In case of IT emergency, break out the chocolate

On good days in tech support, users' kind words can sustain you. On the bad days, you need a different kind of boost

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I remotely connected to his machine, and he explained where the file was located. It was an attachment to an email. I explained why it's never a good idea to work off an attachment to an email and to always save it to the computer and work from there. He showed me a file that he had saved to his computer -- two weeks before.

I started the task of trying to locate his recent file changes. I zeroed in on the Outlook temp folder by opening the registry, finding the mentioned registry key, copying the folder path, and pasting it into Windows Explorer. I opened that folder and saw four copies of the file in question. I copied the files in question to a new folder on his desktop and opened the biggest, most recent version. All of a sudden, the stress level on the other end of the phone changed. "Wait, I think... yes... maybe... yes!! This is my file! Thank you, oh, thank you so much!!"

I left a little late, but with a spring in my step. It's great to end the day on a high note, and I didn't need any chocolate that time.

It's the little things

One recent morning, one person told me I was her hero (I walked her through changing her email password on her iPhone), and someone else said I'd made his day (I helped him get a shipping program on his computer running correctly). I was on my way to another natural and non-chocolate-induced high, and I'd been at work for only an hour.

Then I got an email from a manager at a remote office; he was irate because his employee didn't have a cellphone. The employee had started two months before, and the new hire ticket stated that he was supposed to have received a cellphone on his first day. Why hadn't we sent it yet?

In my email response, I stated that I'd ordered a new phone and shipped it out to him two months before. I attached the order confirmation email, along with the tracking information, when it had arrived at his location, who signed for it, the device ID, and its activation status.

I followed up my email with a phone call to make sure he'd gotten the information and didn't need anything else from me. He said he'd look around -- that the employee who signed for it, who was his boss, may have set it aside.

Twenty minutes later, he sent another email with exactly two words: "Found it!"

I rang him to follow up on the details. When he answered, I asked, "Where was it?"

His reply: "In a pile of stuff on the corner of my desk." The cellphone had been sitting there for two months, which he might never have known if I hadn't kept all the documentation.

The user finally got his cellphone, the manager was no longer mad at me, and he was motivated to clean his office -- which might mean one fewer panicked phone call to IT about other missing items.

In my job, I usually get blamed for problems, so it's a welcome change when an issue is resolved and the user simply doesn't point fingers. But on the rare moments when someone tells me I've made their day, this whole mess of an IT job is worth it. And my waistline is grateful for those days when the chocolate stays in the drawer.

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This story, "In case of IT emergency, break out the chocolate," was originally published at Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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