The Crazy Helpdesk by Tanja Peikert - HTML preview
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take an elevator up (if it was working), turn north, take a walk again, then turn around corner again and you were finally in the office just above yours.
Every so often there was no direct entrance to a building and you could only reach it by accessing it through still some other building, three or more afar.
One had to know shortcuts. If one knew them, on could spare hours of time. As you
will if you know how to ‘Add a Network Place’ in ‘My Computer’ of Windows XP. In
this labyrinth shortcuts were as precious to know as the highest officials. Almost as
good as too have a blood link to them. Things would just go faster if you knew them.
Shortcuts gave you as much power as if you were one of them. Shortcuts were kept
secret, you would share them only with your most precious colleagues, and more, if
they became to well know, they would be inevitably closed by security.
If you knew how to ‘Add a Network Place’’
you could reach a faraway destination, deeply nested at the bottom of a folder, in just
one click instead of maybe fifteen.
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The House was a maze, and visitors were never just explained the way in and out, they
were shown in and out, always accompanied. For instance a set of just three offices lay
in a corridor behind the main conference room of the House, the one which was shown
on TV and where the greatest of visitors were made to talk. To find those offices one
had to climb the stairs up to the visitors balcony, then find some exit/entrance
somewhere, go through it, turn left, and then right, and there were the three offices.
With just ordinary personnel there, that had nothing to do with the organisation of the
conference room. No one ever had managed to find them without help. Even great and
wise people, like Buddhist monks get lost here, and need help to find their way back.
The Minotaur, for sure, must be lurking about the place, though if someone had already
met him, it was in disguise. Maybe he dressed up as some data eating virus or so.
In fact the House is beautiful, all made of glass, a single Window made of thousands,
including elevators, doors, ceilings. We were living in a Window.
However if you haven’t been at the House or Bohatia yourself, you can never have
seen a picture or film of it, because the architect had drawn up a contract to keep all
reproduction rights for himself. Without his permissions no one could take a picture of
it nor film it. This was typical of the place.
The House also had a secret room. Wild theories ran about a picture there, a fresco.
One could have a glimpse of it from the outside, through the glass, but from there one
couldn’t really make it out. Whatever this picture represented was only a subject of
speculation. No one but very high ‘hierarchy’ was allowed to see it, and they kept
silent about it. Of course we all knew where it was, but before its entrance sat a guard, always the same; and since he seemed quite alert one had the impression of great
danger should he approach the chamber uninvited.
The House is almost self-sufficient. It hosts several banks, a post office, two
hairdressers, six newspaper shops, with magazines and books from the whole outside
world, a laundry, a not so small supermarket with excellent products from all our
countries, over a hundred or more, I don’t remember suddenly, how many exactly, a
souvenirs shop, for the visitors, with quite tasty items, a drugstore, a fitness centre with qualified personnel, where one could have massages, take Yoga and Karate courses, a
swimming pool, a medical centre, and of course big and small canteens and even bars
(lot’s of them), which were dealt out all over the place, so that you could pop into one just by turning a corner, and not knowing about it before.
You can find a basic plan of the House in the Glossary at the end of the manual.
You will now believe that whole Bohatia is made up of the House, but let’s rather say
whole Bohatia was making a living in or of the House. As mentioned just before, next
to goat keepers and goldsmiths Bohatia also has bakers, butchers, supermarkets,
fashion shops and movie houses, schools, nurseries, hospitals, drugstores, postmen and
fire wear men. Moreover all sorts of lobbies are circling around the House like planets
around a sun. All of them were doing well, a Bohatian postmen has more then the
highest average of salaries in other civilized countries.
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It was a cool life, we worked hard, and there was no astonishment, nothing unforeseen.
Until the day chaos came. At least it came for MOU XII.
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The day when chaos came
Chaos came in the form re-organisation: a move, a split and remerge of three of the
Main Organisational Units, MOU’s as the House affectionately calls them. We had
twenty-four of them at the House (This number can change later, don’t even wonder).
