After we published reader IT job horror stories, we received more than a 1000 comments, and you kicked it up to a whole other level. From finding porn on church systems to working IT in actual warzones, you've been to computerised hell and back.
I've been at my IT job for 11 years, and have luckily managed to avoid anything more malicious than just the usual small annoyances (users who blame anyone but themselves, people who want it fixed RIGHT THIS SECOND!, those that think computers are witchcraft, etc). But I've certainly had lots of fun moments:
-The time a lady had me look at her home desktop computer, which would no longer power up. It reeked of cigarette smoke. As I was unscrewing the door on her case, I said that cigarette smoke can damage electronics. She insisted that she never smoked around it (because she had quit smoking, you see). The door came off and the entire inside of the case was coated (dripping, actually) in dark brown sludge, which is what happens when smoke and dust spend a lot of quality time together. She then admitted to maybe smoking "one or two" cigarettes around it.
-Was cleaning malware off of a (married) guy's computer, which had been preventing the computer from booting up. He wasn't around, but his young female (not wife) assistant was in the office with me, at her own desk about 10 feet away doing whatever work it was that assistants do. I finished removing a rootkit and Windows booted up. He had his icon settings set to display large thumbnails. When Windows loaded there was a large photo thumbnail, on the computer's desktop, of his naked young assistant (who, again, was not his wife and who was sitting in the same room with me), that had clearly been taken in the office. Without saying a word, I quickly drug it into the My Documents folder, told her I had fixed the problem, and swiftly left. A couple months later he fired that young woman, and his wife was hired on as his assistant. Probably a coincidence.
-I opened up a PC that had become so full of dried bug carcasses that they had begun falling out of the power supply's rear fan.
-I have completely mastered the delicate art of explaining to users that their computer problem was caused by porn, without ever actually saying that the problem was caused by porn or implying that the user has been accessing porn at work. They see the truth in my eyes, I see the recognition in theirs, and the civil contract is maintained.
I started working for a shady SEO guy (I know, I don't really need to say shady, it's implied already) as a sysadmin and general IT expert for walk-in clients. Sometime in my first week, I mentioned I was going to my home state to pick up the rest of my stuff and driving back with my ex-girlfriend.
"Oh, so you're gay?" one of my co-workers asked.
"Nah, I date people of any gender."
"You might want to pretend you're gay around the boss. Just sayin'."
"Then he'll leave you alone."
She was right. The moment I introduced my ex and didn't shy away from casual more-than-friends contact (we played it up on purpose), he stopped hitting on me. I was the only woman who worked there who didn't get unsolicited dickpics from him. Don't know why he sent them, because one of the women said his dick was nothing worth crowing about.
I later found out that he'd asked one of the WordPress admin girls to pose for the "tantric massage manual" he was writing. She was 16 at the time, and got the job after babysitting his kids as a pre-teen.
Also later found out he was on the sex offender registry for "oral copulation with a minor under 16," who was another babysitter for his kids. We found out when one of our clients suggested using Mugshots.com for some purpose or another, and we queried every employee's name for fun. It stopped being fun real quick.
tl;dr: that job is why I'm in therapy. Luckily, I found a help desk position with a future Fortune 500 company right before cashing out my chips and moving back to Montana in shame. I gave my replacement a very frank talk before I left, and I think he stayed all of 3 months before finding something better.
I worked in the IT department for the Sahara Hotel & Casino in the late 80's. At that time they had a System 36 and System 38 in the basement.
The casino was in disrepair and the drains from the buffet would leak into the computer room. Also there was no ventilation, so the whole place smelled like the rotting sewer under an old Burger King. The walls were coated in a thin layer of grease and filters on the cooling fans dripped this brown sludge.
Exponential Grapes wrote:
I had a few of the porn incidents.
Back in the day when 20 GB was a huge hard drive:
-We had a head sales guy with several GB of run-of-the-mill porn in his my documents\pictures
-We had an overnight call center where they share computers with other shifts. One guy was complaining one day about how slow his machine was. I found about 15 GB of S&M porn and renaissance fair pictures in his internet cache...from a guy that was fired over a year earlier.
