Best of all, I am no longer stuck with IE7 as my one and only browser here at work, as my new computer was returned to me with Firefox installed. Unasked for but very much appreciated! Of course I also still have IE7, which is all well and good because when I do web app development I need the ability to test and verify how things are working and how they look in the same browser that my colleagues are going to fire up to use said apps. But when I want to check my webmail or possibly sneak in some online banking or whatnot, it’s nice to be able to switch over to a browser that won’t trigger every “You seem to be running a laughably outmoded browser that will make this site appear like a low-end mid-90’s Intro to HTML assignment” alert on the web.
I didn’t pry for confirmation of the theory, but I got the distinct impression that my IT contact, who oversaw every step of progress getting me back up and running again, threw Firefox onto my machine as something of a peace offering to thank me for my patience during a week-plus of downtime. If I’m right, I think I end up coming out way ahead in the bargain. It was annoying to be computer-deprived for such a stretch, but remaining zen about it? Or, more to the point, remaining just zen enough to conduct myself politely about it? That’s more or less my default mode, anyway.
It’s not that I’m lobbying hard for my own enshrinement as a paragon of patience. I’ve just found that there is incredibly little to be gained by losing it all over someone in any context, regardless of whether or not it is their job to help you and whether or not they are doing so with all the expediency you desire. But that’s especially true in the Big Gray. I have no idea if any of my children will end up in the Big Gray (or something like it) but I tend to think there’s a good chance one or more of them will. And if there’s one lesson learned I can pass on to them without reservation, no matter what field of specialty they wind up in, it’s this: always, always, always be nice to the IT folks. And the HR folks, too, for that matter. When you don’t particularly need their help, smile when you see them, say hi, make smalltalk if the opportunity presents itself. When you do need their help, always convey that you believe they’re doing everything they can as fast as they can (even if you don’t particularly believe this) and that you appreciate it. In other words, just treat them like human beings. Because at some point you will reap the benefits of that, whether it’s because of some minor annoyance that they go out of their way to dispatch for you, or some major showstopper that they’re already predisposed to help you overcome. The people who keep your computer humming and your paychecks coming are people you want on your side, and when you have a problem it’s far better to be able to poke your head into their office and have them say “Hey, what’s up?” as opposed to “Who are you?”
And sometimes you get software that you suspect you’re technically not even supposed to have! It’s the little things that get us through, after all.