September 04, 2010

The IT Component

By Sigge S. Amdal © 2010

Per 120 Faculty Staff Member there was one IT support staff and his name was Jacob. Jacob learned the ins and outs of the Faculty business over the years, never once questioning his late night turn-ins and unpaid overtime. He raised questions only when the summer holidays were up, and he didn't receive his salary, because that was company rules. Except he was employed on an hour-basis and did not receive the summer compensation that everyone else did.

Nine sorry summers later he was fully employed but his responsibilities had only grown. There were 40 new members of staff now, and still only a single person to deal with the daily EXTREMELY IMPORTANT crisis that Jacob had to deal with. The crisis themselves were mostly harmless, futile and unnecessary; as is all human crisis at the tertiary level of society. Though over the course of the last decade he had learned that personality goes a long way, and there some personalities that were simply satanic.

Jacob came in at 9:30 on Tuesday 13, July 2010, having taken the bus from his home. It was damp outside. Jacob didn't particularly like the damp weather, nor did his hemorrhoids. He finished his cigarette outside the gate, greeting several co-workers getting in their last efforts before their vacations. An obnoxious lady in red who would work herself up over the least slight malfunction, delay or her own user errors came by smiling. It was a smile worthy to punch teeth less, Jacob thought. His hand trembled.

"You're not on holiday?" she requested.

"No. Never. There is no holiday in IT," he said.

It was fairly true. He was going to work all summer. This Tuesday he was continuing the re-installation of a Windows work station which the user had conveniently left behind for him to 'clean up' during the summer holiday, as well as check in on a time-consuming digital recovery case that he'd been busy with for the last six days.

He hated it, he hated her, and he hated the way she made him feel.

In every request to him so far the lady in red would presuppose and project an error or major shortcoming of him unto her own situation. He had re-installed her computer from scratch half a year ago, so it was only to be expected that he was to blame for everything that could possibly go wrong with the computer. "Everything's changed!" was her recurring mantra every time she had a problem or even just a question. Ignorance had nothing to do with it. And neither did reason, as Jacob's full backups of her user settings and files showed that not only were her configuration identical to her prior installation, they were unchanged. PEBKAC.

To make matters worse, the Faculty had bought the computer for her, just to shut her up. It was that or shell out the 20K she claimed to have lost in luggage going to a conference.. This meant that though Jacob was not supposed to be supporting home computers, the Faculty had just made him her personal assistant.

And she took full advantage.

A few weeks prior when she had been struggling to get a wireless connection at her home and after going through the usual checklist he simply told her to unplug the router and bring it to work. The router was a good one, he had a similar himself, so it wouldn't be the DHCP server shutting her out as common in cheaper models. No. After having talked to two of her ex-lovers it turned out she had not used the right key. He looked over the troubleshooting e-mail he'd shot her on the first encounter with the problem, and there it was; "Step 1. Verify that the wireless key is correct."

The situation topped when she sent her an SMS text-message in CAPS saying that:
He had written three drafts telling her to suck cock until self-suffocation, which was probably not far away from the truth anyway, until he wrote a calm, step-by-step troubleshooting. It took him a quarter of an hour to assemble the self-control to do so.

Then two minutes later he received this message:
All of this and more rushed in front of him as the lady in red was chit-chatting away. Finally she left him to continue her so-called research, a lavish lifestyle funded by tax-dollars, yielding little tangible results. Jacob on the other hand was well into himself, absent-mindedly entering the elevator and then his office. He didn't even open his e-mail. He was thinking about revenge.

The first thought of any man in Jacob's positions is senseless violence. But violent crimes have a perpetrator, and it is finally he that ends up as the victim in a state where criminal prosecution was highly prioritized. No. Violence was not the answer. The answer was elegance.

He logged into his backups and started collecting evidence. There was plenty of it. As a Faculty employee he was strictly forbidden to shed any information to the outside, but only insofar it wasn't constituting a breach of law or the ethical guidelines of scientific research. The Faculty was more important than any one of its researchers, at least that's what the board thought. He put all of his collected pictures and documents in a USB drive and a letter to the media stating the significance of the material. He made sure to send it from a post pox in an unmarked envelope.

Not a week later Jacob stopped outside the kiosk by the bus stop and had a look at the headlines: International Faculty Researcher caught exploiting young respondents! The article had a slightly-blurred picture of the lady in red, details of the evidence collected and cries of moral outrage from various committees and University professors. The Lady in Red would never work again.

Don't ever fuck with your IT support.

Sincerely yours,

Sigge S. Amdal is a word wanker from Oslo, Norway.

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