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-   -   Dear Users… (A thread for Sysadmin, Technical Support, and Help Desk people) Part 10 (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=352419)

Wudang 22nd October 2021 06:22 AM

This image has popped up in several work sametime/slack calls over the years.http://www.internationalskeptics.com...2bad9a01f5.jpg

Blue Mountain 22nd October 2021 11:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arthwollipot (Post 13635703)
You know what I really love about this job? When the users don't trust us to do our jobs. We've got a request to do a thing on a certain date, they just have to phone us to confirm that it will be done on that date. Yes, we will do it on that date. Just could you damn well trust us? This is our job. This is our area of professional expertise. We know what we are doing.

In a lifetime career in I/T, I've been on both sides of that. While your particular job has well-defined boundaries and timelines, I/T projects have a notorious reputation for scope creep and the resulting missed deadlines. Systems analysts and programmers tend to be optimistic about how long it will take to get something done. Very often there's pressure from management to trim the schedule to meet an arbitrary deadline they've set without consulting with the experts about how long it should reasonably take.

An old adage I've seen about setting delivery dates is to estimate how long you think it would take you to do a task, double it, and move to the next unit of time. Thus you should allocate two days for a one hour task. :)

mgidm86 22nd October 2021 04:40 PM

"Just shut up and fix it", says the person who makes 5 times more than an IT guy, works 70 hour weeks on salary and puts up with a hell of a lot more problems every single day.

"And maybe clean the crumbs out of your beard and keyboard"

Ya, we could do a thread on what we all think of IT people. I did IT for awhile but didn't like being a glorified mechanic.


Fix-er-up Bob so I can do some important work!

Norman Alexander 24th October 2021 02:37 AM

"Surely there's some button on a website you can click that will do what I want instantly??"

Darat 24th October 2021 04:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Norman Alexander (Post 13637550)
"Surely there's some button on a website you can click that will do what I want instantly??"

In a way that brings us right the way back to JoeMorgue's original post, "computers" are for many people simply magic, they know how to perform a spell and then hey-presto it happens. Because of this they usually have no idea what they are asking for means. They simply expect the priests to make the magic work as they want.

That's a common thread that goes through so many of the stories and incidents recounted here.

I do wonder if that will change because of the change in education for kids. Over the last few years because I've worked with and alongside sixteen to early 20-year-olds I've helped many with their studies, and I've noticed that the maths they learn for their final exams up to A level has changed a lot since I was at school. It has much more "logic" and even basic" programming" knowledge baked into the courses.

Be interesting to see if that helps them understand the magic any better than the older generations when they enter the work force.

Blue Mountain 24th October 2021 09:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darat (Post 13637586)
(respectful snip)

I do wonder if that will change because of the change in education for kids. Over the last few years because I've worked with and alongside sixteen to early 20-year-olds I've helped many with their studies, and I've noticed that the maths they learn for their final exams up to A level has changed a lot since I was at school. It has much more "logic" and even basic" programming" knowledge baked into the courses.

Be interesting to see if that helps them understand the magic any better than the older generations when they enter the work force.

Sadly, the answer seems to be "no." The current generation has been raised on smartphones and tablet computers, which do an even better job of hiding basics than even Windows does, let alone DOS. Many users these days don't understand the split between a "file" (data that you've created and stored) and an "application" that's used to manipulate that file.

They're not aware they can pluck content out of a continuous scroll and save it to a permanent location, which means if they see a cool picture on Facebook or Whatsapp, the only way they can find it again is by connecting to the same place, then scrolling down and down and down in the hopes it hasn't disappeared from the feed.

They're not aware when they save a document using Word that it's stored as a file on their computer, or in the cloud, and (if it's in the could) they can access it using a different device and even a different program.

A while ago I took two pictures on my phone of something interesting. I took the second because I moved the phone on the first one, so it was blurry. Why I kept that picture I'm not sure, but later on I accidentally deleted the good one. My solution was not to mourn the permanent loss of the good picture, but rather:
  • Remove the SD card from the phone (I configured the photo app to store all pictures to it)
  • Plug the card into my laptop
  • Run a recovery program to search for content in the unused blocks on the card's file system
  • Scan the recovered files for the picture.

