Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Magneto's Daughter

Quick reminder that tomorrow (Wednesday) is your last chance to enter my pay it forward contest for a fabulous mystery prize. Check out the prize I won, too! I've been rather enjoying my noodle soup lunches the past several days!


I have some sort of special force field around me. I swear I do.

Watches never last more than a year or so before they conk out. I've given up on the nice expensive fancy ones. They last no longer than the $12.99 cheap-o's at Target.

I have the same problem with laptops.

I'm nice to my laptops, I swear. I don't drop them. I don't spill things into them. I don't expose them to excessively high or low temperatures. I don't let the wee ones touch them. I don't download programs or do any other funky things that we're admonished not to do to keep our computers safe. In fact, I'm even responsible enough to use the laptop cable when at work (picture a bicycle lock but for a computer).

But they just flat out don't like me back.

When I was a management consultant, I went through over 13 computers in the course of just over three years. Granted, travel can be a little hard on laptops, but I protected mine adequately, and I more than outpaced anyone else in the need for laptop replacements.

My first day at work for consulting, I picked up my laptop and flew out to the orientation. When I had a chance to turn on the laptop that evening, it was dead. It never worked, and laptop number two was shipped to me.

I don't remember all the other reasons I lost my laptop, but a few stick out in my mind. One laptop would get stuck opening a Microsoft Office program and couldn't be turned off without removing the battery. The tech guys never could figure out that one.

My all time favorite though was when my laptop started making a high pitched whine all of a sudden. I picked up the phone and called the tech guy and put the phone on speaker. I was told to RUN, not walk down to the tech area with my laptop. Apparently, that's the sound when a hard drive is about to go.

Working at the company I work at now, I've managed to slow down the laptop merry go round. But it hasn't stopped entirely.

The control key at the bottom left of my keyboard is missing, and I still don't know where it went.

And a few months ago -- while working at home, mind you -- my power cord simply stopped working. Lucky for me, I'd recently gotten a new work at home kit that includes a power cord. I swapped it out, and the problem was somewhat fixed. Oh, and yes, my laptop was less than a year old at the time.

When I went into the office next, I called in a ticket to our tech support (don't get me started on my longing for the days when I could just call up my guys and have them fix the problem). They swapped out my broken power cord for a new one.

Shortly after that, I realized that my battery had stopped charging. I tried three different power cords, but none of them worked to charge my battery. I realized this, of course, when the battery was so low that jiggling the power cord shut down my computer. You don't want to know how many times I accidentally jiggled it.

The next time I was in the office, I called in a ticket for the new problem. Some nice tech person came up and agreed that my battery was not charging. And told me to order a new one. My lovely admin did this for me (as I can't figure out our ordering system to save my life), but such things can only be shipped to the office and not home. I had to wait for the next time I was in the office to pick up my battery.

When I put in the new battery, I called our tech folks on an entirely different issue. I'd started getting an error message that my power cord was not a recognized power source etc etc whenever I started up my computer. Oh and when trying to turn my computer on, it started shouting at me and wouldn't go past the first screen.

The nice tech lady came up to help, but my problem couldn't be duplicated, of course -- the screaming part at least. She also tried to fix my power cord error message, but someone who configured my computer used a non-standard admin password, so she couldn't get in. Whee! She also confirmed that my first battery was dead as a doornail and took it away to recycle.

By the end of the day, I realized the new battery was not charging, and that I had a larger issue. I called again for a new ticket and explained that I had a problem and was going to be leaving in two hours and not back for another week.

No one called me back. I got an email the next day saying my ticket had been resolved. Interesting, since no one had called or talked to me. When I called the 800 number to find out why my ticket was closed, I was told that they had closed it because I would be out of the office for a week and they can't keep tickets open for more than 24 hours or they get dinged. Uh-huh.

When I was in the office next, I called in my ticket at 7:15am. Someone called me back at 4:20 when I was not near my phone. When I called them back, they didn't answer, and no one called me back before I left that day.

Surprise surprise, when I talked to them on Monday, they gave me the same 24 hour runaround and told me to call him when I got in that Thursday as he'd print out my ticket and have it waiting on his desk. Thursday rolled around, I called at 7:10am and no return call.

I realized there was no return call around 3:30 when I had a chance to take a breath. I called in a new ticket. No one responded that day. Let's just say that I started to get a little frustrated.

