I worked for about a year and a half as tech support at a little domains'n'more shop in the Phoenix area, before I up and moved to California. After moving, I went back through all my journal entries and came up with a list of rules.
Things Azz (or Azz's co-workers) Shouldn't Do in the Workplace:
Must not knock over computers in the training room, even if they are just where a stray foot can push them over.
"A great big truck" should never be included in any description of how the internet works.
When specifically excluding "a great big truck" from discussions of how the internet works, should wait until instructor's mouth is no longer full of coffee.
Must sign out for breaks with something at least resembling her legal name.
Must not claim the last name of "Lunatic" when calling Tier 2, because they will take me seriously and get mad when they don't find me on the list.
May not throw beachballs at the heads of teammates anymore.
May not throw beachballs over the heads of teammates anymore.
May no longer violate the airspace of the nearby Quality Assurance cubes with:
Must not ask a customer whether his contracted web design team was planning to warm up the K-Y (after the customer shared that said web design team had asked him for the username and password to the account containing the domain, and the domain's authorization code).
May not talk down about products and/or services peddled by the company.
No, not even the WYSIWYG website editor.
Especially not the WYSIWYG website editor.
Even if it deserves it.
May not talk down about the competition.
No, not even that registrar that registers domains that you search for through them so you can't buy them elsewhere for a week.
Not necessary to explain that a "cron job" is a legitimate thing and not some other kind of "job" to the female underling.
Not allowed to tell customers that they must use a ping-pong ball, rather than a PING brand golf ball, to ping their domain.
When, not if, you get the serial wanker on the phone, get your supervisor immediately. (Someone got off, literally, on calling in, making as if to order a number of items, then hanging up before the order was completed.)
Shouldn't bring in toys that look and throw almost like raw eggs.
Shouldn't bring the raw egg toys into a team meeting.
Shouldn't throw them at the team supervisor to start off the meeting.
Shouldn't give the raw egg toys to the guy who will squish them until they burst, during the team meeting.
Shouldn't throw the sticky outer casing of the defunct toy up high enough to stick on the ceiling.
Must not swear at the client who has announced his intention to make .pdf files the entirety of his website. (His rationale? Because they will display the page the exact way you intend the visitor to view it.)
The internet is not a country, therefore, I cannot claim citizenship in it.
Despite the proximity of the [redacted] location to a sex shop, this is not a valid reason to request a transfer.
Shouldn't leave the whiteboard with the word "domain-atrix" out where Management can see it.
Not allowed to read the pornographic spam from the email list someone signed us up for.
Nude Jessica Alba is not an acceptable wallpaper, even if the taskbar does provide a thorough figleaf effect.
Not allowed to leave computers unlocked if away from the desk.
Never allowed to change anyone's desktop wallpaper to anything pornographic, even if they did leave their machine unlocked.
Not allowed to change supervisor's wallpaper to approximately 300 My Little Ponies, even if he did leave his machine unlocked.
...Or Darth Hello Kitty.
Not allowed to know why a ripped-out part of someone's pants is hanging up in a team lead cubicle like a trophy (labeled with the name of the guy whose pants it was from).
Not allowed to line up complicated ricochets off the heads of teammates to smack the noise-button with the nerf-ball.
Should not propose that we use our hold music to rickroll our customers.
When the department manager rickrolls us with his ringtone, not allowed to retaliate.
...okay, maybe changing the supervisor's unlocked machine's wallpaper to the Rick Astley 007 poster was an appropriate form of retaliation.
Not allowed to waste time by interrogating supervisors about their 80s fashion sins.
Not allowed to cite Man-Faye as an authority on anything.
May no longer cut across the lawn of the establishment next door on our way to the convenience store. (This was an order to all of us -- I wasn't involved in any actual incidents involving them. The establishment next door has not forbidden their patrons from frequenting our lawn, however. Their patrons are usually drunk and disorderly.)
We are not allowed to appear visibly drunk on the job.
We are not allowed to drink on the job either.
Not allowed to bring in soda that has slightly fermented and then blows its cap loud enough when opened that security shows up in alarm.
Definitely not allowed to *drink* it.
Should not joke about the perpetually drunk teammate having cupholders, plural, in his bathtub. He only has one.
The guy who does the bad cellphone driving is not allowed to give any other member of the team a ride anywhere, ever.
Even if the only other choice of driver is the perpetually drunk teammate.
Not allowed to document in a customer's ticket that their problem was caused by mishandling/incompetence from another department by use of the term "blatant [department]ery".
If Department X is the "heart" of the company, this does not mean that Department Y is the "armpit" of the company.
Not allowed to mock customers who don't realize that Arizona doesn't observe Daylight Savings Time.
