How to fix a problem when Google isn’t any help

google not understood

I was presented with a problem this week and Google wasn’t any help. I had to figure out an unusual web clip with an address that didn’t make sense.

Reaching out to my coworkers they didn’t have any details and the person who set it up originally was lost to the mists of time. I looked at it for a few minutes trying to think how I could solve it. Then it occurred to me. It might be a corrupted URL that I have seen when databases or applications create dynamic URLs. I thought what would happen if I googled for a URL decoder and tried putting in part of the very unusual address. I did that and it worked! It brought me to a real webpage that said “Your user is not defined for this application. No access.” I was thrilled.

google not understood
google not understood

Now working in IT you often are given problems that aren’t clear. I would say that is the rule. Often details are missing, or you have to make a decision that will affect the company culture. No one in the company wants to take authority or give guidance to you on what the company culture is. You make a decision and then live with the consequences. IT is a strange hybrid between HR and utilities. People expect their computers to always work like electricity, but they also want it to be easy even though the business process is complex.

To fix problems you need to think creatively. You need to ask yourself what you know about the problem and how can that help you fix the issue. Even things you think you don’t know about, you know something about if you search your mind and experience. Try crazy ideas like I did above, and see if that gets you any new information.

See also  Having problems with malware on your computer?

Most of the time you can get cooperation from employees by asking nicely. At times however, you have to communicate that you will have to lock them out and make them unable to do their jobs if they don’t comply. We would rather have someone’s voluntary cooperation than be forced to comply. However, ultimately we have to be responsible for the company’s best interests and we have to use the stick sometimes.

As much as possible, I try to speak softly and carry a big stick. This approach has worked well for me in the past.