Sorry, IT still doesn't do attitude adjustments

Tech support can fix the VPN, but it can't bend the laws of physics for a demanding, bullheaded user

Technology is now so ingrained in our culture that we're surprised when it's not immediately available. Whether that's because we take the system for granted or simply don't plan ahead, the nearest party may take the brunt of our frustration. Who better to blame than the techs, whether or not they have magical powers to fix all things? Not that you're the worst offender -- there are always less reasonable users to deal with.

Enter User 1, who we'll call "Angelica." An account executive, Angelica was a self-regarded person of importance who believed the tech team was at her beck and call. Rules did not apply to her. She was high-strung and needy, armed with many demanding, last-minute requests. You get the picture.

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Angelica had planned a weeklong vacation in another state to see her in-laws, coincidentally timed with Labor Day. As a career-oriented power seller, Angelica had planned on taking her laptop with her and working while on vacation. Not for nothing, she was the primary point of contact for several lucrative accounts, so keeping the customer happy was her bread and butter. However, on the Wednesday of that week, her RSA token had expired. True to form, she didn't bother to let IT know until around 4:45 p.m. on the Friday preceding that long weekend.

Hey, it's only network security

Standard company policy dictated a mandatory 48-hour period between the request of a new token and the issuance of the token so that all the proper approvals could be documented and the network team could prep the token. From there, Tier II desktop support still had to install the token on the user's PC.

The VPN software was set to give popup notices of an impending token expiration for an entire week ahead of time, and Angelica had been through the token renewal process on several occasion before -- this should've been old news for her. When Angelica called the help desk, she got the standard response that, in short, she was out of luck. If she had contacted them earlier in the week (as she should have), they could have helped her, but now it was too late.

This "type A" personality salesperson wasn't about to take that one sitting down. After an angry call to the director of IT, all policies were waived, the network team issued her a token, and at 7 p.m. desktop support was installing it on her laptop. Crisis averted -- her token was renewed and she could work to her heart's content during her vacation.

The worst-laid plans almost always go astray

Naturally, it wouldn't be that simple. She had also failed to do her homework about where she was traveling. Her in-laws were located in the heart of West Virginia, and on this trip she had opted to stay with them rather than getting a hotel room. Therein lay the problem: They did not own a computer, so they had no Internet connection. However, even if they wanted an Internet connection, no modern broadband connections existed in the remote hollow where they lived. Cellular service? Ha! That's a good one.

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