That man told me to stuff a ROLE up my USER ENTRY!

Don’t get feudal with me, sunshine

If your name's not on the list ...

All contractors and casuals were already on the list, we were told, including ourselves, so we should stop worrying our silly little heads about it and let the Big Boys In Charge get on with their business. Besides, adding generic logins would be a security risk and we should know better than to ask for such a thing.

With crushing inevitability, on the first day that the system went live, scores of temporary staff were forced to make frantic calls to tech support customer services, asking how to gain access to the system since they hadn’t been issued with any logins.

The Big Boys In Charge solved this little problem by telling permanent staff to share their login credentials with the casual staff. No security risk there, then.

This was just a temporary measure, of course. The permanent solution was to set up half a dozen generic logins and make all temporary staff share them with each other. Cue weeks of clueless but blameless casuals inadvertently logging each other out, shouting at each other and inadvertently logging each other out again – hilarious stuff.

Anyway, back to the present. I have a login for the latest system thingy I’ve been presented with, but I’m not seeing all the shares and folders I had expected. My assumption is that I have been set up with the wrong permissions. Hence my call to the nice man on tech support customer services, who now wants to know what my job title is, even though I haven’t had such a thing since 1993.

“It doesn’t matter,” he assures me. “You will have been assigned to one of the existing roles. I just need to know which one it is.”

I haven’t the faintest idea. How do I find out? What button do I press?

“Sorry, the software does not show users what role they have been assigned.”

Ah, that’ll explain why I don’t know what role I have been assigned.

“Yes, but ... there is a way ... ”

After a very long enigmatic pause – during which I falsely assumed he had put me on hold and so I was about to tell my colleagues around me what a twat this bloke on the phone was – he began detailing at length a sequence of actions I should undertake within the software.

After completing every step – I think there were 39 – he told me to right-click on a picture I was viewing and choose the View command (which is frankly stupid but that’s software design for you).

A dialog window of alphanumerics opened. I was asked to read out the top line.

“Ah, there you go, you’re a ‘middle minion’!”

Isn’t there an easier way to find out what permissions or user group I’ve been given? I mean, someone must have put me into that group to start with. Can’t you ask him? Or look my name up on a list?

Apparently not. The only way to find out whether I have been given read-only or admin access to the system is to climb the 39 steps. It’s a bit like being asked to prove that you have a valid driving licence by juggling bananas.

“Oh no, that’s not the only way,” I am told. “You can also look for the icon that looks like a bucket and spade.”

What? Where? I can’t see any stupid icon that looks like a bucket and spade!

“That’s correct. If you can’t see it, that means you’re a ‘middle minion’. If you couldn’t see the icon that looks like Kim Kardashian’s arse and a keyring, you’d be ‘departmental executive’.”

So what you’re saying is that I should look for missing icons? My user role on the system is clearly displayed as a row of icons that aren’t there? I should keep my eyes peeled for icons that cannot be seen?

“Er ... right. Tell you what, I’ll make you ‘CEO’ then you can see all the icons.”

I thank the man profusely for his assistance, taking great care not to accidentally apologise for nearly calling him a twat. I log back in and my screen is full of weird and wonderful icons. Finally, I am master of this domain. So this is what it’s like to be the ultimate boss.

With a bit of luck, there’s a self-destruct countdown initiator in there somewhere. If I find it, I’ll let you know. ®

Alistair DabbsAlistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling IT journalism, editorial training and digital publishing. He reckons logins are like that old Liam Gallagher joke. Punter: Why can’t I access the shares for my department? Liam: It’s probably due to your user group permissions. Punter: What has that go to do with it? Liam: (singing) You’ve got a role with it ...

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