Tuesday, June 28, 2005

No Safe Haven

One day last week, the network team informed me of a change they were making at one of their sites. I was called upon to assist by adjusting some network settings on a server (for you techies, I had to create a new DHCP scope, disable the old one and enable the new one at the time of the change, no big deal). I was told that the change would take place at around 11:00 AM and I should expect a phone call when it was time for me to do my part.

The call didn’t come at 11:00 and a few minutes later I had to go to the restroom, but I didn’t. I held on until 11:45, when Mother Nature finally got the best of me and I dashed down the hall to the Men’s room. While I’m sitting there, the door to the restroom opens and I hear Bill the network guy (name changed to protect the idiot) say “Great, I found you.”

I knew he was talking to me, but I was kinda busy and shocked that someone would address me while I’m sitting on the toilet at work, so I didn’t say anything. Pause. “Steve?” “Yeah.” “We’re ready to make the change now.” “Ummm, OK.” Then he heads over to the urinal as he explains the cause for the delay. I don’t know about you, but when I’m engaged in #2 I’m generally not in a conversational mood. Bill – that’s Mr. Tact to you – just kept going like it was no big deal. Thank god he didn’t come over to the stall door and try to make eye contact through the jamb (if he did, he’d be dead now).

I wasn’t sure what to do since this had never happened to me before. Did Bill expect me to do something from where I sat? I looked around to see if there was a network connection and a computer in the bathroom stall – no on both counts (though I’m sure some efficiency expert has thought of this). I resolved to finish my personal business while Bill prattled on through washing his hands and finally left – no doubt disappointed that I wouldn’t pinch one off for the team.

Eventually I finished my personal business, washed up, returned to my workstation and made the change. I wonder if I would have gotten the same treatment if I was a State employee. I’ve heard that consultants get treated like crap at the State level – now I know where the rumor came from!

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