Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Living in the Dark Ages

We have a problem at the office. It is major. Our email system is not working properly, sometimes not at all. Actually, I am not sure which is worse, absolutely no email or the intermittent garbage we have been putting up with. The system inevitably knows when you are crafting or reading an important email and will choose that exact moment to go down. And the system goes down at least 100,000,000 billion times a day. It makes for fun times. The profession is challenging enough without the extra pressure to try to email important contracts during the 10 minute period the email decides to work. Some say we may be behind the times in our office. Please. Just because we are using an email system that does not sync with ANY phone or PDA does not mean we are technologically behind. I call that frugal.

Others do not share my point of view. There is yelling and cursing (I mostly do the cursing) and stomping out of the office because one JUST CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE. It is like we have all forgotten how to do anything without a computer. I actually pondered how I was going to get someone in my office a message since I could not email him. Yeah, he is two doors down from me. And the guy on the OTHER end of the office? I thought about sending a courier pigeon to him which just reminded me of the big bird that crashed into our window and died on the side of the building. Then I decided I just didn't want to talk to that guy anymore. It could wait. Until we have our email again, that is.

This crisis has also sparked memories of times when people were not so computer dependent. People pondered "what did we do before computers to send a message" to which I replied with great disdain "we FAXED things." I mean, really. Remember the first fax machines with that roll paper that turned brown within a week and completely faded within a month? And someone would send you a fax, call you to see if you had received it and you would say "wait, let me go check" while pulling out a scroll from your fax machine. And just TRY flattening that fax to get it into a file. Oh no, they always curled. Always. I hated that paper.

In the midst of the 2008 Office Email Crisis, as I have dubbed it, I had my own personal crisis with modern technology - the conference call. In that I could not conduct one. It was quite the scene. It all begins like this:

Working on a big deal with a client and partner that is out of town and we were running out of time in the day. After talking to both of them individually, partner says I should conference them in. Hilarity ensues:

Partner (over the phone): Just conference us in.
Me: How do I do that?
Partner: Press the conference button, dial him and then press conference again.
Me: Okay.

I press the conference button, attempt to reach outside line and get "restricted access." Scream at secretary outside my office who brings a book and reads me those directions. Does not work.

Me: This is not working.
Partner: It is quite easy. I don't know why you can't do it.
Me: I am calling you back [hangs up]

I summon another secretary in, she doesn't know how to do it. I throw up my hands in frustration and scream "I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS, WE ARE WASTING PRECIOUS TIME!" I call the client:

Me: I was trying to conference you in with partner but I cannot get it to work.
Client: It is easy. Press conference, dial him, press conference again.
Me: I tried that and it won't work.
Client: Try with me on the line.
Me: Hold on

I press conference, begin dialing - nothing happens.

Me: It is not working.
Client: Are you pressing the right buttons?
Me: I don't know how to conference. I cannot work the phone. Please don't judge me.
Client: Why would I judge you? [laughing]
Me: This is a disaster.
Client: I will just conference you from here.

He conferences and partner does not answer phone. Now we are both laughing because it is comical and quite ridiculous. Secretary runs in and says I need to press the on/off button. Eureka!

Me: Maybe he just wont answer your number. Let me call from here.
Client: Okay, call me back.

I dial the client and attempt to do the conference call thing again.

Me: Okay, hang on [dials other number]
Me to Client: Hello?
Client: Switchboard?
Me: Very funny.

Good thing my client has a sense of humor. It works, however, partner will not pick up for me either.

Me: He won't take my call either. What the heck? Forget it. Just forget it.
Client: I think he is calling me right now. Nope.
Me: Wait! He is calling me, hold on.
Me: Partner?
Partner: Hi, I am free.
Me: Great, because now I can do conference calls, hang on...

The rest of the story is boring* except to say that the entire conference call lasted 90 seconds. 90 seconds - that is a minute and a half. ALL of that work, screaming, reading, putting on hold, hanging up, for 90 seconds. I did not know whether to laugh or to cry.

Just a typical day at the office.

*This whole story might be boring. I choose, however, to ignore that possibility.

8 important things being said:

Debi said...

ROFL - Quite a day you had, especially for your "lack" of patience on alot of things!

And don't worry, your story was not boring, I thought it was funny and besides only boring people
would think it was boring !

fingers said...

No, it was pretty boring...:)
I assume you had the meter running throughout the entire debacle...

*~Dani~* said...

Debi - thanks! I try not to post about the boring mundane things in my life. And you are right, my patience does wear thin.

fingers - leave it to you! I knew I should never have even suggested I was boring. And I turned off the meter during the conference snafu. It didn't really take as long as it sounds but it sure felt like forever under a deadline.

Bo Bo said...

I’m sending you my comment via fax...... Conference me when you get it......

Jennifer said...

I also thought it was funny. I have the same problem with conference calls.

So@24 said...


I'm an exec. assistant and I feel your pain.

Why can't conf. calls ever be easy?

Matt said...

The 2008 Office email crisis...

thats classic.

*~Dani~* said...

SO - because then I would have nothing to talk about.

Matt - don't be so glib Matt. If you worked in my office you would know what a crisis this is. hee hee I quoted Tom Cruise.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin