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“Why can’t I log into my account? My password has been the same forever?”
Everyone hates when the powers-that-be force you to change your password for no reason, or “security purposes.” I almost felt bad for my coworker, but the IT department had been emailing everyone for the past month to change it – or face being locked out and have to go through the arduous task of calling IT to reset the password, turn off the computer for ten minutes, and hope the account will then be unlocked. Sadly, it took over an hour to troubleshoot something that could have been easily avoided.
People do some stupid shit. One of my favorite workplace pastimes is talking to my work best friend (he’s the real IT guy) about the technological difficulties people in my workplace have. The man is constantly getting calls to deal with coworkers that unplug their keyboards and can’t figure why it doesn’t work, people that haven’t updated their software and don’t know why programs aren’t opening, or people using the web browser version of Outlook. Most of the time, a simple “restart your computer” fixes just about any problem because these people leave their computers on for weeks and months at a time. There should be continuing education for these people, but that would require thinking and doing work, two things that people who have been working at the same job for 20 years don’t feel like doing.
The people I work with are all old enough to be my mother, and they naturally assume that 26-year-old me doubles as an IT person. Last week, I had to go to certification training. While there, my 55-year-old coworker texted me asking how to insert photos into her PowerPoint presentation. I thought it was a joke. How could someone with a Master’s degree not know how to make a PowerPoint? Needless to say, I had to step out and text instructions.
A few months ago, we had a big departmental meeting where I sat in the back, and people that make double what I make were explaining something boring that I can’t remember anymore. They were trying to open a website using the worst browser in the world, Internet Explorer. It amazes me how many people still use that piece of shit. After struggling for ten minutes, the head of the department asked if anyone could help. I felt like Mariano Rivera being called from the bullpen; I went up and closed out of their browser, opened up Firefox (set it to default browser) and had it working in no time. They acted like I was some sorcerer conjuring black magic by going against their beloved Internet Explorer. The worst part was that I didn’t even get a “thanks.”
I’m all for helping out the team. I like to help people. I enjoy the fact that they need me to do menial computer maintenance because it is job security, and I like being the “go-to” when Jimmy is out battling the hordes of incompetent. But on occassion, I just want to do my work and go home. Too many times I’ll be halfway through something and have to drop what I’m doing because fucking Rob doesn’t know how to add confidence intervals to his graph, or the secretary has jammed paper in the printer. Their emergencies become mine.
There are some basics everyone should know: ctrl+c is copy, ctrl+v is paste, how to save and insert pictures, what the different formats in Excel are for, etc. One of the saddest things I’ve ever seen was when a coworker did not know how to open a new Word document. She would open another instance of Word, and then find her file to open.
Whenever I offer up insight to a new, faster way to do things, my ideas are met with “I’ve always done it this way,” so now, I usually just try to help them out and move on because I wasted enough time trying to help my coworkers. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Our generation is the tech savvy, computer literate generation. We grew up with the internet. I remember using those AOL 6.0 CDs, and the day we got DSL was like the moon landing.
It sucks that people way above my pay grade can’t do what the average ten-year-old can do on the computer. Maybe this will one day be my fate, but I refuse to go down without a fight. I’m sure that’s what they said when their old boss couldn’t figure out the typewriter..
Image via NBC