For those of us who tend to lean toward conspiracy theories, the advanced technology present in today’s office machines provides much support. In my view, their modern electronics have somehow evolved into a cunning intelligence, focused entirely on making my corporate image that of a buffoon. Or, it could be that I just haven’t yet learned to use them properly. No matter which, the end result is that I appear to be, let us charitably say, less than competent at times.
A typical day might go something like this:
Arrive at work and stop off at the cafeteria for a cup of coffee and a sweet roll to take to my desk. Put the roll in the microwave to heat up but can’t figure out the right button to use, so I just push one. Roll comes out hot as a volcano, burning my fingers and causing me to drop it sticky side down, right onto the shoe of the Vice-President of Human Resources, who happens to be standing behind me.
Try to answer a voicemail message waiting for me on our newly installed phone system. Can’t figure out how to access my messages, don’t have the patience to read the manual, and end up erasing all messages while experimenting trying to find the right command. Get asked by my boss later why I don’t consider his call important enough to return.
Scheduled to give a presentation to an important prospective client. At critical point, prepare the audience by saying, “And now I’d like to show you a video that will introduce you to some of the key people in our organization.” I start my portable Bluray player, which I had carefully cued to the exact right place at home the night before, and we all watch as… a Sponge Bob Square Pants cartoon appears. Seems the kids had used the unit last night to watch their cartoons and, naturally, didn’t think to replace their disc with mine. Client doesn’t seem to believe me when I say it was the wrong disc.
Boss calls me into his office and asks if I’ll help him with his computer. A program was hung up and prevented the computer from being used for anything else. I knew that rebooting would release the hung program, so that’s what I did. Unfortunately, the program that was hung up was Excel and the boss had been working several hours on a complex spreadsheet that he hadn’t saved yet. This means that rebooting caused the spreadsheet to be deleted. Irretrievably. Much like how my career can now be described.
After the spreadsheet, go to make a photocopy of my resume, wisely calculating that I will probably soon need it. While looking around guiltily to make certain no one sees me, hurriedly feed the paper in and realize as soon as I push the start key that someone had left the machine in “electronic fax” mode instead of copy mode – the one that defaults to the company headquarters.
Rush back to my office to call company headquarters and ask one of the secretaries to call up and delete my electronically faxed resume. Get hung up again with new phone system and waste several precious minutes trying unsuccessfully to find someone who can help me, during which time my resume is undoubtedly lying around at headquarters, awaiting discovery by someone high enough to end my career with a single gesture.
Frantic now, I turn to my computer to send an email to a friend in headquarters, asking him to find someone who can intercept what I’m now referring to as my CEM (Career Ending Move) electronic fax. Can’t remember my computer password and type it incorrectly three consecutive times, which automatically locks up my computer and records a security violation, for which I’ll receive a call tomorrow from Human Resources, assuming I still have a job.
Give up on office phone system and run to garage to use my cell phone, which I stupidly left in my car. Finally reach a friend in headquarters, who assures me he’ll find my faxed resume on the network and destroy it. The first thing today that’s went right. Am so relieved that I fail to notice that my building security card has fallen out of my pocket onto the front seat of my car. Get to building and can’t get in until someone inside who recognizes me comes by and opens the door. Unfortunately, that person was the Vice President of Human Resources – the same one I encountered in my morning microwave incident.
Back at desk. Probably should think about getting some work done but can’t face prospect of trying to return calls on new phone system and can’t read Email messages due to previous security violation. Basically, can’t work at all and decide to go home, where the process will start all over again as I try to tackle the television and DVR controls. If I’m lucky, the kids will be home to show me how.
But there is one bright spot to the advanced technology in today’s machines: I don’t feel so stupid yelling at them because I know they are now smart enough to hear me.