The split and move had been decided in order to meet the challenges of modern science
and was proclaimed to start in two weeks. Enthusiasm is a good thing; however,
considering what followed, the decision obviously lacked preparation and organisation,
and had been done in too much haste. Because from the first day on, we found
ourselves caught in a kind of fractal, a Mandelbrot or Julia set, which soon began to
look like a never ending story.
Basically, if only fractals were basic, you would think
that a fractal is a beautiful thing. But it is not, when you
live in one. It is dreadful.
Basically, a fractal is any pattern that reveals greater
complexity as it is enlarged. A fractal is a rough or
fragmented geometric shape that can be subdivided in
parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a
reduced-size copy of the whole. Alan Beck explains that
when we look very closely at patterns that are Euclidean,
the shapes look more and more like straight lines, but
that when you look at a fractal up close you see more
and more details3. The moment you think you have come to the bottom unit, to the last of the smallest structure needed, you would discover another. It is indeed a never
As it happened, with the split, new services, WG’s, as we call them, for Workgroups, had been created, but without people in it. New services had been created but had yet
no names. Nor had they been delimited in any way. What now belonged to MOU old
and to MOU new? When people where asked to what MOU they now belonged many
of them couldn’t say. The problem was that a certain MOU X had been split into two.
The two parts had then been remerged in two new MOU’s, new MOU XI and new
MOU XII. One other MOU, MOU VII had been split into two also, and was to be
distributed half over new MOU XI and half over new MOU XII. However, the
previous MOU X was to become new MOU XI. The previous MOU XI was to become
the new MOU XII. And the old MOU XII would now be new MOU VII.
Got it? No? Don’t worry, no one did. Nor did anyone know what to do now. The whole
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new staff felt misplaced and at loss. People came and told me how much they feared
the consequences of the incomprehensible random made split. You may know of what
I am talking, this kind of reorganisation might have happened to you too.
Had they at least used the random formula in Excel, it would have been understandable
in at least some way. Like when one opens Excel and then choose ‘Insert - Function -
Rand())’ and one obtains something at least: a number. But do try to press F9 on the
same sheet and you will see it change forever.
Maybe the result was more of a circular reference, like when one’s cursor slid, and added a number to its own sum.
One got blocked in one’s own scheme.
Or it seemed as when one wants to switch the content of two variables in
programming, and put x into y and y into x. Like if you want to switch the contents of a glass filled with wine with another filled with milk. One would need a third glass or
variable, like z, but z hadn’t been provided for.
The IT Helpdesk had just been parted or put together in the same way. If the Helpdesk
didn’t know at least half of the users, they didn’t, at least partly, know each other very well either. They knew each others names, because they were informaticians, but not
much more. Two weeks ago they had gotten a letter informing them that they were to
work in the IT-Helpdesk of MOU XII from then on. Good to know.
Merely Nicolas, Leo and Lutgarde, and her only up to recently, had been at MOU XII
from the start. Johanna, Maurice and Hildegard came from old MOU XIII, Alexandra
and Sven from old MOU VII, the remaining part came from each a different of the
twenty-two MOU’s of the House. Alone Myra was freshly hired; she had arrived some
days before the split.
They felt at loss. What were they to do, if they were to give support under such
circumstances, not even knowing where they stood themselves, in all of this?
And if this was not enough they found themselves standing before yet another
challenge: all those users had to be given several new programmes. The general
configuration of Windows XP had to be revised. An Update from the MS Office
programmes, Excel, Word and Outlook had to be downloaded and installed. The users
had to be familiarised with the versions of the in-House made application programmes
Kaleidoscope and Elements 112. There would be a lot for them to do in the following
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The new Helpdesk
Indeed, the IT team found themselves thrown together like if they had been dices. The
morning after the split the newborn team decided to have a meeting and sat down at a
symbolic round table with the intent to describe themselves to the others as well as
possible under the circumstances, and also to decide upon what each of them would be
They counted each other and found they were ten. Six women. Four men.