I was successful in recovering the picture. That's the difference between simply being a computer user and understanding the technology in use.

arthwollipot 24th October 2021 07:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blue Mountain (Post 13637716)
Sadly, the answer seems to be "no."

I agree with Blue Mountain. Their area of professional expertise is elsewhere. They wouldn't be able to do my job, but I wouldn't be able to do theirs either.

JoeMorgue 25th October 2021 06:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darat (Post 13637586)
In a way that brings us right the way back to JoeMorgue's original post, "computers" are for many people simply magic, they know how to perform a spell and then hey-presto it happens. Because of this they usually have no idea what they are asking for means. They simply expect the priests to make the magic work as they want.

[respectful snip for space]

Be interesting to see if that helps them understand the magic any better than the older generations when they enter the work force.

The problem is there is no excuse for it NOW. It's 2021. Computers aren't this magical new thing we dropped on users a week ago Thursday. They have been ubiquitous in office environments for 30 years.

But the users are and a lot of the IT people have fully brought into the mythology that it makes perfect sense for "computers" to remain this magic totem that end users can't understand.

Again that's why I bristle so strongly at that "Oh those people keep you in work" excuse. Not they don't. It's not my job to show Karen in accounting how to resize an Excel column.

I am not in the wrong for expecting computer users to know how to do their job.

TragicMonkey 25th October 2021 07:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue (Post 13638340)
It's not my job to show Karen in accounting how to resize an Excel column.

More than once I've shown coworkers something in Excel and watched their faces move from astonishment at the magical power of the program, to delight thinking how simple their tasks will be from now on, to realization that if their management finds out this secret they'll be replaced by a temp doing their job for one fifth the pay in one tenth the time. To resentment for me for "barging in" to "mess things up" in their department.

JoeMorgue 25th October 2021 07:05 AM

Oh I learned the hard way in the Navy never to let it get known you know how to format Excel, especially if you know how to do calculations in it. You'll wind up doing little else.

TragicMonkey 25th October 2021 07:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue (Post 13638356)
Oh I learned the hard way in the Navy never to let it get known you know how to format Excel, especially if you know how to do calculations in it. You'll wind up doing little else.

I'd estimate about fifty percent of my "programming" work over the years has been messing about in Excel. This is not a bad thing, when I compare the income made in that time to the amount of actual effort I had to exert. Of course I'm not foolish enough to let anyone know how simple Excel work is when it's mine: at one job I had two days a month blocked off for me to do the "data reconciliation". It was a VLOOKUP. Took me five minutes to do, another fifteen to format all pretty. But for two days people would tiptoe past my cubicle, fearful of disturbing the mighty workings of my powerful computing mind as I labored to enact the arcane subtleties of the spheres. I'd emerge at the end, pale and shaken, and have to be revived with someone bringing me a soda and possibly a bagel if I timed it right. It was a stupid job among stupid people but sometimes I miss it.

Blue Mountain 25th October 2021 08:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue (Post 13638340)
The problem is there is no excuse for it NOW. It's 2021. Computers aren't this magical new thing we dropped on users a week ago Thursday. They have been ubiquitous in office environments for 30 years.

But the users are and a lot of the IT people have fully brought into the mythology that it makes perfect sense for "computers" to remain this magic totem that end users can't understand.

Again that's why I bristle so strongly at that "Oh those people keep you in work" excuse. Not they don't. It's not my job to show Karen in accounting how to resize an Excel column.

I am not in the wrong for expecting computer users to know how to do their job.

More to the point, it's users knowing the tools they use to do their job. If you hired a secretary in 1975 who didn't know how change the type ball in an IBM Selectric typewriter, you'd probably not be very impressed.

However, a computer is much more complicated than an IBM Selectric. The Selectric had only three design iterations in its 23 year life span (1961-1984.) Add to that the fact that anyone who trained on the original could still use the model III, although they might not be able to access all the features. Contrast that with computers where things often change every year, whenever a new version of the operating system and other software is released.

