D'oh! Donuts may get you fired

Management didn't like desktop shortcuts or donuts and I liked both. It was a recipe for trouble. I worked the help desk under a contracting company for the FDIC when they transitioned from Windows 95 to new Dell desktops running Windows XP. Many of their users were utilizing desktop shortcuts to get to various applications and files. We had an introductory teleconference meeting to discuss strategy and approach

Management didn't like desktop shortcuts or donuts and I liked both. It was a recipe for trouble.

I worked the help desk under a contracting company for the FDIC when they transitioned from Windows 95 to new Dell desktops running Windows XP. Many of their users were utilizing desktop shortcuts to get to various applications and files.

Laptop, technology, donuts
We had an introductory teleconference meeting to discuss strategy and approach for this transition. Those managing it made it resoundingly clear that we would not be copying desktop shortcuts from the old machines to the new ones. I advised the team against that course of action, explaining how it would lead to a lot of customer dissatisfaction and help desk calls. And for such a small issue, it seemed logical to minimize the level of change for the users – let them keep as much that was familiar as we could. But the management team would have none of it. In fact, they got downright irrational, claiming that “many of those shortcuts are broken, anyway.” (Never mind the majority that were not.) This response was delivered in a very dismissive and unmistakably condescending tone of voice. I could tell it wouldn’t be worth it to argue with them.

I stood up and walked off camera long enough to throw away a donut wrapper. When I went back to my seat, the video camera had swung away, back to the center of the room. I didn't think much of this ...

... until I received a call from my supervisor later that day. She informed me that the regional manager (who had been described to me by others as a "hothead") had called and told her to fire me. No review or research into the situation, no prior warning, nothing. Turns out he believed I had stalked out of the room after the condescending and dismissive response my input had received. In truth, I almost had, but in the end had only left to dispose of my donut wrapper. When one of his direct reports informed him that his perception had been wrong, things calmed down somewhat and work proceeded normally for the next week or two.

That is, until the XP transition went into pilot. And what was the No. 1 user complaint? "Where are my desktop shortcuts?"

Given the nature of the FDIC, I didn't expect any kind of acknowledgment or apology -- for the failure to recognize that users would miss their shortcuts or for assuming the worst about an innocent act and nearly dismissing me.

And I wasn't disappointed.

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