Staff walks out; NLRB does not intervene
It is astounding to me, even though I realize I’m in front of my laptop approximately fourteen hours a day, the extent to which my business is dependent on the good graces of the machine I am again typing on. Without it, there is very little I can accomplish in terms of my business. Oh, to be sure, I did finish up some gardening chores. And I walked to the farmers’ market on Sunday and got the first really tasty tomatoes I’ve had in a long time. But work? Not so much. Blogging? Not at all.
After many excruciating hours of telephone calls to Dell, Symantec, and Adobe, plus lengthy and complex correspondence with Microsoft, plus additional long hours of uninstalling software and reinstalling most of it, all my troubles were traced to, of all things, a hardware failure. We see them so rarely these days that the presumption is always user error, and so the troubleshooting guides always start with uninstalling and reinstalling software, putting the burden on us users. In fact, the test to check the hardware could have been done on my first call to Dell, would have taken less than five minutes (as it eventually took), and would have gotten my machine up and running four days earlier and in better condition than it is now. I am not happy about this (can you tell?).
The good news is that I do back up client files. No work was lost. The bad news is that the major corporations we depend on to get through the computing day do not put enough thought into the design of fault trees. The result is untold millions of dollars of cost imposed on their customers—a real drag on the economy—that could be prevented easily enough with a simple change in attitude on the part of customer service managers.
Given the opportunity, technical writers are glad to work with technical support analysts to design fault trees from the user’s point of view. Clearly, though, they are not given the opportunity. Instead, troubleshooting systems always give the highest priority to shortening the phone call, not to solving the customer’s problem.
It’s a shame.
And my laptop? It still has scars and will until I decide to take three days to reformat the hard drive, reinstall all my software, apply a gazillion updates to all that software, and reload all my files from backup. Chances are I’ll procrastinate about that until push comes to shove.