Johanna spoke first. “Call me Jo,” she said. She looked Finnish and was Finnish. Her
most distinctive feature was a long blond braid, falling to mid waist. She was
somewhere around forty, slender to the extreme, wore high heels that made her tall and
was dressed with a slightly outrageous elegance. She exuded an aura of intense,
warrior-like energy. After a long speech she said she felt she was here to organise the
battlefield, adding a slightly grim touch to the word, but to reassure them she added she had done this before. “The two persons who gave the support for the application
programmes Kaleidoscope and Elements 112 have been moved to another MOU. I
have been taking care of the development and follow-up and maintenance of
applications programmes for years. I would like to continue to do so.”
Everyone agreed and it was decided she should go on with it. Everyone also secretly
decided that she should be their virtual leader. She seemed bossy in a nice way; one felt she cared about organising people and people themselves.
‘Jo’ informed them that they would have 777 users and their programmes to take care
of. Windows, Microsoft Office with Word, Excel, Access, Outlook and all the other
stuff plus ten tailor-made programmes. She didn’t say were she had gotten that
information from. She kept on talking for some time, with a touch of passion.
To her right sat Maurice,”call me Momo and I kill you.” He appeared to be French,
somewhat close to forty, impressively tall, and had light brown eyes with golden
specks and smooth dark blond hair. He carried a slight limp with a touch of majesty.
With his fine features, somehow elusive elegance and presence he cut quite a fetching
figure, so that his limp was soon forgotten. Promptly it was decided that he was to take care of the servers and the park of PC’s in general. This made him the MOUSA, which
stands for ‘Main Organisation Unit’s System Administrator’.
Just as Johanna hadn’t actually said she was Finnish, Maurice didn’t say he was
French, none of the others would declare their nationality. This was just something the
people of the House knew, out of an every day habit.
As already mentioned, Maurice and Johanna knew each other from before. One felt a
great complicity between them, the kind of which comes from having been best
enemies for years. Both were diplomats, but of a very different kind.
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Alexandra came next. She was Slovene. Rather tiny, very blonde, stub-nosed with blue
eyes. ”Call me Lexi,” she said, and “I have been installing computer and printers for
ages. No hard disk, no toner, no modem can resist me.” She was not beautiful, but
pretty in a puzzling way, with an Oracle quality about her. Men might be calling her
just to see her, probably so that she could tell them their future. She wore comfortable but visibly expensive clothes. Armani jeans, a Kenzo T-Shirt and collar tight scarf. She had certainly spent a least an hour to apply her make-up and style her hair. One just
couldn’t imagine her carrying heavy PC’s around, but ok if she said so. Lexi and the
boy to her right were obviously just stepping into the first half of their thirty years. And now it was this boy’s turn:
“And I have done this with her, at MOU VII” said Sven. He was Swede, blond too,
tanned and had a set of sparkling blue eyes. He was not beautiful, but very good
looking. It was as if he wanted to be good looking mainly to do others (like girls) a
favour, and not even to take advantage of it but just as to be nice. This could be his
main trait: he was nice. But the nice in him was disguised in sexy. Sven was sexy, very
much so, but in a reassuring way. Just as if to be nice. The girls here would call him a lot too, if only for that.
Sven and Lexi made a pair. They looked alike, moved alike, they were like twins.
There was an obvious complicity between them, if of a different kind than the one
between Maurice and Johanna. Installing computers? Certainly this was something
very much needed. It was decided within a minute that they would continue doing it
together at MOU XII too.
Nicolas , ‘call me Nico’, a cute Spaniard, presented himself as a programmer. ”I know
link all this with Oracle, so that I can make nice relational databases,” he said. Of
medium height, he had a dark close fitting moustache and was somewhat around thirty-
five. He had dreamy eyes, like if he was far away in his thoughts. It was decided he
would go on programming, and help the users with their workflow by giving them nice
macros and other application programmes. They then all turned to look at Nico’s right,
at a man maybe some four years older.
