way that she did. But mired with her constant micromanagement, we were glad it was all over - for now.
Another Monday morning! The rain and sleet smacked my windscreen as I could only think of the same old mantra, “I hate Mondays!” ITS had arrived early at the conference centre to set up. Our Support booth spanned four tables which had been strewn with all manner of Support-related paraphernalia. It looked like someone had raided some long-forgotten box of promotional material which now served to entice passers by. A sizable gazebo stood behind the dubiously supported makeshift tables housing the secondary support area.
When I arrived, I found Angie mid-lecture as some helpdesk underling, borrowed for the purposes of the day, had met her disapproval in some way. Her shrill, demanding voice was evident even over the noise of the waiters and waitresses igniting several water heaters in anticipation for the impending delegates. Angie’s constant barking continued up until our official open time of 10:00am at which time she scarpered to make-nice with some apparent acquaintances. It always amazed me to see her personality and body language shift so seamlessly when interacting with anyone who wasn’t, well, us!
Almost as soon as the hall opened, our first delegate arrived at the Helpdesk brandishing a very familiar laptop bag. The delegate bore all the hallmarks of a vintage salesman; his suit was worn, distended around his stomach which showed obvious patronage to many miles behind his rep-mobile on motorways. Placing the bag on the table, he stressed with a clear but jovial tenor voice that he had received it the previous week but was having problems with it.
I ushered him into the back of our support area. Our IT setup seemed to impress him. The Ghost Server hummed proudly atop a stack of plastic boxes while stations demarked with chairs and table space offered spare network cables and power supplies already connected and waiting for their prospective tenants.
“It’s like mission control in here!” the delegate quipped. With a confirmatory laugh, he added, “We have lift off!”
The delegate presented his laptop. As I hooked it up, he withdrew a shabby blue-covered notebook, filled with scribbling, bits of paper and bound by a rubber band from the depths of his suit. Peering through the frames of his rounded spectacles, he declared that he had a number of problems. He reeled off each entry on his list, as though sermonising from his blue notebook. The software, though it could open, was unable to load profiles or remember preferences which, though meant nothing to me, meant the world to a marketing guru such as this man. It also seemed to failed to synchronise in any way with the central database. While scanning through the laptop, I had also noticed McAfee was failing to update and the image distinctly lacked any installation of MS Office.
The realization that Roland had indeed fudged the image was all too real. This was polarized by the sight near the helpdesk tables at 10:15. The queue seemed to extend to the far corner of the hall, all said the same thing. The rickety tables seemed the final barricade on the front lines as reps, brandishing the same laptop bags, came to voice their ails.
Tensions ran high as the word spread among the queuing reps. IT had blown it; they’d screwed the pooch and messed up big-time! Dissent spread quickly into the queue. Our borrowed Helpdesk guy was buckling. He was ill-equipped to deal with demand of this magnitude without the simple escape route of simply logging a call for escalation. I relieved him with the instruction to find Angie. In the meantime, all we could think to do was accept laptops back en-masse and deal with the fallout later.
The rear support area filled as some 200 machines lay piled as portrait of the enormous blunder. Angie’s eventual reappearance was complemented with another bout of her ranting and raving; despite her inability to offer another solution, she stormed off in anger leaving us to somehow organise transportation of 200 laptops back to head office. Two sales and marketing managers also appeared, demanding explanations and reasons for this mother of all fuck-ups.
Our borrowed helpdesk guy and I loaded the laptops into a hire van for their voyage back to the office. Our drive back to the office through the rain seemed dark and depressing. The rain reverberated off the large metal hulk of the van only dampened by the cloth of the soft laptop bags. The only thing to look forward to now was another drenching skirmish through the office yard to return the laptops to their holding cells.