Having said that, Reddit's Tales from Tech Support sub is full of examples of people who suffer from "learned helplessness:" they actively refuse to learn anything new and are permanently stuck in whatever year it was when they first joined the company. Do you fire them just because they don't want to adapt to whatever newfangled doohickeys management forces on them, sending years of accumulated organizational knowledge out the door with them?

Let's revisit Karen in accounting not knowing who to resize an Excel column. At what point in her education and career should she have picked up this knowledge? Let's assume she's in her mid-forties, having entered the work force once her kids reached their teens. Did she even learn about spreadsheets and word processors in school 25 years before? Is her computer so locked down she can't even start a web browser and type in "How do I resize an Excel column"?

I've not used Microsoft Office in years, but LibreOffice relies heavily on the web for its documentation. I just tried with LibreOffce to find out—using its internal help system—how to resize a column, and a quick search turned up nothing. (I deliberately disconnected from the Internet to force LibreOffice to use the documentation available on the system.)

Another issue is, how willing are these people to learn? It's one thing to show them once how to resize a column, and point them to places where they can get help. That I can handle. It's when they call the help desk every freaking week with the same question that I get annoyed.

The Man 25th October 2021 08:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TragicMonkey (Post 13638353)
More than once I've shown coworkers something in Excel and watched their faces move from astonishment at the magical power of the program, to delight thinking how simple their tasks will be from now on, to realization that if their management finds out this secret they'll be replaced by a temp doing their job for one fifth the pay in one tenth the time. To resentment for me for "barging in" to "mess things up" in their department.

Heck, way back when (early to mid 90s) we were moving the lab from paper based to computer based, I had self destructing macros set up. They would take the data from the raw data file (generated by the now automated data acquisition systems) organize and format it in the spread sheet (including any graphs), some times assembling it in the spreadsheet line by line. Apply whatever calculations or summaries, organize the report based on canned statements and conditions or limits (that had been predetermined by a committee) and then the majority of the macro would delete itself to prevent accidental reactivation at some future time (when the raw data file was gone). The last couple of lines that always remained simply saved the output report files. The company that bought our company lost it all in their move to their facilities.

While I've done some other Excel stuff since then for other companies I've never gone back to that type of full spreadsheet automation.

ETA: Now in our cloud based modern times I've had to almost start from scratch. Learning office 365 power apps and power automate to do the data intake, crunching and viewing I had done with Access and Excel before.

JoeMorgue 25th October 2021 10:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blue Mountain (Post 13638430)
Let's revisit Karen in accounting not knowing who to resize an Excel column. At what point in her education and career should she have picked up this knowledge? Let's assume she's in her mid-forties, having entered the work force once her kids reached their teens. Did she even learn about spreadsheets and word processors in school 25 years before? Is her computer so locked down she can't even start a web browser and type in "How do I resize an Excel column"?

Let me be 100% clear here.

I don't care. At no point did it become my job to teach her.

And the answer is "A ten second Google Search at literally any point."

BowlOfRed 25th October 2021 03:47 PM

I got shipped out on a last-second contract for something I didn't feel qualified to do. Nosed around at things for a couple of days to see if I could find anything interesting.

Found out the team had purchased a storage system without understanding how much they needed.

I spent two days whipping up storage allocation calculator in Excel that properly accounted for the systems that displayed usage in decimal (TB) and the systems in binary (TiB), pull downs for them to select the redundancy (mirroring, etc) and popped out how much storage that was going to take as they did it.

Let them see that they could fit about 45% of the data they thought was going to move over to the system in its current configuration. They thought that spreadsheet was better than anything the vendor that sold them the stuff had given them for planning.

Blue Mountain 25th October 2021 04:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue
Quote:

Originally Posted by Blue Mountain (Post 13638430)
Let's revisit Karen in accounting not knowing who to resize an Excel column. At what point in her education and career should she have picked up this knowledge? Let's assume she's in her mid-forties, having entered the work force once her kids reached their teens. Did she even learn about spreadsheets and word processors in school 25 years before? Is her computer so locked down she can't even start a web browser and type in "How do I resize an Excel column"?

Let me be 100% clear here.

I don't care. At no point did it become my job to teach her.