Leo , call me Leonardo, he said, which was meant to be a joke, because his name was
really only Leo. He was the only one who said his nationality aloud: “Sono Italiano”.
He was somewhat taller than the average Italian, had a high forehead, jet black hair and beautiful hands, elegant, like those of a piano player or rather painter. He had an inborn elegance, feline like movements and was tastefully dressed. The whole picture was
slightly misbalanced by a long dark silky beard, which he however stroked with pride.
”I am to do the Web Pages, if you agree, not alone but with,” and he pointed at the girl to his right.
Lutgarde, my name is Lutgarde, she said. She obviously didn’t want the diminutive
Lut which could evoke something tiny or small. I am to help Leo with the Web Pages
and I have almost never done this before. But Leo has. Just stepping into her thirties,
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she had a look like on a very old Dutch or Flemish painting, fine blond hair, light blue eyes, a translucent skin, with almost the light around her to go with it.
Everyone agreed that Leo and Lut should do the Web Pages.
"I'm Martha. Call me Gwendoline ."
The new team looked at her, not quite understanding.
"Why Gwendoline? Is that your second name on the passport?"
"No. I just wanted to be called like that for a very long time now."
Gwendoline did not seem to have much in common with Martha, and moreover, she
was Argentinean, and who has ever heard of an Argentinean called Gwendoline?
But what was the CHD there for, if not to fulfil wishes, if it was feasible.
“And do you want to make nickname out of this too? Like ‘Gwen’?” asked Maurice.
But Martha shook her head firmly, smiled and said she’d really prefer Gwendoline.
So Gwendoline it would be.
Gwendoline wanted to do the Support for the Software Helpdesk. She was rather tiny,
stepping into her forties, but looked ten years younger, with a mop of dark curls and
some freckles. Her eyes had a look like if she could see through you. If not pretty, she was very attractive.
Since she someone had suggested she’d do the minutes of the meeting she had
formatted the Helpdesk names so that they could stand out by clicking on the border
and then choosing ‘Format - Borders and Shading - and then the Shadow
“And I will do the same,” said Hildegard , a tall and slightly heavy-boned Swiss, with
light green eyes and very straight long light brown hair. An ordinary colour, but in her it was striking. It shone, healthy, in one strait line, without a split, like washed with a mixture of ancient herbs. Just like her skin, which seemed translucent, rosy, healthy,
treated with mystery creams only known to even her. Would she share the formula?
She didn’t yet say ‘call me Hilde’, because the Swiss or Germans and such are rather
on the shy side for nicknames on first meetings. Everyone agreed that she too would be
doing User support but Maurice also suggested also she’d do the User management.
Putting them in databases and so. Her being Swiss would make sure that she was very
well organisiert. Hilde agreed to do the ‘Usermanaschement’. But this is unfair, because Hilde had no accent in ay of her five languages.
She wore light green pants, floating and large at the bottom. This was already some
kind of finery because apart from Johanna, none of the other girls present wore a skirt
or a dress.
But it was pants, not a dress, and otherwise everyone else at the Helpdesk dressed in a
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very casual way. It was Friday code the whole week. Jeans and T-Shirt were a uniform
for the IT people. It must not been forgotten that IT people had to crawl beneath a table several times a day to stick some network cable into its socket or that they had to carry heavy PC’s and screens around. A dress or high heals or suit would have been a serious
hindrance, and every single nice skirt would have gone to pieces soon. Also men would
maybe have taken some advantage out of this, and do everything they could to get an
IT girl into awkward situations.
Jo, Gwendoline and Hilde were also to take care of all the applications programmes,
the so called in-house or tailor made programmes. These were programmes so specific
to the House that not much will be said about them. Though if you knew them you
knew the House. They gave Johanna, Hilde and Gwendoline and their users a lot to do.
Elements 112 and Kaleidoscope II were two stories by itself, so they’ll just be
mentioned from time to time.
