"D'oh!" We've all had those moments, and we techies would be rich if we could charge for every time we witnessed one -- either by us or someone else. But helping stressed-out users in unfamiliar situations does make us think outside the box and revisit our most basic skills. Here are a few incidents that still give me a chuckle.
One day, a user from a remote office called the IT department in a panic: She was locked out. Of course, I immediately assumed she was locked out of her laptop. I started asking her general questions about the message she was seeing on the screen, what she had been doing before the computer locked her out, and so on.
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"No," she said, "I'm locked out from my computer!"
I replied that I understood and was working to help her get logged back in.
"No, not that," she said, going on to explain that she was locked out in a different sense. Her laptop was locked in a break room. She'd left for a moment and couldn't get back in.
Oh. I deleted the help desk ticket I had been starting and, since she sounded quite upset, told her we'd call someone in the building who had a key to let her in. I placed the call, hung up, had a chuckle, and moved on to the next item.
The story didn't end there. According to the security guard who arrived with key in hand, she wasn't locked out of the room after all. It seems that this was a sliding door, and she'd been trying to push it open -- understandably without success.