To mangle a Mel Brooks quote, tragedy is me getting a paper cut; comedy is someone else falling into a sewer. On most days, the IT help desk is a colorful succotash of comedy and tragedy, and which ingredients are which depends on your point of view. Somehow, the IT service desk ticket that ruins your life and makes it so you can’t even is remarkably funny when it’s assigned to someone else.
Here are 4 of the nearly infinite number of IT help desk tickets that make you sigh in relief once you realize that they’re someone else’s problem.
1. The Person With Toolbar Overload
If ever there were a reason to install a risk detection engine to monitor downloads, it is this person. A lot of people don’t realize that when they download free software, many times the standard setup Wizard installs a new toolbar unless they explicitly tell it not to. Eventually the result is an internet browser with 90% of the window’s valuable real estate taken up by stacks of toolbars. And if they can’t figure out how to opt out of these toolbars, they probably can’t figure out your instructions on how to remove them from their browser, so you or someone else will have to go do it for them.
2. The Vague, Yet Impossible Task
Oddly, it often seems that the user with the vaguest request has the most determination that the task must be done, no matter what. Perhaps they’re the “cyber hypochondriac” whose hardware you have to pretend to fix when nothing is actually wrong with it. Or perhaps they have it in their head that they need to remove Google from their machine. Whether you get your tools out and pretend to fix their machine, or go through the process of explaining that you can’t remove Google from their internet-connected machine, you’re going to spend some time with this person, and you’d rather do something more fun, like get a root canal.
3. The End-User Who Cries “Wolf”
Most end-users are reasonable people. They ask reasonable questions, and provide you with the information necessary to resolve their problem. Everyone goes on their merry way when it’s over. But almost always there will be one or two people who insist, every single time, that their problem is urgent, despite all evidence to the contrary. The problem is, IT service desk personnel naturally become immune to their insistence on urgency after so many calls. And when one of their problems really is urgent, the IT help desk agent is likely to assume it’s not, leading to both parties’ frustration.
4. The 4:59 p.m. Friday Caller
Does the theory of relativity say anything about why the period of time between 4:55 and 5:00 p.m. on Friday lasts significantly longer than any other time period on the clock? You’ve probably been there: ready to shut down, grab your keys and go, when the phone rings at one minute until quitting time. Maybe you’ve even been a good sport about it, and maybe sometimes there really was a problem that couldn’t wait and you saved the caller’s day. But a lot of times it’s a matter of an end-user being unaware that he or she is in any way inconveniencing anyone despite the fact that the call could have been made earlier (or could easily wait until Monday). Sometimes it’s great to have a supervisor with the ability to magically “not hear” phones that ring that last minute of the workweek.