-I was on a government contract and heard about this one guy who creeped everyone out. He was always really loudly clearing his throat. My lead went over to chat about his performance. He sat down in the cube and looked up. The guy had probably 132 separate firefox windows opened all of them looking at different sex toys. He was frantically closing them as my lead walked in. They put him on a performance improvement plan and he didn't show up again.
- We were running out of space on the Exchange server and they refused to buy new hard drives so we went around to everyone's computer and showed them how to empty out their deleted items and archive their mail before we instituted quotas. I went to this one horrible woman's cube who was the facilities manager. She wasn't in, but she has about a GB of mail in her deleted items. I started the clear out process and she wandered back over and completely freaked out. She was using the deleted items folder to store her important mail...because it's easy to just press delete to move it to the folder. It's like she didn't realise it was like throwing her birth certificate and social security card in the garbage for safe keeping.
- We brought on an intern to help us with a move once. He wouldn't shut up about all the different certifications he had that his school paid for. His only job was to print out labels for the cubes with a label maker. It was a $US400 label maker. 15 minutes on the job he fried it by plugging in the wrong AC adaptor.
- I had a horrible program manager call me screaming that I broke her 3.5" drive. I went down there and had her demonstrate the problem. She was trying to put it in upside down...and backwards.
- I had a lawyer say his computer was broken, every time he opened a document it just started scrolling. He was flipping out. I went over and moved the notebook off his enter key and left as he was telling me not to tell anyone.
- At the computer helpdesk in college I had a girl call and ask if she could get her birth control shots there.
- I had a professor call and ask if I happened to have the pinouts for ISA cards on hand.
- I had a girl who somehow set the resolution on her monitor incorrectly on a CRT so she couldn't see anything. I managed to help her get it corrected using only keystrokes. It took about half an hour over the phone.
One of my favourites:
- One of the VPs was a real arsehole at this one company. iPhones had just come out and we didn't support them yet, we only supported black-berries at the time. So he bought an iPhone for the president so that we'd have to configure it for both of them. But that wasn't the best part. One day he called us and said his computer smelled bad. We were like: ok...we wandered over and took a look. We took apart his computer, everything looked fine, nothing burnt out, no strange smells. I lean a little bit in one direction and smell something awful. It was coming from the subwoofer of the massive speaker system he bought for his tiny computer. The jackass set the subwoofer on it's side so the air hole was facing up. A mouse had crawled in there and couldn't get out and died over the weekend. He had us throw the whole speaker system away.
Garrett Davis wrote: (not for the squeamish amongst us)
I was working IT for a restaurant company (used to be a great company that went down hill due to the investment company that now owns them), and we were put in charge of a new POS system roll out. We were a small team of only 4 people including the VP of IT, so we went out personally to all ~130 locations to install the new systems as well as back office servers ourselves. The difference in how a manager runs their store becomes immediately apparent when travelling between all of these locations, and it was pretty easy to spot the ones who really didn't know what they were doing.
I was running some CAT5 through the hung grid ceiling between the office and the closet in the back where the router was installed (lazy arse cable installers...). I would have fixed this better, but I only had a limited amount of time to get everything up and running before they opened and I had to be at another store. I climb up on a stool and open up the very first ceiling tile and a sticky rat trap that was caught in some loose wiring fell down right in front of my face, nearly causing my to fall over backwards off the stool.
Contained in this pleasant surprise rat trap, was a half decomposed rat the size of a growing kitten. The rib cage was exposed and maggots and larvae are oozing and dripping out of the gaping chest cavity onto the floor and my shirt. I hop down and immediately grab the nearest trash can because I thought I was going to throw up violently -- but luckily I managed to hold it in.
Before the day was done I managed to find 4-5 more occupied traps and even got to meet some of their still living brethren, which was nice. Needless to say this manager ended up being fired just a few months later, and was already under review when I came to her store.
Nice gal, though.
New guy at eng. firm. Given recent quit/fire desk and equipment. Strange smells from computer - only when running.
Long story short...office prankster put a small round of fancy (stinky) cheese inside of comp case - 3 years ago...
We found the foil wrapper, under a 2 lb pile of dead and dried up roaches. Fucking cheesy roach orgy in my shit computer.
