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Oh, THAT’S What That Note Meant

November 25, 2016

My Editor Is An Idiot. However, he’s also pretty persistent. My editor-self thinks my writer-self is a lazy, procrastinator who gets by on a modicum of talent rather than any measure of hard work. (Staff meetings in my head are not pretty.) However, they need each other. My writer-self has to admit that editor-self comes up with good ideas. Earlier this week was one called “Call Help Line.” 


In the post about the idiotic editor, I complained about how I had this great idea and couldn’t remember it because the note was too cryptic. Editor-self explained it (again!) and I have to agree it is still a pretty good idea. 

One of the responsibilities in my job is to work with our engineering teams to do maintenance on our systems. Typically when you need to do maintenance on a system, you wait until a time when the systems aren’t being used. Unfortunately, my company takes calls 24×7. We have no down time. That makes maintenance a lot harder. But, that’s a big part of the reason I have a job; to make sure the process works smoothly.

Maintenance gets planned out weeks, sometimes months in advance. It’s very much like putting on a play. There are actors (engineers), a script (the maintenance task), rehearsals (testing) and generally a single opening night. Oh, and we also have reviewers. Those are the agents who need to verify that the maintenance was completely successfully and we didn’t break anything. My job is to be the director. I need to ensure everything comes together perfectly.

Often we will do maintenance during the least busy time of the day. Actually, the least busy time of the day is the middle of the night. It’s not unusual for maintenance to start at 9:30pm and run until 2:00am or 3:00am. When we are done with the maintenance work, and the performance is complete, no one gets to go home until the reviews are in.

Last week, I had a problem. It was 1:30am. The maintenance was complete and the engineering teams told me that everything had gone smoothly. All we needed to do now was get an agent to verify that we hadn’t inadvertantly broken something. The problem was that the agent that was going to verify for us, wasn’t on the conference call.

My normal contact at our site in Lexington only worked normal hours (5:30am-9:30pm.) She wasn’t available. The agent we had contacted in the week leading up the maintenance wasn’t on the call and I didn’t have a number to call him. The engineers were tired and wanted to go to bed. (We all worked from home, so they were already home.) And they were waiting on me to get the verification so we could be done.

I tried calling the numbers in our Lexington office with the hopes that someone walking by the coordinator’s desk might pick up. No luck.

I tried emailing the supervisors that were typically on the overnight shift. No response.

The engineers were trying to be patient, but honestly, this was part of my job and I wasn’t doing it well. Finally, I realized something. Our agents were working because we had to take calls for our client 24 hours per day. That meant that somewhere on Google was a phone number that would connect people to my agents. If it would connect customers, it would also connect me.

I dialed the 800 number.

Thanks for calling. How may I assist you?

This might sound like a weird question, but are you located in Lexington, Ky?

Ah. . .no. I’m in Los Colinas, TX.

Okay, could you transfer me back into the queue?

Sure. . .I guess.

I waited for the call to ring through again and another agent answered the phone.

Thanks for calling. How may I assist you?

Yeah, this is going to sound a little strange, but are you located in Lexington, Ky?

Yes, I am.

Great, could I please speak with your supervisor?

Are you sure there’s not something I could help you with?

No. It’s nothing about you. You did great. I just need to speak to your supervisor.

Okay.

This is Michelle, how can I help you?

Michelle, this is Rodney Bliss. Were you the one planning to help us do some testing for the computer systems tonight?

All of our calls are recorded. I can only imagine what the Quality Assurance person thought of that call. Michelle wasn’t the person scheduled to help us, she explained our original tester was out sick for the day. But, she was able to verify that all the systems were working fine and the maintenance had been a success.

Yeah, my editor is still an idiot, but he does occasionally come up with a good story idea.

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

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

(c) 2016 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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