Then last but not least everyone looked at Myra , who felt very shy, because she was so
new. And very much the youngest. She could hardly be twenty-six. Moreover, she was
not an informatician, had not studied it nor been trained as such. Her career was one of those which often led to a Helpdesk: the one of a Super User. The Super User just had
to end up in a Helpdesk. He or she was condemned to. But Myra felt that she had not
much to offer to such a very experienced crowd. Except that soon it was decided she
should do the Central Helpdesk, taking all the calls from the users and then dispatching them to the right person. Myra was Czech or Slovakian and again very young. But her
dark grey eyes looked older, almost wise, like if the future or such things were no
secret to her. She was kind of pretty in a rather unconventional way. Raven black hair
falling almost to her waist, snowy white skin, pointed nose and traits. She wore a
lipstick a shade to red.
As number ten had spoken the door opened and with this a young men, who couldn’t
be much older than Myra, entered the room.
“Hi. I am Arthur. And I am to be your ... ,” he said, as if searching for the word. No
one knew Arthur, he was even newer to the House than Myra. And maybe her age or
just one year over. He was very slim, and reminded one of the princes in fairy-tales,
with a skin without blemish and the kind of fine white blond hair almost never found in
those above twelve years old. It floated around his face like sun rays made matter.
“Your....” he obviously didn’t know the word which the House used for this function at
the House. Johanna helped him
“You mean Manager, Administrator, etc. You can say Administrator. But the House
calls them C.L.A. Whatever this stands for. The initial wording has been lost, no joke.”
Arthur said he was sorry to come so late, but he had just been informed ten minutes
ago that he was to thus be their... CLA. He was still searching for the right word. This was the way of the House. He had then been sent direct to their offices, lost himself a
bit in the labyrinth of the House, than found them at their first meeting. The ten had
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thus had to repeat their presentations again, but since everything was decided already,
Arthur found himself before ten accomplished facts. What else could he do but to give
in. They grinned inwardly. Ok, maybe, there went Johanna as their virtual leader, but
Arthur would, they could feel that, be an good boss in his way too. As a good strategist he would let them take their own decisions. Arthur would be ideal for filling in, or not filling in, that missing ‘CLA’ concept. Because IT people don’t especially like to have
a boss, nor do they think to need one. Well, maybe sometimes they like to have one, for
instance one like Josepha Laperm. She could listen, analyse, and then decide for the
best. She felt the underlying need in every story told to her. Otherwise IT-people are a bit like children, and like to be left to play alone, unwatched by the grownups.
But pro forma, since he had had no say before, Arthur now asked what they were doing
with their free time.
After all declaring they had no free time, but were only living for the House, they gave in and told.
Johanna liked to play games. Society games, parlour games, role playing. From
Monopoly over Risk to Diplomacy, Stratego, Aquire, Colony and sometimes Dungeons
and Dragons, but really rather all strategy games. And she just loved to win.
Maurice said that he only loved two things in life, his computers and his wife, which of them more, he did not say.
Lexi said she loved to play around with machines, and repair defect ones, like HI-FI,
TV’s, Video-Recorders, Printers and PC’s. Yes and to invent new machines. Well that
was her job now. But as a hobby, she did Martial Arts. Karate, Kung-Fu, Bushido.
What a programme, this girl, but she would be great for Hardware, fighting naughty
printers and stubborn PC’s. What she didn’t say was that she had left Slovenia because
her very large family was getting on her nerves by asking too much of those repair
tours of her. They didn’t stop and nagged so much that she had been transformed into a
plumber, electrician and handy-maid for everything and everybody. This family had to
Sven crossed his arms over his muscular breast, thought for a moment, grinned, and
said nothing. Well hobbies are said to also stand for sublimation, and maybe this guy
didn’t need any, it could well be he was so balanced that he had not problem at all. But he finally remembered that he must have one: three horses. Well, his wife’s horses. He
helped her tend to them. Just to imagine him on a horseback, wow.
Nico loved to travel. So that was where the far-away look in his eyes came from.
