'Other duties as assigned,' redefined

Pilot fish is applying for a job at small government agency -- and there's quite a list of IT qualifications among the requirements.

"I went in for the first interview and it went very well," says fish. "In the second interview, I mentioned to the interviewer that I didn't have some of the qualifications. The interviewer said if I'm offered the position, I'll be trained in the areas where I'm lacking.

"At the third and final interview with the agency director, I asked about a line at the bottom of the job description: Other duties as assigned by the Executive Director. The director said that's on every job description and not to worry -- it just covers anything else not listed."

Fast forward two months: Fish learns he has been hired, and soon discovers he's responsible for all computers, servers, networking equipment, fax/copiers, phones and the public address system at the agency -- everything but standard electrical wiring. He's starts joking that he's in charge of anything that plugs in.

A few days in, the director's executive secretary calls, saying she has something fish needs to fix. Fish drops everything and heads for the executive area, knowing this must be a priority item.

Secretary takes fish back to the break area kitchenette, points to the microwave oven and marches back to her office.

OK, fish thinks, this is what I get for joking that if it plugs in, I'm in charge of it. But he pulls out the microwave, brushes the lint off the vents -- and notices lots of heat coming from the back of the oven.

"I unplugged it and moved it to a cooler area where I could see all around it, and where the air conditioner was blowing directly into the vents," fish says. "After letting it sit for five minutes, I tried it and it worked perfectly.

"Then I cleaned the area of lint and debris, put a monthly item on my schedule to check the vents, and reported to the executive secretary that the microwave was now fully functional.

"We never had trouble with that piece of IT equipment again."

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