Friday, December 01, 2006

Telephone Meltdown

In my two years on the help desk, the phones have never been as busy as they were this afternoon. Crazy is not the word. The true measure of when we hit a peak period, is the fact that other members of staff (within the office) have to start taking down messages for us. Fifteen voice mails is the most I have ever had to go back and listen to. A staggering figure when you consider on an good night we get two or three messages maximum. Why was it so busy? I do not really know. The end of month has always meant an influx of additional calls. You could perhaps get away with sloppy admin for three weeks but at the last day of the month, you figures had to be perfect. Sometimes I am glad my job on the help desk is relative free of some the laborious red tape that is a necessity out in the field.

Confession time. I like it when it is busy, perhaps even more so the extreme of today. Why? I love the buzz? I love the idea that we are in demand. I love the notion that we have the answers. Correction, people think we have the answers to all their problems. When the reality is, we can only guide them in the right direction. When the phones are constantly busy, your focus has to be precise and your ability to think on the spot (rather than on your feet) highly attuned. You never know what the next phone call or voice mail you pick up will throw at you. The couple of hours cruise by and soon enough it is 6pm, time to go home and forget about it all. (Well at least until 9.30am, the next day).

I am sure there are people out there who will read this post and just laugh. "Busy? Stressed out? You do not know you have been born, son!" some of the responses back would be. I agree, relatively speaking, I work on a small help desk, servicing perhaps a maximum of 900 individuals. However that is not the issue at stake, as I do not dispute the statistics. There are help desks that fill room after room in high raised office blocks, in thousands of cities across the globe. The mean, lean and ever so keen corporate machine, with all the benefits that come with an infinite IT budget and all the bureaucracy that keeps every little soldier in check. Having seen the best (and worst) of both worlds, which do I prefer? Perhaps that deserves a well thought out answer and an entry all to itself. I have gone off on a tangent, as I usually do and should really get back to the programme.

I am sure my manager's mantra would be something along the lines of "Busy is good!". We on the help desk, would all of course disagree but he does have a point. The working day does fly by when your having fun on the telephone line. Then again, how often do you see him answering the phone? Not since the good old days of late Spring last year, when there was just me on the telephone from 4.30pm until the close of play. A great way of turning this company on it's head would be to consider a major change of roles at all levels and as one of the other managers mentioned months ago, everyone be re-interviewed for their job. That is, make a case on why their position should remain open. While neither option is ever going to become a reality, they are interesting thoughts, when you consider how people would cope with a complete change of scenery. Some would take to it like a fish to water, the rest would just drown like Miss Spears in that bathtub.

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