In which the Editor has a Very Bad Day
By way of an introduction to this tale of woe, I should probably explain that, as part of my reasonable adjustment, I work from home two days a week. To which end I have been issued with a remote access laptop. I am far too weedy and frail to drag said laptop in and out of the office with me, so I also have a standard PC at my desk. This set-up is absolutely guaranteed to confuse all IT bods, as their mental pathways will permit of only two alternatives: staff are either desktop users or laptop users. There is no middle ground. I am a freak.
Every few weeks, the system warns its users that they have x number of days before their password expires. This message fills my heart with dread, as it means I must cart the laptop into the office (courtesy of the lovely and generous Chris S, who kindly drives out of her way to pick me up from home and drop me off again at the end of the day) so that password synchronisation can take place.
Ok, so, scene set, here is what happened yesterday:
10.30: I phone IT bods
"Hello, it's me. The Editor. You told me last week that I could synchronise the passwords myself if I docked the laptop at someone else's docking station."
"Ok, well, all I want to know is which machine should have its password changed first. The laptop or the PC?"
"Change the password on the laptop, then come back to your desk, log out of your PC, and log back in again under the new password."
"And that'll work, will it?"
"Er, should do, yes."
So off I go to a desk round the corner and spend an enjoyable ten minutes trying to dock the laptop. Then somebody else tries. We give up. I carry the laptop down to the floor below, and beard the IT bods in their den:
"Call me a bit of a girly, but I can't get the thingy on the docking station to fit into this other thingy on the laptop..."
"Oh, you've got one of those laptops. No, they don't fit the new docking stations. What you need to do is to attach the network cable from the docking station to the laptop. That'll work."
So I do that, and I change the password (hurrah!), and I go back to my desk. I log out of the PC and try to log back in again. It doesn't like the new password. I try reverting to the old password. The PC treats the old password with equivalent contempt.
I phone the IT bods. (Are you beginning to see a pattern here?) I explain.
"Leave it turned off while you have lunch. It can take a while for the system to recognise the change."
Hmmm. I leave it turned off. I cast around for something to do. Am soon so bored that I break the habits of a lifetime and check my pigeon hole. In which I find a letter from the Chair of RADAR congratulating me on my MBE. And it's only two weeks' old.
I go to a meeting. I come back and try to log in again. The PC is having none of it. I phone the IT bods. No-one answers. I go back down to the floor below. (All this wandering around the office is an absolute tonic for my back, as you can imagine.)
"Ah, what you've got now is a password problem. We can't deal with those. You'll have to call the helpline number."
Demonstrating un-Editor-like restraint, I manage not to beat the IT bod severely about the head and shoulders with my stick. It's a challenge, admittedly, but I manage it. I go back to my desk and phone the helpline. They re-set my password to something silly but transient, which immediately requires me to change it to the same one I set up on the laptop four hours earlier.
"Will this work? Will I be able to access my laptop at home tomorrow?"
"Well, it should work..... But you might want to test it in about an hour's time"
Spend the next hour chipping away at the email deficit which accrued when I was off sick for three days last week with heat exhaustion. Turn the PC off. Unplug its network cable and whack it into the laptop. Success!!! Am temporarily giddy with relief. Or possibly the heat.
What I didn't tell you at the beginning is that, because the laptop is a rubbish solution for working at home on a regular basis, a proper PC was ordered for me in April. Last week, I nudged the team responsible for ordering it. Predictably, the chap I had been dealing with - and with whom I had laboured hard to create a positive working relationship - has left the team.
One of the many emails I was faced with on my return to work yesterday was from his replacement. Who can't find a record of the PC being ordered on his system, and who sent me a form to complete if I wanted them to provide me with one. At this point, I segued seamlessly into Major Strop Mode.
"Gosh," said my boss. "You're such a diva. I bet gay men love you."
My boss rocks.