After the fire incident I ended up taking a week off and then working from home this following week. (I'm actually back in the office for the first time today... w00t) I've spoken about being able to work from home before, I consider myself very lucky that I can do this. If you consider how many occupations can actually work from home nearly full time without their work suffering you'll probably find its a minority. My boss is good to me though and is probably a little more flexible than he could be if he wasn't as happy with my work. I heard a quote in a show on TV the other day, where a successful businessman was talking about his life, that stuck with me. He said "I've been pretty lucky, but I've found the harder I worked the luckier I got." 'nuff said.
So, Today I bring you two "I can't believe they did that!" stories from the last couple of weeks. The first one takes place on the Wednesday after the fire. My face was still very swollen and the skin on it was mostly black. My lips were huge and whenever I tried to talk the skin on and around them cracked which made it very difficult to communicate. I had battled through changing my voicemail message to say that I was off sick and unable to take calls, I went on to say that for urgent matters they would need to contact another member of the IT department, but if they left a message I would get back to them the following week.
So my phone rings, I know the number ... it's one of our remote offices. I let it go through to voicemail and the person leaves no message. No more than 30 seconds later it rings again, same number. I work under the assumption that the person heard my greeting and decided not to leave a message but then changed their mind, so I let it go through to voicemail again. No message. 30 seconds later it rings again, now I'm getting annoyed. The person on the other end of the phone has now twice heard that I am off work sick and has decided that whatever problem they are having is soooo important that I need to tend to it in my ill state. I angrily answer the phone ready to give this person a spray and then realise how hard that is when you can't talk very fast. She leaped into her problem (a pretty minor problem at that) and went on to say that she could not contact any other members of the IT team.
You might be wondering why she would repeatedly try to call me as opposed to one of the other guys. Well it goes back to what I was saying earlier about hard work. People in my company have come to rely on the fact that I get things done. I've had people message me to say "Hi, I saw you allocated my IT form to you, thanks for that!" ... and better still, "Hi, I see my form has been allocated to someone else, is there any chance you could do it". I'm by no means the most talented person in our team, there are at least a couple of people here who I would put above me in a 'technical' ladder. People who in a disaster I would prefer on the job than me, but we all have our strengths and our weaknesses. My strength is that I'm a people person, the non-tech staff feel they can easily talk and relate to me, they are confident the job is getting done as I speak a language they understand and on top of that, I nearly never take a job and don't do it, which unfortunately can't be said about everyone in my team.
In the back of my mind I knew that is why she was calling me over and over, she started the conversation with "I know you're off sick ... but... " This made me more angry, at this point I was still clinging on to some hope that she hadn't heard my message. I explained to her that 4 days earlier I was burnt in a fire. i had no use of my left hand, I could not walk and my face was swollen making it hard for me to speak, which she could hear by the way I was talking. As opposed so saying "oh I'm sorry, I thought you had a cold, I'll let you go" she continued to rant about her IT issue. I had that 5 second moment where I thought about hanging up on her but true to ITG form I sorted out her issue. I shouldn't have but I did. See, sometimes I'm Dennis Leary but sometimes I'm a nice guy...
The second 'I can't believe they did that' moment came last Friday night. It was our office Christmas party and it was the first time I had seen everyone since the fire. The only obvious signs from the fact I was burnt by then was a few marks on my face, a shaved head and a bright red hand... my foot was still pretty bad but without taking off my shoe they wouldn't know. Everyone seemed to be having a good time and by 10pm I was well and truly on the road to being drunk. One of the managers came up (he had called me about this a couple of days earlier) and handed me his mobile phone.
"Hi ITG, sorry about this but my phone has stopped receiving emails, are you able to have a look and fix it for me?"
My reaction wouldn't have let on that I was annoyed, I was seeing three phones when he handed it to me. 20 minutes, and a beer later, despite my best efforts I just couldn't find the setting I was looking for. I handed it back to him and said,
"sorry mate, I'm just too drunk to do this, can I look next week"
He was ok about that and gave me the phone today, took me 35 seconds to fix it. I just wonder why he thought the Christmas party when I was well beyond half cut was the best time for me to do a little bit of IT support. I guess at the end of the day some just look at the IT people as the lowly support staff who are there at everyones beck and call. /TheITG sighs...
OK, this will most likely be my last post before Christmas so I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a great Christmas (if that's your thing) and a nice break for those of you who are getting one. I'm actually working straight through .. worst case scenario I should get some nice stories for the blog!
I'd also like the take the chance to thank people who have been reading, this blog has been running under 4 months and the other day i passed by 1000 page views. I really didn't expect people to read it. I hope you're enjoying it and for first time visitors, if you do enjoy my stories I'd love for you to keep coming back.
Cheers, The ITG.