Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Red Shirt Ensigns Strike Back

One of the Lower Circles of Hell that is IT is the Helpless Desk.  It is usually comprised of a Call Center and Deskside Support.  I refer to them as the Red Shirt Ensigns

This is right side up in my camera
Like most places, our RSE come in a variety of skillsets, experiences and IQs and critical thinking ability.  If you're good enough at what you do and work hard, you find a way out of the Help Desk and into another role, e.g. command gold or science blue shirt.  Even my lazy, lackadaisical self figured out how to do that so you have no excuse if you're IQ is even 1 pt higher than mine, which most houseplants are.

My latest battle with the RSE is over some proprietary hardware that is used by one of the applications I manage.  Once upon a time printers use to be the domain of IT, until IT got smart and figured out how to  outsource the various parts.  Stocking the paper got transferred to Office Services (mailroom  RSEs).  Toner and jams were pushed back on the vendor -- they come in and fix it if it's broken.  All IT people really do is set up the driver on the printer server and give it a whacky easy to identify name like CHI-3NW-HP4032A.

Setting up a printer should be child’s play for anyone with an IT background.  Just like a foot doctor doesn't know much about heart surgery, she did attend an anatomy class back in the day and should be able to tell you which side of your body your liver is on, so should most IT people -- even CIOs who've had their manager lobotomy -- be able to figure out a printer.  Or at least be able to get the rudimentary stuff set up, especially if you provide quick start guides, detailed instructions and screenshots and videos.

Unfortunately my application comes with a special printer that falls outside of the Big-Ink Printer vendor support contract and will have to be handled by the local RSE.  Trust me, they do not like hearing that and fight it all the way.  most of them work in other offices so I only  have their emails, IMs and occasional phone call to go on, but from the sounds of it, you'd think I asked them to build a printer from scratch instead of simply take one out of the box and turn  it on.

The long drawn out point is that at most organizations I'd be able to hand the printer to the local RSE and tell them put this on the network and set So-and-So up to be able to print to it and it would be done.  Here at NotFive, you get mixed results.  You get some people who can do that.  You get others who insist that you're 372 pictures didn't show all the necessary steps.  You get some that look at old documentation even though you emailed them the latest copy.

It doesn't help that I'm dealing with Mr. Magoo, the project manager with the attention span of a gnat.  His MO is to ask a question, pause while you answer, absorb and comprehend none of your answer, and then either ask another question that was answered by your previous answer, or make a statement that unequivocally proves he wasn't listening or doesn't understand (usually both) what you said.

Everyone has mailed it in sometime in their life, myself extra included.  But you can tell when someone hasn't bothered to read the clifnotes let alone the book and still turns in the book report the minute it was due.

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