The Bitching Hour Strikes Again


#41

Well, yes and no, @ToasterFairy … sometimes you have to vent, and we’re an appreciative and welcoming audience.

If you still feel the need, c’mon back and vent!


#42

And you’d be wrong. I always enjoyed reading them, and I’m pretty sure other people did as well…
You wrote them well, and they were a mixture of funny and cringe-making. As @Woodman said, sometimes they made us feel a bit better as someone else was going through the same crap (or even worse) that we were and we could sympathise.


#43

#44

Add me to that list!


#45

Looks like I saved 59 message threads back in 2013. Some of them have two or three years’ worth of conversations. Amongst the War Stories is TBH and “A Steaming Pile of Sev”.


#46

Lovely! You, Sir, deserve a medal! :smile: When will you post them for our enjoyment?

@ToasterFairy - I like your writing style, very good.

Another thing that I haven’t mentioned here is that you learn out of the issues of others, it make you aware of what dangers and pitfalls may be ahead, and you can then take corrective action to avoid said pitfalls, as well as getting to know why you must not do things the wrong way…


#47

From the archives, part 1. All written by TF.


$Coworker, when I said "we’re too busy camaraderie-type gesture. I know you’re response? “Well, I am, anyway.”

Now, I know you – and the rest of this department. My pages of proof each day don’t do anything made up your minds that I’m lazy and worthless. dealing with most of the support issues. anyone do it beside me? Y’know, another department and, once you were all gone, phones."

At least do me the courtesy of extending the face with your fscking BS attitude.


Quote of the Day: “What username? Well, it has a P in it, I think. Maybe. Wait, I don’t know.”


As I predicted, we’re supporting home devices, despite your rule that we wouldn’t, $boss. When I asked you point-blank about it, you said it was just for this person “because she does special projects for $biggest_boss.” Yeah, her, and the other guy, and this one person who’s the owner’s buddy, and…

Meanwhile, $site has no phone.


You two knucklefscks need to knock this szit off. Sure, you can build a new server or change the login script or modify $core_app, but throwing it into the live environment after one day of testing? And only testing with a handful of IT accounts? Yes, it seemed to work for that one day. But now I’m getting hammered with all the problems. Acting like it couldn’t possibly be your change is just arrogant. You fsckers should be forced to take all these calls. That’ll never happen, though, because you’re busy and I’m worthless.


Quote of the Day: “I know when everybody calls they say it’s really urgent, but mine is REALLY urgent!”


Whoa, hold it there, b#tch. I answered your question and showed you how to get around the problem. Just because you didn’t like either of your two options doesn’t mean I “don’t know what it’s doing, can’t fix nothin’.” I just told you what it was doing, and why. Don’t you dare deride my efforts after I fixed it for you. Step the fsck off.


You’re shipping a computer, not a Nerf football. Pretend you’re on a two-week bender in a third-world brothel and WRAP YOUR PACKAGE!


Insisting that all the group’s problems will be fixed by team-building exercises is the first sign that you are a terrible leader. Making everyone waste a day and a half on the exercises is the second sign. Never following up on the exercises or the changes the exercises suggested is the third sign. Yeah, there are a dozen other reasons you are a terrible leader, but these are pretty d@mn telling because you asked for all the exercises. If you’re going to waste my freakin’ time, could you do it in a way that doesn’t include personality tests? And for the record, I’m on Team Xenu.


#48

I think I found some of my old stuff… Looks like some words were missing in your archive.

$Coworker, when I said “we’re too busy for $extra_task” to you, it was a friendly, camaraderie-type gesture. I know you’re busy, and I’ve been working like a dog today. Your response? “Well, I am, anyway.”

Now, I know you – and the rest of this department – believe I don’t do anything around here. My pages of proof each day don’t do anything to change that opinion, apparently. You’ve all made up your minds that I’m lazy and worthless. You’re all “above” answering the phones and dealing with most of the support issues. But if handling all these tasks is not “work,” why won’t anyone do it beside me? Y’know, another observer noticed the crappy attitude in this department and, once you were all gone, said to me, “I’d like to see them try to answer the phones.”

