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Dirty Duty On the Front Lines of IT 166

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the he-said-duty dept.
snydeq writes "Jobs may be scarce in today's economy, but there's no shortage of nasty IT work — as the third annual installment of InfoWorld's Dirty IT Jobs series demonstrates. From the payroll cop to the coolant jockey to the network sherpa who has to squeeze into rodent-filled spaces and deal with penny-pinching clients, these seven jobs provide further proof that dirty duty abounds on the front lines of IT."
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Dirty Duty On the Front Lines of IT

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  • FTA: (Score:5, Funny)

    by eln (21727) on Monday April 12, 2010 @10:52AM (#31817710) Homepage

    The hardest part of Andrew Bonar's job is convincing the world he's not a spammer. It's not easy. Just having "email deliverability consultant" on his business cards is enough to start the Viagra jokes.

    Somehow I don't think Andrew Bonar's job title is the reason for the Viagra jokes.

    • With a name like that. But ...

      Bonar works with companies whose email isn't getting through to customers, thanks to overzealous spam filters. CEO and founder of EmailExpert, Bonar has to convince ISPs to let his clients' legitimate emails past their filters, while persuading his clients not to bend the rules.

      Dude, if your clients are going to "bend the rules" then they are spammers.

      Deal with it.

      • I suspect that the deal is "As long as they keep signing the checks, I keep describing them as 'wanting to bend the rules' rather than 'worthless marketing scumweasels who will be first against the wall when the revolution comes'"...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheLink (130905)
        They're only spammers once they've committed the act.

        There are tons of bosses who think that it's a good idea to send out emails about their product/services to thousands of people who never asked for them (hey their product is wonderful after all, etc etc).

        You can convince some of them that it's not a good idea, in which case they don't become spammers.

        And there really are overzealous spamfilters. I've seen people here who think it's a great idea to block off entire IP ranges (not just for their personal s
        • There are tons of bosses who think that it's a good idea to send out emails about their product/services to thousands of people who never asked for them (hey their product is wonderful after all, etc etc).

          And how many of those bosses would think to call him for his services PRIOR to sending that email?
          http://www.rhyolite.com/anti-spam/that-which-we-dont.html [rhyolite.com]

          And there really are overzealous spamfilters. I've seen people here who think it's a great idea to block off entire IP ranges (not just for their perso

          • Except my hobby BBS, and myself in turn don't have the clout or resources to get a good contact at gmail, yahoo or hotmail to allow the new user validation emails through. Despite the BBS/site being on a commercial IP block, and having never sent unsolicited commercial email. I used to send out a newsletter a few times a year, and always removed people on request. I realize that I am collateral damage in the war on spam, which is why I will do manual sends a few times a week from my gmail account just to
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Adam West thinks that is funny [youtube.com].
    • Re:FTA: (Score:5, Funny)

      by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:26AM (#31818240) Journal

      The hardest part of Andrew Bonar's job is convincing the world he's not a spammer. It's not easy. Just having "email deliverability consultant" on his business cards is enough to start the Viagra jokes.

      The hardest ... Bonar ... is enough to start the Viagra jokes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2010 @10:54AM (#31817750)

    I fix the horribly shitty code written by offshore Indian "developers".

    The crap and stupidity I encounter from them daily is far worse than dealing with rodents, or cramped spaces, or spending months on the high seas.

    • by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:10AM (#31817996)

      So, is it cheaper to hire idiots to write most of the code and then hire someone smart later to fix it?

      • by WindowlessView (703773) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:17AM (#31818098)

        > So, is it cheaper to hire idiots to write most of the code and then hire someone smart later to fix it?

        Doesn't the question answer itself? What's cheaper in the long run - install plumbing and wiring *while* the house is being built or afterwards?

        • by Myopic (18616)

          You ask that question as if the metaphor speaks for itself, but it doesn't. I'm not a business mogul, but people who are business moguls are pretty good at doing math and finding the cheapest solutions. It strains credulity to say that all the people hiring Indian developers are making unwise business decisions. The only way that could be true is if you personally have superior knowledge and reasoning to all of those business people. That's possible, but unlikely.

