IT? Easy. VP? Not so much.

It's a few years ago, and this network engineer pilot fish manages the modem pool that off-site users dial into at her company.

"One afternoon, the company vice-president stopped by my desk, said 'I can't get my email!' and demanded that I follow him back to his office to fix it," fish says.

Fish isn't about to try explaining to a VP that neither e-mail nor on-site networking are in her bailiwick. Instead, she just says "No problem" and follows the VP back to his office.

VP tells fish that he has typed in his password several times, but it just isn't working.

Fish leans over VP's shoulder and looks at the keyboard. Sure enough, the little green light is glowing on the Caps Lock key.

Technical problem solved. But how to fix it without making the VP feel like an idiot -- a VP who might hold a grudge?

"Thinking fast, I said, 'Oh, I do this all the time' and tapped the Caps Lock key. 'Try it now,'" says fish.

"Skeptical, he tried his password again and watched the e-mails start flooding in.

"I scuttled back to my cube, feeling like a little fish that had just dodged the hook."

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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