And the answer is "A ten second Google Search at literally any point."

Please try again, this time reading what I wrote. (I recommend you read my next post first.)

(Deleted part of this post after reviewing JoeMorgue's contributions to this thread.)

Blue Mountain 25th October 2021 04:57 PM

Looking back through this thread, I saw this post from JoeMorgue:

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue
Quote:

Originally Posted by TragicMonkey (Post 13613034)
My theory is that the people who fuss the most about such things are the ones who do the least amount of actual work. There's a lady on my team who (in the olden days when we were still in the office) spent at least 80% of her working hours fussing about her benefits, her online learning courses, her chair, her cubicle, her supplies, her computer...everything except the actual tasks she was being paid to do. She occupied herself with the accoutrements of work, rather than the actual work.

Yeah I've got users like that. Them just setting down at their desk and logging in in the morning is this whole goddamn Japanese Tea Ceremony.

The giggling coyish "Oh it's my OCD, tee hee hee" thing is something I could never hear again and die happy.

If it's these users who are also asking how to resize an Excel column, I can easily see why he'd be annoyed at being asked how to do it.

For the most part in my career, I've been very lucky to have worked with smart people: those who work with computers for a living and have taken the time to learn how to use them. Having to support a bunch of dimwits who either can't or won't learn probably goes from depressing to soul crushing very quickly.

arthwollipot 25th October 2021 05:48 PM

You wouldn't expect a carpenter to not know how to use a circular saw, but you also wouldn't expect them to understand the internal electrical circuitry that makes it work.

Gord_in_Toronto 25th October 2021 06:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arthwollipot (Post 13639010)
You wouldn't expect a carpenter to not know how to use a circular saw, but you also wouldn't expect them to understand the internal electrical circuitry that makes it work.

Surely the general principle is that a tool is something that I can competently use but can't necessarily make.

arthwollipot 25th October 2021 06:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto (Post 13639025)
Surely the general principle is that a tool is something that I can competently use but can't necessarily make.

Sure, that's a reasonable definition. I would also say that it's possible to be able to competently use a tool without understanding how or why it works the way it does.

Blue Mountain 25th October 2021 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arthwollipot (Post 13639010)
You wouldn't expect a carpenter to not know how to use a circular saw, but you also wouldn't expect them to understand the internal electrical circuitry that makes it work.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto (Post 13639025)
Surely the general principle is that a tool is something that I can competently use but can't necessarily make.

Quote:

Originally Posted by arthwollipot (Post 13639032)
Sure, that's a reasonable definition. I would also say that it's possible to be able to competently use a tool without understanding how or why it works the way it does.

As far as the "tool" part goes, I think we can safely assume that for modern office work computers are tools users should be familiar with. If the job you're doing requires a spreadsheet, word processor, presentation software, CAD, etc, I'm of the opinion people should either know how to use them or be willing to learn.

So where does this leave the user in Accounting who needs help resizing a column in Excel? Do I sigh, show them, and hope they remember it? And if I see too much of that, take it up with their supervisor? Or do I go all JoeMorgue on them and tell them to do their own bloody learning because I'm not their teacher?

For me, it's the first option. At least the first time. If users made a habit of it I'd be inclined to show them where they can find the answers themselves, and failing that kick the problem upstairs:

User's supervisor: "So why are you telling me this?"

Me: "Up to now, it's been a problem between me and the user. Now that I've informed you, it's your problem."

gnome 25th October 2021 08:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Norman Alexander (Post 13634709)
Corollary: Read your job description. Pretty sure "Scoring office points" is never one of the bullet points.

I've found doing just the opposite quite valuable. If I think someone's made an error, my concern goes directly to them alone first. A good way of finding out if I'm mistaken before I make an issue of it to anyone else. Also a chance for them to fix it themselves and communicate it in their own way.

Norman Alexander 25th October 2021 08:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gnome (Post 13639127)
I've found doing just the opposite quite valuable. If I think someone's made an error, my concern goes directly to them alone first. A good way of finding out if I'm mistaken before I make an issue of it to anyone else. Also a chance for them to fix it themselves and communicate it in their own way.

