User needed 40-minute lesson in turning it off and turning it on again

The tale of a truly career-defining hell desk call

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On-Call If it's Friday it must be time for me to file On-Call and then start drinking so you can start the last day of the week with one of our always-amusing tales of nasty jobs done at nasty times.

This week, reader “Kevin” shared a story from his time working a hell desk late shift.

With just a few minutes to go before quitting time, Kevin took a call from user complaining her computer “was stuck”. Kevin couldn't remote in, so asked her to turn it off and turn it on again.

The user claimed to have done so, but also reported the machine was still stuck on the same screen.

Kevin felt the user had probably flicked the wrong switch, so asked if there was a PC-shaped box under her monitor.

“Yes, there's a grey one,” was the response.

“Can you hold down the power button for about 10 seconds until all the lights go out", Kevin asked.

At which point the user asked where to find the power button

Kevin explained it would be at the front of the PC, have a power symbol and should respond to a quick prod of an index finger.

"I can't find it,” said the user.

Kevin asked what lettering, if any, was on the machine, in an effort to figure out the maker and model. As luck would have it, the Compaq model on the user's desk was the same one on Kevin's. So he spent the next 15 minutes describing its case, the grey bezel on the front, and using baby steps to direct her to the power button.

To which the user said the following:

Oh you mean the button I use to switch it off with?

Kevin confirmed the user had it right and then asked if he could put the user on hold “to check something”.

Which was code for “going through every expletive I knew and invented on the spot and throwing every stress ball I could find in the office to calm down.”

Once Kevin calmed down he asked the user to turn the PC on again, which she did, before thanking him for his efforts.

“And that was the moment I decided to get off the help desk,” Kevin told us, as he traipsed home 30 minutes past quitting time.

Has a user prompted you to make a new decision about your life? If so, let me know and there's a decent chance you'll pop up in a future edition of On-Call. ®

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