Is it wrong to say, these are skills you are expected to know how to do?

By Crikey ·
We have a new hire that has started work as an advanced data entry level staff user. I then shortly after word was given an equipment incident report stating he/she tried to print a document to the XPS printer and nothing printed and he/she would like to change the default XPS printer to a different network printer.
As a desktop support person I showed he/she how to change the printer during the beginning of the print process and how to change the default printer he/she preferred to use. I also went on to demonstrate the help files available across the window platform including the MS office suite.
The new employees??? reply was, ???aren???t you the computer guy???? I explained I was the computer guy and my duties are many and there are just some things you should be able to do yourself. Tears flowed and charging out of the office ensued. I apologized from the bottom of my heart but it was not accepted. The person stated he/she would not work with me again.
My supervisor who is not in IT has reprimanded me and put me on notice for making a statement above my pay grade. I appealed to her supervisor (my supervisor???s supervisor) who is now mad at me for going over my supervisors head and bothering him. I went to HRO and asked for mediation. They indicate they can???t get involved unless more action is taken and finalized.
My history is of a good natured person who does not go around upsetting people and does not make a scene.

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All Answers

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Probably not but it all depends on the job in question

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Is it wrong to say, these ...

Also depending on the company involved this can be construed as very wrong

I appealed to her supervisor

What is the Complaints System in place? Is the Immediate Manager supposed to have first right of reply?

Doing something like that is a very bad idea unless of course you want to give yourself a Reputation as a Trouble Maker.

Also as you say here

there are just some things you should be able to do yourself.

Again this All Depends on the job in question A Tax Accountant isn't supposed to know anything about Networking, a Bank Teller who is a Data Entry person most certainly isn't expected to know any of what you have just said you showed the user and in many other jobs the same applies. For instance a Medical Receptionist isn't expected to know Medical Jargon "other than how to spell it of course" or how to perform an operation but they are expected to know the system that the Doctor that they work for uses and how to do their job. Most are employed to do a Job and only that Job and are not expected to know any more. Many are actively Discouraged from doing any more than pushing the right button and are reprimanded for doing it if not actually terminated.

If they are expected to use a Application from M$ Office they should know for instance Word and how to use it to fill their job requirements and shouldn't be asking how to do a Mail Merge or How Change Printers so that they can print to a Color Laser when they have a Black & White Impact Printer connected directly to their workstation. Allowing that person to print out large Color Photographs when it's not part of their Job Requirement costs the company money that isn't warranted.

As to what is right here as I don't know the position or the company it's impossible to say one way or the other but judging by your Described Reactions I would be now looking for another position and not expecting and sort of Reference from the current employer.

Of course it's always possible that someone is playing Politics here and are attempting to assert their position or attempting to climb the Greasy Pole and you have got yourself involved in some sort of Struggle here but depending on the position it's just as likely that you caused the mess to begin with and have made things worse attempting to make yourself look better than you actually are.


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I see your point

by Crikey In reply to Is it wrong to say, these ...

I work in a satellite office for DoD. I do desktop support, Informix dbase admin, network admin, customer service charging system, Systems admin for M$ server 2008, Linux admin, and network security. I've worked for the university, for the local gov, and for the Fed the last 10 years. Rules state we follow the chain of command and this is what I did. HR law require applicant to have minimum skills.

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Positive criticism

by Crikey In reply to Is it wrong to say, these ...

I was only saying, this not a beginner job. Heads up people [are going to expect more from you. And ouch! "attempting to make yourself look better than you actually are." If were smarter I would be fretting this. A situation has never been so crazy in my life at work.

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Managing expectations

by stringerbell In reply to Is it wrong to say, these ...

I think there are gentler ways of saying you can do it yourself, and this is just from the words that were used. We don't know what the tone of voice was, the expression on the face, etc. You seem to be in the right on what users are expected to do (based on what everyone else in the office), but it sounds like for whatever reason it was news to this user.

We don't know what kind of IT support model they had experience of before - some support teams completely spoonfeed their users and it makes for a mutually uncomfortable experience when those users acquire another support team who perhaps reasonably expect a minimum of effort from their punters.

I agree with OH Smeg on the whole - good points and well made. It's an awful situation and it seems unfair to you particularly, if I were you I would keep a couple of file notes on the exact situation (very useful) - make it unemotional and factual as you can and keep them somewhere you can access them outside of work if possible. Sounds like the user had an unpleasant tantrum - if they're going to do that every time then they might not last long. If you can honestly say you were as tactful and gentle as you can be, then fine, if not then try and change your style going forward.

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Reponse To Answer

by z3r0_0r3z In reply to Managing expectations

There's nothing wrong in it I believed. Everyone (non-IT employees in the company) must be able to learn minor IT tasks (ie. changing the default printer). Though this is part of our duty as Desktop Support but I feel It's uncomplicated for them, I may say, to do as such... [As easy as a point & shoot camera..:)] I always say these same lines too to our end-users and never I got complaints. In your case, could be that it appears unpleasant for her/him. Try a new style, be gentle next time! I fully agree that it all depends on the approach.