          • but people who are business moguls are pretty good at doing math and finding the cheapest solutions.

            They are pretty good at math and spreadsheets, but they fail at predicting the future. I doubt wholesale recoding was in the original plan. The original plan looked like "Hire twice the number of Indian programmers at 1/4 the cost, get done in half the time! Beat the competition and pocket the savings! Yay!"

            "Fix the code in a hurry" is added as an addendum after the truth bites them in the ass.

          • by tsm_sf (545316)
            You ask that question as if the metaphor speaks for itself, but it doesn't. I'm not a business mogul, but people who are business moguls are pretty good at doing math and finding the cheapest solutions. It strains credulity to say that all the people hiring Indian developers are making unwise business decisions. The only way that could be true is if you personally have superior knowledge and reasoning to all of those business people. That's possible, but unlikely.

            The people hiring offshore developers mi
      • by Nerdfest (867930)
        No, it's generally not, although you will usually get a product of some sort quickly. It's best to think of it as 'disposable software', which I suppose os fine in a few rare situations.
        • Remember, it isn't always about the techs or the technology.

          Marketing operates on their own logic/ideology.

          Management operates on a logic/ideology completely different from marketing OR the techs.

          Ideally, you'll have a manager who can handle all three modes of "logic" and explain what they want you to do and why in a way that you can understand and handle.

          • Re:Mod parent up. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by NotBornYesterday (1093817) on Monday April 12, 2010 @02:47PM (#31821396) Journal
            Speaking of Marketing, I've got to register some serious objections to this gem in TFA:

            The dirty part? Techies often play a little fast and loose with the truth. But it's the marketing hag who catches hell for it.

            TFA goes on to berate techies for claiming something is ready when it isn't, etc. I don't buy it. Most techies I know are too truthful for their own good, partly because of the b/w nature of our world, and partly as an allergic reaction from cleaning up too many overpromise/underdeliver SNAFUs we inherit from Sales and Marketing types. I've been on the techie end of that equation too many times, and although you can take my unconfirmed anecdotal data as you wish, my guess is that most here have had similar experiences.

            Hypothetical conversation between techie and marketing hag:

            MH: So, I'm like, trying to put together a press release and a flyer about OurLatestCoolthing1.0, and I was hoping you could like, help me with the technical parts.
            T: Yeah, sure. Happy to help.
            MH: Oh cool. So, like I talked to your manager, and he said that OLC v1.0 is fully Web 2.0 and cloud compliant, and is guaranteed to save companies 50% of their IT budget. Then he ...
            T: What? No. That's just wrong. Are you sure he said that?
            MH: [puzzled look] Yeah. I like just got done talking with him, and he said to talk to you, because you could like explain it better.
            T: Oh. [mental note to speak to the boss man] Yeah, well you probably don't want to say "Web 2.0 and cloud compliant", because that doesn't make sense. There is no "Web 2.0" or "cloud" standard per se, and so there's really nothing to be compliant with ...
            MH: [scribbling furiously] Wait, what? Standard? What do you mean?
            T: There is no "cloud computing" standard. It's just a buzzword. You can't be compliant with it because ... [notices the MH's eyes glazed over] Okay, say something like this - "OLC 1.0 leverages Web 2.0 technology to bring the power of cloud computing to your fingertips."
            MH: [eyes light up] Oh! Good! I could use that! [scribbles] Okay, "OLC 1.0 leverages Web 2.0 technology to bring the power of cloud computing to your fingertips.
            T: You probably don't want to guarantee any specific level of savings, either. Have you talked to Sales about that?
            MH: Okay. Great, thanks! [leaves cubicle, then sticks head back in for one more question] Oh, by the way, how many engineers do we have certified on this?
            T: Right now? No one. We just finished building the platform, and we haven't finished writing the training material yet. Why?
            MH: Oh. How many will you have trained by like the end of next week?
            T: Uhh, none. Not until the training material is finished. Talk to the technical writers and trainers.
            MH: [worried] But like, how many will you eventually have trained?
            T: [shrugs] Well, all the inbound tech support guys, for starters, and then ...
            MH: Oh! Right! Good! So like, how many of them are there?
            T: Eight guys at the moment, but ...
            MH: Great ... thanks! Bye!

