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28 October 2011 @ 05:12 pm
When to Dial 9  
We've recently tripled the size of my office. As happens when you mass-hire, and when you hire salespeople in general, some are more familiar with basic work skills than others. This true story occurred today! It's long, but illustrated. Ladies and gentlemen, this is my real actual life:

Three of my new hires who started over the last month have complained about problems using the office phones, all due to user error. One of them argued with me about it, though:

Rookie Rep*: "My phone's not working... I can't dial out."
Little Red: "Dial 9 to get an outside line."
Rookie: "Since when do we need to dial 9!?"
LR: "Since always."
Rookie: "But we didn't used to have to last week!"
LR: "... well, you do now."
Rookie: "I'm telling you we didn't used to-"
LR: "DIAL 9!"
Rookie: "We also used to be able to dial 1 before local numbers and it was okay."
LR: "I'm sorry. Change must be very hard for you. This is just how telephones work."
Rookie: "I know what you're going to say... put in a helpticket..."
LR: "... In the summary field, choose 'reality,' sub category 'obvious.'"

*For those of you keeping track at home, this is the same rep who wrote and choreographed his own musical theater piece about being a salesperson, and then performed it in his interview.

Then I sent out an email, and received some responses. I've arranged them so you can read them in order:

Subject: When to Dial 9
From: [Little Red]
To: [entire office]

There has been some confusion on this important issue due to some desk-phone-registration issues too mysterious to go into here. Should you be having problems with your desk phone or the office fax machine, please read and carefully follow the instructions below.

When using a desk phone… dial 9 before the number. Dial 9-1-area code-number if long distance, if it’s local just dial 9-503 (or 971)-number.

When using the fax machine… do not dial 9. Dial 1-area code-number if long distance, just 503/971-number if local.

Graphically speaking, this can be rendered as follows:

[Little Red]


Subject: RE: When to Dial 9
From: [veteran rep]**
To: [Little Red]

I mean

**again, for those keeping track at home, this is the one who I yell at all the time for calling me "sweetie" and "babycakes" and "go get me a sandwich" and whatnot - which isn't relevant to this story.


From: [Little Red]
To: [veteran rep]

That's pretty much exactly what I said.


From: [veteran rep]
To: [Little Red]

How does one sit in the office chairs?


Subject: RE: When to Dial 9
From: [Little Red]
To: [veteran rep]
cc: [admin friend] [IT guy]

You're welcome.

[Little Red]


My reps prank each other constantly, every single call day, by soaking every chair in the office with water. Somehow they all still find this hilarious.

Anyway, then IT Guy pings me on the company IM to let me know that he has received 7 helptickets from Rookie Rep in the last 24 hours. Fortunately, none of them are related to not being able to dial 9. However, they resulted in this exchange:

Subject: Helpticket
From: [IT guy]
To: [Rookie]

I need your IP address to remote in and help you.

Click Start, then Run, and type CMD and click OK.

In the black box that appears, type IPCONFIG, press enter, and reply back with your IP address.


Subject: Helpticket
From: [Rookie]
To: [IT guy]

How do I find the ip address?


Subject: Helpticket
From: [IT guy]
To: [Rookie]

Mostly by reading the last email I sent you.


Anyway, then my admin friend pings me to ask who the heck the rep is who doesn't understand phones and might potentially have future problems with chairs. She knows Rookie Rep because he did his new-hire sales training in her office. I looped IT Guy in on the conversation too:

Little Red: It's [Rookie Rep]!! But a rep from the Phoenix training and one from the Philly training also couldn't cope with the dial-9 thing, so it doesn't seem to be a Minneapolis-training-related problem
my admin friend: Maybe you should request that [Trainer] somehow work that into training...
Little Red: No, I'm pretty sure we need to cover that before we hire people, to make sure they're able to cope with the extreme requirements of this position
Little Red: ahaha sorry!
IT guy: I forgot to mute!
IT guy: Add that to your directions

I have 7 more new hires starting in my office on Monday. SEVEN. I'm not sure how I'm going to survive.

