Experiencing Technical Difficulties

The problem with dealing in the high-tech world we live in is the ability for it to come crushing down when one component malfunctions.

I had issues with my cable this week, which led to the arrival of network provider man on Tuesday (resolved) and now, the death of my router which runs my VoIP protocol for my office phone.

I spent yesterday, crossed legs on the floor of my office doing some good old-fashioned troubleshooting. My conclusion was that the TA (telephone adapter, aka router) was malfunctioning.

My phone and peripherals are paid for by my company. I say “paid for” because that’s about the extent of it. You’d think that with a company of 400,000 employees they would have a Help Desk for home office employees, but no.

Either you have the technical prowess to DIY or you don’t. In my case, I would categorize myself as “above average” in the area of technical ability, but sometimes, a home network with servers, routers becomes far too difficult to maintain if it isn’t your day job.

And I really don’t think my company will spring for my own personal tech support.

But I digress…

So I call the internet phone provider thinking that all I will need to do is report the router is bad. Send me another one!

oooooh no… not so fast grasshopper….

I called tech support at 9:30am to find my wait time is estimated at 25 minutes. Are you kidding me?

Actually no, my wait time turns out to be 40 minutes.

I’m connected with support, and the lovely Brigette comes to my aid. I give her my info, she says, “what’s the problem”, and I step by step take her though it. After my one minute explanation, Brigette is stumped. Then, as I hear her typing away, I realize she is READING FROM A SCRIPT. Then, she asks me to repeat my problem again. and again. and again.

“Brigette, can you please transfer me to your Level 2 person?”

And she’s on it…. well, sorta. She can’t figure out how to transfer me to Janice, her #2 person.

Ten minutes later, I am explaining the situation (again) to Janice. Janice seems nice enough, but is also stumped. She asks me what I think the problem is.

I said, “IT’S the router!!!!” I did say it nicely, and I didn’t even shout it, even though my brain was telling me to.

“Hmmmm, I think I’ll just send you a new router.”

Thanks Janice. I already told you that.

So, the net-net of this story is I went thru TWO people only to diagnose the problem myself, and have the techs repeat it back to me.

I won’t name the provider, because this scenario scares me. I wonder how many people they manage to actually “help” in a days work.

I should be charging them for my service. sigh.

food = office = entertainment

Some days I miss working in an office.

This comic strip reminded me of the days when I was easily entertained by the antics of my co-workers. Many of our office discussions revolved around food. Conference calls and meetings revolved around lunch. Nothing came between us and the lunch hour.

We were food whores.

I have such good memories of our impromptu office lunches. About 15 of us would gather daily in the conference room, and it was always a very social affair. Talking, Laughing, Eating. If we closed a big deal, we’d celebrate with a huge catered spread. If we hosted a seminar earlier in the day, you can bet we’d finish the leftovers before the caterers came back for cleanup.

I had a co-worker, Kevin, who was obsessed with food. He would travel into the city to get us THE BEST lunch items… everything from Thai to soul food. He never minded getting in his car to drive for food, so you can imagine he became the “office food biotch”.
“you buy, I’ll fly” was his mantra.
God bless you Kevin, you kept my tummy full for many years.

I think I spent a good portion of my salary back then on food. Back when I just got out of college I was a sales assistant, making a paltry salary compared to my co-workers. It wasn’t a big deal to the people I worked with… most of them were software sales reps, and salaries were HUGE back then in the dawn of the tech age. My district manager covered my lunch more times than I could count, and for that I am always grateful.

But there were the “interesting” personalities. By interesting, I mean the co-workers that never joined us for lunch. The techno-geeks that sat in their cube all day running code like they were building a program to cure cancer (wouldn’t that be nice?)

They were the co-workers that would sneak into the kitchen while we were laughing hysterically in the conference room… and nuke their day old tuna casserole in the microwave.

Or, whatever food that had the potential to reek for days in the office.

aaaah, the stories I remember.

Like when Marsha (name protected for her own good) had a habit of putting fish tacos in the micro on Fridays, and forgetting about them. Freakin’ fish tacos would congeal in the micro over the whole weekend. Then after proper fumigation, we would put a sign on the micro alerting said offender.

Followed up by an office huddle at the receptionist’s desk with my friends and cackling like witches about how Marsha’s house must smell like dead, rotting fish.

Twice we threw out the microwave because of her.

aaaaaah, memories.

Misty water colored memories.

Now that I work from home, an office lunch is something that needs to be planned ahead, no longer “off the cuff” and trying to get people together is like trying to plan a wedding.

And the only person stinkin’ up the micro is me when I make my Lean Cuisine.

So all you people who still have lunch buddies, I envy you.

I even wistfully miss the smell of spoiled fish tacos.

Work/Life Balance… a myth?

How many times has this subject been debated?

Not one to beat a dead horse, but I was thinking about this topic in the car the other day, and I wondered this:

Is it really possible to ever have your work life and personal life balance? Perhaps the greatest mystery in this topic is the fact that it may never be possible to have both ends of the scale even, E-V-E-R.

When I think about my work life, I have times where work is crazy and work is a shade less crazy. I work a full-time job, but in reality I can spend anywhere from 40-60 hours depending on the week and company deadlines.

To be honest, when I work a straight 40 hour week I feel just as behind the eight ball as I do when I log 50+ hours.

So the question really is, specific to your job role, at what point: 30, 40, 50 hours do you feel you can work towards balance in your personal life?

My answer is, for me, none of the above. My role requires a 40 hour minimum, and if I really play my cards right, I can stay in the 40-50 hour range most of the time.

Sure, I can sneak in a trip to the gym or to run an errand, but time lost during the day just means making up for it later in the evening or on the weekend.

Short of going part-time or a major job change, what is the alternative? Not sure if there is one, but I keep trying like most moms do.

And playing the lottery in hopes I win the big mega jackpot. lol.