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User lubed PC with butter, because pressing a button didn't work

Simulacra75

Several years ago I had to travel to our French office to try and fix a mail DB that had gone titsup. After fixing the problem the manager there claimed IT had corrupted the DB on purpose so that we'd look like "knights in shining armour" when we came in and fixed it. Complete and utter Twunt.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

The "trump" gene again - it springs up everywhere.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

It beggars belief how such people think that their attitudes to their colleagues in IT are consequence-free. Reputations stick, word gets round...

I'm not in IT, I'm an engineer and I depend entirely on my organisation's IT department doing their job, and I make sure to thank them and not overrule them when their generally sensible and understandable policies make something I want slightly awkward. Sure, I could do their job, but I'm not, so what happens needs to be more their decision than mine. And lo, a harmonious relationship bears fruit. It's also tremendously aided by occasionally opening their office door, throwing in a large bar of high quality chocolate, and quickly shutting the door again. When the howls, thumps and bumps have died down, voila; an IT department that's as keen as mustard.

And, being a normal human being, I know full well what level of cooperation I'd get if I went round bad mouthing them.

Evil Auditor Silver badge

It's not unheard of. In one of my former lives, at a large bank, the on-call personnel used to be paid extra per time for each incident during nights and weekends. Some of them got sports cars, extended their house, built swimming pools... Until the on-call compensation scheme was changed.

From the moment those guys got paid extra just for being on-call but didn't get any additional compensation for solving problems, the number of incidents dropped dramatically.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Yes there are procedures, yes there are SLA's etc prioritising jobs, but then IT will always respond to bribery and flattery.

Halfmad

There's a balance to be had with IT, I'm sure those who have worked in IT departments know this, there are always bad eggs (like every department).

If the organisation hero-worships IT then it'll never work properly, the bad eggs will do next to nothing and consider themselves above the rules that apply to other stuff. If the organisation treats IT like sh!t, they'll only have poor staff and a high turn over of decent workers.

Personally I think IT should always be treated like any core service department, it's given the funds it needs but oversight is fairly strict, importantly that oversight should be by someone who understands how IT functions e.g. a Director who has worked in IT hands on. You'd never have a finance director who'd never worked in payroll or accounting after all.

Jedit
Big Brother

"... the number of incidents dropped dramatically."

Reported incidents, or resolved incidents? It doesn't make a difference from the point of view of that IT department being chancers, but there's quite a difference between slacking off because your performance bonus got cut and actively faking incidents for profit.

DropBear Silver badge

"The "trump" gene again"

There are utterly incompetent primitives whos only notable skill is an exceedingly keen instinct of self-preservation. As they are idiots they _will_ make howler-level mistakes, and the only way they know how to avoid getting blamed for them accordingly is yelling louder than the other guy - the best defence being an offence and all that. The truly delusional ones might even actually believe it's all the other guy's fault.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The truly delusional ones might even actually believe it's all the other guy's fault."

The original article involved marketing. Truly delusional fits the bill.

phuzz Silver badge
Thumb Up

In my last job, the accounts department used to make sure that I was included whenever they brought in home made cakes etc. Consequently, they were near the top of my priorities, just after the MD. (It didn't hurt that they were the ones responsible for getting my wages into my bank account.)

Bribe your IT staff folks :)

Evil Auditor Silver badge

Re: "... the number of incidents dropped dramatically."

Jedit, the number of incidents that occurred out of hours dropped.

It was neither that they slacked off nor about actively faking incidents. What happened was, that they maintained the system at a certain level of instability where at one point an incident would occur, such as a predictable batch job abort (there was no proof of actively causing incidents though). After the incentives changed, they built more robust procedures and programs and also improved their monitoring system to get early warnings for predictable incidents.

Must have been a fun time though before. They got the huge extra pay and the praise ("the IT wizards saved the Bank. Again!")

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "... the number of incidents dropped dramatically."

@Evil auditor

There's an alternative scenario that could bring about the same outcome. If the out-of-hours incentives were dropped there'd out-of-hours reports might get ignored until normal hours. The users would then learn to wait before reporting the issue.

The correct incentive structure, of course, is one that primarily measures and rewards fire prevention rather than fire fighting.

Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

" You'd never have a finance director who'd never worked in payroll"

How do you explain a "Cabinet Reshuffle" then?