In other words, NOT scoring office points but actually looking to solve the problem, hopefully permanently.

commandlinegamer 26th October 2021 02:32 AM

As far as showing someone how to resize a column in Excel, if that's all one does, it's pretty poor teaching.

Far better to show them how resizing works as a general principle, where GUI grab handles/handlebars/whatever-you-call-them can be found using a range of examples.

The Man 26th October 2021 06:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Norman Alexander (Post 13639129)
In other words, NOT scoring office points but actually looking to solve the problem, hopefully permanently.


Exactly, like I was just telling the new guy I'm training (after showing him the remains of one of my major F-ups) "It's not about placing blame, it's about finding what the problem was and fixing it. Everyone screws up, you admit it own it and learn from it and it won't be a problem. You try to hide it and we may not be able to find the problem that needs to be fixed. Sometimes it's procedures, training, systems even hardware and yes at times personnel ".

TragicMonkey 26th October 2021 06:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Man (Post 13639363)
Exactly, like I was just telling the new guy I'm training (after showing him the remains of one of my major F-ups) "It's not about placing blame, it's about finding what the problem was and fixing it. Everyone screws up, you admit it own it and learn from it and it won't be a problem. You try to hide it and we may not be able to find the problem that needs to be fixed. Sometimes it's procedures, training, systems even hardware and yes at times personnel ".

A beautiful sentiment but one that doesn't always fit the realities of the working world. CYA should be written in golden letters a foot high on every wall. You want to do the very best IT work? Don't worry about CYA. You want to keep that roof over your head? CYA CYA CYA.

Darat 26th October 2021 06:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by commandlinegamer (Post 13639226)
As far as showing someone how to resize a column in Excel, if that's all one does, it's pretty poor teaching.

Far better to show them how resizing works as a general principle, where GUI grab handles/handlebars/whatever-you-call-them can be found using a range of examples.

Are general IT staff trained in how to train someone. Have they covered that particular feature and of course, that is not what your customer i.e. the person you are trying to teach wants.

JoeMorgue 26th October 2021 07:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blue Mountain (Post 13638971)
Please try again, this time reading what I wrote. (I recommend you read my next post first.)

(Deleted part of this post after reviewing JoeMorgue's contributions to this thread.)

Your scenario was farcical. You might as well asked how I would do it if there was a person standing behind them holding a gun loudly declaring that they would shoot them if they asked how to resize an Excel document.

And even if your scenario was true it still wouldn't be my problem if, through some insane scenario Google was not available to them and it was because of the way the customer wants their system set up.

"I can't charge my phone on my computer, fix it" when the answer is "Because your boss, my client, asked that USB port security be enable" is also not my problem.

"My computer only works within the perimeters my company has tasked IT to let/make it work" IS NOT MY PROBLEM.

JoeMorgue 26th October 2021 07:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TragicMonkey (Post 13639373)
A beautiful sentiment but one that doesn't always fit the realities of the working world. CYA should be written in golden letters a foot high on every wall. You want to do the very best IT work? Don't worry about CYA. You want to keep that roof over your head? CYA CYA CYA.

A wonderful and true sentiment, but (and this might be me to a degree) a job where the CYA has to be constant and there is no, I guess "trust" isn't exactly the right word but it's close, between "IT" and "Corporate" sounds just... so exhausting and toxic and not worth it.

ETA: The metaphor might be a bit crude but I once in the Navy told one of my superiors something to the effect of "I can either keep my ass covered or constantly be pulling miracle fixes and solutions out of it, not both."

TragicMonkey 26th October 2021 07:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue (Post 13639414)
A wonderful and true sentiment, but (and this might be me to a degree) a job where the CYA has to be constant and there is, I guess "trust" isn't exactly the right word but it's close, between "IT" and "Corporate" sounds just... so exhausting and toxic and not worth it.

Well, "worth it" depends on what they're paying you. But yes, those sorts of positions are not the happiest, and I was glad to move to more placid waters where the stakes are lower. The CYA I do now is much more relaxed, and the stakes are mostly confined to protecting the reputations of myself, my team, and my management silo. In my previous position my CYA had to protect my company against our expensive contractors implementing the new system, and at times there were tens of thousands of dollars at stake if fault in a mistake could be proven to be ours or theirs. Also potentially our jobs, if something big had gone down and sacrificial goats were needed.