Leo refused to answer, gently but firmly. This revealed a certain tendency for
Lutgarde liked to be with her family. When she wasn’t with her family she liked to
sing. She didn’t say more but Leo betrayed her by explaining Lut was singing in a
Bohatian pop group. The group was awed, because Bohatians were great musicians and
shy about strangers, she must be very good. Later Leo explained to them that Lut had
really a good voice, not that he knew anything about it.
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Hilde talked about cooking, gardening and doing maths (how did the third go together
with the two first?).
Gwendoline just liked to be with her family and friends and see people, but one could
feel she was hiding something, the way she was saying SEE people. One felt one could
not lie to her. She looked too nice. And also a bit devious.
Myra, when asked, did not answer, but only went red in the face and Maurice said she
must be thinking about boys, which made her go scarlet.
Arthur, finally asked himself, first had to think about it a lot and finally said he liked to think... while juggling.
With how many balls they asked? Four he said.
But in truth it was five. Arthur did not know why he was not telling them the truth, and why he was keeping the fifth ball to himself. But he would think about it, while trying
for the sixth.
But I could imagine him juggling in secret with thinking of how to be a boss without
And maybe this notion of not wanting any boss at all was not so true after all. Again,
those who knew her, were putting great hopes in Josepha Laperm; who was to be their
Director, way up before Arthur in the hierarchy. She cared. She really assumed her
role. She would know how to put things right. She was the best Director in the House.
But even her, one of the few sound personalities maybe, seemed at loss. Many of the
staff supposed to be working in the new MOU XII just didn’t show up. How in the hell
should she organize all those new WG’s with no people in it?
As for the new Director, Jacques Owl, the eleven didn’t know him yet, but he had a
good reputation. Of course he would have to get used to his new MOU too.
And as what regards Myself I probably owned the very first PC that came on the
market (as soon as I could afford one). I immediately realised how important that little box would be for everyone in some years time, and that everyone at least in an office
would have to use one. I had imagined PC’s it would lighten up people’s life like it
does mine, make work easier, better organised, less chaotic, less painful, more
efficient. But as time has passed by the opposite seems to have happened and people
seem to spend one fifth to one quarter of their time to get their computer working
again, while their boss sits on their neck shouting after some bloody report which the
computer has swallowed and refuses to spit back out. I wanted to help people with this,
and I do. I’m very good, just like the whole Helpdesk is. I feel how good we are all.
And I might be one of them, one of the now eleven, or a user even, or I might not. To
give you a tip: I’m mostly consulted about Home PC’s.
But I can’t tell you who I am, and, just as for the name of the House, I would again ask the kind reader not to reveal my name, should she or he find out the truth. You all
know me; many of you see me almost everyday. I’m the first thing you might see when
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you arrive. You consult me a lot; I come to many of your offices once a day. Many of
you have told me their story. I keep all of this to me of course. So don’t betray me
Half an hour later the freshly baked team got an Email from Johanna, enclosing an
Excel table she had pasted into the Email and which contained the structure of the
Arthur (last name not given)
CLA (Head of HelpDesk)
You can find the complete table with some more info in the Glossary at the end of the
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We then moved, Myself included, seven hundred and seventy-seven of us, into a new
building. The building was in two parts really, one west, one east, joined by a little
footbridge with glass windows on each side (glass again) at its second floor. One of the many little rivers of ran just beneath the bridge. The Natural Sciences section of the
MOU would go West, the Human Sciences section would go East.
The drawing to the left has been quickly done in Word by
Gwendoline. She used Insert-Picture- AutoShapes . Once
the three shapes were drawn she held down the Shift key,
clicked on each of them to select them all, then right-clicked,
and chose ‘Grouping - Group’ from the menu list.
The buildings wore the names of two famous scientists, because the House was all
about Science. Take whoever you like, the House chose Robert Koch and Marie Curie.
They should have taken Freud or Lacan as a name for the Curie building, to be logical,
but the House had a Freud building already. MOU VIII (responsible for the Buildings)
flatly refused to change the name on all the plans.
