Stories from my Past: Did you try rebooting it?

Most people who work in an office know the tired refrain from IT people: Did you reboot it? It is really amazing how often that advice works. I will share an example.

I had someone call in for help once and he said his computer couldn’t print. Ok that is a problem. He also shares that his neighbors computers can’t print either. Now it becomes a device or network issue, not a local computer problem. As he is talking I try to find out more details. It used to work on Thursday but it doesn’t work anymore. The printer was just installed a few weeks ago, so he thinks perhaps that has something to do with it. It doesn’t print anything so it’s not application or computer specific. I ask when the last time it was turned off and turned on. He pauses and thinks about it. He says “I didn’t know you had to restart it.” I said just humor me and let’s try restarting it.

So he restarts the printer. It takes a long time to restart which is typical because it is a huge multifunction business copier, scanner, printer machine. Which is probably why it doesn’t get restarted. Then he tries on the first computer to print. Success! He tries on the second. Success! He concludes that it must have needed to be restarted.

I ask him if he got the email I sent with 5 tips to keep computers working efficiently. He said he was out a few days last week. In that email I shared that things should be restarted when they have an issue. Its cheap, easy and might save a phone call to technical support. He promised to read it.

When you deal with computers sometimes the issue is very complex and requires a great deal of understanding to fix. Most of the time it just takes common sense, and a good troubleshooting methodology. As one of my former bosses said when he was hiring me “Can you do the job, it’s not rocket science.” Was that an insult or compliment?

Stories from my Past: Work isn’t everything

Work isn’t everything

I once worked at a company that had a very different culture than what I was used to. Even though it was very different, it was so much fun getting to know my coworkers and experience the culture. I did not agree with the decisions the management did, but I faithfully carried out their goals and plans. Often the goals were contradictory and when I mentioned this to my supervisor he agreed with me but said that I should still do them anyway.

Ten million children work as domestic servants: ILOOne day there was a major problem with the Internet going out, and even though the IT department and I were working on it, it wasn’t a simple fix. The problem dragged into the morning, and hours passed. Too much time passed and the entire company was disconnected from the Internet. It doesn’t matter why, but the fix took time to do. While this was being fixed I was very stressed about it, since a business failure like having no Internet is something that you get fired over. So I was helping other people as I could while my boss was doing what he needed to do to fix the situation. When I was helping someone I was upset and frustrated and one of my coworkers said to me “I know that you want things to go smoothly Brian, but work isn’t everything.” She touched my arm as a gesture of kindness and I was overwhelmed at her kindness. I was fearing the worst for the company, and myself, but she helped me put it in perspective.

Sometimes a simple word of kindness makes all the difference. Even years later I smile thinking of her kindness and hope she is happy wherever she is.