At least do me the courtesy of extending some small fragment of civility by not slapping me in the face with your fscking BS attitude.


#49

There’s a lot more. I just planned on posting a few ever so often.


#50

So many stories I should post, just from this year. Maybe if I get any free time, I will put up the Saga of Mr. Sandwich.


#51

Now my curiosity is piqued


#52

So, this Mr. Sandwich?


#53

He wishes.


#54

Yay! Waiting in anticipation!


#55

Threadus Ressurectus!

After a long hiatus… a tale from the first half of 2016. It’s a long read, but it felt a LOT longer to live it.

The Tale of Mr. Sandwich

Working on software that integrates with a lot of other exisiting applications, I became the lead $company.TF tech for the whole “make it go” effort. There were all sorts of caveats, special requests, and must-haves dumped on my shoulders. In an effort to make good on it all, $Vendor assigned Mr. Sandwich as my technical contact.

It was early in the process, still testing functionality in the $company environment. We (whoever first signed the contract well before I was brought in, natch) were promised the software “just worked” with everything. Just install it, that’s it! Oh, dear friends, that was not the case.

We had weekly meetings, demanding updates on my progress. I had a special test environment built for the most critical scenario, and just getting that created was Not Fun. Mr. Sandwich was on those meetings, but generally silent. I would detail the issues I found each week, and was always referred to Mr. Sandwich, who would then pipe up to say there were easy fixes.

Each week went like this:
Arrange a time for a conference call and shared screen for all parties to witness the errors/problems on the test setup. There were always at least 3 parties, so scheduling was not easy.
Half the time, find that Mr. Sandwich could not make the call. He would mention this about five minutes before the call, or sometimes halfway through the timeslot, with everyone else just waiting for him. Either way, reschedule and hope he’ll be there next time.
When he did show up, he was usually confused by the problem. He’d say it shouldn’t be happening, and say he’d email me later about it.
Once I got an email from him, it’d refer to add-ins to the application. Note, this software wasn’t supposed to even HAVE add-ins, much less need them. I would question this, as the add-ins didn’t seem to be part of the environment/software we used.
Mr. S would offer to email the add-ins to me, and I’d have to remind him that $company email blocks all executables, because of course it does. This was when I began to have suspicions about Mr. Sandwich.
Mr. S would then offer the files via DropBox. Again, blocked at $company for obvious reasons.
Eventually Mr. S would give me a link of some hidden circle of the hellpit that is $vendor’s website. Then I could actually download the add-in, and go through all the adjustments of the test environment.
The add-in would not fix the issue, or would seem to fix it but create a new issue. Return to step 1.

After a few rounds of this, my benefit of the doubt with Mr. Sandwich began to wear out. I sussed out some problems on my own, enough to make slow progress. That was annoying, and I think even the Powers That Be at $company.TF or this endeavor were leaning on Mr. Sandwich’s logic that clearly, I was an idiot. Nobody else ever had these problems, according to Mr. Sandwich.

That was all soul-crushing and miserable, and it continued for months. Eventually, a problem came up that Mr. Sandwich could not explain, and it was intermittent enough that he could not wrap his head around the troubleshooting. I was able to demonstrate this show-stopping problem for the Powers That Be, and they were not pleased. Mr. Sandwich’s manager was brought on when Mr. Sandwich threw his hands up, and then we got VendorTech2.

Once we finally got him on a meeting, VendorTech2 made it clear from the get-go that I was an idiot, as far as he was concerned. He curtly demanded all the steps thus far. I had everything documented. As soon as he started reading the steps, he demanded to see the test environment. I dutifully pulled it up.

