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

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Her BlackBerry had a little red X on the signal meter; not only could she not get email, her customers couldn't even call her. Dialup internet was technically plausible, but A) the large amount of data being sent back by the sales software would have made this prohibitively slow, and B) her in-laws sort of needed to use their telephone.

Angelica placed a series of frantic calls to the on-call help desk person -- who could do absolutely nothing to help her. No matter how much she yelled at him, reminding him of how important her accounts were to the company, he could not alter the physics of the universe and give her something that was impossible.

I'm not sure what her solution was, if she drove into town every day to find a connection or stomped out of the house to check into a hotel. But the amount of grief and noise she made when she discovered her predicament is in sharp contrast to User 2, who found herself in a similar situation in the middle of nowhere with no service. Let's call her "Helena."

A true professional

After a courteous call to the help desk, Helena found a solution on her own. She had noticed a cellular tower on the top of a distant mountain that was only visible from a certain angle for about 10 seconds before disappearing behind another mountain. It was a carrier not compatible with her BlackBerry, but after a visit to a local electronics store, Helena learned it was a local carrier with GPRS data service. Helena bought an aircard, and on the way back stopped at the gap in the mountain to use the VPN. It worked just well enough that she could respond to emails and keep tabs on things. This became the daily routine until she could finally rejoin civilization.

The lessons learned? Users, when the VPN software says your token is about to expire, it's no joke. Also, a little planning goes a long way before taking a vacation. At the very least, don't berate the help desk when there's nothing we can do.

Send your own IT tale of managing IT, personal bloopers, supporting users, or dealing with bureaucratic nonsense to offtherecord@infoworld.com. If we publish it, you'll receive a $50 American Express gift cheque.

This story, "Sorry, IT still doesn't do attitude adjustments," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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