Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Honorary Tech Team Member

(Alternate Title: Why I Have Flowers on My Desk)

Among the host of frustrations that made last week a struggle, the greatest involved walking in to the office on Wednesday to find that we had no connectivity. That meant no access to e-mail, the server, intranet, or Internet. I don’t exaggerate when I say that my co-workers were essentially paralyzed.

My office is a satellite of a San Francisco-based company, so all of our technology resources are on the west coast. Also, I am the default tech person in my office. It’s not in any way part of my job, but when you work for a small company, you tend to do whatever needs to be done. For me, that usually means troubleshooting network or printer issues and setting up workstations for new hires. Whenever there’s an office tech issue, I’m usually on the phone with the tech guys because they know that I can understand their language and I try to be a quick study. It’s a friendly relationship and I enjoy being an honorary tech person.

So, at 9am Eastern, I found out which tech guy was on duty and reluctantly called his cell phone. From the rustling and murmuring, I could tell that he had been asleep prior to the phone ringing. “I’m so sorry,” I said, “but we don’t have access to anything over here. There is no connectivity.”

He told me to hang on, that he’d check out a few things and call me back.

With a cell phone pressed up against my ear, I stood in an ill-lit closet packed with servers and cords, trying to follow the instructions on unplugging, resetting, logging in, and writing rules. After five hours of troubleshooting, we finally had connectivity, and I was completely exhausted. I downloaded my e-mail and left for home. JG had called to check in on me and after I described the experience as “the worst day ever,” he had a bag of gummy bears waiting for me.

The next day, I came in to work and realized that, yet again, we did not have network access. People streamed out of their offices and asked me what was going on, why there was still a problem. I answered sharply, “I don’t know. I can’t even talk about this right now.”

I got back on the phone.

As it turns out, the previous day’s problem had reoccurred in the San Francisco office, but our configuration was such that the issue affected my office, too. It was small consolation that we didn’t have exactly the same problem – that is, that I didn’t break anything – but, oh, I was tired. Ultimately, we had access back by lunchtime and lost working hours for the week totaled at eight.

Yesterday, the UPS man brought me a surprise package that bloomed into tissue-papery irises in purple and yellow. Every time I look up at them, I notice a new petal uncurling and a fresh bloom exposed. The card reads:

You are our Superhero! We are so grateful – the Tech Team

Because I usually talk with this team about systems requirements, documentation, and software updates, getting a bouquet of flowers from them is simultaneously incongruous and completely flattering. I am so pleased and almost speechless.

I realize now that being so exhausted gave me a mindset based on survival. I’d grit my teeth and think, Must get through the day. But this week, I can look at this gift and be reminded that the effort doesn’t always go unnoticed.

Besides, I think it takes a lot for a tech team to send flowers to a girl. I’m enjoying these while they last.


janet said...

whoa that is truly impressive! go tech team!

I am the default "phone person" in my office (don't ask, seriously) and I can say that the job mostly sucks. But being that phones are somewhat important to office productivity and the fact that we go through a new office manager every 3 months, I will always been the phone person.

alyndabear said...

Major points to the tech team, that is so sweet! Always good to know your work is appreciated. :P

L Sass said...

That is the sweetest thing!!!

Good job with the quick fixes!!

L Sass said...

I totally meant to put "quick" in sarcastic quotes, by the way. Oops!

Sijbrich said...

That is soo sweet. I have never heard of such a thoughtful tech team! I bet that made your week.