The story of a day in the life of an unsuccessful office worker

2:12pm Calling Technical Support

In today’s corporate world, information technology promises to help us maximize our productivity and effectiveness. 

Unfortunately, it rarely lives up to this promise. 

Computers are, however, extremely reliable - I can rely on something going wrong when I can least afford it.  

Today is no exception. I need to run off some reports and enter the figures into the accounting system. Predictably, I receive an incomprehensible error message, something about a “system error #_/#404” or something like that.  

It is not clear what the message is saying, but it is clear that the message was purposefully designed to be indecipherable to normal people. 

I shoot off a request by email to Helpdesk. I receive an automated reply, indicating that an “incident” has been created and that my ‘task’ has been logged into the system. I have been allocated a priority number – 00438.  

This does not sound too promising, so I call them to get an idea of how long it might take. According to the help desk operator, someone will be up in around five minutes. When asked if I should try simply rebooting the system, I am told not to take any action until the technician arrives.  

Twelve minutes later, Sarah Dykes arrives at my desk. She spends the next eight to ten minutes thoroughly analyzing my operating system. 

Finally, she turns and says to me, “Stewie, I don’t know what’s causing the problem. I’m just going to try and reboot the system to see if that fixes it.” 

Success! Upon starting up again, the system starts up normally and the problem has gone away. I can now continue with my work. 

But there is an important lesson here. 

Whenever you encounter problems on your computer – do not try to reboot the system yourself. This procedure, which involves pressing the restart button, is a very delicate procedure. It should be undertaken only by a suitably qualified technician.  

Even then, it should only be done after he or she has taken at least ten minutes to conclude that they have no idea what is causing the problem.


  1. January 19th, 2008 | 9:36 am

    A reboot is a default and immediate solution to most computer problems. If all else fails, use the American Method (kick the bloody thing) or the Filipino Method (choose a hole in the computer and blow air into it).

  2. January 20th, 2008 | 8:39 pm

    Actually, I do like your default action, IP.

    Next time, I won’t bother calling tech support at all. Next time, I’ll just reboot straight away.

    Should that fail, the American method sounds tempting and our office worker character will use this method successfully with the photocopier in a few posts time. However, I think the Filipino method would sounds more imaginative, so in future, I’ll try that one should rebooting fail.



  3. June 9th, 2014 | 1:21 am

    package holidays 1970s movies…

    Another Day, Another Ten Cents…

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