Isn't that what the help desk is for -- to help?

It's the second week on the job for this help desk pilot fish when a user comes in with a problem.

"She starts ranting that she's trying to back up some critical files and is having all kinds of problems copying them to floppy disks," fish says.

"We head to her workstation so I can check on the problem. As we arrive at her desk, she explains that her boyfriend is cheating on her, she has 'hacked' into his Yahoo e-mail account, and there are pictures proving that he is cheating and she needs to copy them to floppy disks.

"Keep in mind that I've never met this lady and at this point don't even know her name."

Before fish can point out that the employee is using a company PC to access her boyfriend's e-mail account without his permission, she begins to open messages from the account to show him the pictures.

And they're, um, extremely graphic.

Fish is a little freaked out, and he begins to wonder if maybe his co-workers on the help desk are in league with this user to put him through some sort of strange frat-house initiation.

No such luck. So in full view and easy earshot of other employees, user is continuing to explain how she starts to save the pictures to floppies, but then runs out of disk space before the pictures are saved, and she absolutely has to have backups of these pictures.

Meanwhile, fish is desperately trying to figure out what to do.

"But then it comes to me," says fish. "All I need to do is summarize and repeat to her what she is asking.

"After she asks me if I can help, I reply, 'So let me get this straight. You used your company computer to illegally access an e-mail account, you discovered porn in the e-mail account, and now you want me to help you use a company computer and company storage to back up the porn you accessed illegally. Is that about it?'

"She gives me a funny look and says, 'Never mind, I'll get one of the other help desk techs to help me.'"

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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