I feel dull, devoid of anything interesting to write or to say – just dull to the bone. Had a boring couple of days really, just passing the time until I can sleep – I am dull and sleepy. The damned pills I am taking for my insomnia seem to be working – no longer am I lying awake for hours when I should be sleeping. This new-found ability to sleep has come with a price however; all I want to do is sleep.
My eyeballs ache. Whilst not a new sensation it is usually not present unless I haven't slept for days; or at least not to this extent. It feels as if, at any moment, a stream of blood and entrails will erupt from beneath my eyelids, spraying all those who happen to have been standing too close. I am starting to wonder which was worse – the insomnia or the somnolence.
There seems to be little I can say, so I shall recount what has happened over the past few days at work – just because I feel as if I have to do something lest I give in to the drowsiness.
I was hired as a telephone-monkey. I am but young and with little experience, and all I need is a job to pass the time between now and university at the beginning of next year. So a little marketing company in Singapore's Central Business District (CBD) hired me to do some follow-up calls on one of the events that they are managing – some random art competition that is being held by Epson. It started off well; I made the phone calls, found out whether the person would in fact be participating, and if not, why they chose not to.
Things rapidly started going downhill they discovered that I actually know my way around computers. Suffice it to say, I am no longer on their payroll as a temp – apparently my ability warrants being put in on a permanent basis as a 'IT Consultant.' It seems that in Singapore, no matter how menial the task may be, they will always come up with some elaborate title which makes you seem to be of far more import than you actually are.
So how did they discover that I would be of use to them in that capacity? Having made a few dozen phone calls my throat was rather dry, and as I wandered over towards water fountain I happened across a group of Senior Marketing Consultants who were going from one computer to another trying to find one that would play a certain video they had on CD – the videographer hadn't given them any information about the method of encoding. So I gave them a hand with it; called the videographer, found out what codecs were used, and eventually managed to get the video to play.
Then things started to get a little bit more difficult. A sizable part of the video consisted of a software demonstration, captured from the screen and then shrunk to a far smaller resolution – the text was fuzzy and, in parts, unreadable. They wanted to know why. Imagine me trying to explain to a large group of marketing consultants, who are completely ignorant of all computer-related things aside from the Microsoft Office suite, things such as resolution as it relates to computers – in specific, trying to explain such matters as display resolution and why the screen captures had to be shrunk before they could be made into a video, and why this resulted in unreadable text.
One of the consultants needed me to fill her in in as much detail as possible, simply because she had to take the video over to the client later that afternoon, and the client would also demand to know why it was unreadable. This consultant, lets call her Claire, knew next to nothing about computers, using them only to type documents – but I tried very hard to explain it to her, she even took notes, and then off she went to the client later that afternoon.
I had nearly forgotten about it, until I received a call from Claire later that afternoon – the client wasn't happy, and wasn't accepting the explanation that had been given. Apparently the client thought that the videographer was just stupid, and didn't know what he was doing – after all, whenever you see a screen capture on television taken from a computer everything is so much clearer. So I tried to explain to Claire that the font size used was so much larger in what you see on television, and she went off to explain that to the client.
Ten minutes later, I get another call – this time it is not only Claire, but the regional director of the client's company (a rather largish multi-national database solutions company) as well as the project head of the team who created the software, all on conference call wanting to speak to me.
I wasn't hired for this!
So suddenly all these big important people wanted me to explain to them what I had explained to Claire – and not a single one of them was as nice about it as Claire was. Somehow I landed myself with the personal responsibility of making sure that the video looked clear and sharp in the final edit. I spent quite a long time immediately after the call had finished wiping sweat from my forehead and cursing myself – we all know that we shouldn't admit to knowing such things!
To make things worse, the computers in the company's office are completely overloaded with all kinds of nasty viruses, spyware, and a variety of other things which make them slow and hang unexpectedly – and I am now responsible for fixing them all. I was offered the job before I realized how much work their was to be done, and I am just now starting to regret it. I have started to keep score in my head on who has the most amount of garbage on their computer – the winner had 3 mass-mailer viruses, 843 critical pieces of spyware (as described by AdAware), and approximately 8 programs which would hang or crash randomly.
So that is the tale of my incredible transformation from Telephone-monkey to technical support hotline. I suddenly have newfound respect for those who have been doing this kind of thing for a living. Also, all the tales of stupid computer users have new meaning for me – I no longer feel that they are funny.
Lets face it, most people who work with computers are pretty clueless about how they work. They learn as much as they have to, and that usually encompasses email, internet browsing, and word processing – little more. We laugh at the tales of stupid people who don't know how these things work, but all they are doing is learning as much as they have to. The people who I now have to deal with on a daily basis are not stupid people, they have all been to university and had at least 6 years industry experience, its just that they never felt it necessary to learn any more about computers than they had to.
As much as I feel like grinding some of them into little crimson patches on the office floor, I keep on telling myself that – and hope that I will be able to believe it. Everyday now I am confronted by people who tell me that their computer hangs, but don't think to remember any details about what they were doing at the time – it is annoying certainly, and it doesn't help me when I need to fix it, but getting angry over the fact that they didn't realize that these things could be caused by any number of things doesn't help matters.
So that is my account of the past few days. If you have read this far then I have much respect for your patience – I am also harboring suspicions that you might be a masochist. Sorry if it is dull, but at least I had to stay awake for a bit longer in order to type it – hopefully I will have this whole sleeping properly thing licked in a week or two and I can start thinking about things that are worthwhile noding.