A bad day at the office

Sometimes it is not the work that makes work difficult, nor the people. Today the challenge that made my day more difficult than usual was something much more mundane: the arrival of a new telephone.

It came with a three-fold leaflet explaining how to do a multitude of things, except set up my voicemail. A quick trawl of the internet found a 30-page user manual which gave instructions for all kinds of services, but not how to get my headset to work. I can send calls to someone else’s pager or secretary and if ever I want to broadcast a message to the loudspeakers of a station group (whatever that is) I have all the notes for that. But not how to record my name so that when UK callers get through to the French-speaking Alcatel woman they know they’ve come through to the right number.

I hated the fact that the telephone had beaten me. Give me a server or an Active Directory or a website or a graphics package. My job is making technical things work. I can even programme my own video recorder (although it’s currently in my kitchen cupboard). How is it possible that armed with the instruction manual in two languages, plus an on-screen display, that I couldn’t make the damn thing work?

It wasn’t me that finally solved the problem. Fortunately a colleague discovered that instead of typing in your four-digit default secret code when the screen display says ‘enter your four-digit default secret code’ you need to type in your six-digit extension number.

Don’t you just love technology?

And I had such a good weekend too. I spoke to Dina Henry Scott who interviewed me about project budgets for her podcast Controlling Chaos, and Graham Oakes who gave me some great tips for project reviews, coming soon to an article in Projects@Work. Two very interesting project people, and I’ll link here the outcome of my discussions with them both once they’re finalised.

On days like this, where a good weekend can be wiped out by something seemingly insignificant, there are two things that help me get through the day. One is reading a good comic strip, and the other is Origins Cocoa Therapy Instant Chocolate Fix. Whatever it takes.