We’ve all been there (or dreaded being there): the internet goes out and we have no idea what we’re going to do with our lives.
Depending on your age, the first time you experienced this phenomenon, you probably found yourself actually longing for this sound, a sound you probably couldn’t bear otherwise.
The “fax machine sound” was another big hit back in the day.
If you work on the IT service desk and there’s an internet outage (which is totally the fault of your ISP, and not your network,) you’re going to experience a flurry of phone calls ranging from the annoyed to the existential to the panicked. But once things settle down and you’re waiting for your ISP to get its act together, you’re faced with something you may only rarely experience: no internet. What on earth are you supposed to do in this situation? Here are some ideas:
Things to Do With Your Computer
Change up your personalization. You can change your background, your screen saver, color scheme, etc.
Devote some time to basic computer hygiene. Can you remember the last time you defragged your hard drive? You probably have plenty of useless files that are taking up valuable hard drive space, so get rid of them while you have the time. And speaking of hygiene, that keyboard and mouse are probably biohazards if you think about it.
Get better acquainted with the software installed on your computer. Learn how to make a Word macro to save valuable keystrokes on oft-repeated processes. Figure out once and for all what all those items in your Excel toolbar do. You’ve probably been doing at least some processes in an inefficient manner, and you have a golden opportunity to rectify this.
Have a PhotoShop, GIMP, or MS Paint battle with your cubicle neighbor. Share a picture using a flash drive and go to town. Because you can never have too many pictures of dogs dressed as Boba Fett.
Things to Do With Your Life
How long has it been since you cleaned the top of your desk? No doubt you have papers that can be recycled or shredded, food stains that can be removed, and long lost writing implements that can be found.
Read a book, magazine, or newspaper – the kind that’s on actual paper.
Play a non-computer game, like chess, checkers, Cards Against Humanity, backgammon, or Monopoly.
Clean out the break room refrigerator. Those anonymous foil-wrapped blobs are no closer to being identified now than they were six weeks ago. Of course, if you leave them long enough, it’s possible they could evolve into a life form that becomes self-aware and makes life much more interesting, but the odds are stacked against it.
Call up a friend just to talk. This is actually something people used to do all the time, before instant messaging and Facebook. Of course, if your office uses VoIP, you’ll need to use your mobile phone, but it’s OK! It turns out, your Android or iPhone can actually be used as a phone as well.
Go for a walk. If the weather is halfway decent and you’re wearing comfortable shoes, get out there and move your body. Carry your phone with you so someone can text you if the internet comes back up, so you can rush back and see what you’ve missed on reddit.
What to Do if You’ve Given Up Hope
Don’t think that life isn’t worth living without broadband. Think of it as a classic lemons-lemonade scenario. If you can’t bear the thought of using your laptop knowing you can’t check your Twitter feed, you can always put it to work in other ways. It won’t even have to be plugged in, so it will be portable. If you use a tower, which isn’t terribly portable, you could always turn it into something that will liven up the office, making you that much happier if the internet ever does come back up.