New machine is tits though.
Fixed a scanner that was used to scan in photos from botched embalming jobs. I'm being cremated and will never eat jello again.
Investigation on a fired employee that was requesting unemployment. Found that not only was he working a second job (on the other job's computer), but it was full of gay bondage porn. He dropped his request.
I could go on like this for days.
I worked for a prop-trading firm for about 6 months back in the early 00's. This was a boiler room of scalp traders with their own servers and dedicated lines, with about 30 workstations (each with 3-6 monitors). Since all of us were "men" except for the branch supervisor, there was plenty of workplace porn, screaming, swearing etc.
I had started trading myself to learn the system and what were real network problems as opposed to "oh shit I just lost 10 grand blame the network". One fine day, the router went down during a market move, and one guy ripped his office phone out of the wall and threw it at me across the room. The server was in a closet in AZ with zero ventilation, so I managed to get them to kick in for a portable AC unit.
Another hit includes the trader who came in super early to trade foreign markets and got locked in the bathroom while in a trade (shared a bathroom with the business next door). He kicked and clawed his way through the wall. "Most expensive piss I ever took". We had a mural of a dinosaur or something painted over the new drywall.
Andrew M wrote:
I'm reminded of a company I worked at near Simi Valley, CA. They had about 15 servers and a great big Netapp Filer colocated at Exodus in El Segundo. One day, towards the end of the day, I go from thinking business is booming to "We haven't paid our colo bills in 3 months and they're locking us out of our cage. We need to get our servers NOW." So, we took three cars, a BMW 740IL (the boss's car), a pickup and a flat bed and drove down. Five of us step up to the door and find out that only one of our badges still works. They'd actually locked us out the day before, and I hear then that the boss knew it, he was just hoping that one of the badges would work.
Well, ONE of us had a badge that worked to get on to the floor because of another job that was still paying the bills, so we got in. Brisk walk to our cage, just past the big Sun cage that had, I kid you not, ONE computer in the middle of a 20x10 space. It looked dead sexy - some kind of mini computer. We get there and cut the pad lock and we're de-racking servers left and right. I'm in the middle of carefully disconnecting the fibre from one of our servers when the boss says "Quit wasting your fucking time man" and uses the bolt cutters to cut the fibre. I take down the Netapp and carefully put each array on the dolly we brought only to be told once again to stop wasting time.
Boss man grabs the next array and TOSSES it on to the dolly (he would regret that later when we had to pay them over $US30k to recover data from it). We get and GONE. We were only in the building for 15 minutes or so and walked out with about $US2m in equipment. Heck, just the Netapp was in the $US700k range due to all the drives we had. On the way out, a security guy comes by and asks what's up, and the boss tells one of my coworkers (someone he'd known for years) to deal with it. So, he walks over and, I shit you not, slips the guy $US100. I had the "pleasure" to work for this guy again about a year after we were all let go and the company folded while he tried to recover data from the systems and get things up and running again. It's DEPRESSING to turn on a Netapp that's got its arrays piled on top while the Netapp itself is sitting on a deep pile carpet. The boss's kid would actually shuffle her feet and touch the outside of the arrays just to see the spark. Crap, now I'm having flashbacks.
I worked in managed services for a few years - the boss was a highly intelligent, very successful arsehole. Just off the top of my head, he:
- Threw an office chair down at my feet and broke it (this, of course, became known as the Bobby Knight incident)
- Fired me for a day, then re-hired me
- Fired me for a month, then re-hired me
- Broke more phones than I can count by slamming them on the floor during tantrums
- Constantly lied to his own customers, his employees, his vendors, his service providers. I mean, a never-ending stream of lies.
- Screamed at me because I accidentally used expedited shipping when ordering a replacement water filter for our office refrigerator.
So, yeah, that was a fun job. I did learn a ton though.
I've been in the IT biz for around 20 years with about 12 of it being a consultant. There have been the great jobs and the crap jobs but the absolute WORST was in Dallas doing a network/security assessment for a tel-evangelist. Not being very religious myself, I figured money is money so I agreed to a week gig to do an external PEN Test and go on-site to vet their infrastructure.
