“Stupid bloody machine!”
The second I heard the swearing coming from my boss’s office on that Monday morning I knew that it wouldn’t be long before I’d be summonsed to provide some level of technical assistance. Before you ask, no I’m not an IT support desk worker, and I’m not a systems architect, I’m a policy officer with the Department of Education.
So why would my boss be seeking my assistance with whatever technical issue he has? Well for two good reasons: -
- Because when he read my CV to hire me for the job of policy officer with the Department of Education, he saw that I’d studied information systems as part of my Bachelor’s in Public Policy. Naturally, that meant I must be an IT nerd.
- But the other more important reason is that he is a Luddite.
I wish I were exaggerating, but alas I am not. He regularly sends emails to the entire office when he meant to send them to only one person. He has a Bluetooth headset for his phone, but he doesn’t know how to use it properly so every time someone calls him, he ends up missing the call because he can’t get it on his head and answer the phone before they hang up.
One time I asked him if he’d gotten a submission I’d emailed him for checking, after initially trying to say that I hadn’t sent it, he followed up with a statement that haunts me to this day. “Look, Chris, I get a lot of emails during the day, and I usually end up just deleting most of them”. It was then that I noted that any important documents I wanted him to read, regardless of size would have to be physically printed. Sorry environment, but I work for someone who hasn’t progressed much further than chiseling messages in stone.
“Chris? Are you out there?” he bellowed.
For a split second, I imagined not answering and just skulking out of the office, but I know that his secretary Annie would rat on me. She delighted in getting me in trouble, it didn’t even have to be something I had done. One time she tried to blame me for losing a signed ministerial file. She said that it had come through on a certain date and that I must have lost it. Only when I went back to check did I realize that the entire week I was away so I wouldn’t have touched it. Of course, she never apologized.
With Annie’s grumpy eyes staring at me, I responded, “Yeah boss, coming”. I peered into his office; his imposing figure was standing there perched over his computer, like a neanderthal who has just discovered fire. As I knocked on his door, he turned his head towards me for an instant and then went back to glaring at the screen, his hand gestured for me to come in and he said, “Come and look at this, I don’t know what’s going on”.
As I rounded the desk I was suddenly filled with a sense of dread. Having remembered the email that had been sent to all staff on Friday by the Chief Information Officer. It was in relation to the new password policy and the requirement to ensure that all Departmental staff had strong passwords. Any that had not reset their passwords before Monday morning in line with that policy would be locked out and forced to reset with a password that met the policy.
On his screen, flashing in bold red letters were the words “rest your password”.
What followed was three hours of my day that will not be recovered. Our password policy was not what I considered difficult, but you know us IT nerds. They had to be twelve characters in length and had to have at least one capital, one numeral, and one special character. I was dealing with the most special of characters in my boss.
I kept trying to explain the reasons that the password policy had come into effect. He then told me how he’d been using Password1, then Password2, and so on for the last several years. When he got to Password9 he’d go back to Password1 again. No, he never used Password0 and I did not want to get into that discussion, but as he relayed this story to me I figured that it was people like him that had caused the new password policy to be created.
Making him understand that the space bar wasn’t acceptable in a password also didn’t help. At one stage he erupted at me with, “If you can’t help me solve this basic IT stuff, why did I hire you?” I’d had about enough at that point and replied, “I am not IT support, you do know that right? I’m a policy officer”. He looked genuinely perplexed at this revelation, but then went back to trying combinations that were swiftly rejected.
Finally, he entered a password that the system accepted. I was chuffed, maybe I could move on to doing my actual job. As I went to walk out of his office, he called me back. He scribbled on a piece of paper and handed it to me. I opened the paper and could make out in his scrawl “Chris&Donkey1”.
I looked back at him, and asked, “What is this?”
He replied, “My password, I’m never going to remember that you’d better hang onto it”.
Every morning now, my boss comes to see me at 9:05 and asks me what his password is.
About the Creator
Amateur storyteller, LEGO fanatic, leader, ex-Detective and human. All sorts of stories: some funny, some sad, some a little risqué all of them told from the heart.
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