VendorTech2: This is ridiculous. You don’t use ANY of these add-ins in your environment. Where did you even get them? They’re all for $EnvironmentWeDon’tUse.
TF: That’s interesting. Mr. Sandwich said we needed them.
VT2: Wait, what?
Mr. Sandwich, apparently seated beside VT2 and the speakerphone: Uh, no I didn’t.
TF: Yes, you did. We’ve talked about this at every meeting for months.
Mr. Sandwich: But you said–
TF: Moreover, we couldn’t even find the files until you GAVE us $VendorSite FTP address.
VT2: (turned away from the phone) You sent them to $FTP? That’s all old, and it’s for $EnvironmentWeDon’tUse and $OtherVendorSoftwareWeDon’tUse!
Mr. S (weakly): But it was on the checklist…
VT2: That checklist is for help desk for $OtherCustomer! Why are you even LOOKING at–

That’s when the call went silent on their end for a minute. When sound returned, VT2 simply told me to roll back the test environment to the very beginning, and install the software anew. I had to undo months of work, and was back at the original problem.

Once I had that cleared up, I demonstrated the problem for VT2. He worked out an adjustment on the install, and it went away. He was a lot less curt on that call.

Some time passed, more testing happened. Eventually, we got to a point that was good enough to start having users try out the software. To do that, I needed a functional installer package. The one we’d been using lacked some of the fine touches, like any sort of launching icon or start menu folder, image for that icon, uninstaller, etc. I asked $Vendor reps at a meeting if I could have these things with the appropriate files.

Vendor Rep: Oh, we’ll have your tech get that to you!
TF: Ah, great. That’s VendorTech2, right?
Vendor Rep: (cough) Uh, no. That’s Mr. Sandwich.
(sad trombone)

Wearily I resumed work with Mr. Sandwich. I asked to speak to VendorTech2, only to find that he’d left $Vendor. With no other options and no support from managers (in either $company.TF or $Vendor), I had to keep asking Mr. Sandwich for these files. We had weekly meetings, and I’d state that I needed files. Mr. Sandwich, if he attended, would promise them. I’d get nothing, and ask again the following week. This went round and round for a month.

Finally, Mr. Sandwich came to a meeting and said he’d sent them. I asked for a timeframe, and after some back-and-forth, determined he DID send the executables and batch files – to my heavily-firewalled, filtered, banished-to-a-convent healthcare company email. I confirmed this with the email administrator, who found the “nope, no way” log entries.

Like a fool, I asked him what in Captain Planet’s name made him think that would work. Mr. Sandwich was genuinely confused. I then spent ten minutes of a high-level meeting trying to explain email file restrictions to Mr. Sandwich. Just a taste:

TF: You cannot send these files via email.
Sandwich: I already sent them.
TF: That may be, but I never got the email.
S: Well, I didn’t get a mail failure message, so you got it!
TF: We are a healthcare company. We have VERY serious restrictions on email. Any email with these attachments will never go through.
S: But I DIDN’T get a mail failure!
TF: You wouldn’t, because the message stops at our filter. (Brief explanation)
S: So… do you have DropBox?
TF: (stifling a heavy sigh) No, that is also restricted.
S: I will put it in DropBox.
TF: I won’t get the link, and wouldn’t be able to open it if I did.
S: How about I set up a DropBox account for you?
TF: (Head on desk, since this is a conference call) I wouldn’t be able to access it.
S: (long pause) Have you heard of OneDrive?
[what felt like FIVE HOURS LATER]
TF: Look, at the very least I need the key values of the batch file, with correct syntax for $software. Just those lines. Can you get me that in an email?
S: Oh yeah, I will do that.

I waited two days after that meeting, and still had nothing. I sent emails to all the relevant managers, and Mr. Sandwich replied the next day that he’d sent it all, but he’d send it again. Still nothing, so I called Mr. Sandwich. This time, I had a manager from my team in the room, working on something related, so I put it on speaker.