            Half an hour later, the phone rings. A sales guys calls up to ask about the OLC v1.0. He just saw the latest marketing press release, and is really glad to see that it is "Web 2.0 and Cloud compliant".

      • I doubt this person is in the position to change that policy.
      • No, but it all-too-often cheaper to hire idiots, then send it back to them for correction until they get it right.
        • by billcopc (196330)

          Except they will never get it 100% right. Both parties will eventually settle for something that mostly-works and kinda-sucks, when the pressure from the client for fixes equals the backpressure from the idiots for "we have spent enough time on you" (sometimes written as "fuck off and die").

          Hire a good coder from the start (or leverage the ones you already have), and you'll have less of this back-and-forth, where all you're really doing is reiterating the specs you gave them in the first place. The issue

    • by david_thornley (598059) on Monday April 12, 2010 @12:33PM (#31819308)

      My observations: There are some very good Indian developers. There are some very cheap Indian developers. My observations do not include any overlap between the two.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by thebagel (650109)
        My observations show roughly the same thing. My observations also show that roughly the same pattern applies to American developers, a fact that most (not necessarily you) tend to forget.
    • In my (limited) experience, this is what usually happens:
      1. Customer needs new software
      2. Customer asks developers for a quote on the software
      3. Customer balks at the price of skilled developers, and chooses cheap offshore labor (or reeaaaallly green local developer)
      4. Customer gets crap, and now hires the developer (s)he should have hired in the first place to "fix" the horribly broken code they got by skimping in step 3
      5. Customer spends twice (or more) the money they would have spent by doing it right the fi
  • Dirty is Relative (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Petersko (564140) on Monday April 12, 2010 @10:56AM (#31817778)
    If anybody thinks their IT job is dirty, they are sorely in need of a reality check.

    I have relatives that run pig farms.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2010 @10:58AM (#31817834)

      I have relatives that run pig farms.

      Given the grooming habits of most NOC monkeys a server farm isn't that far off.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      I am in IT because I grew up on a farm on the Great Plains.

      I farmed, ranched and knew folks with pig farms, all of that motivated me to get a job where I didn't have to smell those things or get covered in hydraulic fluid on a regular basis.

      • by corbettw (214229)

        Then why did you choose IT?

      • Yep. One of my buddies became an engineer because that was a sure and fast route far away from working a ranch and mucking horse stalls in Montana.

    • You've obviously never installed cat5 in a coal mine.

    • by Deadstick (535032)

      Hell, people whine about having to work in cubicles. Hard to have much sympathy when you've worked in a bullpen...

      rj

  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday April 12, 2010 @10:57AM (#31817794) Journal

    I've gone through my share of cluttered closets, dusty vents, underneath dirty desks, and cleaned the fluff off of old computers.

    However, nothing makes me feel dirtier than installing Windows Genuine Advantage, as part of the new computer deployment checklist.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by eln (21727)
      Interestingly, one of their so-called "dirty jobs" is a guy who narced on his company to the BSA for using single-user software licenses on networked computers. Sure, misusing software licenses is wrong, but some guy sicking the much-maligned BSA on his company is hardly an example of the poor downtrodden IT guy.
      • by sconeu (64226) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:31AM (#31818320) Homepage Journal

        I disagree. I did RTFA, and the guy tried to get the school district to do the right thing. They refused.

        And his second point, that it's damn near impossible to teach kids ethics when they know the district is cheating...

        I dislike the BSA as much as the next guy, but whenever I was the IT guy (and thank ha-Kadosh Baruch-hu, I'm not, right now), I always made sure that all our software was properly licensed.

        • by barzok (26681)

          Why call the BSA when you already know who the vendors are for the software that's not in compliance with the licenses?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by idontgno (624372)
            1. Stormtrooper effect.
            2. Bounty. Potentially, lots of bounty.
            3. One-stop shopping. Who wants to dial up lots of different vendors when you only have to drop one dime?
    • by jafac (1449) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:36PM (#31825342) Homepage

      Really?

