My attempts at garnering moral support from my girlfriend had failed. After recounting the day's events, she thought my overreaction was simply the male chauvinist in me speaking out against a woman who was just struggling in a man's world and in her eyes doing it well!
Arriving for work, I had three video conferences to get set up planned for exactly the same start times. After working diligently to get them set up, I finally set off for the ground floor, the home of IT Support. This time, having grown smart of Angie's disposition for anyone drinking coffee, I swung by the kitchen first.
Oh yes, Angie's still on form today. I sit at my desk and fire up my machine. Angie glares at me, whatever I'm learning to ignore it.
"Anything to say?" she sniped?
OK, I wasn't quite expecting it to be that open-ended... "No?" came my reply, accompanied with my best, "What's going on 'ere then" look.
Off we go to her meeting room which appears to have become her favorite place to dress down her troops. Half expecting an array of torture weapons to now adorn the walls, she slammed the door behind us.
"Why were you late?" she demanded.
Confused, I informed her I wasn't late; I was in fact 15 minutes early! I had arrived at 8:45 to get the video conferences set up for 9:00, despite the fact that my shift wasn't actually due to start till 9:00 anyway. However, due to a slight technical issue whereby sound from the American side of the video conference had failed, I was working with a counterpart to resolve the issue, thus arriving at my desk at 10:20.
I'm sure you can imagine how well my explanation was received. I may as well have made up a story about having to perform a few impromptu acts of lion taming after some had escaped from the zoo and found their way into the building, trapping me for 20 minutes. It would have been just as well listened to.
She then proceeded to have me calculate with her on the white board that, if I was 20 minutes late every day, how much I would effectively cost the company over the course of a year, which worked out to approximately 12 working days. She then demanded to know why I felt it was OK to cost the company 12 days and what was I going to do to make amends?
Despite offering to refer her to ticket numbers requesting video conference set up, evidence of my keycard accessing the building 15 minutes before my shift, the end result was I was 20 minutes late for work, it'd be added on at the end of the day and that was the end of it.
She then demanded, "I called your work mobile. Why do you not have your work mobile?"
Aha - one I can win :) "You had me give it away to a new starter in Monday's IT Induction!"
Angie demanded to know why I hadn't ordered another one from Vodafone.
Sadly, Vodafone have already distributed our contracted quota of Blackberry smartphones, the Nokias we have are basically junk and don't integrate with email - kinda crucial for our work - and until the new starter feels like swapping back my Blackberry for a rubbish Nokia, I would be without. Not a very likely scenario as you can imagine!
Sadly, no... I didn't win. Ordered to retrieve an old Nokia and new SIM card, she demanded to know if other members of 2nd line were also similarly furnished. I knew where this was headed; no more blackberries for anyone! We'd all be on the rubbish parts-bin Nokias by the end of the day!
This made me wonder about the subject of the rat. On the one hand, given I had now inadvertently ratted my team twice now, frogmarched into cul-de-sacs of inevitable verbal doom by her spitefully clever wordplay, I just wondered if the rat was indeed all of us who, at various times, had fallen foul of her twisted bent nature. But no. Someone showed her how to use a printer; someone retrieved ticket logs from TouchPaper; someone put her onto the IT Cupboard... the thought bothered me.
An urgent call awaited my attention when I got back, coffee now cold and bitter to the taste. It seemed a PA had a non-functioning PC. Rushing up to the scene, it seemed that someone had attempted to help the PA out prior to her calling support. The 18 year old work experience kid they had up there diagnosed a RAM problem and tried to reseat it. However, this had failed to do the job and the PA remained with a beeping machine.
After trying a few rudimentary things, it was apparent that there was no quick fix. I unplugged and picked it up, promising to return moments later with one of our spare stock machines by way of a temporary fix. Not ideal, but at least she could get to her profile data (we used roaming profiles) and use standard services.
A b-line made for the IT Cupboard, I found my card failed to open the door. I tried again, no luck. Defeated, I made my way back to the desk, PA's machine in hand. I returned with MAFG whose card also failed to unlock the door. The reason became clear upon our return to ITS. One of our number who had hit a similar problem had found out that Angie had also demanded our access be removed from the IT cupboard. From now on, access was to be via facilities and only after her approval!
Great! Especially useful as Angie had already left the office with her drinking group to experiment with yet another of Starbucks' many offerings. Running around like a madman trying to find anyone from facilities who wasn't already changing a light bulb or driving a fork-lift and was willing to bend the rules slightly. A few 3rd liners tried their access cards to find that they too were now ostracized from our precious bounty. Our actions were similarly stunted when pleading our case towards Balding IT Head who simply responded that he supported Angie's decision and that undeployed hardware was technically responsibility of facilities! OK, maybe technically, but this is stupid!
30 minutes later, still no Angie, still no facilities. The PA's umpteenth attempt to get news on her machine came through from Helpdesk closely followed by a call from he dept head, demanding to know why we were stopping his PA from working.
OK, nothing for it, lets see what we can do with her machine! Already receiving glares from three fat Finance ladies as I begin tearing the side off her machine, we set to work. After various tests, MAFG and I agree that the power supply sounds like the culprit. Kicking my machine off as they're the same model, I can only think to try mine.
15 minutes later, armed only with a knife stained with old jam which had been liberated from the canteen at some point and found in someone's drawer, I managed to remove PSU screws from my machine's PSU and the PAs machine. A quick hodge-podge to exchange the PA's PSU, we hastily hook back up the cables. A quick power on test reveals the glorious Windows XP boot screen, problem solved. We shut it down carefully, reattach the bits and pieces and I make for the elevator leaving my own machine stranded on my desk like a recently-sacrificed chicken, the murder weapon with most of the jam scraped left adjacent.
I've reattached PA lady's machine, but it's all too late. Her boss is chewing me out over there now being an hour lost of her time. Despite my best attempts to calm the situation down, citing a problem with security access, he vows to email my manager immediately, going so far as to demand names! PA lady thanks me anyway for my efforts in as an apologetic way as she can.
The day plays itself out to conclusion. It takes me until the afternoon to find anyone from facilities to let me into the IT Cupboard. I retrieve a power supply for my own machine and reattach it in the same caveman like style as it had been withdrawn.
Angie passes my desk as I finish up, pointed at the knife and demanded "What is that?"
I got 1/3rd of the way into the first sentence of explaining its role in reattaching a new power supply when she snapped "Take it back to the canteen right now!"
I spent the rest of the day on desk visits, guiding users around various windows issues, doing a desk move and I finish the day up with mentoring a guy on the virtues of active directory.
I knew I had an Angie moan coming. I was expecting it at any minute. But, to my surprise, Angie left for the day... what... no come back? No dragging into the meeting room of doom for another lesson in stupid? That PA's boss was very definite about laying the smackdown? Where is it?
Driving home, it bothered me that Angie had said nothing about this complaint. Had she realized she was wrong? No... I dismissed that very quickly! Total bitches like that are never wrong in their eyes! It usually means that people like me failed to understand properly and need a shouting at to get it through my thick skull! But where was the backlash.
I was stopped at lights watching a mother scold her child as they crossed the road. This made me realize. It was all just another spiteful orchestration by Angie. She knew that I knew there was a complaint. She knew I'd be expecting her to smack me down over it. But what she knew and what I didn't think of until now, was that there was no sense on doing this on a Friday. It's the weekend after all!
She wants this exact situation... she wants me wondering what sort of smackdown awaits me Monday morning - and she wants me to think about this all weekend, just anything to make sure the stress builds up.
Oh Angie... clever! VERY clever!