Tech Tales From Hell presents..

While You're Here

Andys Tech Tales It is the predictable phrase you're just waiting for on every call out job and it used to shit me to tears, because everyone used to say it on every job I ever went to. Or so it seemed. In the end I gave in to the inevitability of it all..

So this is how it'd roll. You'd get a call about a problem. You'd have a plan how to fix it. You'd attend prepared. The job would take at least twice as long as it should, however simple. That just seems to be a computer thing. Someone would ask you to fix at least one other problem which you hadn't been told about in advance.

If you were really unlucky or just a bit too friendly, you'd also get the additional benefit of a user in your ear droning on about their husband's fleas or their cat's haemorrhoids or even worse, wanting advice on a) fixing or b) purchasing a computer, or c) improving their sex life. I remained calm. I developed a formula:

Andy's Formula

The solution I found, was to ask the user for a bit of space in which to work (preferably about 3 miles) and to be left alone if at all possible. Ideally you complete the job and leave without anyone noticing. Maybe a stickit note on the monitor to say it's fixed and goodbye.

John my boss, had the right attitude. He was equally unleasant to everybody, without discrimination. People used to piss their pants when he entered a room. He was there to do his job and woe betide anyone who asked him to perform any additional extraneous task, however perfunctory in nature. It worked well, as no-one wanted to talk to him and even if they did, he'd ignore them. Nothing worse than someone droning on in your ear when you're trying to concentrate.

Herein lies the moral and also the paradox. Despite living in these enlightened times when we're supposed to be communicating more effectively with our users, it doesn't pay to be too nice, as they will just expect more. More, as in more jobs for you to do or more, as in you've got to sit and listen to their life story while you're trying to configure that mission-critical backup system. Ah, the absolute dilemma..

- AndyM

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