And I'm not even going to get into the lady who freaked out (twice) over her laptop that "isn't working AT ALL!!!!" because it wasn't plugged in and her battery ran out, or that same lady when she threw out the antenna for her wireless card and said, direct quote, "How was I supposed to know it was part of the card? It didn't say the word 'antenna' anywhere on it!"
feel: grumpygrumpy
a universal sigh: DW - Nine - looking upnaushika on October 29th, 2011 12:20 am (UTC)
This is hilarious in that special painful way that only cold, hard reality can bring. *applauds*
Little Red: lightswitchmylittleredgirl on October 29th, 2011 11:21 pm (UTC)
Hahaha yes. My sister was like "Where did you find this?" and I'm like oh, no, this is all true. It's directly copied from my email. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
anranr on October 29th, 2011 12:38 am (UTC)
Samin_parentheses on October 29th, 2011 01:13 am (UTC)
OH MY GOD. How are they not all dead? How do they figure out how to operate their motor vehicles to get to work? Or how to operate their oven to reheat their fish sticks? Or... oh god how do these people have jobs???

Your chair graphic is utter genius.
Little Red: b5 - ivanova oven - crazybeemylittleredgirl on October 29th, 2011 11:17 pm (UTC)
I imagine it goes something like this:

Rep: "I want fish sticks!"
*puts fish stick box in oven*

2 hours later...

Rep, to Fishstick Tech Support: "FISHSTICKS STILL NOT WORKING PLZ HELP."
Fishstick Tech Support: "I'm going to need more information. What's going on?"
Tech Support: "Please describe what you were trying to do when you experienced the problem."
Rep: "Fish sticks have been in the oven for 2 HOURS and are still cold."
Tech Support: "What temperature is the oven set to?"
Rep: "Can you fix it?"
Tech Support: "There is a dial on the front of the oven with numbers on it. Please tell me what you have set the dial to."
Rep: "It's not on."
Tech Support: "... there's your problem. Turn the oven to 400. Make sure the fish sticks are not still in the box. I'm closing this ticket now."

1 hour later, the rep will still have no fish sticks because the fishstick box lit on fire in the oven. Later, the rep will blame tech support for not telling them to remove the fish sticks from the box, because sending more than one piece of instruction in the same email is equivalent to sending no instructions at all.

It's okay though, I'm pretty sure they just eat out.

Samin_parentheses on October 30th, 2011 07:00 pm (UTC)
Ha! And in particular, "sending more than one piece of instruction in the same email is equivalent to sending no instructions at all." Oh god so true. Sometimes our jobs are not so different, sadly...
A.j.: amusedaj on October 29th, 2011 01:15 am (UTC)
Can I have a job? I promise I can work fax machines, phones, and won't throw away equipment!
(Deleted comment)
Little Red: peanuts - cure stupiditymylittleredgirl on October 29th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
The moral of the story here is "we all should have gone into sales."
Little Red: trek - ani headdesk - rightoniconsmylittleredgirl on October 29th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
I would LOVE to hire you!! Sadly, you would have to have sales experience. I think you could probably claim to have sold people on the joy of using their local library, though. Do you own fancy suits?
A.j.: curiousaj on October 31st, 2011 03:33 pm (UTC)
I have customer service experience? And I'm apparently Sweet Tomatoes' biggest fan and haul people into it all the damn time. And got several people using [Redacted Company You Work For] before their customer service people were unhelpful in the extreme! Does that qualify?
entertaining in a disturbing way: Liz and Teyla aren't surprised by your slyssie on October 29th, 2011 01:30 am (UTC)
I'm with A.j. I have vast mountains of experience, compared to these dweebs.

