Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"Hello, Help Desk?"

I staff a Help Desk for a living. There. I said it.

Now some advice...

When and if you ever call a Help Desk, please treat him/her as an autonomous human being who is capable of emotional response. The person on the other end of the phone does, in fact, care about you and wants to help, but they can't do it if you are being a troglodyte. Most importantly, the Help Desk has a name. DO NOT call and say, "Hello, Help Desk?" No, absolutely not, you insensitive ninny. Try, "Hello, this is [state your name], how are you?" If you are feeling a little crazy, try repeating their name at some point in the conversation. Here is an example:

Caller: Hi, my name is Jody, and I have a problem.
Helper: Hi, Jody, this is Mitch, how can I help?
Jody [formerly Caller]: Hi, Mitch! How are you?
Mitch [formerly Helper]: I am great; and yourself?
Jody: You know, not too bad. Thanks for asking!
Mitch: My pleasure. What seems to be the problem?
Jody: I am having trouble accessing the internet. I've never had this problem before.
Mitch: I think I can help, Jody....

You see, [insert your name here], a name is the most powerful gift you can ever bestow upon another human. There is no replacement for the honor associated with one's title - the only constant representation of one's existence. Don't believe me? Ask John Proctor. In Arthur Miller's The Crucible, the main character, John Proctor, emphatically states at the play's climax, "How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” This reference may seem irrelevant, but take some time to think about it. Something might click.

In short, always respect someone who appears to be in an inherently subordinated position. More than likely, it is only the person who has the upperhand that can truly suffer in a hierarchical relationship.


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