On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, our Friday re-telling of readers unforgettable on-the-job experiences.
This week, meet “Jim” who once had a manager show up in the IT department and ask for a discreet chat in the colleague's office.
When Jim arrived the manager “pushed his laptop bag towards me, whilst giving the bag the kind of look reserved for unexploded bombs.”
Jim quickly recognised there was a story behind this and was told the manager would spill the beans, but only “on the condition that I never told anyone else in that company.”
Jim's guessing none of you lot worked there, so here we go.
The story starts in the pub, where the manager spent a fine Friday night before making his way home and, judgement impaired, decided a spot of late night email was a good idea. But that effort was interrupted by strange noises from outside that the manager decided to investigate, but not before locking his dog inside the house.
The noises turned out to be nothing of concern, but when the manager returned “he discovered that the dog had peed all over his laptop keyboard.”
As the suit was recently returned from the pub and was silly enough to attempt email in that state, he was also silly enough to apply a hair-dryer to the resulting mess.
“The results were quite spectacular,” Jim told us. “By the time this manager had finished, the keyboard had melted and the laptop smelled something awful.”
The manager asked Jim to fix the laptop because it contained important files. But he refused to open the laptop bag because he feared the smell would linger in his office. But he had no concerns about stinking up the IT department and also, more importantly, had rank.
So Jim agreed to take the laptop off his hands, but didn't take it to IT. He took it to the office's car park and just threw the laptop out into a skip bin.
Hours later, Jim tells us he called the manager and soberly reported that after long investigation the team had done two things: stink up the IT department, and; determined the laptop could not be restored to health.
At which point the manager asked Jim the cost of a replacement and Jim asked if that would be with or without a waterproof keyboard.
“He gave me a quaint Anglo-Saxon response, which I interpreted as no, and that was that,” Jim says.
Poor old Jim seems to have had a bit of a run with toilet trouble. He tells us this incident “wasn’t as bad as the manager whose kids kept dropping his BlackBerry in the toilet, to see if it floated. But that’s another story.”
If you have another story of being asked to deal with horrible machines at horrible times, write to me for your chance to appear in a future edition of On-Call. ®