(also, your post made me laugh, like, a ridiculous amount)
Little Red: lightswitchmylittleredgirl on October 29th, 2011 11:26 pm (UTC)
Apparently life skills are considered unimportant for sales jobs. It's unreal. I really want to put in a basic skills assessment test into our hiring process where people need to look something up on google, demonstrate their facility with copy and paste, verify that cables are plugged in, and maybe download an image.

internet memes - Everyone's parents on a computer
see more Memebase and check out our Troll Face lols!
Human Collaborator Flunkie Pool!fic Muse: Dark bluejoyfulfeather on October 29th, 2011 01:30 am (UTC)
I have no idea how you deal with these people! The sad thing is, I have coworkers who have issues with simple things like this, too. They're freaking engineers and they can't understand how to follow instructions to watch a simple video training. I'm amazed the admins haven't shot them all.
Little Red: trek - ani plzstop - rightoniconsmylittleredgirl on October 29th, 2011 11:27 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad they're not responsible for designing anything that goes on a space-going vessel that could theoretically fall back to earth and explode on someone.
miera_c: angry mobmiera_c on October 29th, 2011 02:04 am (UTC)
This is what my students (50% of whom today could not name the amendment that protects freedom of the press) will grow up to be.

On behalf of the educational system, I apologize.
Little Red: peanuts - cure stupiditymylittleredgirl on October 29th, 2011 11:29 pm (UTC)
Maybe start with something they care about, like the amendment that made Thirsty Thursdays a national holiday?

That's an amendment, right?
miera_cmiera_c on October 30th, 2011 02:43 am (UTC)
We have chicken patty Wednesdays. That might get through to them.
Your *Mom*'s A Cylon!: Celestial Navigation (teungawaka2003)astrum_presul on October 29th, 2011 02:12 am (UTC)
You have given me a great chuckle tonight. Thank you. <3
Little Red: lightswitchmylittleredgirl on October 29th, 2011 11:30 pm (UTC)
<3 Anything for you!
elly: SG1 [ Sam is more awesome than youelly427 on October 29th, 2011 02:37 am (UTC)
SNORT. And in this economy, man. There are competent people who can, you know, figure out phones out there who are unemployed.

(God help this rep when you switch to 10-digit dialing, if you have not already.)
Little Red: lightswitchmylittleredgirl on October 29th, 2011 11:31 pm (UTC)
We have. That's part of the problem, because some things in our area code are long distance and some things aren't. So every time they get a "It is not necessary to dial a 1 before calling this number..." message, they're like "LITTLE RED! THE PHONES ARE BROKEN AGAIN!" and I'm like "Are you calling Salem?" and then there's a big silence until the next time something obvious goes catastrophically wrong. ;)
(Deleted comment)
Little Red: peanuts - cure stupiditymylittleredgirl on October 29th, 2011 11:32 pm (UTC)
My father thinks I should do my nano novel in this format, with emails and chats and pictures. He just really, really wants my novel to have pictures, I think.
(Deleted comment)
Little Red: trek - family b&a - jen717mylittleredgirl on October 30th, 2011 02:44 am (UTC)
He's a highly likeable dude.
Ridiculously Fanaticnel_ani on October 29th, 2011 04:20 am (UTC)
For those of you keeping track at home, this is the same rep who wrote and choreographed his own musical theater piece about being a salesperson, and then performed it in his interview.

...you're kidding, right?

Thank you for making my own work day seem less dire. XD
Little Red: potentialmylittleredgirl on October 29th, 2011 11:35 pm (UTC)
No, no, I'm not kidding. Not even a little. Later, when we asked him to role-play a sale and told him he could pick anything to sell us, he built a tower of office furniture to represent the entertainment system he was pitching.

We basically hired him just to see what would happen.
rogue equestrian: Castle: Castleelvinborn on October 31st, 2011 02:17 am (UTC)
I love your graphics. they are obviously very necessary for the more visual learners in your bunch. And they are awesome :)