Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Nacey

Musings From My Desk

Recommended Posts

I need a thread to discuss the amusing, frustrating, ridiculous, and sometimes downright mindblowingly stupid things that I come across at work. And you can add your own too :) .

On the off-chance that this ever shows up on Google I won't use real names so here are a few things I might refer to:

  • SS - My company, we produce solutions relating to address correction, validation, and presorting mail to gain discounts from Royal Mail and other providers
  • Seattle - Our head office, houses all development and QA, company management, plus the US support and sales teams,
  • NP - Our parent company, bought us 2-3 years ago, they resell our solutions.
  • RM - Royal Mail, not hiding this one as such but abbreviating is easier :) .
So, things I have been up to today:
  • A guy from NP called in to whine at me because someone else at NP is incompetent. This is clearly my fault and I should chase him up about it even though I already sent him all of the stuff and it's really not my problem any more.
  • I changed ten lines of code in a customer application I wrote a few months back and now I'm sitting on the compiled EXE because we charged them £600 for the code changes. That's standard, everything is rounded to the nearest day, and it's their fault for changing their database schema. But I figured I probably shouldn't send it back after five minutes.
  • Yesterday, RM decided to announce that they are rebranding, redesigning, and generally screwing around with their entire bulk mail product range. This will mean a lot of development work for us and RM have helpfully announced that they are going to release the full details in Jan/Feb (not even a specific date was given) and expect it all to be ready for April. So we are discussing what we do and don't need to do by then and how much we hate RM.
  • I have a user using a tablet (graphics tablet, not an iPad) to control our software who is dragging things around for a long time and it's causing the program to crash. I'm trying to work out the best way to tell him this but he has RSI and obviously works slowly and ultimately the bug is actually our fault.
All in a day's work.

So I'm going to throw some fun stories and anecdotes here when they happen, kind of like a miniblog for work except you will all be forced to read it. And I would like to read about all the stupid customers/managers/policies at your workplace too.

Students and unemployed should go to the appropriate thread job centre. Wow I am funny.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Onsite I get the best stuff, I work for an industrial gas company (oxygen, nitrogen etc) and we bring contractors onto our sites to do grunt work.

We are industry leading when it comes to safety, so we actually advertise when people do stupid things so others can learn about them. Non serious ones are called APT (Accident Prevention Techniques), ones where someone could have been injured severely are known as "near misses". Near misses are serious and should not be widely discussed so I wont (nobody wants to hear stories of 200bar oxygen systems that were about to be turned on but would have exploded). But our APT system is a joy to read, as we must record one a month. Office bound people will write about potential trip hazards around the printer site bound people will talk about how they nearly sprayed acid in someones face all in the same system.

Examples:

DESCRIPTION: The water cooler on the ground floor at Hersham had been replenished with cups in the underneath section. The cups were spilling out meaning that the door was fully open (into the main walkway area) and could not be closed ACTION: Restacked the cups to enable the door to be closed correctly

DESCRIPTION: Kitchen rolls were placed on top of one of the white microwave (there are no grills on top of the other microwave) in the ground floor kitchenette, covering the ventilation grills. ACTION: Kitchen towels removed and 'DO NOT COVER VENTS' written in indelible marker added to the top of the microwave. Emailed Richard Berry (Fasset) also to see if signs can be made to be placed on the wall.

DESCRIPTION: Bin lying in the way. Sybille nearly tripped over! ACTION: Bin has been stored under the desk.

DESCRIPTION: One of the employers, put his equipment on the floor. I'couldn't pass and had to make a big step over his equipment. ACTION: He put his gear away.

DESCRIPTION: Mug really in bad condition, risk of cutting itsself. ACTION: Throw the mug away!

DESCRIPTION: Last Friday, the kitchen light dos not work.I guess that would be off or disconnected,for that reason we had no microwave oven. This meant you had to go to another kitchen and caused chaos on the third floor. Of course this could be important if the light had been disconnected for a short circuit. so today is Monday and everything works fine. ACTION: nothing, we use the other kitchen.