That seems to be a procedure designed to *make sure* the guy at the top has no experience in the field

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

you my man are a top fella. Please come and work where I work! IT departments are one of those departments that you really, really, REALLY don't want to feck off. I never need any of our users to do anything for me, but 99% of them rely on us for loads of things. The ones who always want everything done right now go to the top of our sh1t list and any job they need doing takes at least twice as long for us to do! My old dad was a stone mason and he had what he called the "Tradesmen's test" If you had worked for a customer who was the biggest twat going, ask yourself this. If you were out of work, your kids were starving, your house is going to be taken back by the bank and they phoned up saying they had a job, would you take it!? Its these kinds of arseholes that try and make our life's hell, but we always get our own back and never forget.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

ahhhh but you're missing the fact that any halfwit who owns a computer at home think themselves qualified to comment on IT. Most of our users are boffins, I don't go in to their labs and tell them how to do their science, I know a bit about it as my degree and masters are science based but funny enough I don't know more than they do!

a_yank_lurker Silver badge

@Halfmad

"Personally I think IT should always be treated like any core service department" - spot on. IT is one of the core functions in any organization as they could not function without it.

Elf

If it were but simply rue,

All the users were just like you,

IT folk generally tend to be hardwired to be helpful (even if only by accident because we playing with something). Give the front line an excuse (ballistic chocolate is a good one) and they'll move mountains for just a wee Ack of their effort.

The Other Side ™:

This brother did not have things properly in hand. There is a Zero Percent chance that I'd allow another department raid *my* budget because Their User poured *butter* in a damn machine. She would have been Frog Marched to the company parking lot ("car park" for my UK friends) with her box of personals in tow. I'd have looked at what my Bullet Stopper (Help Desk) minion showed me (butter in nice boxen) and I'd have personally stripped her company credentials, asked (told) Facilities to drop her access card, and had a meeting with her Department Head (marketing was it? So, it would have been ugly-ER on this intervention) and HR WHEREBY IT WOULD BE EXPLAINED that the user in question isn't qualified to be employed, period, no debate, and no she cannot have access to company resources of a digital nature because look at what she did to hardware: Explination to include business continuity while someone is playing with matches and a few hundred feet of RDX.

From IT I've had to restructure other departments, against their will, because of twots like this user.

1. User goes, not a debate or discussion as my deportment simply won't let her log in to anything, ever, period.

2. Who in your department interviewed this ass and hired them? We having words as well starting with "How the hell did you think this person was qualified... nay, company in any form? It's that person's fault were all getting both barreks today.

3. Department Head... and you hired This fool? You also think I'm paying for this? (Any department head would know who I am, Director Of IT if I'm corporate, and be aware of my Zero Tolerance For Blatant Stupidity policy)

4. And to Hr, you signed off on this crap, you get to fix it... next task is the Exit Interview!

Go Team! Rah-Rah! Get the hell to work fixing this.

5. Return to IT, take my team for pizza and beer to soothe their PTSD over a user putting $diety-forsaken BUTTER in a machine Of Any Sort, and their inevitable bummed-ness over a nice PC being separated from its preferred warranty status.

6. Return to IT to enshrine box to mock the user and serve as a warning to others.

That is Precisely how I'd play it. Distilled down to this simple fact:

If you microwave butter in a cup and pour that into a computer, you Are Not Qualified to work with computers (the Excel thing is just sprinkles on that cup cake).

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Thumb Up

Same here

Also an engineer. I'm lucky to work in a small consulting company. The IT "crowd" numbers three, plus a (female) supervisor, who also isn't averse to grabbing a cable or a keyboard and running off to keep a user happy. I know them all by name, and they get a little something from me every Christmas..

If you keep on the good side of IT, it's laughter when you screw up something and need their help, instead of tears :-)

...and you might just get first crack at some surplus gear, as well...

OwenMc64

In a previous job I travelled a lot to customer sites, & I made sure to get on with "Systems, Security & Secretaries" - duty-free chocolate smoothed many a trip.

And then there was the time Security had to escort me from a customer site - it sort of spoiled the effect when I was on first-name terms with the guy who turned up :-D

DubyaG

@Halfmad, I have worked in many organizations where IT reported to HR or Finance. You are correct, they end up being twits.

Anonymous IV
Alert

Re: Same here

> ... a (female) supervisor, who also isn't averse to grabbing a cable or a keyboard and running off to keep a user happy...

Am I alone in thinking that this might be extremely dubious?

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

I get paid when ever i get called out, I also get paid for each call, and paid for being on call. The number of incidents probably decreased not because they were made up but due to various other reasons, first being there is less incentive to make sure things are running ok and there are no possible problems before you leave for home. Also when there are smaller things that really could wait until the morning if you are paid to fix it, you go, if you are not paid, you just wait until the morning.

