Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Typical Day as a Computer Technician

I typically come in about 15 minutes late. I used to use the side-door so that my boss (who I will call Steven) wouldn't see me, but now that my office is adjacent to his it's all but impossible. This is trivial since he's god-knows-where half the time anyway. I will have anywhere from 0-4 messages on my phone which I promptly ignore.

Checking my email shows that my department chair has sent "news" that I read weeks ago on social news sites. I have several tickets open, most of them have "slow computer" as the subject. I used to run spyware/adware scanners, registry tweakers, but nothing ever helped. The hardware is old, nothing is going to make it faster. It's like taking your car to a repair shop and complaining that it doesn't have enough horsepower. I can't work miracles, take it up with the manufacturer. Still, no matter how many times I tell people there's nothing I can do about their computer being slow, they still demand for something to be done. I've made a habit of waiting until they leave, then closing out the ticket and claiming to have run registry cleaners. It's a more efficient use of my time. I could sit there and watch spyware scanners run since I get paid by the hour, but there's a 40 hour limit and I have projects that need actual work done to them and other machines with problems that can actually be fixed.

Within the first 20 minutes Steven or his boss will sometimes come up to me needing help with some random person's problem, despite the fact that it's within somebody else's department. I don't really have a problem with that except that they haven't once asked another tech to help out in one of my departments. Yes, departments. I ended up getting stuck with two departments when one of the computer techs got changed over to a network tech. The deal was that the network techs were supposed to handle all faculty/staff machines and the p.c. techs would handle all of the labs. I volunteered to take the extra department under the impression that I would be over half of 2 departments, equaling one department. Things never end up the way they're planned, so I now have 2 departments.

After returning to my office from fixing whatever trivial problem the particular user was facing (usually something that can be fixed with a reboot), Steven will question why I haven't done X today and I answer "because you had me working in someone else's department." He'll then question if I ever finished up on Y which I'll reply "I fixed that 2 weeks ago. Where have you been?" Steven is notorious for not checking his email for weeks, disappearing throughout the day, taking 4-hour lunches, and asking me to work on something then after I get started he'll ask me to drop what I'm doing and work on something else.

I'm allowed two 15-minute breaks per day on top of my lunch. The bitch part about taking a smoke break is that no smoking is allowed on campus. We'll have to carpool and drive off campus to smoke. I'm guessing they thought employees would be more productive. This is counterproductive since it takes so much longer to walk to & from our cars than simply walking outside.

Moving on with my day; I'll either print off tickets and head out to do repairs or work on an image for a classroom. Either way I'll be interrupted by a phone call or somebody stopping me in the hallway. Often times it's somebody from another tech's department who I'll refer them to. If it's somebody from my department I may go ahead and take care of it if it's a high enough priority, otherwise I put it on the backburner and tell them to submit a ticket, which they really should do from the start. Sometimes the people who filled out the ticket aren't around and left their computer logged-in and locked. They better hope they didn't have anything important running, because I will simply log them out. If I need to get into their account, I will reset their password. This may seem rude to the untrained eye, but the truth is that I don't care. I'm not there to play phone tag and wait around on people, so I can't let a little thing like a password or a lock stop me.

At some point during my rounds I'll need a piece of hardware (harddrive/ram/mouse/entire computer) which I'll need Steven to get for me. He will be nowhere to be found. Nobody is quite sure what he does all day, only that he isn't there when you need him. I originally spent half my day searching for him because I needed something and the other half avoiding him so that I could get things done without him trying to send me off to work on something trivial or something I took care of previously. Now I've learned to ignore him for the most part and just get the key to the supply closet from the secretary when I need something.

Lunch is the best part of the day. I can take it at any point but usually stick to around 12:00. The nearest restaurants are a Chinese take-out place, a Mexican sit-in place, and a couple of sandwich shops. People tend to either bring their own lunch or group up and head out together. With the exception of Steven, everybody in the IT department gets along with everyone else and a couple of the techs and I will get together after work for drinks sometimes. I would order drinks during lunch except that we often see people from other departments while out to eat and people love to gossip. It wouldn't take long before word got out and it lead back to me. I personally think an adult should be able to have a beer or two at lunch or even at work as long as they still performed their job well.

Returning to my office I'll notice by the light on my phone that I have voicemail. People really need to learn to submit tickets. This could be anything from somebody needing a software patch or a new toner cartridge to bad ram, a failing harddrive, or a printer not working.

In the event that I do not have voicemail, I'll check to see what the other techs are doing and launch a game of StarCraft with them. If they're busy I'll work on an image or possibly a project. I've written several scripts and programs to help automate my job. I have one program that has checkboxes with different programs listed that I use for automatically installing software. This is useful when I have a fresh Windows installation to work on so that I don't manually have to go through and run each installation program.

I'll take one more cigarette break and spend the rest of the day continuing whatever project I started working on before. I hate leaving things unfinished so I may stay late if I have nothing better to do. It also adds to my 40-hour work week which means I can take off early on Friday if I rack up enough hours.

1 comment:

staticwarp said...

dude. your job sounds amazing.

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