Saving Face and Customer Service

Not too long ago, there was a posting in Sharky’s Column, a column of the dumb things that can happen in IT, about an IT person’s experience with a very cheerful and helpful strong man.

I don’t want spoil the story too much, but the response by the IT person helped the “gentle giant” save face and he didn’t even know it. This story is a good example of how we can offer excellent service to our customers while keeping them out of trouble at the same time.

When we can keep our customer happy we should – even if it means that the “cable was faulty”…

Stress Relief: Laugh Out Loud Humour

After a stressful day, if you don’t release that stress it will eat you alive – and there’s more truth than analogy in that statement.

The best humour is doesn’t make you smile – or chuckle – but rather laugh out loud funny. The ideal is humour that makes you laugh uncontrollably. Humour can be serious business, especially as a stress relief.

Humour is, indeed, a very personal thing: what makes some people laugh others will find offensive. After a recent particularly stressful and late night, I found myself wandering through YouTube for my favorite comics. Unfortunately, famous or not, some will be found more often than others.

My favorite comics are these:

  • Bob Newhart
  • George Carlin
  • Bill Cosby
  • Sam Kinison
  • Robin Williams

Personally, I think George Carlin is a comic genius. One thing that I note of virtually every comic listed there: they can take the most mundane things and find the hilarity (I remember George talking about getting milk from the refridgerator!).

Teasers from George Carlin:

  • About “non-stop flights”: “I insist that my flights stop – preferably at an airport!
  • “Of course [the program] was “prerecorded”! When else you going to record it – afterwards?

Stress relief for System Administrators

Who, me, stress?  Nah….. sysadmins never have any stress, right?

Well, just in case you do – my feelings are that laughter is the best medicine – and I mean laugh out loud funny.  So what do you do?

There are a lot of ways to tickle the funny bone, and they’re personal as well.  Here are several that I use:

  • Subscribe to RSS feeds like Sharky’s Column and The Daily WTF.
  • Favorite comics (for me, that means: Liberty Meadows, Calvin and Hobbes, and Get Fuzzy)
  • Personal copies of laugh out loud funny comics
  • Funny movies

If you can indulge in some of these away from the office, it is much better.  Fresh air is good, too – as is doing something totally unrelated to work (even if it is other work).

Burn-out is a real danger to system administrators; so get away from the tension and away from the office!