When I called again on Monday, we agreed that it was probably a bad system board. However, they had to verify it when I was next in the office and wouldn't order a new system board without doing so.

Yep, I called again that Thursday (this would be last week) and got no response. At 3:30, I called a different person in the tech group I know to see if she could help me and got no response from her either. I opened a new ticket, but it was too late in the day to get a response from anyone before I left.

At this point, you can imagine that my hackles are up. Unfortunately our tech group does not report into our division but is instead its own business unit and therefore the responsibilities don't always align with our interests.

I decided to go into the office on Monday, knowing that even if someone were to address my problem, I'd still have to wait for the new system board to be ordered and shipped so the real fix isn't same day.

And yes, I've been very careful with that power cord! One jiggle, and I've again lost whatever I'm doing.

My day at the office yesterday:
7:02am I called in a ticket and stressed that this needed to be addressed and has been going on for weeks and that I'll be out of the office again after that day.
7:08am (Gotta love those hold times!) I called and left a message for the first tech guy with the new ticket number, stressing that I am in the office solely for this purpose and need to talk to someone that day.
10:00am Confirmed with my boss that he'll contact higher ups if he can find any if I don't hear from anyone by 11.
11:00am Sent an email to my boss detailing the issue, including all ticket numbers
11:30am Called the 800 number again to check on the status of my ticket and reaffirm the need to have this addressed in the next couple hours. I also found out that my ticket had been looked at and by which tech guy.
11:32am Called new tech guy who apparently is working on my ticket and leave him a voicemail.
1:28pm Leave message with new tech guy explaining that I'm headed into meetings for essentially the rest of the day and need to have him call me ASAP.
3:11pm Voicemail is left for me by original tech guy (not the one assigned per the 800 number people) telling me he was working on my ticket.
4:23pm Step out of meetings, pick up voicemail and call tech guy. Leave message for tech guy and ensure I do not move more than three feet from the phone.
4:38pm See the tech guy's name popping up on my phone and do a little dance.

In my four minute conversation with said tech guy, I review the history of my issues. He confirms that they've changed out the power cord and the battery. His diagnosis? A bad system board. He's going to order me a new one, and it'll take a few days for it to arrive.

You'd all be very proud of me. I did not blow a gasket after trying to deal with this for four weeks and having people tell me (including this guy) that they need to work on my computer first, that I have to be in the office for them to resolve it, etc., and then have them tell me that I was right in the first place and that they don't need to see my computer. And that I therefore have wasted four weeks and came into the office for absolutely no reason that day. Meaning being awakened at 5:30am after having caffeine issues that night and getting little sleep instead of waking up at 7:15am.

Instead, I politely asked if the board would be at the office by Thursday. He wasn't sure, and I very politely and very firmly explained the necessity of it being in by Thursday, as I wouldn't be in the office again until the following Thursday. He's going to do his best. I have little faith.

And in the meantime, I'm using superglue to ensure my power cord remains in my laptop. Think they'll have a problem with that?

And anyone who's considered going back to work because there are fewer irritations and you have more control over things... think twice! Or just make sure you keep your electronic devices away from me. You don't want to know the stupid iPod issues I'm having lately. Suffice it to say that I can restart my iPod from a frozen state without looking while running 6mph on a treadmill. That isn't exactly a skill I was hoping to hone.


Angie's Spot July 22, 2008 at 11:53 PM  

OMG, IT departments like that are the #1 reason I don't miss working in corporate America. You've got more patience than I because I would've taken up residence on their doorstep a long time ago. :-) I hope your pc problem is fixed soon!

Debbie July 23, 2008 at 6:35 AM  

Oh my word! I don't miss corporate life ONE BIT! Not after 15 years of that stuff...oooo ick...I'm gonna go get a pedicure at 9 am ...just because I can...and I don't need to be in a meeting....or deal with the crazies in the IT departments.

Michelle July 23, 2008 at 6:44 PM  

Angie - Unfortunately, the tech people have a far away secret location that requires badge access only they are granted to get near their doorstep, so camping on their doorstep is not an option. Trust me, I considered it! I'm just hoping that when I go in tomorrow, the system board is there.

Debbie - Did you *really* have to rub in the part about the pedicure? I think a pedicure is about as opposite as my day Monday gets. That sounds s lovely right now!

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