The IT Helpdesk was to go to the Curie. Of course some acronyms were found for the
buildings: APS and PSI, which made no sense, but those acronyms were bound anyway
to change at least five times that year, just so that IT Helpdesk could have some fun
and keep changing their user tables over and over again. And go crazy.
And great was everyone’s astonishment when they realized that nothing, but nothing in
the buildings was ready, completed, finished. Everything was just but in progress. And
the astonishment soon turned to bewilderment.
How could things so quickly deteriorate in a building
not much older than the Country. Offices were without
doors, cables lay open on the floors, walls had not been
painted anew and carried the dirt streaks of their
previous owner (not the “House”), carpets, far from
new, were dust ridden, office space was minimal and
some people had been installed in what previously had
obviously served as cupboards, the usual office desks
could not be accommodated, so people were given
improvised tables, coming from somewhere in the attics. Lightening was not working
in many offices, air conditioning was non existent, as was probably central heating.
Fortunately, it was springtime. But windows had to be opened in order to get some
aeration and with the opening of windows everything came in but fresh air. Carbon
toxic, noise, and more dust.
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If some offices were without doors, there were also people without offices, many
offices had no phone or no PC’s (ah those made the helpdesk happy for at least a while,
they wouldn’t call because they had no problem with their PC and couldn’t call
because they had no phone!) People were moved into new offices, just to hear five
minutes later that this move had been a mistake, and that their office was elsewhere.
People were moved into offices with their previous
occupant still in it, his move having been foreseen in
only a week. Offices, when finally having been
emptied of at least their owner, were not cleaned.
Cables lay still open on the floor, network seemed to
have fled into some long vacation, into a place far
away, unknown to itself. Sven went crazy running
around and trying to find out to which network or sub-
network a specific user belonged.
To make matters worse the footbridge you see on the drawing had been recently
closed, for no obvious reasons at all. Thus the users of the west part and the users of
the east part had to take a quite extraordinary detour: One couldn’t just leave the east building itself but one had first to go to another one still, cross it completely and then only find an exit at its other end. Even this was not easy, because in order to reach the first building one had to take the elevator to the second floor, the only one which
offered an opening between the two. When one had finally reached the exit it was first
necessary to cross the river on one side, then make all the way back to the east
building, take the path along the river to finally reach a second bridge which then
finally led to the west building.
The worst thing for half of its inhabitants was that there was no light. However was it
possible to have no light in a series of buildings all made out of glass. But the Curie
and Koch buildings didn’t. Both had their back side, the south wall, only a few meters
from a high mountain wall, which went up just to the level of the sixth floor. The west
side too, was partly hidden by another mountain which hid it from the sun just when it
If was quite a scandal, for those of the House, who were used to being rather pampered.
The only nice offices and ready offices were those of the Director and his team, and
those of the Helpdesk, which showed the relative importance they were given. If not
high in hierarchy, they are sort of like scribes for the pharaohs, and are admired like
equals or free people for their knowledge of ‘hieroglyphs’.
IT team’s offices were larger, already provided with new carpets and freshly painted
walls. Moreover, they were located on the seventh floor, and the only ones with a lot of light on all sides, except of course those still one floor above, which were given to the Director and his team.
- 30 -
The Crazy HelpDesk
But for the rest of the seven hundred and seventy-seven, it seemed like a disgrace. An
impressive number of people suffered an allergy crisis and or asthma, others caught red
and white spots everywhere in the face, several people tripped on the many open laying
cables and strained an arm or an ankle. One girl got caught by a vicious network cable,
fell down, and was entwined in such manner that she could neither move nor call for
help. Since this happened in a faraway office, around the corner of a corner, she was
found only three hours later and had to be brought to the hospital by blue light.
Jack Owl, the new Director, who had been parachuted from the outside a few months
ago, was heard pestering about the buildings condition several times over the phone so
that the whole floor could hear it. But even hierarchy seems to have nothing to say
sometimes, because, as we would see, another entity had taken the power: Chaos.
It had broken out over the MOU in the way of a tidal wave, and menaced to swallow