Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Thoughts for 2017 - And The Last Straw….

It’s a new year - once again. And - once again - I am going to try and update this blog at least once a week. And I’ll start with this…..

Since March of 1981 - aside from an 8-year break working for Gateway Computers - I have been working in the service industry as a copier / printer technician. It has provided a living, has kept us in a house, a car, and with food to eat. Over the last 10 - 15 years, it has been fairly decent, pay-wise. With a few other positive things happening, I've been able to get our finances in a fairly comfortable position.

I’ve worked on everything from small desktop machines to giant high-volume Kodak printers used in the check printing industry. Presently I am working at a major children’s hospital in Kansas City where my company is a vendor of multi-function office equipment. My company has contracted with the hospital to service all the HP printers in the system. This covers somewhere between 1400 - 2000 printers. No one seems to know the actual count for sure.

I have been doing the same job as 5 to 9 of the hospital’s I.T. people were doing previously. As with any job of this nature, it has busy times and less busy times.  But there have always been periods where it would slow down, and I could get caught up, and catch my breath. Until now.

Since about mid October of 2016, the flood gates have not only been opened, but they’ve been ripped off their hinges. The calls have been coming in at 3 - 7 per hour. And it shows no signs of slowing down. When I left last Friday, I had 11 calls waiting. Monday I did 6 or 7 calls, but by the time I left, I had 14 calls waiting. Today, I did another 6. At present there are 15 waiting for me in the morning.

Most calls have a 48-hour response time, but there are two higher levels of priority. A ‘HIGH’ priority has an 8-hour window to have it resolved. Then there’s the ‘STAT’ call, which has to be resolved within a 2-hour window. For some reason, STATS come in either first thing in the morning, a half-hour before I leave, or most commonly, right at lunchtime. Virtually every day. And they’re usually because one of the cheap labels they use has peeled off and stuck somewhere inside the printer. And of course, every single user blames the printer and wants a new one.

I’ve been dealing with this, being polite, being professional, being as helpful and accommodating as possible. But today was the last straw.

After busting my ass all morning at one of the hospital’s satellite locations to get 3 printers all nice and pretty and working properly, I logged in to close the calls. There were 5 new calls - one of them a HIGH priority. As I had been instructed to do by my Field Manager, I emailed him to let him know how backed up things were, and to see if we could get some help.

An hour or so passed with no response, so when my teammate suggested lunch, I said ‘fine.’ As we were finishing our lunch, of course, a STAT call came in. At the same time, my teammate got an email from our manager, who had forwarded my earlier email to him, and asked if he could help. In an annoyed tone, my teammate asked “Did you really think this would help??” Truthfully, no, I didn’t. But it was what I was told to do. Seems my ability to do anything right for anyone at work has taken a permanent vacation. It’s time for me to follow suit.

At this point, I no longer really give a crap. I’m tired of busting my ass, and getting nothing but flak and crap from those around me. I’m tired of being treated like an idiot by customers and co-workers alike. Fuck it.

I’ve already got my Social Security started. I have a few medical issues that need taken care of while I still have something a little better than Medicare. Then sometime towards the end of 2017, I’m DONE! Without 8 hours of frustration and stupidity to manage, maybe I can find a way to make a buck doing something I actually enjoy. Wish me luck...