When a customer asks for us to send him "some of that Scottsdale sunshine", I am not to do so, as we cannot attach files to our responses.
It it is not appropriate to include the text [attachment: weather.zip] after the Official Support Signature Block.
Shouldn't speculate about why there are snipers on our roof. (The establishment next door is usually involved. And by "usually", I mean this has happened at least twice in under a year.)
Must not go inside the police tape in the parking lot until the suspected murderer's car is removed.
Whole-team breakfast meetings at an offsite location are still workplace harassment suits waiting to happen.
When the follow-up email about shenanigans at the High-Level Corporate Bonding Event is accidentally sent to the support email, not allowed to make copies and share.
When Christopher expresses his wish to have Erica bring some of the lemon cake she has made to the upcoming team festivities, this does not mean that Christopher wants a Lemon Party.
I should not encourage Christopher to search for "lemon party" to discover why Erica has just shot her beverage out her nose.
Not allowed to mock the co-worker who claims that he does not read.
When relaying the idea of a developer webcam to a friend who is a LiveJournal.com employee, should not propose that the project be internally named "Goat-See", on the grounds that LiveJournal's mascot is a goat.
May not attempt to describe goatse to someone who has not experienced it.
May not encourage co-worker to look up goatse for the full experience.
... or any other shock site.
Should not attempt to find posters for 2000 Guy Ritchie movie "Snatch" by Google Image Searching the movie title alone. (This was a guy in another department. It was an honest mistake that he will never live down.)
If you have to preface mentions of a website or term with "Don't Google this at work", it doesn't need to be mentioned at work.
When the supervisor orders us to cut out the usual shenanigans when Management is visiting 3rd shift, this is not the time to list examples of the things we should stop doing.
Shouldn't start demonstrating things we shouldn't do in the presence of management at this time.
In fact, if I'm thinking of it as a possible example for "even including...?", to not do it in front of a manager.
Not allowed to turn out the lights because they're too bright during nightshift. Even though the developers do it during the day.
Azz's co-worker should not wipe snot on the cubicle walls, as that's just disgusting. (This co-worker is no longer with the company, but his legacy, such as it was, remained until scrubbed down in a ten-minute panic attack involving about 5 Lysol wipes.)
Should refrain from rubbing in the fact that the great and powerful server admin has just used his server's internal IP address externally, after pointing out his mistake.
Should bring enough chocolate to share with the rest of the class.
Should not use chocolate as a projectile response to bad puns, whining, or particularly creative profanity.
...Not even if it's meant as a reward. Ghirardelli squares to the head still hurt.
Should not rewrite SMTP response messages in LOLcat.
There is no such error as 403.2 'Not Recommended'.
There is no such error as 404.5 'Temporarily Misplaced'.
There is such an error such as 418 'I'm A Teapot', however, this is not to be referenced in correspondence with customers.
A properly configured mail server does not respond on port 25 with "220 go ahead punk ... make my day."
Must not violate the first bit of RFC 2324 section 7 where the Translation admin is concerned. Ever.
Not allowed to meet any spammers in person.
Must not accidentally address the customer as their domain name. "Dear example.com" is wrong. "Dear John Smith" is right.
Not allowed to set up a Really Bad Ticket gong.
Especially not by stealing the gong from the Sales department.
Not allowed to feed delusional customers with details that will support their conspiracy-theory view of the world.
Not allowed to even handle tickets from especially delusional customers.
Not allowed to escalate obvious spam to the team leads.
Not allowed to attempt to find an exploit for the wireless vending machine.
T is not allowed to sit near the rest of the team after eating whatever it was that he ate from that vending machine.
T is not allowed to eat from that vending machine anymore.
Must not act irresponsibly with a beach ball in a room filled with reasonably delicate equipment.
After a supervisor has confiscated the beach ball because the minions were acting irresponsibly with it, the supervisor should not bounce the ball off a clock hung on the wall, as it will break and then ain't no one happy.
All of the supervisor's minions should stop with the clock puns ANY TIME NOW.
Azz should refrain from sharing with co-workers the aliases used to describe them on her blog. Especially Clockknocker.
Clockknocker is not allowed to throw yoga ball near big-screen plasma TVs used as clocks/queue monitors in call center.
Or dribble it.
The "known issues" board is to be used for technical issues only.
Text in the team chat should be safe-for-work at all times.
Should no longer use the person-hugging graphic right behind the sheep graphic in team chat.
Although T said he would wear assless chaps to a biker bar for a Klondike bar, T should not now be referred to as "Chappy".
Even if the supervisor called him that first.
Not allowed to tell a more gullible co-worker that babies happen because the stork brings a red lightbulb.
Fisting is no longer funny.
