After several minutes of the computer saying no, I eventually teased out a possible solution

My PA took a well earned holiday last week leaving the marketing team and I in the hands of a temp. I usually find that temps can be a frustrating experience. This is not typically their fault, but more the fact that today’s admin support is as much about knowing one’s way round the internal bureaucracy and systems as it is about covering the phones and typing.

The biggest admin headache that I encountered during my PA’s absence, was the breakdown of my laptop. No fear, our new group IT services would have it under control in no time. All my data is allegedly backed up and if they couldn’t fix my laptop within hours, then I would have a new one the next day. Sounded good to me and I reminded myself of how lucky I am to be part of a big company that can afford such sophisticated infrastructure and support.

After several minutes of the computer saying no, I eventually teased out a possible solution

I dialled the IT equivalent of 999. They first took my real name and then my cyberspace identity. It was at this point that things began to go terribly wrong. I was advised that I needed my original user ID master-password to proceed with my case. The safekeeper of this code is my PA and she was away on holiday. I explained this to the increasingly helpless desk, which reiterated that without said code it would be unable to help me for security reasons.

I suggested that surely there might be another way of proving my identity. Perhaps I could meet them in the lift down the corridor or perhaps we could meet over a coffee in the canteen? I would be the one holding the broken laptop in the air so they could be sure I was genuine. After several minutes of the computer saying no, I eventually teased out a possible solution. All I needed to do was to get my line manager to send an email authorising that my code be re-set. I explained that I was in fact a director of the company and that my line manager was unfortunately on gardening leave due to a recent restructure and that they would not, therefore, be accessing email.

At this stage, I was tempted to drive to PC World and get it fixed myself, but this is against company policy and, more importantly, I do not know how to use the new online expenses system to reclaim any costs that I may incur. My PA is back on Monday and normal service will no doubt resume then.

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