In elementary school, there was always a kid who just had to be first for everything. They couldn’t wait their turn and would probably through a tantrum if they couldn’t get their way. Unfortunately, these kids didn’t grow out of their brattiness. Now there are adults with the same tendencies out and about. You have probably run into them in stores or maybe the DMV. The worst place to find them is in the workplace.
Sometimes people are just having a rough day! I get it. But when you are a repeat offender and everyone dreads dealing with you, then you should probably get yourself together. How many times have you had to clean up someone else’s mistake or fix something they messed up? It gets frustrating.
Now imagine working as a customer service representative, or IT as “Kyle” does. It is their job to fix things and unfortunately, this means dealing with all of the silly little errors people make on a daily basis. Combine this with individuals who think the world revolves around them, and you get a bad taste and an even worse day. Luckily, Kyle knew how to handle “Patty’s” issue and her attitude.
Kyle calls them, “Helpdesk Frequent Fliers” or “HFF” for short. These are the folks who just can’t get it together. They have problems left and right, and their “self-importance is drastically overestimated.” Simply put, they are the kids who couldn't handle it if they weren’t picked first in kickball. Personally, I think being picked first is overrated, but it’s a big deal to some people.
Kyle was an “IT Manager for an international corporation.” He knew the ups and downs of being the person people call with their technical difficulties. And there were many.
There was a system, a wonderful system, set in place to help lessen the load for the IT workers. With the number of requests from the employees, a ticket system was developed to organize all of the complaints. It was a really simple system. The employee could email the IT department with a short explanation of their issue, and then the system would autofill their information for the IT worker who would help the employee. It was a great system. If anyone used it. The employees at this company were notorious “for not opening tickets and just calling out of the blue with the most basic of issues.”
Since this was happening so much, Kyle wasn’t surprised when the day started out like all the others, with “calls coming in before [he] or [his] team even arrived at work.” This was routine, but definitely a bit chaotic. The first task was “answering calls and prioritizing the calls, ensuring any production-stopping issues or customer-facing issues were taken care of first.” These were the calls that had to be dealt with first because they’d cause more damage later on. Again, this was frustrating but normal. It was one call in particular that put a wrench into the machine. A wrench named Patty.
Kyle hadn’t even been able to pour himself his first cup of coffee before the “local HFF called [his] direct line with an issue where her PDF reader would not open.” For a moment, hoping for decency, Kyle looked into the tickets to see if one was filed for this issue. It was all for nothing when there was no ticket to be found.
Kyle was a very busy man. There were too many issues taking precedence for him to be able to help Patty immediately. He was “already working on an issue that affects multiple facilities,” so he instructed her to file a ticket so he could get to it as soon as possible.
The earth had obviously begun to crumble around her because she “[got] irritated and demanded [he] address her issue as it is urgent.”
It is hard to know when someone will hit their boiling point, but watching the kettle bubble can be a dreaded experience. Patty was the kettle and Kyle, sadly, was the onlooker.
He tried his best at a nice IT guy approach and gave Patty the ole “give the system a restart and try again.” This is usually the best advice because it can fix minor issues. Kyle knew this could just be “one of those odd occurrences that happen with certain operating systems.”
Patty was not happy with this solution. She snapped at Kyle, telling him she has already done so. Why do people assume help desk workers are undermining their intelligence? They are only trying to do their job.
Patty was beside herself at this point and told Kyle he needed to help her first before anyone else. She was determined to get to the front of the line, like a seven-year-old in line to get to lunch.
Kyle made sure to stay cool, calm, and collected when repeating he was unavailable at the moment due to a pressing issue and “she would have to wait her turn.” She could have handled herself a little better, but instead she “disconnected the call after muttering sarcastically about the need of entering a ticket.
This should have been the end of it. Patty should have restarted or filed a ticket. Then Kyle would have had to ticket pop up and looked into the issue for her. Everything would have been fixed and no more drama!
Of course, this is not how the real world works. Soon after the ordeal, Kyle received a call from Patty’s manager. He was wanting to know why Kyle wasn’t addressing Patty’s ticket. Kyle was not a little more than just annoyed. Patty was playing a nasty game by getting her manager involved with a simple technical issue. Plus, there wasn’t even a ticket for Kyle to reference and he had only asked her to do the most basic task required to get her problem fixed. Did she honestly think getting her manager involved was going to help her in this situation?
Kyle explained the situation to the manager. He told him about his current request and explained it was a high-priority task requiring his full attention, but he promised to get to Patty’s requests as soon as he could. After going over the ticket system again and the importance of waiting her turn, the manager agreed to go over it all with Patty.
What a relief, right? He would finally have Patty off his back for a bit. Wrong.
It was not even ten minutes later when the ticket finally came through for Patty’s issue. Although another IT worker could have taken the ticket and he wouldn’t have had to deal with her any longer, he knew he couldn’t do it to his subordinates. He accepted the request and made sure he would be the one responsible for Patty and “her self-important attitude.”
Once he was finished with the high-priority issue, Kyle moved on to Patty’s ticket. He glanced over it and saw her complaint and information. He remotely accessed her workstation and went on a hunt for the pdf issue.
Kyle discovered the root of the issue. “Low and behold an update was applied to her software and her system was pending a restart.” Kyle was able to check when Patty had last rebooted her workstation. Unsurprisingly, it was about three days and fourteen hours. She had lied about restarting in the morning. Why would someone lie about restarting?
With a heavy sigh and keeping the frustration at bay, Kyle contacted Patty. He asked her if the issue was still present. Her voice was dripping with sarcasm when she said it was. Remembering Patty was an HFF and had “been difficult and known to exaggerate in the past” Kyle made the decision to get her manager involved. It was only to listen to the call, just in case. The manager suggesting someone from the HR department also listen in. The three of them discussed her prior offenses of near insubordination and “unprofessional attitude.” The Vice President of HR told Kyle, Patty had also just filed a report against him. She stated he was “being unprofessional.”
Obviously, Patty did not like being told to wait her turn, something she should have learning in preschool. But now she was going to learn this lesson as an adult, which was going to be much harder.
Kyle started the call. He made sure not to sound aggravated, even though he was more than just annoyed now. Patty did not even try to hide her attitude and “immediately she [got] irritated” demanding a solution. She began to act like a toddler with a mouth of a sailor. She was not even remotely professional, using expletives left and right. It was too late for her now, but Kyle still attempted to save the call by “requesting she refrain from using inappropriate language during the remainder of [the] call.” It was laughable because she only just used more unprofessional language.
They had heard enough and the HR representative told Kyle to mute the call. He gave Patty a vague answer and muted the phone. She proceeded to use more foul language. HR decided a report would have to be made and Kyle would need to make a statement about the incident.
Finally, someone was going to do something about the helpdesk getting harassed!
Kyle unmuted himself and told Patty she needed to do the restart. And then what do you know, all of her PDF issues were magically fixed.
Now her issue was resolved, she could have said thank you or been grateful, but no. She decided to end the conversation with “a comment of how useless [the] entire company is when it comes to resolving her issues.”
It didn’t take long for the action to be taken against Bratty Patty. She had done most of the work herself. All that was needed was three managers’ approval. And there you have it. She was terminated.
Surprisingly, Patty did not through a fit and become Petty Patty. She “never said one word after she was informed the company no longer needed her services.” She was offered an explanation for her termination and she left, never to work there again.
Kyle was relieved, but couldn’t stop thinking about how if she had just listened to him the first time, she could have saved herself. Remember people, always restart first, then ask for help. And if the tech team says to do something, just do it. Do your job and let them do theirs.