Tales from The Trenches Archive

Submit your own Tale from The Trenches

Um, Because That’s My Job?

Back when the Mac SE was a kick’n machine, I had a job in tech support. I loved that job. I got paid to talk on the phone, pretend I was smart, and play with hardware and software. And I got paid well, too.

Score.

One of the titles I supported was a flight simulator for the Macintosh, just one of several Mac titles. Most of the titles weren’t games, but this sim was popular.

Often times we would get a pilot on the phone with some elaborate problem. Rather than keep them on hold while I flew around (usually badly), I would take their number and call them back when I figured it out.

So there I am one day flying the Lear Jet all over the place looking for a navigation bug or something like that. I feel someone behind me watching, but I didn’t turn around. I didn’t want to have to start over. Flying the jet in full manual mode took a bit of concentration. I did this for about a half an hour. Eventually the person leaves.

The next day I get called into the director of support’s office. She is sitting there with some other woman I don’t know.

This can’t be good.

The woman I don’t know was some big-wig from finance or something like that, who came over to see what tech support was spending all their money on. She proceeds to lay out her claim: I was playing games at work on company time, not answering the phones.

The director then lets into me how this was really unprofessional and starts talking about trust between the employee and employer.  And that’s when it hit me. These two women were going to fire me.

Why, the director asked, were you playing games on the company time?

Um, because that’s my job?

What?

It’s my job. I support that game. It’s our game.

Silence.

Could you have, um, taken phone calls while doing that?

No. I’m following company policy in in reporting all game bugs, and I was trying to figure out that problem during my scheduled down time.

Silence.

At this point the finance woman turns red. And both of them are sitting there looking, well, stupid.

Uh, I need to get back to the phone queue. It’s just me and Janis on right now. Was there something else you wanted to talk about?

No. Thank you.

When I got back to my desk, Janis was glaring at me for leaving her alone in the queue. During a lull I tell her the story and she cackles. She thinks it’s funnier than hell.

This proves a point about women, Janis says. You need to marry a geek girl. Stay away from those finance bossy types.

Wise words, Janis. Wise words.