July 08, 2005

Pardon our dust, beeping noises and clumps of hair on the floor.

I've been exhausted all week, and now I realize it was because my psychic sub-brain saw today coming and dreaded it. You see, at 10:30 this morning, the power went out at my office. It was back on by 11:00 and everything appeared to be just fine, but then one of the architects came down from the third floor to tell me that the phones up there weren't working.

Oh, I thought. That's interesting. I tried calling a few extensions on the third floor. Two out of six worked. I tried the second floor, and got zero out of six. Eight phones down in an office that gets 30 calls an hour isn't good. I threw my hands in the air and wished aloud for our one-man IT department to be around, which he wasn't. The Southern architect shook her head and told me he wouldn't know what to do anyway, so I should just call customer support and sort it out myself.

I squared my shoulders and called customer support, who told me to do a thing. I did the thing, which didn't work, and then called back. They suggested a different thing that I could try, so I did that one. It didn't work either. By my third call we'd moved on to cluster reconfiguring, which is a dread procedure far beyond my communications-technology comfort level, but I did it anyway. It failed utterly, breaking things that had previously been working, leaving me alone in the office during lunch with a broken phone system.

When I got done crying in the bathroom, I came back out to my desk and took stock of the situation. I decided that the Southern architect could pretty much shove it and I'd call the one-man IT department anyway. He was out today on day two of a one-day jobsite visit, so I called him on his cell. He answered grumpily. I told him what customer support had told me and what I'd done.

"You shouldn't have been doing that," he told me. I groaned. We don't want to be messing around in the guts of the phone system, he continued, so call the phone consultant and tell him to send someone out to fix it. I called the phone consultant, who answered grumpily.

"You shouldn't have been doing that," he told me. Customer support should never have had me trying to do procedures like that, he said indignantly. I wholeheartedly agreed and asked him if we could get a technician out, and he hemmed and hawed and put me on hold for twenty minutes.

I gave up, informed my boss that I was throwing in the towel, and took my hour-late lunch break. When I came back, I called the phone consultant again. He told me he couldn't get any technicians, but he could walk me through fixing it and it would work fine. Oh, I asked him, what are you going to have me do? He named the same dread procedure that customer service had directed me to perform.

I managed to stop myself from shouting "oh fuck no!", told him to talk about it with the one-man IT department, and hung up so I could concentrate on cursing the name of all telephonic devices invented by mankind. When the one-man IT department called back an hour later, I answered the phone eagerly, hoping to hear that he'd worked things out and my role would be to hover around the service technician and ask unhelpful questions. That was hardly the case. The phone consultant had clearly poisoned his mind.

"Dianna, the phone consultant can walk you through fixing it," he told me. I informed him that no, he absolutely couldn't, since the thing he was proposing had broken the phones last time and two people had insisted to me I should never touch those settings. The one-man IT department sighed. "You know I'm going to have to drive home and come into the office tonight just to get this sorted out? It's a perfectly simple procedure; you can handle it easily."

I'm just glad to be going home, is all.

Posted by dianna at July 8, 2005 04:23 PM

Dude, that sucks ass. At what point did you develop the absolute certainty that even though there's a long list of people whose responsibility the phones could potentially be (or be made to be) and your name isn't on it, it was nevertheless going to become your sole responsibility today?

I would say you should quit your job and come spend your time taste-testing flavored lube with me instead, but there's the teeny weeny drawback that I don't get paid for this.

Posted by: katie at July 8, 2005 06:41 PM

Somewhere around the end of paragraph 3. That was where the crying in the bathroom came into it.

The one small perk was that after that point I decided it was perfectly acceptable to be surly about it, and so anyone asking me, "oh, haven't you gone to lunch yet?" or, "did you ever get that phone thing sorted out?" received my very best Dianna Is Not Happy look and a grim instruction to not even ask. It worked very well to ensure that the only people I had to argue with were the phone guy and the IT guy because everyone else was too afraid to talk back to me.

Posted by: Dianna at July 8, 2005 08:25 PM