TF: Look, I’m sure you sent an email, but I didn’t get it.
Mr. Sandwich: I will send it again, right now.
TF: Are you sending an email with that file attached? It won’t work. You have to put the lines in the body of the email.
S: I put the lines in and sent it again.
TF: I’m refreshing, but there’s nothing here. You’re sure you put it JUST in the body of the email? Nothing attached?
S: Nope, nothing attached. But what’s the body?
TF: The main part. Where you type the message.
$Manager: (eyes about to pop out of head, mouthing “Is he for real?”)
S: Okay. I typed there, but there’s not enough room.
TF: Are you typing in the subject line?
S: How do you tell?
TF: Does it say “subject” at the beginning of the space?
S: Oh. (pause) Okay, I sent it again.
$Manager: (slams mute on phone) Is he always like this?
TF: (dead-eyed) Always.
$Manager: HE’S the tech they gave us?
TF: (nods, un-mutes) I’m still not seeing the email.
$Manager: Are you typing in the body of the email?
S: I’m not sure.
$Manager: The body. The main part, where the words are?
TF: (biting back a scream) Look, I’ll send you a new email. You hit Reply on that, and where I have “MESSAGE” written, you add the info. Okay?
S: Okay. (a few minutes later) Sent it.
TF: (more minutes) Still no email.
S: (long pause) Your email is very bad, if you can’t send files.
TF: No, it’s pretty typical to block executable files. You should know that. Nearly every company I’ve ever worked for does that. I don’t know why messages with just lines of text aren’t working, though.
S: It must be your email. How do you work if you can’t send a spreadsheet or nothing?
$Manager: (wide-eyed stares between me and the phone)

After another exchange, it is determined that Mr. Sandwich cannot figure out how to send us files on a disk. His office doesn’t do that, they just use DropBox all the time. I am not going to fight that battle with IS over some text. At this point I am not at all surprised that Mr. Sandwich isn’t allowed to burn a disk or take it to a post box; he’d hurt himself in the attempt.

$Manager: (mutes again) We really need this to go ahead, isn’t there something you can do?
TF: There is one thing, but I really don’t want to give him my information.
$Manager: Pleeeease?
TF: (sighs, un-mutes): I am going to give you a personal email. Just put the lines in that message, in the BODY, and nothing else. Got it?
S: Got it! What’s the address?
TF: Hold on. You’re going to use this email address ONCE, and then you’re going to delete it. You’re not going to give it to anyone else, and you’re not going to use it again. Got it?
S: Yeah, okay.
TF: I am sending you a message from that email now.
S: Got it, sending you the email.
TF: (through gritted teeth) I just got a message from you, so I think we’re set.
S: Great, I will tell my boss. Did you –
TF: Right, so delete that email address.
S: Sure. But did you –
TF: Okay, thanks, bye. (click)

I hung up quickly, because the message DID have the lines I needed in the body of the message. It also had all the attachments, even though he’d copied all of the email thread into this new message. Mr. Sandwich had been adding the attachments to every. Single. Email.

The coda to the tale is that yes, of course he continued to send ALL emails to this private address. I wasn’t checking it, so I missed several updates. I would remind him over and over to stop doing that, he’d say he would, and then he’d do it again. I even explained how to clear it in $Vendor’s version of Outlook.

That kept happening for a year after this exchange, until he added that email to a big, non-blind-copy email thread. When I didn’t get it, $manager forwarded it to me. In the next high-level meeting Mr. Sandwich complained that I wasn’t answering his questions, and I turned to his boss and explained the many ways Mr. Sandwich didn’t understand email. Then and only then did he resume using my work email.

We are still using this software, and I have become the resident expert on it. I will probably wear this albatross until the end of my days at $company.TF.

TL, DR: Knuckle-dragging chucklefsck makes life a Sisyphean struggle for months, and probably still believes he’s the smartest guy in the room.


#56

Holy crap! How did Mr. Sandwich manage to keep his job for so long?


#57

I’m taking the rest of the day off and having a lie-down. If only I could drink. Somebody somewhere have a drink for me. Have a bunch. I’ll put this out of my mind until the end of the month, then have a nice bowl of scotch.


#58

I’m fairly certain he’s still at $Vendor. That is as galling and horrifying as the rest of the tale.


#59

I’d take that drink, but sadly it does no good. This tale is one of the many times in my life that I wish alcohol did anything for me. I have never been drunk, despite many friends trying with entire bottles of vodka, rum, etc. Eventually I get an upset stomach and acid burps, so I tend to avoid large quantities. I would love to be able to drown Mr. Sandwich out of my brain. I’ve read about it, and some people just don’t respond to alcohol, I guess.


#60

I have the same problem with weed unless I do edibles.