TFTS: I’m Sick but I’m Back

If you've been a customer care support you know how it can sometimes be frustrating and quite frankly bizarre as in this sick leave incident.

This incident happened to me some years ago. I work in the IT department and help users sort things out every day. However, nothing was as frustrating and quite frankly bizarre as this individual asking me to assist them with sick days.

I'm sick but i'm back


I’m Sick but I’m Back

If you've been a customer care support, this might be a little familiar. Here is how the conversation went down.

  • Me: Hello, you’ve reached the IT department. How can I help you?
  • User: Hi, I’m still off sick but I am not.
  • Me: Are you sure this is an IT issue? I can connect you with the HR team.
  • User: Yes, it’s an IT issue. I’m back now, but I am still sick.

At this point, I was already scratching my head. I didn’t really understand the issue, perhaps because of the user’s speech, so I asked them to elaborate.

  • User: I just tried logging into the system, but it has me listed as off sick.
  • Me: Oh, I see. You need to add an end date to your sickness.
  • User: But I am back now.
  • Me: That’s okay, you just need to fill in the date field with the date when you came back.
  • User: I am back now.
  • Me: Okay, did you start back at work today? If you have the system open in front of you, find the “Date returned to work” field. Click on the calendar and select today’s date.
  • User: But I am back now.

If this user is really back, they must’ve left their brain at home.

  • Me: Yes, so select today’s date from the calendar that pops up.
  • User: Why?
  • Me: So that the system knows you’re back from work. It needs the end date, or else it’ll think you’re still off sick.
  • User: But I am back now.

I was sitting there, questioning if this is some sort of a prank call or a sudden test from my higher ups.

This conversation sounded more and more like I was talking to a rubbish chatbot in the early development stages. I decided to push through and continue trying to help the user — it’s my job, after all.

  • Me: You need to tell the system that you’re back, so it unlocks your profile.
  • User: Can’t it tell?
  • Me: How would it tell if you didn’t add an end date?
  • User: Well, I am in the building and logged into the computer. Is that not enough?

Facepalm. I wish it was that easy.

  • Me: No, the systems are not linked that way. Sometimes people come into work during holidays and weekends to drop stuff off or collect things. There are also plenty of remote workers who were never in the office. If everything was logged that way, payments would be all messed up.
  • User: So how do I sort this out?

Are you kidding me? I explained it at least two times already!

  • Me: Fill in the “Date returned to work” field with today’s date. Can I remote into your system and help you?
  • User: Would you mind? It might be easier that way.

Yes! I can finally get out of this call! Or so I thought.

  • Me: Okay, I got on and added today’s date in here. Now you’re all set.
  • User: So I am back now?
Me: Yes, you’re no longer shown as off sick.
  • User: Can you also reset my password while you’re connected?

I was praying that the IT gods would not do this to me. I really wanted to get away from this user, but it looked like it wasn’t my time to go yet.

  • Me: Is there something wrong with your password?
  • User: No, I just got a message that it’s expired. I want you to reset it for me.
  • Me: You can change your password yourself by clicking on the “change password” link once you log in next time.
  • User: I don’t want to change my password.

What? You can’t do this to me. Everyone knows that for security reasons, you’re obligated to change your password every couple of months.

  • Me: You have to, the policy is for security reasons.
  • User: Can’t you just give me another 60 days? My password is very secure.
  • Me: Okay. What’s your current password?

Got you! The user shared their password with me, which actually was a solid password, but it’s no longer valid as they shared it with me.

  • Me: Now that I know your password, it’s no longer secure. Since we’re still connected, I’ll help you change it now.
  • User: You work in IT, you knew my password anyway!

  • Me: That’s not true, all passwords are kept secure. I can reset your password, but I can’t see it.

After this fiasco, I navigated to the password change menu for the user. They started filling in the fields but got an error saying that the new password can’t be the same as the previous one.

  • User: It won’t let me change it.
  • Me: You didn’t change it, you typed in your old password.
  • User: Because I don’t want to change my password!
  • Me: You have to, it’s company policy.
  • User: Passwords are hard to remember, I’ll forget my new one.
  • Me: Just pick some random words, add a number and a symbol.
  • User: What do you mean?
  • Me: Like… LaptopMugBoard26&. Some items you see on your desk. It’s easy to remember.

I saw the user type… I bet their password is going to be LaptopMugBoard26& now. I mentally let out a sigh of relief as I saw that the new password was accepted. We finally hung up and I got to live the rest of my day stress-free.

Final thoughts 

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Original post written by SECGaz on Reddit.

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