The Man 26th October 2021 08:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TragicMonkey (Post 13639373)
A beautiful sentiment but one that doesn't always fit the realities of the working world. CYA should be written in golden letters a foot high on every wall. You want to do the very best IT work? Don't worry about CYA. You want to keep that roof over your head? CYA CYA CYA.

Well, that can be when it does become a problem of personnel in addition to whatever underlying problems there was. Plenty of times here where CYA has got someone OTD (Out The Door). With hundreds of thousand and even millions of dollars of product, production equipment and even just production time at stake as well as toxic gasses, hazardous chemicals and high energy equipment "It's a factory, **** happens" (as one of our techs once said to me after being involved in the destruction of a critical production element) just doesn't cut it. If you're honest and open about what happened then perhaps we can find and address the actual problem. If CYA is all you've got to contribute to finding the actual problem then you can be an additional problem that needs to be resolved as well. Again this isn't strictly just IT work (robotics and such in an often hazardous production environment) so YMMV.

ETA: For example someone screwed up in a simple recovery taking down a whole section of the factory. Because they wouldn’t just admit and say what they had done it took almost half the day to figure out what had happened and fix it. If they had said exactly what they had done and where it might have been 15 – 20 minutes of down time. I wasn’t in that day but heard about it later. Because of their inability to honestly participate in the problem resolution, they were dismissed that day. I ran into the person some time later (working for another company) an asked “What happened?” because they were generally a straight forward and honest person. They said they didn’t know why but for some reason they just couldn’t bring themselves to admit what had happened.

Darat 26th October 2021 08:21 AM

TragicMonkey isn't say CYA to the extent of not doing your job, if you read a few of his decorous rants you will see his CYA is about making sure he documents what he has been told to do, by whom and what the affect may be. He means don't be the one that can't show that they did as instructed by a "boss".

The Man 26th October 2021 08:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darat (Post 13639445)
TragicMonkey isn't say CYA to the extent of not doing your job, if you read a few of his decorous rants you will see his CYA is about making sure he documents what he has been told to do, by whom and what the affect may be. He means don't be the one that can't show that they did as instructed by a "boss".

I understand that, however my point wasn't about one not doing their job. It was about making a mistake or being involved in some kind of other failure and trying to CYA as opposed to honestly helping to find the problem. If procedures or instructions were the root cause then demonstrating that is honestly trying to fix the problem, as well as helping to revise them. While not a direct boss, just a shift lead, my decades of experience often means I'm the one that writes instructions or procedures as well as does the training. 'If you screw up, as plenty of us have around here, just be honest and open about it' is part of that training and can just help you still keep your job. As I usually also relate some of the stories like the ETA before.

JoeMorgue 26th October 2021 08:59 AM

Appeals to "Just fix the problem" when the problem isn't our problem to fix is the problem.

I mentioned this earlier, getting the whole "Oh we're all on the same team here" speech whenever I push back on doing things outside the scope of m job.

I'm a contractor. We're not "on the same team here." My company and their company have a contract, an agreement, outlining the kinds of services I provides. I don't deserve a corporate speak guilt-trip about teamwork when I acknowledge that.

When your mechanic doesn't agree to drive you to a concert 3 cities over in two weeks because he's a mechanic, not a chauffer you don't go "Oh we're on the same team! Can't you just focus on fixing the problem of me not having a way to get to my concert? After all you're a car guy; fixing it, driving them, all the same."

TragicMonkey 26th October 2021 09:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darat (Post 13639445)
TragicMonkey isn't say CYA to the extent of not doing your job, if you read a few of his decorous rants you will see his CYA is about making sure he documents what he has been told to do, by whom and what the affect may be. He means don't be the one that can't show that they did as instructed by a "boss".