I pull up to the building and am met by GUNTER the 6'8" 450 lb steroid guzzling security guard, in the parking lot...surrounded by a massive 8' fence top with razor wire. Needless to say I was beginning to regret this gig as the complex made a Super-max look tame. He proceeded to search my car (found a beer bottle in the back and proceeded to lecture me on the virtues of sobriety and GAWD's temple that I was defiling...I wish I could make this shit up...), opened my gear, thoroughly trash my gear (cables unravelled, adapters strewn, mass hysteria) and escorted me into the building. I'm used to having a chaperon on most gigs but it usually is someone like minded and in IT. Oh no. GUNTER was my escort and literally watched everything I did. Typically I get a badge to move around, use the bathroom, etc...Oh No. Every door, and not exaggerating here, EVERY DOOR had badge access. GUNTER even had to badge me into the bathroom.
I finally meet an IT person and get to work. The young guy was nice enough, but I think you had to check a religious zealot box on the application to work there. The first thing I typically do is fire up a wireless scan and look for unsecured wifi. The young fellow assured me that was unnecessary since they didn't allow wifi in the building. eh heh. I light up Airsnort and sure enough there are 5 or 6 within striking distance. I get an IP address from one and I am in their home directory within seconds and opened a file at random. The young guy went from amiable to fire and damnation in 2.3 seconds. I'm on the evangelists computer and I am looking at his bank record transactions....
I was walked out of the building and GUNTER stuffed me in my car. I didn't even get my gear back until after they examined it (which was fine I run a clean ship) I was paid for the engagement and asked to come back and "fix" their network. I politely declined.
Still to this day I couldn't believe the obscene amount of dough that dude was ripping off of his flock.
I was in Communications/Computer Systems Operations in the Air Force. Back in the mid-90's the people in charge of the administrative careers decided that since their people had "Administrator" in their job title, it meant they could be Computer Systems Admins. I found myself training people who barely knew how to turn on a pc in the finer arts of Unix and Network administration. I got out shortly afterward, and I heard later that it had been an unqualified disaster. Big surprise.
I provided IT support to deployed military elements in Iraq for a couple of years. As you would guess, the network could be a little iffy. Dust, heat, stable power where major issues. FYI a Dell 124t doesn't do well when it's full of dust! I have a ton of stories, but I think I'll share a hardware refresh trip I took out to a FOB in Iraq. This was a larger location and my deployment package was to provide support for about 35 powerpoint rangers. My job was a hardware refresh and moving them off a local NT domain and onto a 2003 domain with Exchange 5.5 and configure local backup solution with the above mentioned and much hated Dell 124t autoloader. (oh, and a new 8570 colour printer, damn things weighed a ton!
You try and get a pissed off 19 year old loadmaster to help you get three 2950's a 124t and a printer the size of a Volkswagen on his helicopter!) At this location, the "Server Room" was also the office for the Officer In Charge (OIC) and his Sr. Enlisted Advisor because it had a good A/C unit. The rack was a little 32u guy, and they had decided the top of the rack was a great place to put the coffee pot. Since they didn't have a APC power cord for the coffee pot they just striped the wires and shoved them into the power strip. Another outfit had put 4 4U servers in the rack and filled up all the ports on my local switch, so standing up the new servers and migrating to the new domain and domain controllers was a hell of a challenge, all this without any downtime!
You guys work out how you would proceed, keep in mind that it was 130 degrees outside, you don't have transportation so you have to walk everywhere, every piece of equipment has to be accounted for, everyone is pissed off and carrying a gun, and every few hours a rocket, mortar round or car bomb goes off. All night the Artery Guys are firing illumination rounds so you can't sleep, not to mention the fact you're on a cot, in a tent, with 40 dudes and sharing a shower with a bunch of Ugandans that don't share the same standard of hygiene, sense of decency, or concept or personal space as you do. Too bad cameras were so restricted. Anyway, that was just a normal week survey. I worked that job for two years in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was both the best and the worst job I have ever had.
This sounds like an IT old wives tale, but it's absolutely true.