      Because if my customer asks for it, as far as I'm concerned, I'm giving them what they paid for. All the headaches, tradeoffs, and everything else that goes with it. The worse Microsoft cripples the Windows ecosystem - the happier I am to push every line of crippleware out to their customers. There is enough literature out there, and people have dealt with Microsoft products' limitations long enough - even non-technical users should know better by now. I'm not responsible for their poor choices. I do that job to the ethical best of my ability. (If Windows is *not* up to the task, I'll give them my technical opinion. But I won't waste project time debating the issue or trying to redesign the system around an alternate OS - unless that's my specified task).

      The sooner my customers realize they're paying me to shoot them in the foot - the sooner they'll start paying me to load Ubuntu (or whatever) disks. But some people just seem to live in denial forever. Maybe human nature? Dunno.

  • by AdmiralXyz (1378985) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:07AM (#31817958)

    Techies often play a little fast and loose with the truth. But it's the marketing hag who catches hell for it.

    Can someone please call an ambulance? I think these sentences may have caused my head to explode.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sjames (1099)

      Interestingly, as you read the write up, it turns out it's the managers lying their asses off that she has to cover for and actual geeks that let her know she was lied to. I guess the managers lied when they told her they were geeks too. That happens a lot when MBAs are allowed to manage geeks.

  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:17AM (#31818088)

    "The geek personality is very different," says Bectel. "I've worked in a lot of different markets, and techies have much higher expectations for coverage than virtually any one else. It's because they're so passionate about what they do, and they expect everyone else to be equally passionate about it."

    The one line explanation of /.

  • "As a computer science teacher at an East Coast high school, Smith became concerned when the district bought single-user licenses of Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office, then installed them on network servers where 5,000 users could access them.

    Smith says he approached his superiors and the district's IT department and explained why that was wrong, but to no avail. So one day he called the Business Software Alliance and reported them...a few months after he contacted the BSA, his employers purchased
    • by jedidiah (1196) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:32AM (#31818332) Homepage

      If an educational institution can't afford monopolyware then PIRACY is not the answer. If they can't pay their own way helping perpetuate the Microsoft monopoly, then perhaps they should not help perpetuate that crap to begin with.

      A kid doesn't need to learn the Brand X version of a particular sort of software.

      That's just nonsense perpetrated by middle aged idiots that couldn't adapt to something new if their life literally depended on it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by spmkk (528421)

        A kid doesn't need to learn the Brand X version of a particular sort of software.

        That's just nonsense perpetrated by middle aged idiots that couldn't adapt to something new if their life literally depended on it.

        The trouble is, a kid DOES need to learn Brand X of a particular sort of software, because the people he'll be working for/with use it and if he doesn't know it, they'll hire someone who does. In a sense, his life does depend on it.

        For all the fervor of the FOSS hype, here in the real world people need to make a living, and they go to school to learn the skills they need to do that. Beg, borrow or steal if you must, but if you are a school, your ultimate responsibility is to teach the skills that enable

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by elfprince13 (1521333)
          because "Hi, I took a semester of photoshop my freshman year of high school" will totally get you a job in the real world. Middle school and high school students just need basic tech literacy and first exposures. Going to college or trade school is what's going to land you a job, and that is where you need to learn Brand X of a particular sort of software. Yes, there are exceptions to that (myself included, a couple years back), but the sorts of low-paying, under-the-table, tech jobs a high school student
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by corsec67 (627446)

          So, Word '97 is the same as Word 2007?

          XP is the same as Vista?

          How about instead of teaching how to use a single version of an OS or software suite, they teach kids how to use a word processor, and more general stuff about using a computer?

        • by Imagix (695350) on Monday April 12, 2010 @12:22PM (#31819106)
          I strongly disagree. For starters, your third solution, "Steal", is not an acceptable solution in a school. Ever.

          Second, a kid does not need to learn Brand X of a particular sort of software. They need to learn concepts, not specific implementations. So they should learn what a word processor is good for. Whether it's MS Word, or OpenOffice, or iWork (or pick some other word processor). Irrelevant. Learn what a word processor does. (Repeat for presentation software, spreadsheet, etc) It will make them more versatile in the real world. Additionally, the second option in there is free, thus solves the original problem of "we can't afford the licesnes". I have no idea what they need Creative Suite for. That's an even bigger sledgehammer than MS Office for putting in finishing nails.

