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Oddest Non-IT tasks asked of IT

By scampbell ·
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As the network administrator in title and resident jack-of-all-trades in practice of a small IT department, I see lots of small, odd, non-related IT tasks and queries sent my way.

Recently, in the midst of a phone system implementation, I was asked to provide dual monitors for all the call center agents. "Easy enough," I replied. Knowing that the cubicles were small and desk space was limited, I suggested a walk-through to determine the best size and placement of the second monitor. By the end of the walk-through I was charged with the task of hanging the monitors from the cloth covered modular cubicle panels.

The project entailed sourcing tack clips that would work with our old cubicle panels, cutting plywood for backing boards to attach to the clips, attaching 22" widescreen monitors to mounts and then to the backboards and finally hanging the whole contraption on the cubicle panels. After a comedy of errors, I found myself on the day before the go-live surrounded by sawdust, screws and various monitor and bracket parts getting everything together.

It did work, and so far all the monitors are still hanging. After laughing about the absurdity of the whole idea around the water cooler, I wondered who else in IT has been through these oddball requests. I'm certain I can't be the only one.

And when the call center manager calls me, I make sure to answer "Cabinet Shop!"

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Lots of times...

by Slayer_ In reply to Oddest Non-IT tasks asked ...

Off the top of my head
I was asked how to refinance a loan
I was asked when the difference between blended and non blended payments
I was asked frequently about snowmobiles and such, repairs, tuning, etc.
People have finally stopped asking me about garden tractors and lawn mowers.
That's just off the top of my head.

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That's good.

by cmiller5400 In reply to Oddest Non-IT tasks asked ...

I have been a:

pest exterminator - Ants and Spiders. I hate those buggers. They took up residence in my cube once. Now they know not to mess with me. Mwahahahahaha

janitor/maid - I don't know how many times I have to clean up after other people

carpenter - Sure I can make the square peg fit into the round hole

deputy firefighter- Ever see an UPS burst into flames? Brand new out of the box. Ran for a total of 5 minutes. Good thing my boss and I were in the server room when we noticed an electrical smell...

plumber - Okay, who plugged the men's room toilet again :_|

boiler repair man - Dang thing flames out every now and then, needs to be reset.

cable maker - Sure I can run that cable across the building, up in the ceiling and rafters

disk jockey - My huge collection of music probably had to do with this one...

probably a hundred other things that I can't remember.

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Let's see now

by NickNielsen In reply to Oddest Non-IT tasks asked ...

Appliance repairman - When the old Bunn coffeemaker in the break room stopped brewing, I was the one who got to fix it. I've changed power cords on toasters, replaced heating elements in stoves, leveled washers and dryers, and even attacked a microwave oven (it didn't survive :0 ).

Telephone repairman/installer - changing batteries in phones, moving jacks and drops, repairing [older, non-electronic] instruments, etc., etc., etc.

Light-bulb changer, shelf retriever, and general high reacher-upper. "I can't reach that, can you? (I'm almost 6-1/2 feet tall)

Exterminator - I don't mind spiders, but other people do, and mice in the equipment is just wrong.

Copier repairman - "You work on printers, don't you?" "Yes, but this is contract equipment." "Well, just take a look at it and see if you can figure out what's wrong."

Carpenter - repaired more than one damaged panel or shelf that was in danger of collapsing and dropping the equipment. Drilled holes and mounted brackets as required to run equipment cabling.

Metalworker - Hammering out or bending back equipment that has been dropped by defective or unintentionally displaced shelves.

Electrician - replacing outlets, switches, light fixtures, ceiling fans, and more. I don't pull new cabling.

Industrial/facility maintenance. Repair doors, gates, and hatches, locks, hinges, and latches, and anything else remoted related to my ability to do my job or control access to my equipment. I draw the line at grocery checkstands; I don't do belts.

Oh, yes. I work on computers, too.

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Makes me feel better

by scampbell In reply to Oddest Non-IT tasks asked ...

In the back of my head, I always knew I wasn't alone. Makes me feel better to know that I'm in good company.

I've gotten the general "Can you fix this?" when it comes to appliances, fax machines, calculators, oscillating fans and the like. But I'm handy with a soldering iron and sometimes it's a nice break from the routine to hot wire a coffee pot to get everyone through the day.

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You want me to what?

by GSG In reply to Oddest Non-IT tasks asked ...

Waitress -- Had a doctor do a "round robin" call, aka calling every IT phone number she remembered because the Doctor's lounge was out of Diet Coke and she wanted us to bring her one.

Pirate -- User insisted that I tell him how to break the DRM on that DVD so he could copy it and give it to all of his friends.

Chef -- The guy manning the grill didn't know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, so I talked him through it when the usual guy was out sick. At least I knew my sandwich would be made right. I don't think he understood the concept of butter, bread, and cheese with a judicious application of heat.

Psychologist -- When someone calls in tears because the background is blue and the picture of her puppy/child/spouse/whatever is missing and is traumatized because we standardized the backgrounds on all workstations, I must use psychology to talk her away from the brink of insanity.

Materials Management -- The folks in receiving work themselves half to death trying to intake all of the materials so I usually go get my own equipment off of the dock to save them the trip. In return, they make sure I get the good cart and if I'm shipping something, it always makes the first run.

Labor coach -- I was installing some equipment in OB and had to go into the labor rooms where the moms were laboring. I had to hold a hand for a few moments during a contraction until her husband got out of the bathroom.

Tour Guide -- I work in a tourist area and people are always asking what shows are good and how to get there. I work here, I don't live here, and I don't listed to country/bluegrass music and hate the shows down here, so my standard answer is "Yakov". That's the only theater that I know how to get to.

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by NickNielsen In reply to You want me to what?

I hope your answer involved a hammer and a hard surface...

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Would that be the Absalon method?

by AnsuGisalas In reply to Pirate?

You know : Detach head from pirate, Take detached head to the gates of Copenhagen, Apply nail through head with hammer to the hard wooden surface of said gates : rinse and repeat until piracy declines.
Of course, sometimes it involves taking the bishoply army on a trip to the tribal homeland of people worshiping a four-faced idol, there to vanquish and smite and throw down said people and idol... all in a days work for the city clergy, you know.

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That would work, too

by NickNielsen In reply to Would that be the Absalon ...

But what I had in mind was placing the disc on the hard surface and judiciously applying the hammer to break the DRM.

The disc will be broken, too, of course, but you can't have everything...

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by AnsuGisalas In reply to That would work, too

Your method has the benefit of not requiring a transatlantic commute

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by GSG In reply to Pirate?

and a good, loud, "Oh he11 no!" was my response, as well as offering to escort the person over to HR.

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