I worked for a rather large printer manufacturer at the help desk. Sometimes I was chosen to take escalated calls. One was for a woman who could not get her new laser printer to print. She had called at least ten times, sent letters to the CEO and was generally pissed that we couldn't get her computer to work with the thing. I was the last person to try to fix the issue before the company refunded her money. At the time, I cared about my job, so I was courteous and professional. The call began with her answering, "I already did that" to all my questions. I tried one more time with an open-ended question:
Me: Could you describe how the printer is connected to the computer?
Her: Are you an idiot? It's a LASER printer.
At this point I asked to review my notes so I could take a moment to facepalm. Then one last question:
Me: Would you mind hooking the replacement cable from the computer to the printer?
Her: I'm not going near that thing!
We refunded her money.
JOB#1 - I worked for a graphic/print/web design company in a smaller town. I had done a fair amount of web design/coding and only some graphic design at that point, but was forced to do multiple jobs. One day the boss/owner stops over and says he wants us to design a website for the (richest guy in town) financier that helped him get started with his business. I ask him what he wants, and he tells me "A snowman, with some snow" and hands me a 3 page booklet with the info he wanted on the site. I code a nice site, made it look wintery, and put a snowman in the upper corner. Super classy and neat. He hates it. I re-do it, and in the middle of re-doing it I get a call from the financier who asks for "Christmas music to play at all times while people are on the site". I explain that if we use copyrighted music, we have to be sure we are legal about it. He emails me a link to his son's MIDI page (UGH) and tells me I can use the horrible MIDI versions of popular xmas songs that his son had made (rich, 39 year old live at home moocher).
I finish the second redesign as fast as I can (putting off other work at the boss's command), and the financier hates it. At this point, the owner is asking me why I cant just give him what he wants. I explain that without much input I dont KNOW what he wants. The financier finally calls and tells me he wants to have snowmen dance across the page, xmas music to play, and wants it to look like its snowing on the page as well. I go on to create the most hideous website man has ever laid eyes on, with everything he wants (including a snowman that dances IN FRONT of the text on the page) and the financier loves it, and the boss is happy too.. I quit a few months later after not getting a paycheck for a whole month, and the web services side of things closed up shortly after.
While working for a big box retailer as part of their computer technician team, we were told we "had to verify the contents of a particular folder" on a customer's computer before we backed it up. Turns out it was homemade porn of he and his very obese wife. He explicitly asked us to open it and view the contents, thus forcing us to look at it.
I discovered a wad of petrified cat shit tangled around the CPU fan on an older Dell desktop. It also smelled like old cigarettes. We had to clear out the tech room for a solid 30 minutes and Febreeze the place over and over.
I had a customer threaten me because I wouldn't remove viruses from his computer for free (he claimed that should all be under warranty. It's not. His computer wasn't even under a warranty). This guy actually almost hit me in the face with the charging brick from a laptop. At this point I told him to leave before I made him leave. He complied and I got yelled at bad.
Story 1: Dealing with the Partners and Managing Directors of the Firm was always quite interesting. You just never said no to any request - you couldn't - there was too much to lose - your excellent pay, benefits, perks, prestige, everything. The big boys knew it and used it to their advantages. One Partner was of course a brilliant guy, married to his laptop and knew just enough about technology to fuck everything up. But he came to rely on me to fix every spit-up. So, it's the afternoon of New Years Eve, 2005. I'm just about dressed to go out and party with the wife and just starting to get a heater going. My cell phone rings - it's "Tim" the Partner. "John," he says, "I'm about to board my flight down to Los Angeles. I'm arriving at LAX around 11:00pm. Listen - my laptop is damaged - I dropped it and it's coming up with a hard drive error. I want you to come meet me at the gate so I can give you the laptop - I need it repaired or I need you to get a new laptop ready for me. Now, the kicker is that I'm leaving for a flight to Seoul, SK at 7:00 am, so I'll need you to complete the repair, drive to LAX and rendezvous with me before I board. I'll see you in a few hours." Needless to say, our New Years was ruined, but I kept my job.