I try not to have to go in when called as i live 40 minutes from where I work (no remote access to the production systems), usually it occurs in the middle of the night and i still have to go in the next day. But if its a few hours before i have to get up, and i know i will not get back to sleep or its pointless trying i will go in, get the pay for fixing it and then start the days work and go home early.

VanguardG

Re: Same here

Pretty much, yeah. If its just walking over with replacement parts, I'd rather see a supervisor willing to do that from time to time instead of just delegating everything. Rest of staff can concentrate on the other problems instead of being stuck with making sure the keyboard is placed "just so" and dealing with "this keyboard isn't the same size as the old one. Don't you have one a little bigger?". Or discovering the computer cable routes underneath a fully-loaded file cabinet, behind 2 tables, and wraps around the leg of the desk 22 times. Then the supervisor well knows the pain her staff deals with.

Steve Hersey

Always be nice to the IT folks.

I've done IT support as a many-hats activity from time to time, and I know how that world feels on the inside. So for many years I've made it a practice to ALWAYS establish a friendly, supportive relationship with the IT and facilities people. (Not that it's a *good* idea to make enemies anywhere, for that matter.) And always admit your mistakes to IT, especially the bonehead ones.

Aside from making everyone's life easier, this approach yields immense benefits when you really, really need some help from IT or the facilities crew. What goes around, comes around, and when it comes around with a replacement hard drive and a friendly greeting, you'll be glad.

Someone Else Silver badge
Go

@AC

The "trump" gene again - it springs up everywhere.

Including those who downvoted you....

Dr. Ellen
Facepalm

The March Hare strikes again.

But it was the best butter!

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Same here

"Am I alone in thinking that this might be extremely dubious?"

Looks like the International Womens Day crowd didn't see the funny side of the accidental connotations.

macjules Silver badge

Hero worship your IT

I find that it helps to remind the company that IT is not all about "have you tried restarting the machine?". Every so often I make sure that a specially selected individual, usually chosen for his/her attitude towards IT, gets a copy of their Chrome browsing history sent to to both to their manager and to themselves with a warning that company computers remain the property of the company at all times and must only be used for company business ... which does not include youporn.com or similar.

Suffice to say I do not do this to accounts, HR or corporate governance.

Kiwi Silver badge

If the organisation hero-worships IT then it'll never work properly, the bad eggs will do next to nothing and consider themselves above the rules that apply to other stuff.

IME that's pretty much mutually-exclusive. Either the "bad eggs" are quickly located and disposed of, or the whole department comes under suspicion and derision, and only when that which is rotten is removed will things improve.

Of course, sometimes (ok, often) the "bad eggs" are management or higher...

Kiwi Silver badge
WTF?

Re: Hero worship your IT

Suffice to say I do not do this to accounts, HR or corporate governance.

Why not? Are they somehow above the others? Are their visits to porn sites somehow less risky to your machines than the others? Are they somehow better people because they are at the top, whereas the lower workers who are putting in much more hours - the people who do the real work for the business - are somehow lower?

Wouldn't be because they're the ones who can hurt you would it?

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: "... the number of incidents dropped dramatically."

" If the out-of-hours incentives were dropped there'd out-of-hours reports might get ignored until normal hours."

This is exactly what happened when the hardware maintenance contract on a bunch of systems got reduced to normal working hours only.

The reporting of problems likely to require the presence of a hardware engineer was simply delayed until the next 'in contracted hours' window.

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

How do you explain a "Cabinet Reshuffle" then?

That's politics, where the aim is to maintain the leader's advantage over the others.

quxinot

It's amazing the results you get, not just with IT but any department, when you start with "Cash, flowers, alcohol, or chocolate?" :)

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Hero worship your IT

"Every so often I make sure that [an]individual... gets a copy of their Chrome browsing history sent to to both to their manager and to themselves"

At some point there's a risk that you'll be taken aside and have it pointed out to you that poking around in staff's computers without authorisation is a breach of security. This conversation is likely to take place somewhere between your desk and the pavement.

Mpeler
Joke

Time for the BOFH

Or even the PFY.....

British or French hospitality?

An American tourist is visiting London. As he walks, he feels the urge to pee. He searches and searches, but does not find a toilet. Ever more desperate, he enters a tiny street, looks for a narrow and darker place, beside a tall wall and starts to unzip his pants. Suddenly from behind somebody taps his shoulder. He turns around and sees a policeman there.