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Well I was going to ask

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Is it wrong to say, these ...

Is this a Government Job? I even logged back in and opened my above post to Edit it with that in mind but thought better of it.

It just struck me from the words used that it was some form of Bureaucracy involved well at first thought anyway.

It's always not a good idea to offer any suggestions like the one you did in any form of Bureaucracy as they make the rules, doesn't matter how stupid they are or downright silly they are the rules and you stick to them as if your life depended on it.

The only good thing I can say about Government Work or working in a Massive Overweight Bureaucracy is that the pain only stops after you stop attempting to make sense of the situation or make changes to make the system work. The system isn't supposed to work it's follow the rules or else.

I don't know if you've ever seen a British TV Series called Yes Minister but if you haven't I seriously suggest you get it out on DVD and watch it. It's a very good Instructional Series for those who work in a Bureaucracy on how to do their job. In any Bureaucracy I've ever worked in I've always found Stupidity is rewarded by fast promotion so the more you Screw Up and the bigger the Screw Ups the faster the promotion. Naturally those who can do their jobs go nowhere as they are required to fix the messes after those who have made them get promoted.

I constantly compare working in any form of Bureaucracy as Bashing your head as hard as possible against any Brick Wall. It only stops hurting after you leave the position/job or whatever and you them with Hindsight can look back at the insanity of the position. I would advise you to do as you are told and do Absolutely nothing more never show any signs of Independent Thought and follow the rules. Having a Full Lobotomy wouldn't hurt at all either if you want to stay there as if nothing else you'll have Job Security.

Incidentally what rang alarm bells for me making me think that this was Government Work was this bit

put me on notice for making a statement above my pay grade.

Typical Bureaucratic Double Speak for Shut up and do as you are told regardless or anything.

If you want to stay in this place learn to accept that you are not there to fix anything but to make it work and keep it working no matter that no one there is capable of doing their job and everyone will Play Politics to advance themselves at the expense of everyone else around them.

Also if the woman in question happens to be Blond run like Hell away as far as possible as they are there to be Eye Candy not anything else.

Personally if it was me I would be leaving the position ASAP and never looking back. If you stay put it will hurt you, prevent you from doing a part way decent job and make you unemployable anywhere but inside a Bureaucracy. Just remember they will happily spend a Billion Dollars if it means that they can save a cent and will be proud of just how much money they have wasted to make that saving. It's all about Empire Building not making the system work better. They build their Own Empires to be Successful and just maybe build a better Bigger Department but that in no way implies that it's in any way Efficient or does a part way decent job. Bureaucracies see Success in Numbers so the More people who work there and the Bigger their Budget the more successful they are.


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Reponse To Answer

by mudpuppy1 In reply to Well I was going to ask

Yes, (Prime) Minister is one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. I especially loved it when the Civil Service chief went into "bureaucrat-speak." It was utterly hilarious, and as one who worked around government civilians when I was in the military, I certainly heard it. Recommended viewing.

As for the question, going by the words he used in the question, I would have tried to word it a bit differently, but as they say, hindsight is 20-20. Actually, I have been in that position, and I told the person that I would show him/her how a few times, but then I expected them to be able to do it on their own eventually and they were all cool with it (not a government job). Now if the person in question was a cute babe, then she could call all she wanted :). That's a joke for you over-sensitive types. I remained professional at all times.

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Reponse To Answer

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Well I was going to ask

Well unfortunately what I meant by Eye Candy may not be what others seem to think I meant. :^0

In many Bureaucratizes just having a person present is sufficient and they are Eye Candy, there to look the part but not really necessary.

I don't know why it is but in my experience if they are blond doesn't matter on their sex they are truly dumb or very good at playing Dumb, Not really sure which they actually are but it's a worry.

Maybe Toni could expand upon the above observation but it's most certainly true with every Government Job I've ever done in my life, the Blonds seem to be employed to look pretty and do nothing else.

Many years ago I had one who demanded that a printer be moved, you couldn't use the lifts because they where there for the publics use so she insisted that the printer in question a Fully Fledged Photocopier with large heavy finisher on it be taken down the steps. The Idiot Blond she got to move it didn't separate the finisher from the rest of the copier and didn't tie anything to the trolley that they where using. The result was the complete Copier bouncing it's way down 3 flights of steps into the car of the person who insisted the unit be moved and nearly killing 3 members of the public walking up the stairs.

The Department in question had no money to by new hardware in their budget so they paid 300% of the retail new cost of the Copier to have it repaired instead of the Government Price which was next to nothing to buy a new one.

Personally if I had of worked at the company who supplied the copier I would have just ripped the Specification Plate off the wreck stuck it on a new one and charged the the cost of a new one on a Repair Invoice. May have messed up my stock count but it would have been a much better option for the user who after all is paying the bill.