          Yet another advantage for OpenOffice, since it is free, the kid can easily take a copy home and use it for homework there too, and not inflict a large licensing cost on the family too.

        • by Myopic (18616)

          Eh, I dunno man. We're talking about kids here, not adults in a tech training program. If a kid uses Foxit instead of Acrobat, then the kid will still know what a PDF is. And, the kid will still know what Acrobat is -- it's the software whose authors won't let him use it, for whatever reason. Hardly any software is so complicated that it can't be learned quickly on the job. I got all the way through high school, four years of college, and five years of professional programming before I ever had to use Windo

      • by trapnest (1608791)

        perpetuate the Microsoft monopoly

        Anyone know where I can get a key for Microsoft CS5? Or really just MS Photoshop, that's all I ever use.

    • by pluther (647209)

      No, he did exactly the right thing.

      I wish more people would do that.

      If the school, or anybody else, for-profit or non-, can't afford to pay for the licenses they need then the answer is to find another alternative, not to engage in illegal copyright infringement.

      In this case, there are two possible solutions: They can ask Microsoft for donated licenses (which MS does all the time, by the way), or they can use a free alternative, such as OpenOffice. The latter is even better, really, as the open source can

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by operagost (62405)

      With what money, you self-righteous scumbag?

      The people's tax money.

      It's not a for-profit corporation that's making money at the expense of another corporation's loss.

      Not if it's a public school. In that case, it's a government organization run at the consent of the people using our tax dollars and is not above the law.

      Smith says he approached his superiors and the district's IT department and explained why that was wrong, but to no avail.

      So what was he supposed to do next? Pay for the software out o

  • Trademarks (Score:5, Informative)

    by ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:25AM (#31818222)

    ...you're asked to throw a 'TM' after a product name, only to find out later it's not really trademarked

    Slapping that TM after a product name does trademark it, unless some direct competitor has already trademarked that same name first.

    Only the (R) (for Registered trademark) has to be...well, registered.

    • I thought everybody learned that after the reoccuring TM joke in the Monkey Island series.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DriedClexler (814907)

      Yep, so remember, folks: if you make lingerie, you can't call it "very sexy" because Victoria's Secret has trademarked it (no, really), and if you make baked goods, you can't say they're "fresh from scratch" because Schlotzky's has trademarked it (no, really).

      I don't know how well these trademark claims have stood up, but know for a fact I felt brain cells dying away when I saw these companies actually trying to claim IP rights in these terms for their product lines. Not just the outrageousness of trying t

  • Payroll cop fubar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:27AM (#31818248) Homepage Journal

    If, as the article relates, Jennifer Hoffman had to call the data center and walk them through the process of manually restarting the one, single, solitary payroll server, a few items come to mind:

    1) The people doing the upgrades without considering their impact should be shot on sight. Anyone who has worked more than a week in a network environment knows, or should know, that when you are considering an upgrade to anything, you have to find out who else is impacted by the upgrade.

    2) Relying on said single, solitary server for payroll is just begging for disaster. For a highly critical task such as payroll, having one point of failure is beyond stupid. One deserves what one gets if the server dies.

    3) The person who was fired but was still able to log time so they got paid was smart, the people who administered user accounts and security were not. Basic rule when someone is fired/let go/whatever is you disable their account. Immediately. Whomever in IT let this little gem get by should also be shot.

    4) Having only one person who knew how to run the payroll software was, like issue 2 above, beyond stupid. Does no one use the bus principle any more? For the uninitiated, if someone gets run over by a bus, can they be replaced by someone else with minimal downtime? Are their tasks documented? What about quirky procedures that need to be done?

    These are just basic questions I had when I read that job. My other question was, what company did she work for so I can introduce myself to them as a "Risk Mitigation Specialist"?

    • Wow.. 50% of your solutions involve shooting people.. Have you considered counselling for your anger management? Or could I perhaps interest you in a career at the local library?

