Saturday, July 2, 2011

Dear Help Desk, You Suck.

I know that I shouldn't criticize something I don't understand, but I'm saying it - I think the IT department in every place that I have ever worked gets paid way too much for doing way too little.  When I call the help desk, no matter what the problem seems to be, I'm told to turn off my computer and turn it back on.  Flames could be shooting out the back of my monitor and I bet dollars to donuts that their solution would be to reboot.  I feel that this is the IT equivalent of a doctor telling me to 'rub some dirt on it and see if that fixes your broken arm.' Thanks, boys. 

Given the circumstances of the boxed answer I am so used to getting, I reserve all help desk calls to situations involving fatal errors or denied access.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending 6 of the 8 working hours of my day on phone with Bill*(names have been changed to protect me from getting the virtual finger from the help desk folks the next time I need their overpaid expertise.  But you know who you are!) from IT trying to gain access to the new system that we are supposed to be using.

I may not be a computer genius, but I know enough to know that this isn't a great start to the day when trying to login to a remote desktop:

Again, I had no idea what this meant, but I knew it needed fixed so I called Bill and explained that my parameters apparently needed corrected. Bill seemed nice enough, but it wasn't until after making me restart the computer 4 times in a row and reading him the same error message all 4 times that he decided I might not be an idiot and could have a valid problem.  I feel that this call could have been cut by 5 - 5.5 hours if we could all agree that if the problem persists after 2 reboots, maybe we should move on to the next troubleshooting idea, no?

After sufficiently reaching the apparent reboot quota before actual problem solving commences, Bill decided to shadow my screen. Having never met Bill in person, I didn't expect him to know that I am the cutie in the bottom right corner of the picture I use as my desktop background and the other cuties are my friends:

However, I also didn't expect his reaction to be, 'Oh you have 5 daughters?  I have 5 daughters too.'  Really Bill?  I sound old enough to have birthed 5 women ranging between the ages of 25 and 50???  This conversation is not off to a great start.

After taking control of my screen and going through the exact same process that resulted in the exact same error message I had been explaining, I sat silently while Bill talked his way aloud through a whole bunch of technical mumbo jumbo that I didn't understand.  Twenty minutes later, during which he repeatedly declined my offers for him to just call me back when it was fixed, he had an a-ha moment and proclaimed 'Oh my gosh - I forgot to give you paramaters to login to Citrix properly!  I can't believe I did that.  I'll fix it right now and you'll be set.'  So the problem was exactly what the error message that I had been reading to you for an hour at this point said?  Well who could have seen that one coming???

Another reboot, another screen sharing session, another login, and another error message:

So I'm in - I just have no resources. My internal reaction:  'No problem, Heidi.  Bill is a trained professional and will fix you right up.' Bill's vocal reaction: 'Ooooh.  That's not good.' Other than a medical specialist, a system administrator is the #2 person I don't want to hear that response from.

Fast forward TWO hours of listening to Bill ramble on some more about what it might or might not be, and yes, several --- 3? 7? 92? I seriously lost count --- more reboots to make sure that the computer fairy hadn't magically fixed it for us, Bill figured out that he had forgotten to give me (and only me out of the 23 new staff rolling over to this system) the permissions required to have resources.  Easy fix, he assured me.  Give him 10 minutes and then repeat the reboot, share, login process that I am a recently certified expert at, and I would be good to go.

................................Drumroll, please................................

Wah- Lah!  A real, remote desktop with access to my home desktop in the top left corner.  Fantastic!  I have access to e-mail, the intranet, timesheets, the database --- everything a fundraiser like myself would need! 

Bill being the concerned IT professional that he is asked me to login to the timecard.  This is what we found:

That's right.  3 Heathers and the wrong Heidi.  It has taken 4+ hours to get me into the desktop, and now I don't exist in the payroll system?  Bill said he would look into it as soon as we established that everything else worked.

Back to the desktop, I notice that not only do I not have a shortcut to the database, but of my 4 icons, the only 2 that work are the payroll system in which I don't exist, and this one:

This icon takes you to appointment scheduling and patient records.  The problem?  I am a fundraiser, not a clinician. 'Bill?  Why do I have access to clinic stuff, but not to anything pertinent to my job?'  Bill: 'Oooh.  Looks like I gave you the wrong desktop.  And uh, ummm..hang on.  JB!  JB!  Can I get a consult over here?' Next came muffled whispers between the two, and then Bill cleared his throat as if preparing to tell me that they had forgot to tell me I was fired and I don't actually work there anymore before he said, 'Yeah...I gave you the completely wrong accesses and we don't know how to fix it without deleting your profile and rebuilding it.  And that's going to take a while, so sit tight and I will try to get it fixed.  How about I call you the middle of next week to update you?'

No problem, Bill.  I'll just come to work with the inability to log my payroll, access donor records, enter donations, or do anything required in my job description, but never fear - I can color code my e-mails and if I get bored, I might schedule a few IUD removals for myself.  Give me some gloves and those tong-like things; I'm sure I can figure it out.

Bad news: I don't exist in the work system, have no access to anything important, and apparently sound like a 70 year old woman on the phone.  Good news: When this gig goes south, I'm pretty sure I can start a new career as an IT administrator.  Or a nurse practitioner.

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