Trolling For Tinfoil
Thursday, March 31, 2005
One Who Flew Into the Cuckoos.
I'm stuck all week in the Call Center at work, in my own little personal hell. Behind me sits an irate, "not my job" network type, perpetually put out, put upon, and a general pain in the ass to work with. Sitting next to me is the people-pleasing over-achiever; Brilliant, conscientious, very nice, but the simplicity of answering the phone and filling out the information is totally alien to him. Everything is a major undertaking, sitting hunched over his keyboard muttering under his breath, typing furiously in Notepad. If you were to walk in off the street, you'd think he's defusing a nuclear bomb with 10 seconds left before it blows. He'll spend all morning obsessing over two minor issues that could be solved at the PC, but he has to figure out why this thing won't hold a mapped drive, for the love of god...

Needless to say, it's a major pain in my ass just trying to get simple information out of the network crybaby, Joe NotMyJob. I'm weary of watching him struggle to come to terms with the fact that he's not special, a unique snowflake in the universe. The script-writing superhero is disapearing every 20 minutes striding purposefully down the hall, eager to solve the next printer jam that's appeared on the world crisis monitor.

I have one day to go.
That's it- At leat that's what I tell myself. Anything is tolerable for one day.
One. Day.

Now- To be fair, I'm not super-employee either. I want everything to be fixed now, quickly and without sucking up what's left of my patience. I constantly get annoyed with the fact that I have to fill out electronic forms for almost every call I take, classifying them according to type, location, customer, description, PC name (which can be a real ball-breaker, trying to talk unfamiliar users through the intracies of a command prompted "hostname") and a host of other sub-categories. Oh, sure- We track all this stuff, but the guys who run the database have lost sight of the time it takes to get all this crap. All this looks great come contract evaluation time, but it's getting to be a little tedious.

Now, I'm sure you're saying to yourself; "That doesn't sound that bad.." To be honest? It isn't, in and of itself. However- You have to add a slightly ominous fast-food/intern/temp service vibe to the whole deal. The NOC (Network Operations Center) Rules are printed on a billboard two feet by five feet high, in an office about the size of a hotel room, crammed with four desks and and the Boss' uber-cubicle. Dress code, shift arrival/leave times, break times, no music, no food, no visitors, and other various morale builders are prominently displayed in a suitably obnoxious manner serving to remind us what bad little boys and girls we must be when left to our own devices.

In a small act of defiance, I wrote asterisks on the rules billboard indicating which ones don't apply to the manager (Which is most of them..) in what I thought was erasable marker. Turns out the lamination is pretty porous, and holds on to the color stubbornly refusing to let go. The asterisks finally succumbed after a long battle with many chemicals but was ultimately defeated by nail-polish remover.
I let SuperTech do that. It seemed to mock him, this red ink that would not yield, obviously placed there by his arch-nemisis - The Scribbler. It kept him busy, holding long conversations with himself debating the pros and cons of mineral spirits vs acetone, stroking his beard and furrowing his brow.

I then put important numbers up on the whiteboard, including the networks "NotMyJob" line, instructing callers to "leave message, take nap". Joe NotMyJob came in after luch (10 minutes late..) , did a classic double-take and revised his job description on-the-spot. He never said a word, just stood up and furiously erased the entire board.
It was the most I'd seem him do all day.

I try to suppress thoughts of overpowering them all and making a run for it, but I think they're on to me. I shudder to think what'd happen if I were to fail. Prolly nail me to the billboard on the wall, leaving me there to rot and answer calls until I starved. Maybe I can tunnel out.

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