Next stop on a troubleshooting tour: an occasional printer issue with the Oncology backup printer. Even after one of the nurses replaced the toner cartridges, it still would not print. “Hi, I’m Sammohini from IT, here to look at the printer!” She flashed her employee badge and smiled. “Sure… it’s back over here. Follow me.” Sammohini tried to make polite small-talk with the nurse, but it looked like she was too tired to really care.
How would you handle your career’s perfect storm scenario? The technical support scenario goes like this: you have a non-urgent scheduled event, someone calls just before you leave about an urgent issue, oh and an executive has a question about something trivial. How would you handle that scenario? “Assuming I can’t ask for help from anyone, right?” “Right.[1,2]” There’s plenty to unpack to make sure you got everything, but, did you deduce the red flags?
“Thanks for meeting with us today, Jane.”
She shifted subtly to get comfortable. Her dress suit was overkill because the hiring manager and assistant were dressed casually- no, sloppy. There was something odd about the industrial-strength conference room meant for fifty people. Maybe it was the polished concrete floors, reclaimed wood table, and ductwork? Maybe it was overly stylish?
“So, tell us about yourself.”
“I’m a professional with two years of experience in-”
The doctor returned from his lunch break, a carefully regimented respite to relax his brain by exploring the nuances of the campus with a sandwich and coffee, to find his microscope wasn’t working. The door was locked. Nothing seemed disturbed. He tried a few things before calling in for help. “IT, this is Sam.” “Hi Sam, Dr. Florigen. My microscope isn’t working.” “Can we run some tests over the phone or should I run over?”
“I.T., this is Sam.”
“Sam, Tia. Got a weird one, but first, how’s your baby? Healthy?”
“She’s stoked to be over at my parents this week, thanks-”
“Sure. Occasionally seeing this since yesterday. Rebooted. Sent you photo. Says battery life: 6800 hours.”
“Huh. Well, does it hold a charge?”
“Yes, going bad?”
“Probably… I’ll email you the battery model. Expense it, send me the weird one, and let me know if it persists.”
“Sure, appreciated. Bye!”
“Let’s make a list of everything that’s been happening. We’ll iron the issues out one-by-one.” “Let me just tell you the truth. This thing is a piece of…” That’s my cue that the issue is not technical. We aren’t troubleshooting a technical issue, per se, instead I’ve stepped into the role of therapist helping ease the technojunkie’s technological anxiety. Without getting into specifics, here are five strategies I’ve used to talk people off their cliffs.
In last week’s brainstorming update to “The Story,” I covered how main characters Trishna and John (left) would clash. Even the most connected people clash, after all, especially when both are fiercely independent. It’s about balance: if one is more comfortable jumping into the fray than thoroughly researching, let them perform their strengths to build a more cohesive team. Let’s see how they solve problems, and how teams solve problems, in this Applied Psychology crossover:
Spoiler Warning Scale: None! (just brainstorming)
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