What it says is not what it means

It’s 1985, and this computer room has a big, red panic button next to the door — and stuck to it is a yellow Post-it reminding workers, “Log out.” When a user is brought in to delete certain files, she’s watched like a hawk — but all goes well until she’s done and a supervisor reminds her to log out before leaving. “She marched to the door and bashed the big, red button that said, ‘Log out,'” sighs a pilot fish on scene. “It took five days to recover.”

Better late than never

This pilot fish is up all night troubleshooting a failed payroll job, but the IT director sees him stumble in at 9:30 a.m. Furious at this “tardiness,” director fires off a memo: From now on, work starts at 8 a.m. and stops at 5 p.m. — no exceptions. “The next time operations staff called in the wee hours, they were told we couldn’t help until 8 a.m.,” fish says. “After some late payroll runs, the director was fired and the more relaxed work rules were restored.”

It’s so simple

Tech pilot fish discovers this point-of-sale PC’s LAN drivers are missing, so he calls the help desk. “All you need to do is download the files off the server,” help desk tech says. But the PC can’t talk with the server, fish points out. “Then use a patch cord to connect directly to the server,” desk tech suggests. You want me to patch into the LAN to download files so it can talk on the LAN? sputters fish. Silence, then help desk tech says, “Maybe you shouldn’t be in this line of work.”

But they’re just taxpayers

When pilot fish at this government agency goes on paternity leave, he sets up his e-mail account so a polite “out of office” response is sent automatically. Except it isn’t, he discovers: IT configured the e-mail system so only those in the office will receive an “out of office” message, not outsiders. Grumbles fish, “In other words, the people most likely to need to use e-mail in the first place — who can’t just walk down the hall or dial your four-digit extension — are the ones who don’t get the notice.”


Computer store donates 11 PCs to a local high school. While store’s tech sets the first one up, he reels off its impressive specs. “It’s smoking,” comments school IT pilot fish, who is standing nearby. Yep, blazing fast, tech agrees. “No, it really is smoking,” says fish — the miswired PC is churning out smoke. “He quickly turned it off,” says fish, “and with great humility and care, he checked the other 10 before starting the setup.”

Feed the Shark! If you’ve got some tasty true tales of IT life, be sure to give Shark Tank a little sample of the victuals. We won’t publish your name or any other details that would identify you — so send those stories to cwc@itworldcanadacom.

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