Anyway the repair wasn't overly great as a cover kept springing part way open so they instead of replacing the unit hired a New Staff Member to open and close the Door when that unit stopped working because the door had partly opened. They couldn't replace the door which was more than cracked because it's not a part that is available so the repairer had to make do with what they had that survived the little trip down the stairs.

Anyway because of the money spent on that unit they had 5 of them all supplied at the same time sitting side by side and heavily used it was kept long after the others had been reduced to no tax benefit and replaced around the 5 year mark. The heavily bounced one was kept till it was 9 years old at which time it had been depreciated to next to nothing all the time having it's own person to open and close the door when it stopped working.

Being a Bureaucracy the person employed could only open and close the door they couldn't refill the paper when it was all used or replace Toners as that was not in their Job Description they had to restart the copier when it stopped because the Door with the Specification Plate on it couldn't be replaced.

Not only did they have a unnecessary Staff Member in place for all those years they had forgotten why they where brought in when the thing was replaced and they just stood around doing effectively nothing ever since the unit was replaced.

It also threw the Life Cycle of the units out and they had to carry stocks of 2 different Toners for those extra years that the thing was in service and ever since as they replace 4 units then a year before they are replaced they supply a replacement for the out of Cycle unit and for 12 months of of a 5 year life cycle they have standard Toners which then are all messed up when the next new 4 units arrive.

The person who caused the mess to begin with got a new car out of it, cost the department several million $ in damages to 3 members of the public $250,000.00 in damages to the building that they where renting at the time and fully tested the Hand Rails on the steps to confirm that they couldn't be broken and allow people to fall over the edge into the garden below well at least 2 levels of the steps in question the third went below the garden.

To this day if you go poking around in that garden you'll find little bits of that copier and they have taken a massive Equipment Cost increase as a result. Of course the person who was responsible has been promoted as high as they can go and is now in the Head Office where members of the public are protected from them.


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Reponse To Answer

by mudpuppy1 In reply to Well I was going to ask

That's almost unbelievable, except since it's government, I believe it. Same crap happens here and they howl when someone suggests the budget be cut. We could probably balance the budget by stopping that sort of thing, but that's not the objective, is it. It would be funny if it wasn't such a huge waste of the money they extort from you and I.

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Reponse To Answer

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Well I was going to ask

That is by no means the worst thing that Government Departments do but it is typical of any Bureaucracy.

I gave up all Government work well over 20 years ago now and have never looked back with anything but Horror. Well that's not quite correct as I got lumbered with one Department at a single office when XP was first released.

Some Idiot listened to a M$ Rep who said that when XP was fully implemented Servers would not be needed. So they replaced every computer int he office with a XP System and No Servers. There where only 1,200 of them and for some reason beyond my understanding they didn't work. :^0

Anyway the Person in question insisted that the Government IT Section make it work to her satisfaction which simply was not possible under those conditions and they wiped their hands of her and that Office.

I anyway was Blackmailed into making the system sort of work as intended but this time with Servers and well what should have been a simple easy installation turned into a 6 year contract that had me tearing my hair out every day and meeting M$ legal on several Occasions when they had been told that I had supplied Pirate M$ Software to that Office. After all the Government wouldn't have anything to do with Pirate Software so I must have supplied all those XP Licenses on the one Volume License. :^0

Anyway when SP1 became available every system in the place exhibited the Classic WGA Message that the Software wasn't Legitimate and to contact M$ to get it sorted. Naturally they did nothing and then 30 days latter when no single XP System would Open Windows they panicked. We needed to change the XP Product Key which while being easy on a single machine was more than slightly Time Consuming on all 1,200.

Anyway regardless the by then new Manager of that Office had already spoken to M$ when the computers wouldn't start and claimed that I must have installed Pirated Software on all their systems and then when M$ refused to do what they wanted they rang me demanding that I fix the mess that they had.

This continued with Every Service Pack that was released for XP and quite a few people I would imagine where taking home copies of the Volume License XP Install Disc and using the Offices XP VL Key. Didn't happen with their copy of Office but with every system running XP it was a issue. Anyway if nothing else I got to be very well known to the Head of M$ Legal over the years that I was supporting the mess that was there. Fortunately when Vista came out the by then new Head of that Office wanted new computers and that fell back onto the Governments IT Staff who had also been long replaced by then.

You can't complain that anyones there for the long haul as they change staff like normal people change underwear. There where at least 4 New Office Managers in that one office over the XP life Cycle that I had to deal with and they all rang M$ first and asked questions latter.

Of course what helped no end was the fact that their Own IT Staff who where located in that office didn't change anything as it's working now leave it alone so things like Service Packs never got applied immediately and where only ever installed through WUS when a New Guy came in to look after the computers.

The entire place was a nightmare but if nothing else I still get Christmas Cards from M$ Legal. :^0


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