Some people take this system more seriously than others

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those are great :) .

User called in. She has printed 10k mail pieces and forgotten to print the bag or bundle numbers on them and now needs to work out which bag and bundle they each go in. Is there anything that can automate this? What the christ. Yes, absolutely, there is a magical envelope sorter that somehow knows which bags each one should go in based on the sort that you ran on your computer. Eventually she realised how stupid this question was and I showed her how to view a list of the addresses to go through and split them by hand (they were still in the correct order, she just needs to know the break points for each bag/bundle).

She sounded pretty depressed at the thought of having to do this, but there we go, how about you stop and think about what you are doing and do it properly in the first place.

Some people are just mindblowingly stupid and apparently I am on their autodial for the first person to ask.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has your DDI changed in the past few years?

I need someone to fob the receptionist here off on for stupid questions... :psyduck:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A guy from NP called in to whine at me because someone else at NP is incompetent.

Reasons as to why I shouldn't skim posts... read that as "because someone else at NP is incomplete".

There's probably about three people on this forum that would understand why I found that amusing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We get some funnies in our office - for those not in the know I'm on the Helpdesk for an Estate Agency Software company, hence my vast estate agency knowledge and the fact that I can see how the market is trending (as we have a very large portion of the UK's top 50 agents - like 45 of them or something). I get some from clients doing daft things, and a lot more from property portals or IT companies for clients.

I don't really have any worth sharing today, besides some common trends that we get from IT who just don't get it:

The most common error we get is a 1104 or a 1103. Both of these are directly associated with the software not being able to read its own files, which can only be caused by a network dropout between the machine and the database. If the agents ever call their IT about this, they say everything is fine speak to us as its an error in our software. If they call us, we point out that this is due to network issues. If we then speak to the IT, they basically decide that we're just trying to ship the blame and do nothing.

I don't think I've ever heard of a case of this that hasn't ended with the IT company\Client getting a big bill when we've had to send our internal IT people to their site to find the network problem for them, or the client going "wtf IT, get someone on site to fix this" who then finds something.

Yesterday I had an error with a clients PDF's getting to the central FTP which all their offices use to store the PDF's. This FTP is on the server of their web company so as they can host all the PDF files you find next to properties on the websites. My problem was that we were failing to connect. On investigation we found the reason was that they had set the permissions on the FTP account to have the home folder be the root - we had access to EVERYTHING on that server. When I called them i was bounced to the developers so fast I didn't have chance to write everyone I spoke to in-betweens name down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ermm I have a few although it will take me a while to recover them from all of my supressed memories of the council.

Just as a primer, I used to work for a council (yes those blokes that everyone hates) as a meetings clerk, which means arranging meetings, writing minutes and being yelled at by members of the public and elected councillors, especially around election times. Below was more of a WTF moment.

Sitting at my desk, get a phonecall from a random number outside the council.

Its a member of the public, conversation goes like this:

Me: Hello, how can I help?

Public: Hello there, I am VERY ANGRY because I typed my name into google and I found out that your website has my signature on display, I demand that you take it down, NOW.

Me: Err, please explain, are you referring to a document of some form, or a letter?

Public: Yes there is a copy of a letter I wrote to a Committee complaining about a licensing application, and it has my signature on it. Why, is it up there, I demand you take it down.

Me: Well give me the details and let me look for it.

Public: Well it was a meeting about 4 years ago about a pub or something.

Me: Ok well with that Committee, anything that is sent to it has to be passed around and made available to the public as a legal requirement for the meeting and for it to be accepted as a submission, that is why it was put up on the website, I will look into if we can take it down.

Public: Well I DEMAND you take it down or I will (insert random threat here), I am very angry about this.

Me: Well I will find out and phone you back with the results, can I have your details please.

Public: Yes my details are X, what is your name?

Me: My name is XX

Public: [Voice goes from rabid angry to nice and conversational] Ohh thats a wierd name, where is that from?

