I don't talk much about my day job on this blog, primarily because we deal with a lot of proprietary information (housing industry, not medical industry, but similar principles) and I don't want to get into the habit of blabbing because it's easier to draw that boundary early than navigate fiddly ethical issues later. But the long and short of it is that I do technical support for home appraisers who are delivering reports on the value of homes. I regularly deal with people who have less technical expertise than I do...which is scary, quite frankly, because my knowledge of computers is woeful. I am not certified, I have no education on Microsoft and/or Apple products, and the only reason I'm able to do my job is that the software we use is proprietary and we had on-the-job training. When people's computer problems start getting away from our system and into the general, I have to basically tell them to find someone who knows what they're doing.
Except the other day, when I got someone calling to complain about how bad our servers were. "I've been trying to connect for the last half-hour now, and it gets all the way through to the end. Then it just freezes up for about fifteen minutes and finally tells me it's 'unable to connect to server'."
"Well, ma'am," I replied, "we're not receiving reports of any server issues on our end. The problem could be with your connection. Are you having any other issues accessing the Internet?"
"Look, I really don't have a whole lot of time to mess with this, okay? Can I just email you a PDF of the file? I've got a baseball game to get to, and it's already started. I've been sitting here in the parking lot for the last half-hour trying to get this stupid thing to send, and it just won't go."
"Um...ma'am, that could be your problem right there. These files are usually about five to ten megabytes of data. If you're trying to send it over a wireless connection--"
"It's the same connection I always have!"
"But what's your signal strength like?"
"I'm getting two bars of 3G."
Fortunately, once I explained to her that two bars of 3G wasn't really enough signal strength to send ten megs of data in a timely manner, she agreed to attend her baseball game and send the report when she got home. Nonetheless, I remain surprised at my job's ability to uncover people who make me look technically inclined. (Like the person I had to do a walkthrough for on "copy and paste"...but that's for another day.)