I’m here with you, Sue.

Here’s a story based on, uh oh, real life! Actually, it’s 100% true. This really happened. Glad I don’t work on a help desk anymore….


Not too long ago, I worked on a help desk for a large corporation. I worked the early morning shift and had a lot of calls where workstations wouldn’t start up, people couldn’t log in, etc. One day I got a call from “Sue.”

“Hello,” Sue says. “My screen is just black.”

“Is the light on the monitor on?” I ask, thinking it is probably turned off.

“The what?”

“The light on the monitor?”

“The what on the what?”

“The monitor. There should be a light on the bottom right if the monitor is powered on.”

“The monitor?”

“It’s…the screen, there should be a light.”

“No,” Sue says before I can finish. “I told you, the screen is black. Oh, wait, you mean that little light that’s on the computer on my desk?”

Workstations are placed under the desk. I try as best as I can to take a deep breath without it being heard over the phone. “Yes…”

“Yes, it’s a little orange light.”

“Okay, so the monitor is powered on.” Before she can argue about what a monitor is, I rush forward, starting at level: four years old, “Have you tried tapping the keys on the keyboard or clicking the mouse?”

“Of course I have, and the screen won’t come on. That’s why I know my computer is broke. I need someone to come here and fix it.”

Ignoring the fact that the screen is indeed powered on, I say, “Ma’am, will you please check the workstation under the desk? If there isn’t a light next to the power button, try pressing the power button.”

“I don’t have time for this. Just send someone out there. I need someone to come fix my computer.”

“It could take a couple hours for someone to get there, but I’m with you right now. Please just press the power button on the workstation. It may work.”

I hear Sue mutter curses under her breath and about how she wants a hardware tech to come out and how she shouldn’t have to do this. A minute later, I hear Windows starting in the background.

“Ma’am?” I say. “Is it coming on now?”

“Yes, unintelligible.”

“Have a good–”


And that was how I helped Sue find the power button. Bonus points: boss was randomly auditing my call and bought me a cup of coffee.

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