Hey, they SAID the whole day was wasted, right?

A call comes into the help desk at 8 a.m.: Several users in one department can't log in to their PCs or use their VoIP phones, and this IT pilot fish has to sort out the problem.

"I ran down to check the issue and found that about 50 percent of one section had phones that wouldn't get an IP address," says fish.

"Three of the staff who can't work are proclaiming to anyone who walks by -- including senior management -- that they have huge quantities of work to do and can't work because they have no phones and no PCs to enter their data."

And they continue to stand around watching as fish and his cohorts troubleshoot the problem -- commiserating about how much work they have to do and how this outage is highly inconvenient. One even proclaims that they should just go home because the day is wasted.

Fish checks his watch when he hears that. It's only 8:15.

The IT guys figure out they need to patch these users over to a standby switch, and along the way someone notices that the data-connection plates are marked wrong, which requires a few more minutes to sort out.

But by 8:30, everyone is up and running except the receiving department. The grousing trio of users are still going on about how much they're now behind due to the outage. Fish shakes his head, gathers his gear and heads off to receiving, where a quick re-patch to another switch gets those users up and running in minutes.

Then fish decides to return to the first department that was out and re-label the jacks so they're correctly marked.

"The first user, who was complaining the loudest about the outage, was sitting in her cubicle not even logged into her machine -- which was now working -- and was crocheting what looked to be a hat," fish grumbles.

"The second user was reading a book. The final complainer was Web-surfing on his smartphone.

"I thought about unplugging the cables for their cubicles in the server room just to see how long it would be before one of the three called because their PC wouldn't work, but alas, I had too much real work to do."

Did you know that Sharky's blog has a thriving community of commenters who swap stories, jokes and, well, comments about each day's true tale of IT life? One of those regulars, O2BIrish, recaps the day's story as a limerick, and also does a big year-end wrap up poem for his compadres -- and you'll find this year's installment in today's comments. Meanwhile, don't forget that the Shark Tank needs your story, too. Send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com, and you'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

The Best of Shark Tank includes more than 70 tales of IT woe submitted by you, our readers, since 1999. Which all goes to prove, conclusively, that hapless users and idiotic bosses are indeed worldwide phenomena. Free registration is all that's needed to download The Best of Shark Tank (PDF).

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