Patience and the lack thereof

May 14, 2008 at 8:30 pm (Life gets in the way...) (, , , , )

I’m an easy-going, laid-back kind of gal – always have been – but even my patience has boundaries when it comes to people who just do not listen. Even so, it takes a while for all my buttons to be pressed, but once that slow-burning fuse is lit, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a massive explosion and a body count to rival the goriest of slasher/horror films.

This week at work has been particularly trying so far and it doesn’t look like it’ll get better in the time remaining before the weekend, but there has been a stand-out occurrence that almost had me in tears of frustration – I was on the brink of going postal here!

The situation actually began last week when I was logging the mail. On Thursday morning I logged the complaints, comments and compliments in the database. Usually, I reference number is automatically generated and is noted on the incoming letter before being passed to the appropriate person – no mail gets passed to anyone without first being logged and allocated a reference number. On this occasion, however, each time I logged a letter, a message flashed up saying “A reference number will be allocated shortly”. The log wasn’t updating to show the letters that I had added. Fortunately, I could allocate the numbers as I could see what the last number had been. I sent out the mail, expecting the log to update itself at some point during the day. It didn’t.

On Friday, I logged that day’s mail and got the same message – but this time I couldn’t allocate the numbers myself because I couldn’t remember what the last one had been on Thursday. As I couldn’t note the references, I couldn’t send out the mail. I tried to call the guy who usually looks after the database, but couldn’t get hold of him as he was in meetings all day, so I sent him an email detailing the problem and held back the mail.

On Monday there was no reply to my email, so I called him again and discovered that the messages I had left had not been passed on to him and he hadn’t bothered checking his email, so I explained the problem from scratch. He said I should contact the guy who created the database instead. I called him and left a message. Then I emailed him. Still no reply. So I logged a call with our IT helpdesk – and this is where my blood really started to boil:

IT automated message: You have reached the IT helpdesk. Please leave your name, department, telephone and asset number, as well as detailing the problem and we’ll get back to you.

Me: Hi, this is Kell in the Chief Executive’s Office, extension ****, asset number ********. There’s a problem with the complaints, comments and compliments database. I’m logging the mail and it’s coming up with a message that says “A reference number will be allocated shortly”, but the log isn’t updating. The newly logged mail isn’t showing up and no reference number is being generated so I can’t send out the mail. It’s getting pretty urgent as I have mail sitting here from last Friday waiting to go out. Give me a call please.

Half an hour later…

IT: Hi, this is the IT helpdesk, you called with a problem. Can I just take your asset number please?

Me: I left that in the message.

IT: Yes, but we don’t note that down.

Me: (Thinking: Then why do you even ask for it in the message?) OK, it’s ********.

IT: OK, what’s the problem?

Me: Erm, I said in the message.

IT: Yes, but…

Me: … you don’t note that down. OK. There’s a problem with the complaints, comments and compliments database. I’m logging the mail and it’s coming up with a message that says “A reference number will be allocated shortly”, but the log isn’t updating. The newly logged mail isn’t showing up and no reference number is being generated so I can’t send out the mail. It’s getting pretty urgent as I have mail sitting here from last Friday waiting to go out.

IT: OK, your call reference number is *****. Can I just get your extension number please?

Me: Erm, you called me. You already have it. No, it’s OK, it’s ****.

IT: OK, someone will call you back in a while to try and resolve your problem.

Another hour later…

IT: Hi this is the IT helpdesk, I’m calling regarding your problem – call reference *****. Can you tell me your asset number please?

Me: (Getting a little sick of repeating myself already) It’s ********

IT: OK, what seems to be the problem?

Me: I’ve already detailed it twice…

IT: Yes, but…

Me: It’s OK, I’ll go over it again. There’s a problem with the complaints, comments and compliments database. I’m logging the mail and it’s coming up with a message that says “A reference number will be allocated shortly”, but the log isn’t updating. The newly logged mail isn’t showing up and no reference number is being generated so I can’t send out the mail. It’s getting pretty urgent as I have mail sitting here from last Friday waiting to go out.

IT: So, which database it that?

Me: The complaints, comments and compliments database.

IT: And the mail log is showing the entries but not the numbers.

Me: No, it’s not showing any of the new entries at all.

IT: So all the entries are gone?

Me: No, the old entries are all showing, it’s the new ones that aren’t coming up.

IT: So the numbers are coming up but the entries aren’t?

Me: No, nothing is coming up for the new entries – just the message saying “A reference number will be allocated shortly”.

IT: So the entries are coming up but without the numbers?

Me: No, nothing is coming up for the new entries – just the message saying “A reference number will be allocated shortly”.

IT: So, what’s the problem then?

Me: I need the log to update and allocate the numbers so I can send out the mail to the correct people.

IT: Can’t you send it out anyway?

Me: No – they need to have the reference numbers on them so we can trace it all back, otherwise, what would be the point in having a system with accountability?

IT: OK, so the system isn’t updating. I’ll speak to someone and see what I can do. Someone will call you back later. Can I get your extension number please?

Me: YOU CALLED ME! YOU HAVE MY NUMBER! It’s ****.

IT: OK, bye.

Throughout the last part of this exchange, I became aware of my colleagues sitting, open-mouthed, staring at me. On asking them what was the problem, I was told that I was looking “a bit dangerous.” Apparently my face had gone white and I looked like I was going to grind my teeth down to nothing, while my voice got all steely-edged. There had been worrying thoughts crossing their minds about what damage I might be able to wreak with the various available items of stationery and they were considering removing my stapler for fear I’d hunt down the IT people and torture them to death with it. I hated to correct them – I don’t need a stapler to do that – I could kill them slowly with a few sheets of paper if I so chose!

It took until this morning for the system to be back online. In the interim I had received an email asking me not to log any more mail till it was online in case it didn’t “stick” (their technical term!), so I had three days of mail to log and Friday’s mail to allocate the numbers.

And nobody was maimed or killed as a result of the situation.

Although that was just because I don’t know where the IT department is…

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6 Comments

  1. Nici said,

    Oh Kell what an infuriating situation. I have has similar phone calls and your blood does boil as they just aren’t listening to you….

    Go to your calm place……*hug*

  2. Sandy said,

    ROFL Now…that is funny…not because you were mad…but because I have been there with the “how many times do I have to give you my freakin information?!!!!”

    Never mess with a pregnant woman. Just remind people to stay away from you for a while since you have so much work to do.

    🙂

  3. Sarah said,

    Holy crap – I got irritated just reading that! This proves that people never bother to write down pertinent information. Those stupid IT people need some serious re-training!

    I hope everything has calmed down now. Maybe you should file a formal complaint against those people.

  4. kell1976 said,

    LOL – I felt much better afterblogging about it to be honest. And they’ve since fixed the problem, which is always a good thing. I may be making a suggestion that they need to find a more efficient way of working though…

  5. Jen said,

    AND your pregnant.
    Maybe you should have given them THAT for a reference number. “It’s twenty weeks and I’m hormonal. FIX THIS!!!!”
    You’re a better woman than I.
    I now have a visual of you torturing a computer geek with paper cuts. Very entertaining.

  6. kell1976 said,

    I actually know one of the IT guys a little and bumped into him yesterday, so I told him about what had happened. He’s no fearful of me showing up in his department and using tresury tags like nun-chucks or something – LOL!

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