In the world of MSP, one is often called in for simple, non-issues. Things like “How to open Google” and “how to win my wife back”. This can be so incessant that for periods of time I start to want to work on a real issue. It had been one of these times when I was called in to fix a problem with a server-wide application issue. It honestly sounded like something I could have knocked out remotely, but I was hankering for something to do, so I went over to the location so that I could really dig into the problem. And boy did I get to dig into it. I arrived at the office and found that Microsoft Outlook had stopped working for everyone. Finally! Something to really work on! I approached the office manager, named Carol, and asked her for the location of the physical machine.
“The server? It’s in room 2B over there,” as she pointed in the appropriate direction. “Jim has the keys.”
“And where’s Jim?” I asked.
“Oh, he’ll be in the lounge downstairs. I’ll go get him, but it’s taking up valuable time. If I go get him, would you mind tidying up the cords on my desk?”
“What?” I prodded.
“The cords on my desk. I was going to tidy them up, but now I have to go do this. Would you mind?”
“Um. I guess.”
I took care of the cords on her desk for a few minutes, and as I was wondering what I was doing, Jim entered the room. I thanked God that I didn’t have to be doing busywork anymore, and went to the server room. However, as soon as we entered it, I saw a true nightmare: garbage everywhere. There were bags and bags of garbage spread throughout the room.
“This is the SERVER room?” I asked Jim.
“Yep. We’re never really in here, so we just leave the office trash in this room before taking it down. It seems like it’s stacked up a bit. Give me a minute and I’ll have it out of your hair.” He responded.
Jim began to gather the bags in his hands, but it quickly became apparent that it was too much for him to handle on his own. “Would you mind?” he asked.
Outside the building, we threw out the last of the trash bags in the dumpster.
“Could I use the server now?” I asked Jim.
“No problem! I- oh no,” he strangely answered me as his gaze settled on something else in the alley. I followed what he was looking at, and saw that it was a collection of mops sitting against the wall.
“Something of yours?” I asked.
“Yeah. They were supposed to be cleaned out here, but I think Rick forgot them.” Jim proceeded to pick up the mops and had trouble with this activity just as he did with the trash. He looked at me once and I knew what I had to do.
A few minutes later, we arrived in the breakroom, where Jim had us leave the mops against the wall. I washed my hands in the sink and was happy that I was about to be out of the place before becoming the official janitor. Just as I thought this, a small, stout man next to me spilled his coffee.
“You’re the janitor, right?” he asked me.
“No. NO.” I responded, and bolted out of the room as fast as I could. I sprinted to the server, Repaired Microsoft Outlook, and left the office without even talking to Carol. I never went on-site to that location again, for fear of becoming a custodial staff member against my will.