Do you work here? Ex-exec taxes tech support

No one knows why the retired exec continues to hang around the office, but they know to expect extra tech support questions from him

Do you work here? Ex-exec taxes tech support
Credit: Thinkstock

Our tech support team endeavors to address and solve every issue or request that comes our way. But our company seems unable to let go of people, even after their work is done. I’m not sure if it is sympathy or that they actually need part-time help, but we are expected to provide support to them no matter what. The bottom line: They add unnecessary requests to our busy workload.

Currently, several employees at the company fit this description. The one who requires the most attention from our tech department is a former high-level exec, once an indirect boss of mine.

He formally retired a couple of years ago but still shows up two to three days a week for five to six hours to help with a few of his old duties and occasionally participate in executive golf outings. He’s squirreled away in a remote cubicle in a corner of the building, as his old office is inhabited by his replacement.

We don't particularly care whether he shows up or what the nature of his current workload -- but he continually requests help with tech problems, which we are expected to accommodate. To put it mildly, computer skills never were his forte.

Your problem is now my problem

Recently, he showed up at my desk holding a set of speakers, reporting that they didn’t work and asking for new ones. We didn’t have any. Besides we don't automatically give out new equipment without checking the old hardware first.

I plugged them into my system and powered them on. They checked out fine.

He replied, “Well, I got a new monitor last week and they haven’t worked since.”

Thus, I went to investigate. I walked over to his area and hooked up the speakers to his system: No sound.

Looking at his monitor (Windows 7), I noticed that the speaker icon in the lower-right corner had a red circle, indicating they were muted. I unchecked it and tested the speakers again. Amazingly, they worked (sarcasm mine).

Wait, there's more

He wasn’t done yet. Next, he wanted me to check a YouTube video he had been trying to watch. It too had no sound.

I ran my check again and the speakers were fine. Meanwhile, the video continued to roll in the background. I turned on closed captioning, and it worked. There should've been sound. I was perplexed.

The site also lists the typical “other videos you may be interested in,” so I tried one. It had plenty of sound. I tried three more, all of which had sound.

I guess that video will have to be viewed with closed captions, I told him. He agreed and said he was glad that the rest worked, and I returned to my cube -- another problem handled.

By the way, none of the videos were work-related. They were merely entertainment. I hope the company is getting its money’s worth.

Some problems you can never shake, but you grin and bear it and find a way to keep your sanity without letting it get to you day after day.