Indeed. I usually end up being the Cassandra of the team: I predict disaster if a decision is made a certain way, the boss doesn't listen, I document this very carefully, then when it blows up in their face and they want to blame the underlings I can so sweetly, so kindly, so gently pull out all the rope they used to hang themselves. My last boss but two was so dreadful at this sort of thing she actually said in an email that a mistake she made was my fault because, and I quote, "you should have known I didn't know what I was talking about when I told you to do that". Before that I had her initial instructions in an email, confirmed those instructions in another email where I listed out the consequences, then I verbally confirmed those instructions twice more in front of witnesses just to be sure. I never had to do anything with that email, but you can be sure I kept it just in case "my" mistake was ever brought up in a performance review.

TragicMonkey 26th October 2021 09:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue (Post 13639466)
Appeals to "Just fix the problem" when the problem isn't our problem to fix is the problem.

I mentioned this earlier, getting the whole "Oh we're all on the same team here" speech whenever I push back on doing things outside the scope of m job.

I'm a contractor. We're not "on the same team here." My company and their company have a contract, an agreement, outlining the kinds of services I provides. I don't deserve a corporate speak guilt-trip about teamwork when I acknowledge that.

When your mechanic doesn't agree to drive you to a concert 3 cities over in two weeks because he's a mechanic, not a chauffer you don't go "Oh we're on the same team! Can't you just focus on fixing the problem of me not having a way to get to my concert? After all you're a car guy; fixing it, driving them, all the same."

Even if you do work for the same company, different departments have different tasks to be done. Sure, in a perfect world I'd have plenty of time to help out other people. But my stuff needs to get done, and my own team's needs take precedence. I can't let my team's project fall behind just because Nancy from Accounting fell off the toilet and is wedged in the stall covered in her own pee, shrieking for help. This data isn't going to query itself! I'm just kidding, of course. If that actually happened I'd be standing outside the ladies room door recording the audio for the internet and/or a new ringtone.

Blue Mountain 26th October 2021 11:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue (Post 13639413)
Your scenario was farcical. You might as well asked how I would do it if there was a person standing behind them holding a gun loudly declaring that they would shoot them if they asked how to resize an Excel document.

And even if your scenario was true it still wouldn't be my problem if, through some insane scenario Google was not available to them and it was because of the way the customer wants their system set up.

So you replaced my farcical scenario with one of your own ...

What I'm seeing here is an "attitude." "If you haven't picked up a little piece of knowledge that I happen to know you're obviously an idiot who doesn't deserve the time of day." Have you ever considered the possibility that people sometimes get thrown into jobs where for whatever reason they haven't yet acquired the full skill set they need to do it?

Quote:

"I can't charge my phone on my computer, fix it" when the answer is "Because your boss, my client, asked that USB port security be enable" is also not my problem.

"My computer only works within the perimeters my company has tasked IT to let/make it work" IS NOT MY PROBLEM.
The above two examples show the user can't do something because it's forbidden by policy. Of course the only response is "Sorry, I can't help you because I don't set policy."

The original problem was a user who didn't know how to do something that was possible to do, a situation you can assist with. For me, I'm willing to help—the first time. Maybe the second time, too, but at that point I'll try pointing the user to resources they can consult instead of asking a person for help. After that I'll seriously consider asking them to consult the documentation I pointed them to earlier.

JoeMorgue 26th October 2021 12:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blue Mountain (Post 13639678)
The original problem was a user who didn't know how to do something that was possible to do, a situation you can assist with.

You're still trying to make "That's not my job" into something unreasonable and evidence of me having "an attitude."

arthwollipot 26th October 2021 06:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue (Post 13639686)
You're still trying to make "That's not my job" into something unreasonable and evidence of me having "an attitude."

Many years ago (I may have told this story before) on my first Service Desk job we got a call about a sparrow trapped in the stairwell. Ever since then, "a sparrow in the stairwell" has been my euphemism for any request or task that is wildly out of scope.

JoeMorgue 27th October 2021 05:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arthwollipot (Post 13640044)
Many years ago (I may have told this story before) on my first Service Desk job we got a call about a sparrow trapped in the stairwell. Ever since then, "a sparrow in the stairwell" has been my euphemism for any request or task that is wildly out of scope.

Well obviously you need to drop the attitude and be a team player.


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