Your tax dollars at work...real soon now

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IT pilot fish starts work as a federal government contractor -- and it's not quite as smooth as he was expecting.

"Upon arrival, I had no PC, yet I was given a printed email with sign-on instructions," says fish. "I spent the first day learning some of the procedures in this IT shop and meeting the people I'll be working with.

"On the second day, I asked about a PC and was told it was scheduled for the end of the week."

That's fine, fish says, but is there a loaner I can use in the meantime? None are available. OK, then, how about a nearby hotel with a business center where I can rent the use of a PC? he asks.

No one seems to know what the hotel options might be, but fish keeps asking around. Eventually he finds one, makes the necessary arrangements and -- with his sign-on instructions in hand -- sits down to log in.

And that works fine. But when he follows the instructions to get into Microsoft Outlook to check his mail for the first time, it turns out he has no profile.

OK, fish thinks, I know how to do this. He starts Outlook with the /PROFILES switch and creates a profile, which finally allows him to sign in.

And when he checks his in-box, he discovers a message that arrived the morning of his first day -- requesting more information so that IT will be able to set him up with a PC.

"Someone obviously didn't think about the email, as there was no way for me to read it without a PC," fish says. "And had I not taken the initiative to ask about a loaner or hotel PC and known how to fix Outlook, I'd be sitting indefinitely at my new desk without a PC and without a clue that they needed more information.

"I laughed and told my new co-workers about it, and was told, 'Welcome to the government.'"

Got a little, um, spare time? Tell Sharky your story. 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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