"Sorry sir," says the policeman, "it is forbidden to urinate in public places."

The American apologizes, tells him that he had no luck in finding a toilet and just couldn't hold on anymore.

"Follow me, I will help you," says the policeman. He guides the tourist towards a gate in the wall and shows him the way inside. The tourist is amazed, as he sees himself in a gorgeous garden, full of flowers, arrangements, bushes and trees. The policeman leads him to one of the trees and says, "You can pee here without any problem."

The American does the job, and after he finishes, asks the policeman, "Tell me, is this what is called British hospitality?"

"No," answers the Policeman, "we call this the French Embassy!"

(gets me waterproof coat)...

2460 Something
Joke

I think you may have misunderstood your relationship with them. Launching projectiles at the IT team seems a tad unfair, the howls, thumps and bumps were probably the poor sod who took the brunt of your attack. They were probably "keen as mustard" as they were scared if they didn't keep you happy you would launch other dangerous projectiles their way. High quality chocolate bars have nasty sharp corners!

Glenturret Single Malt

Re: Always be nice to the IT folks.

In a chemistry laboratory, the equivalents, I found were the Stores and the glassblowing service.

Alan Brown Silver badge

If pour butter into a computer, you Are Not Qualified to work with them

And the fact that the user is both still employed at the company AND slagging off the IT department is grounds for naming and shaming both.

jcitron

I used to find a good number of discount cards and snacks on my desk all the time at my last job before I retired. :-)

Then of course there's what I call the "Office Bitch". The one that does absolutely nothing but browse social media all day then complains that their PC is infected with a virus, and then goes as far as blaming IT for not fixing it because they're same ones who are also too busy to be around when their PC needs fixing.

Rich 11 Silver badge

Sounds all too familiar

and still complains about “the time a little shit in IT broke her top of the range PC, and blames me for her perpetual mistrust of techies.”

Pass the cattleprod.

The last time this happened to me the twat made the mistake of turning up at a retirement do a few weeks later. "I'll just have the one pint," we overheard him say, "Because I'm driving." He did make the pint last, long enough for us to spike it with three vodkas and to get someone to tell him before he left. That cost him a £40 taxi fare home.

Little Mouse

Re: Sounds all too familiar

"and still complains about “the time a little shit in IT broke her top of the range PC, and blames me for her perpetual mistrust of techies.”

Telling users head-on that they caused a problem through their own idiocy rarely ends well. And their moaning will always hold more sway with their own colleagues than anything you might come up with.

So smile - be nice as pie to their face - fix the problem with a gullible look on your face - maybe even give them a plausible get out of jail free excuse to tell their colleagues so they don't feel like they've been made to look like a fool ("hmm - greasy residue - you see that sometimes...")

Then pop the hard plain truth in writing to whoever matters afterwards.

Dan 10

Re: Sounds all too familiar

A real BOFH would have simply tipped off the Police...

not.known@this.address Bronze badge

Re: Sounds all too familiar

Which is all very well as long as said retiree doesn't hit anyone or anything on the way home whilst under the impression he is fit to drive...

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
Coat

Re: Sounds all too familiar

"A real BOFH would have simply tipped off the Police..."

Or used a high-power, fast-working laxative instead of vodka

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Sounds all too familiar

A real BOFH would have simply tipped off the Police...

...and removed a valve stem from their car, so they *couldn't* drive home.

VanguardG

Re: Sounds all too familiar

Poster did say they tipped the twit off *before* he drove home so he took a pricey taxi ride.

Kiwi Silver badge

Re: Sounds all too familiar

Poster did say they tipped the twit off *before* he drove home so he took a pricey taxi ride.

And if the guy had thought they were joking? Or had been so far gone that he'd only been registering that he'd "only had one" and would thus normally be OK to drive?

People who spike drinks are among the lowest scum on earth, and get a nice long time behind bars. At least there should be some sort of "attempted manslaughter" if not attempted murder charge when they're spiking drink of someone who is intending to drive.

I write this as one of the far-too-many who've lost loved ones because of idiots abusing alcohol. People have died as a result of scum spiking drinks, and the offenders should be locked up appropriately.

</rant>

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Sounds all too familiar

"and to get someone to tell him before he left. "

You're kind.

Some people would have told the police to be waiting instead.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

I use excel to put my list of DVDs in.

Should I be using something else? mysql?

m0rt Silver badge

Libreoffice Calc

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