Me: [Confused] Ohh its Maltese, its ermm very common over there.

Public, Ohh cool, I loved Malta, I went on holiday there and I have really good memories of it, thats cool mate, wow yeah.

Me: So ermm yeah I will get back to you about the signature.

Public: Ahh thats cool mate, I was just a bit wierded out that is all, but thats if you can help and get back to me, would be nice, no rush.

Me: Yeah ok...will do, just note if google have cached it or anything we can't do anything about that, we can take it down our end but you'll have to contact them about that.

Public: Ok well, you can only do what you can do, thats fair enough.

So yes, a rabid mouthed member of the public defused because I am errm Maltese, first thats ever happened to me.

Will come up with more in another post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Christ, I wish I could talk about some of my best ones but unfortunately, I'm a real professional and bound by a special shade of confidentiality. What I can say, is I've legitimately had a prescription for a Mr. Minge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Christ, I wish I could talk about some of my best ones but unfortunately, I'm a real professional and bound by a special shade of confidentiality. What I can say, is I've legitimately had a prescription for a Mr. Minge.

Reminds me of my gap year working at John Lewis where I served a Mrs Cupboard, a Mr Pope but also a Mrs Gotobed. Yours is definately best though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Christ, I wish I could talk about some of my best ones but unfortunately, I'm a real professional and bound by a special shade of confidentiality. What I can say, is I've legitimately had a prescription for a Mr. Minge.

This applies to me to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The prescription or the confidentiality?

Everything I am involved with bar the patient's name is completely and utterly confidential. It doesn't stop me chatting about it with other pharmacists though :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I worked at Lloyds Pharmacy (some time ago) we had Peter Parker on our books.

Among others, but I've forgotten most of them now. There was a lady named Heather Lily, or possibly Lily Heather...Hippie parents?

At work yesterday my sister and I had a long conversation with our boss about the best way to make the woods out the back look like Narnia.

Might happen on Tuesday if it isn't raining.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guy from NP sales has been pestering me about speaking to one of his leads, which I did this morning. They are a financial institution who have a bunch of data that we were looking at doing some stuff with (improving address quality and similar). So I call the IT Manager to find out how we can do this and discover that they are using a proprietary (binary) file format which can be read by COBOL, and only COBOL. It sits on a Linux box "from 1992" and only half a dozen people in their company understand how to communicate with it.

I can't really think of anything I would enjoy less than trying to get COBOL to do what we would need it do. Obviously .NET / COM / ActiveX are not even worth asking about. Our fallback in this kind of situation is a text-based socket protocol that we can use to communicate with our software running on a Windows machine elsewhere. All you need to be able to do is open a simple socket connection, throw some text down it, and read the reponse.

"Can COBOL open a socket connection" I ask optimistically. "Haha, no", he replies. Oh.

I described their environment to my boss, who isn't technical, and even he started laughing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually prefer your acronym than the real word btw. Whenever that salesman is asked his job he cansay he works for "No Problem Sales" which I think is quite catchy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like I am going to Seattle for three weeks in January.

Also just had this conversation with my boss:

:panda: Hey Boss, can you check how much holiday I have left? I think it's six days?

:evil: Well you've used 14 days so you have 7 left.

:panda: Six.

:evil: No, you get 21 days.

:panda: It's definitely 20, though we can go with 21 if you want.

:evil: Oh, well 20 then. But actually I'm increasing it to 28 anyway.

:panda: Oh?

:evil: Yeah I think it's illegal to have less than 28.

:panda: Well it is, but the 28 can include bank holidays.

:evil: Hmm, well I'm not sure, I figure we should just call it 28 anyway. Plus I already told the new recruit that.

:panda: So 28 days plus bank holidays?

:evil: Yeah.

:panda: Okay, nice. But...umm...how many days do I have left this year?

:evil: Err...fourteen now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love it.

Unfortunatly my confidentiality covers custoemr names too so I cant even tell you the funny as hell ones I come across

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×