I work in the IT department for my company. Most often the challenge of my job comes in the form of troubleshooting hardware or software issues, server maintenance, system administration and erradicating viruses. Sometimes, however, I face much more difficult challenges. Often I am forced to confront questions that defy logic and require a strength of will to simply make it through the moment.
Yesterday I was working on converting a 10 year old database into a format that would work with the latest and greatest version of the software platform it was originally designed to run on. This wasn't the nearly as difficult as it might seem . . . it's all fairly automated.
The challenge came in the form of a man. A man standing in front my desk knocking on my partition waiting ever so impatiently for me to acknowledge his presence.
This man recently got a brand spankin' new computer . . . again the latest and greatest. He had no issues with the upgrade, nor had he any questions on the operation of the new computer. No . . . his problem had to do with the desktop wallpaper . . . he didn't like it. Not only did he not like the image on his desktop but he didn't like any of the other options available to him.
He wanted to know if it was okay to download prettier ones from the internet. My answer . . . no. You see, he wanted to go to a website offering "free" desktop wallpaper and themes. My experience? If it's free on the internet it's probably not "free". This is where a lot of the virus, spyware, malware and trojan infections come from . . . which is part of the daily challenge of the job.
I thought to myself, "How in the world could this be so important?" I mean, he interrupted real work to ask me a question about something so frivolous.
So I asked him, "How much time do you really spend looking at your computer desktop?"
His reply was incredible . . . not surprising, but incredible, "Quite a lot, actually."
Then he thought about what he said for a second and then said, "I guess that tells you how much work I actually do."
Wait . . . did he really just say that? Yes . . . yes he did.
It makes sense because I've often seen him just staring at his screen. I guess he really does spend a lot of time looking at his computer desktop wallpaper. And there I was thinking he was actually focused on his work. Silly me!
If you're wondering, the challenge in this particular situation was to keep myself from face palming, cracking up and/or telling him I had real work to do.