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How Did You Do That?

March 20, 2014

I’m not going to get anything done today.

Oh?

Well, I’m going to run down my login issues.

Rodney, it’s been two weeks. What makes you so sure you can solve the problem today?

I haven’t focused on it up until now. If I focus on it, I’m sure I can resolve it.

I was back for my second stint with Microsoft. The first time I spent nine years as a full time Microsoft employee, what we’d call a W2 employee, meaning I worked directly for Microsoft. On my second go around I was working as a contractor. And for some reason there was a problem getting a login for the network.

Fast forward several years to today. I started a new job this week. I’ll be working for Teleperformance as a dedicated project manager working with a large account. I started on Monday. As of yesterday, Wednesday, I still didn’t have full access to the network. It made me laugh remembering the issues I had 6 years ago when I went back to Microsoft.

Microsoft contractors have much of the same access as full time employees (FTEs.) We had ID badges, although ours were orange and the FTE’s were “blue badges.” Our login account started with a v- if we were a vendor, or a c- if we were a contractor.

I was actually a vendor. But, despite filling out all the paperwork, the MSFT Operations group refused to set up my login. There was never any reason given. Just a vague “working on it.”

I knew something that my client didn’t. I knew that when I had left Microsoft years earlier, it had been less than amicable. In the words of Jim Collins who wrote “Good to Great” I found myself in the wrong seat on the Microsoft bus. Rather than look for the right seat, they showed me the door. It wasn’t exactly like getting fired, but it was a lot like getting fired.

However, since I hadn’t done anything malicious or criminal, I was rehireable.

On the day I decided to solve my login issues, I started with the front door.

Microsoft Help Desk, how can I help you?

This is Rodney Bliss, there’s some issue with my login. I’m hoping you can help me.

I can see your account. But, I don’t have access to modify the HOLD status.

Who does?

I don’t really know.

Could I speak to your supervisor?

Eventually, I escalated enough to find out that I had to go talk to a totally separate group. I don’t remember their names, but if the Help Desk guys were the gatekeepers, this new group were the guys guarding the inner doors.

Hello, this is Kyle.

Kyle, my name’s Rodney Bliss, I’m trying to figure out how to get a HOLD removed from my account.

How did you get this number?

Eventually Kyle led me to an even more senior and more connected person. This time, It was a little tougher to get past.

Yeah, I can see your record. It’s got a HOLD on it.

I know it has a HOLD. I’m trying to figure out who can remove the HOLD?

Well, I could. . . but I won’t.

Okay. Why not?

I can’t tell you that.

I suspected that he really wanted to help me, but you don’t get to be one of the keepers of the inner sanctum without knowing how to say no. I tried some of those listening techniques from Talking Your Way Out Of A Knife Fight.

Look, I don’t really care why it’s on HOLD. I’m simply trying to do my job as a PM in the Microsoft Dynamics team. They hired me two weeks ago, but I haven’t been able to get on the network. Any help you could offer would really mean a lot.

Well, I can’t tell you why the HOLD is there. But, only HR can authorize it being removed.

So, you just need an email from my HR rep?

Yeah, I guess that would do it.

I knew why the HOLD was there, even if the Ops guy didn’t. But, he’d finally let me know what I needed to do to get it off.

Hi, this is Kerri.

Kerry, this is Rodney Bliss.

Oh, did you get your login stuff figured out?

That’s what I’m calling you about. A guy in Operations told me that they need an email from you saying that I have HR’s permission to be on the network.

Really?

Yeah. I don’t understand it either, but that’s what he said. If you’ll send him an email, he’ll remove the HOLD on my account.

Okay, but I’ve never heard of having to do this.

Yeah, crazy, huh? Thanks!

By the time Kerri sent the email it was late in the afternoon. I called the Ops guy back to verify that he’d received Kerri’s email.

Yep. You’re good to go.

The next morning I went to see my manager in the Dynamics team.

So, how’d it go?

I now have a login for the network.

How did you manage that in one day after two weeks of delay?

Just focused.

It’s not a bad thing to be known as a bit of a miracle worker.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

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4 Comments
  1. I did something like this yesterday for a client. I resolved in 6 hours something they had been trying to fix for 3 weeks. It just took some thinking outside of the box that they were in. 🙂

    Congratulations on the new job!

  2. Firstly, congrats on the new job!

    Secondly, there’s nothing wrong per-se with being known as a miracle worker. However, the problem is that then everyone expects you to pull miracles out of your rear on-command.

  3. True, you have to be carefule not to set people’s expectations too high. The book that I’m working on is about how to get things done in a large org. Sometimes it’s a matter of knowing whom to ask and when to push and when to beg.

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