Story 2: Of course through the 1990s and 2000s, as we re-imaged consultant laptops, we came across tons and tons of porn - usually very weakly hidden. We off-loaded the porn and kept the collections ourselves, usually under cryptic descriptions only we could decipher. The consultants worked their asses off, and I fully understood the need for porn, so we always put it back and never said or reported anything. Naturally, there were obvious kinks and predilections, but the most disturbing thing we found technically wasn't porn. We found a collection of photos on a consultant's laptop that consisted of head shots of teenage girls in braces. Hundreds of them. It was freaky. Just one teen girl after another - smiling with braces on their teeth. And most of the photos didn't seem to be taken from the web - although some did. Most of them appeared to be taken in a studio or office. We usually knew the consultants and what studies and business sectors they specialised in. We thoroughly check to see if this guy had worked on any Pharma studies or with Medical Industry clients, but nothing matched. This seemed to be his private stash. It disturbed us greatly, but we really didn't know what to do. It wasn't child porn. It wasn't bondage per se. It was weird. We never told anyone about it.
i worked for an IT recruiter. i was server admin, watchdog, in charge of anything that basically plugged in (even pencil sharpners). i could go on and on but here at my new job i tell all new employees that if they can beat the stupidest request i ever had then they are amazing.
at the recruiter i was going to take a day off and one of the users who had been there for 10 years asked how to access a database in ACT in case he had to.
i typed out instructions that said, click start, click my computer, click network etc...
so i come in the following monday and he is up in my shit bitching about how i cost him several placements. i immediately say bullshit those instructions were perfect. show me what you did. so we go to his computer and he clicks start. he proceeds to get up and leave the office. i stand there wondering wtf is going on when i go looking for him.
i find him in my office sitting at my chair. i ask what he is doing and he throws the papers at me and says step two, i am clicking your computer.
ill let that sink in for a minute.......
i laugh and say no seriously, what are you doing. pissed off and irate he says, you said click your computer. then it dawned on me. i looked at him and said, you have to be the stupidest person on the planet and told him to get out of my office.
he was later fired and had charges brought against him for copying the company database and running his own game from home
twesterms 2nd wrote:
I worked IT for a company and there were a few doozies. The first was when someone was using Windows 95 and they somehow moved system folder to a folder labelled "DontKnow" along with every thing else they didn't recognise. He then deleted that folder. Have you ever tried to restore Windows through DOS? It isn't fun.
Then there was this one lady who had an ancient dot matrix printers. Printers are terrible. New printers are terrible by themselves, but when you're trying to get a piece of shit dot matrix printer to work on a Windows 2000 machine, well, I would rather restore Windows through DOS. This printer broke weekly and every week I had to spend hours fixing it (and it was never the same fix).
That same lady had her home page set as some news page (MS.com I think)? She calls me in one day saying something is wrong with her browser, her home page keeps changing every day. I think she has some kind of virus so I open up her browser expecting the worst and I see her page load up MS.com. I ask her if this was what she wanted. She said that's the website she wanted, but it kept changing every day and she wanted me to stop that. She must have seen my really confused look because she explained that the text and pictures kept changing every day and she didn't want that. Honestly, I don't remember the solution because I ended that night in a drunken sad stupor.
Of course that job wasn't all misery. I had a cousin that worked there so one day I enabled NetMeeting on his PC. Randomly while I knew he was at his desk I would take control of his desk top, slowly move the mouse cursor over to notepad.exe, write some cryptic message ("A boat that floats in water can also sink in it" type thing) and then give him back control. He was completely freaked out and of course I played dumb like there was nothing wrong with his PC. Sadly, he finally caught me one day.
First programming role I had was for a small insurance software company. They were bought out by one of their biggest customers who sent in their own guy to run the place. His first priority was to do a tech interview of everyone on staff, asking some of the most ridiculous questions about how to code using some of the least used functions that most wouldn't have a clue how to use. He also challenged everyone with complex maths problems that we had to write code for to solve the problem. If that wasn't bad enough, he instituted a weekly status reporting methodology where we had to provide screen caps of every line of code we touched throughout the week and a explanation for the changes. My first status report took over an hour to produce and was more than 30 pages.