      • 50% of your solutions involve shooting people.

        Yeah! What a pussy! Real management could push that into the high 90s.

    • Re:Payroll cop fubar (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Archangel Michael (180766) on Monday April 12, 2010 @12:52PM (#31819562) Journal

      Bus Principal is only employed after it actually happens. We had this very same discussion years ago, then one day, one of the techs woke up dead.

      Took the rest of the team better part of a month to get things all torn down and put back together because nobody had the keys to anything.

      It will not happen again. Once was enough

      • by Kozz (7764)

        Bus Principal is only employed after it actually happens. We had this very same discussion years ago, then one day, one of the techs woke up dead.

        Tell me, does this result in zombie processes?

    • by The Archon V2.0 (782634) on Monday April 12, 2010 @01:21PM (#31819966)

      2) Relying on said single, solitary server for payroll is just begging for disaster. For a highly critical task such as payroll, having one point of failure is beyond stupid. One deserves what one gets if the server dies.

      Do you work with me? Sounds like half of the conversation we have here on a regular basis.

      I work in the shop of a computer store and at least three times a year someone comes in with an off-the-shelf $400 PC that they need fixed ZOMG YESTERDAY because it's their payroll server and 10-200 people need their paychecks ASAP. (For about half, it's the end of the week. For the other half, it's end of the DAY. And it's 4:45 when they bring the PC in and they close at 5:00.) Then when we tell them that it won't be ready in 15 minutes they get angry. And if their hard drive died, it gets better. The first thing they say when we tell them that their information is, short of a data recovery company's best efforts, gone forever is ALWAYS "But that's the only copy!"

      Seriously? Single point of failure, no redundancy, no backup, and any sort of failure means 200 people who want their paychecks being mad at YOU? Might as well just have sent everyone a gift-wrapped torch or pitchfork for Christmas.

    • by billcopc (196330)

      My answer to all your points:

      What you say is true, but the reality is that small companies usually can't justify the overhead (lack of dedicated resources), and the larger companies have much bigger cracks for good intentions to fall into.

      #1: sometimes (most of the time) when you ask the questions like "does anything else depend on X", you get no answer, or worse: an incorrect answer. You go ahead, pull the plug, then get yelled at for not knowing the information people withheld from you.

      #2: Payroll is not

  • by barzok (26681) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:33AM (#31818360)

    Mike Rowe would laugh at every last one of them.

  • Quick, somebody call MIke Rowe [wikipedia.org]!
    • by Shadyman (939863)
      I enjoy watching Mike Rowe, but seriously? Mike Rowe in a datacenter? I cringe at the thought.
  • My last place, I was asked to, out of hours, go and setup the home network and VPN setup of the director of something or other. It was implied that it would be part of my normal course of duties. I absolutely refuse to do things of that sort, so I replied that my next available evening would be approximately 19 months from that day, and I could do it then. But I could expedite the process and clear some time to do the work for my "normal" contract billing hours - $200/hr, minimum three hours, plus travel ex

    • by corbettw (214229)

      They should've sent you during normal business hours. Helping someone get their VPN up and running is definitely within the scope of an IT person's duties. Though I agree in refusing to do it outside of normal business hours, that's just asking too much for something that doesn't have to be done later than 5pm.

  • "penny-pinching clients"

    You mean "clients"

  • Its Missing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KingPin27 (1290730) on Monday April 12, 2010 @02:39PM (#31821210)
    They are missing a fairly dirty job in IT... Help Desk / Service Desk / Catch All Desk / fix it its not working desk..... Spend a year here and see what you think of your sanity and cleanliness after. Most of these people wouldn't know about network problems or pr0n infesting spyware unless the Help Desk dealt with it first.
  • by Restil (31903)

    I can resonate with #3 a bit. A company that I have been providing leased accounting software and support to for years is about to switch to something entirely new (and in the process, no longer require my services). Now, while the loss of monthly income (when they pay on time) is certainly cause for concern, I also won't have to answer phone calls while I'm sleeping, and it will free up my more conventional work schedule so I can consider other job opportunities.

    The problem here, is that just today I got

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