Can I get that in writing?

This growing company can't keep up with the need for help desk phone support staff, so the CTO institutes a new policy: All support requests must now come in by email, reports a IT manager pilot fish at a remote office.

"After the policy change, the regional IT managers were given a special number to call to get to tier 1, if necessary," fish says.

"But when we started to have email server connectivity issues getting to the corporate email system, I first tried to call a colleague in the office with whom I worked before on network issues, but she was out of the office. I tried a couple other colleagues with no success -- apparently all middle and senior managers were on a one-day retreat."

Finally fish calls the special support number, and asks the help-desk tech to open a high-priority trouble ticket for the issues: Local mail server is running but can't connect to corporate for inbound or outbound mail, although an old email URL is working via another access point to the Internet into the local server.

"Sure," tech says, "just email a ticket to support and I'll work on it right away."

Fish repeats that the email server has lost connectivity to the main corporate server, and that his offices are getting neither inbound nor outbound emails.

"OK, I'll look into the connectivity issue as soon as I get the email ticket," tech says.

Fish politely asks tech to write down what the tech just said on a piece of paper and read it back to him.

Tech reads back: "Please email me a trouble ticket concerning the email server's lack of connectivity."

Great, says fish, I understand that. Now please write down what I am about to say.

"This won't help until I get the email," tech says.

Humor me, fish says. Write this down: We have no email connectivity, no email messages can be sent or received.

"OK, I got that from what you said. Just put it into an email."

Please read back what I first had you write down, then what I just said, fish says.

"Please email me a trouble ticket concerning the email server's lack of connectivity," tech reads. "We have no email connectivity, no email messages can be sent or received.

"Ohhhh, you can't send me an email."

Sighs fish, "He wrote up the email for me -- since it still had to be via email -- and sent it as a proxy for me."

Yes, Sharky still needs your story by email too. So send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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