Started my IT career working in-store for Geek Squad, my official job title was "Technology Education Agent" better known as "Fix everyone's shit for free then go sell more shit or you're fired." Anyways, the majority of my work consisted of teaching elderly people how to use their new computers and fixing minor issues for them. One day this elderly gentleman rolls in, he's in his mid 80's, heavy set, smelled a little ripe, anyways, he brought us his laptop for an undisclosed reason, very hush-hush about it, speaking in an almost silent whisper. We have no idea what it is this guy wants because we can't understand him so I take his laptop, sit down on the opposite side of the counter from him and position the laptop to where we could both see it, as well as everyone else passing by because we're sitting in the literal middle of the store, and I turn on his computer. This laptop was old, older than I am almost, slowest, stickiest piece of shit I've ever seen and it's taking ages to power on, so I excuse myself for a moment to help another customer find and item because who else is going to do it?
I come back to see a colleague had taken it upon himself to help the gentleman as the computer had finished powering on, only I notice a look of fear/disgust on his face, his eyes locked on the screen and slowly shifting towards me, making eye contact that was clearly a cry for help. Sensing my friend was in trouble I did what anyone else would do and walked away laughing, came back 30 minutes later to get the details and come to find out that the issue this man brought his computer in for was that he had "somehow accidentally" set his wallpaper to a picture of his penis, and the laptop, being old and decrepit, was so slow that my friend had to stare at this wallpaper for upwards of 5 minutes as he waited for the computer to finish powering on and loading. Needless to say, I dodged a bullet, but we ended up having a great story from it and my friend ultimately did not need therapy.
I was setting up a server for a company that made "smoking accessories", it wasn't a surprise what the company was about. Well as I was physically installing the server on prem in the owners office, and setting it up for their users to use. The owner of the company decided to call one of his "friends" into the office. It was no big deal at first, and the two were chatting away for quite some time, I wasn't really paying attention. After what must have been 30 or so minutes the owner started pulling out those scales, you see on tv, when they show drug dealers. The scales caught my eye but I didn't think much of the situation, and then he opened up the drawer...which was full of what must have been 100+lbs of Marijuana and proceeded to sell this to his "friend". Out came the stacks of $US100, I personally have never seen so much money in my life, it was probably 200+K in bills. Well I quickly finished up what I was doing, called my boss and refused to work with them from there on out. The owner of that company was arrested a few weeks later for distributing drugs.
I lived in NC a long time ago and had a consulting business. I mainly only dealt with businesses. I decided to open a shop to the public and rented a space. Church computers full of porn -- the churches, pastors, preachers, etc... almost always had a lot of teen porn or worse. I had someone bring a PC in for repair that had ancient pizza sauce all over the keyboard and so much hair -- I hope animal -- inside it and on it. I wouldn't work on it because of the smell. I saw PC's come from restaurants that were greasy and hairy inside and smell like dead cigarettes stuffed full of crap.
The worst I had was this really odd guy who lived with his mother in a house with plexiglass screwed over all the windows and no air. They had a guard dog and boy did that place smell. The odd bald guy wore his 90+ year old mother's clothes and didn't bathe. I hated doing anything for him that I would charge him $US50 more an hour than anyone else and he'd still pay it. Oh yeah, the guy sounded like he was constipated and ran a conspiracy theory like website and collected guns. I built the first website for him and hoped that my really high prices would drive him off, but it didn't. I used to keep a bottle of cologne in my truck for visits to his house -- I'd put it on my upper lip.
Rotary Phone wrote:
My story: a team of 12-15 is given a hard deadline for a project that hasn't been defined or scoped. But everyone understands upon hearing the 5 sentence project vision that it's going to be hell. Which it was: 80-90 hour weeks for many of us for close to 3 months. No overtime of course. And that doesn't include time at the foosball table, meals, or hanging out. It was a 100% miserable slogfest.
A few years later I discovered the deadline was arbitrarily set by two jackasses at the company over a $US1 bet and a bottle of champagne.
It was almost impossible to choose stories this time around, and I have been laugh/crying for a greater part of the day. If you have more tales to tell, let's keep the ball rolling in comments. Thank you for your service, IT citizens.
Top image via commenter Deacon51; Office Space