Trainee techie ran away and hid after screwing up a job, literally

He was young, eager to please and forgot that size matters

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On-Call Thank the Valar it’s Friday, because that means the weekend beckons and a new instalment of On-Call, The Register’s weekly reader-contributed tale of tech support tangles.

This week meet “Theo” who offered us a story of a techie colleague who was put in charge of a trainee as they worked together on the “second fixing” a large office block.

For those of you not up on your carpentry, second fixing is the job of making a job look lovely with skirting, floor boards and other niceties. In the telco world, this stuff can be quite specialised as customers want their phone sockets, but not at the cost of an ugly finish. So telco folk often work alongside chippies to get the job done right.

The trainee wasn’t quite up to speed on the nuances, however, so “was used to fetch tea and sandwiches and be given small tasks.”

But when it came time to install a phone in a lift, the trainee was called upon because the phone had its own wee cupboard to sit in and a “socket had been terminated and two holes were pre-drilled for the phone to be mounted.”

“All the trainee had to do was take the phone and the two wood screws provided, screw them into the holes, and fit the phone. Phone lead to be tidied and tucked away - job done.”

But the trainee managed to lose the screws he’d been given, but decided to salvage the situation by using his initiative to find one of the on-site chippies and ask them for a couple of screws.

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A trivial request and one with which the carpenter complied without question.

But they were the wrong screws.

And not long afterwards the trainee disappeared.

Theo’s mate eventually realised he’d been gone for an unusual length of time. But before he could figure out why, he was approached by the site foreman with a request that couldn’t be refused to review some recent work.

Which was ugly.

“Unfortunately the 'cupboard' for the phone was on the same wall as the lift doors,” Theo told us. And the wrong-sized screws the trainee had used had gone “through the metal panel and had fouled the doors. So on opening, two scratch marks had made their way across the mirrors on the lift doors.”

“Both mirrors were bonded so complete disassembly of the doors ensued in order to repair the damage.”

The trainee had seen his handiwork in action and hidden.

Theo’s mate got out of it alright thanks to insurance.

The fate of the trainee? Nobody knows!

What have you screwed up, literally or otherwise? Click here to write to On-Call with your story and we might give it a run here on a future Friday, because One Good Turn deserves another. ®

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