May 9, 2006

All in a day's work

Lady co-worker calls me for IT help.

-"I have this e-mail you see. It's a yahoo mail, right? And I don't know, everything's gone awry. It won't show a file in greek and I know it's fine in greek because they e-mailed it to me from the next office and I don't know what to do and do you have any idea what this is all about..."

"First of all take a deep breath. Now let's take this a step at a time", I ask patiently trying to register what her rant is actually about. "Let's try changing the character encoding from the browser's view preferences".

"No, it's not THAT! I want you to TELL me why things have changed and I can't view it in Greek any more! This didn't happen last week. Why is it happening NOW?" She plunges again into her hysterics routine about the damn attachment that's obviously in Greek character code but instead displays little boxes and wingdings.

I give up trying to talk her through it because she is too preoccupied with making sure that everyone near her (and some across town) hear her version of how it isn't her fault, so I resort to remotely accessing her computer and viewing the damage myself. (This is one of the advantages of being a network administrator: you don't need to actually go the person's office to solve some issues).

She sighs with relief when she sees my mouse tracking all over her screen. "Good, you're in. Now fix it". Side-note: I'm a pretty calm person and usually take things with a grain of salt but commands are a no-no with me; they don't win you any points in my book.

To make a short story shorter, the initial mailing of the attachment was flawed. She was quite upset at this answer and just kept asking "why? why? why?" OK, lady, breathe! I then logged into the adjoining office's computer, did the darn thing right by myself and re-mailed it to her. This wasn't enough for her to regain her composure. The "why? why? why? is yahoo doing this to me" dirge kept going. My patience was wearing thin and her refusal to shut up and listen wasn't getting us anywhere. So, I simply answered: "I. Don't. Know". She silenced. (God almighty! How sweet the silence!)

-"Wha, what do you mean you... you don't know? Who does?", she asked meekly.

-"Look, I'm not responsible for everything on the Internet. I AM responsible for our workplace's mail server and it's not part of the yahoo service. It was a bad attachment and you didn't have the proper encoding on and please... don't start again. The attachment is now viewable. My work here is done. I don't have the time to explain your whys and you obviously don’t want to learn how to make things right again". Exasperated and hearing the call-waiting signal on my receiver I ended with "The rest is up to yahoo".

-"Fine", she retorted, trying to sound determined to prove me wrong. "I'll call yahoo then."

I was too busy muffling my laugh when I took the next line.