As chats can be monitored, jokes about the company owner snorting Viagra are very funny potential grounds for termination.
Those search terms that are the top referrals to that website are disturbing, not funny.
We did not need to know that that website belongs to a co-worker, much less which co-worker.
May no longer maintain an archive of entertaining tickets. Even if one has to be within the company's network to access the ticketing system, and the list is just the ticket numbers.
Shall not include "the ongoing saga of" in ticket notes (even if it is one).
Must never, ever, ever, accidentally send the typographical error resulting from omitting the 'o' from 'account' in an email to a customer.
When the team lead has said he does not like candy corn, should not fill his birthday cake with candy corn.
Should not attempt to speculate about the contents of some of the more outre domain names belonging to customers.
Really should not have visited some of the more outre domain names belonging to customers. Not because ordered not to, but because some things cannot be unseen.
Must absolutely not then turn around and share this domain with a co-worker.
Must not ask of one's co-workers the question: "What kind of cake would you prefer to have sex with?", even if this question was originally asked by the website belonging to a more outre domain of a customer.
Really must not answer the question: "What kind of cake would you prefer to have sex with?" (Not me.)
Mail servers are not unicorns, and therefore will not stab each other to death with their horns over females.
The agricultural area behind the parking lot is not a "chupacabra farm", despite the weird noises that come out of it at 2 am, and is perfectly safe.
Not allowed to visit the chupacabra farm to prove how safe it is.
Not allowed to use the workplace parking lot as a place to demonstrate any principle of practical physics that has been discussed during nightshift.
Should not leave an application for Starbucks on the desk of one's highly-trained, highly-technical colleague. Even if they really should consider a career change.
When a co-worker brings another co-worker processed meat products as a birthday or holiday gift, this is not to be described as "Chris slipped Bryce his sausage." Even though technically correct.
It is necessary to tell the customer when they have deleted a CNAME vital to the function of their domain. It should not, however, be phrased as "You have obliterated your CNAME."
Must not inquire what kind of carpet customer would like to change permissions for, under the grounds that shag requires a different permissions setting than flying. (A common word for 'directory' in Spanish translates equally likely to 'directory' or 'carpet' with an automated translator.)
Must attempt to make sense of all ostensibly English tech support requests, even if they are clearly Babelfished.
"Frequent flyer" is barely acceptable as terminology to refer to a customer who requires a lot of advanced help due to their poor understanding of the service. More entertaining descriptions are not acceptable.
Must never confuse attributions of quotes in signature blocks with personal signatures, so that the "Dear Frederick Douglass" incident is never repeated. (I was not the one who flubbed this one. I was the one who got the response to it.)
The proper response to an ongoing and worsening technical problem is not to become insanely chipper, so that one's voice goes up by an octave or two, with a manic grin with lots of teeth showing. This scares one's co-workers.
The response to a weird browser/font incompatibility issue should not include the phrase "it's Greek to me," even when this is literally the truth when viewed in Internet Explorer 7.0.
Cannot tell customer they are an idiot. Can tell customer they might want to consider engaging an experienced webmaster.
Customer is not allowed to send in screenshots by pasting them in a Word file.
Customer is not allowed to use the automatic sitemap tool in conjunction with the Content Management tool that creates approximately 3,500 pages dynamically.
Customer is not allowed to use "a random address" to register their domain with.
"That's not going to work so well" is not an acceptable way to tell the customer that what they are trying to do is disallowed and blocked.
May not talk down about the new "intelligent" DNS management tool, even though it's worse than the WYSIWYG editor.
Must not join a workplace gang, even a gang that does nothing except bar people from entry if they cannot perform an interpretive dance.
Should avoid performing "interpretive dance" about what one would like to do to the rep who last mis-handled that ticket, as this is disturbing to all onlookers.
May only play "The Final Countdown" once per shift.
May not play "The Final Countdown" to start the shift.
Must not put syringes and/or needles in the secure paper-to-be-shredded disposal bins. (I have no idea who did this; it warranted a mass email.)
May not create a pyramid scheme joke site using all the bad design practices of the approximately 50 different pyramid scheme networks we see daily.
May not create a pyramid scheme for real.
Should not participate in a challenge to use the words "twixt" and "nethers" in a response to a customer.
May not rename the team to "Team Sausagefest".
Should not eat that candy sprinkle that has been lying on someone's desk for possibly months.
Candy corn on the cob should never, ever be attempted.
May not attempt to read garbage-character spam aloud, on the grounds that it might summon something chthonic.
Not allowed to run while holding scissors. (An actual direct order from the supervisor to Mr. Cellphone Driver.)
Even if you are playing Edward Scissorhands.
Should refrain from bribing the married developers with cleavage photos quite so often.
Should not dismantle novelty squishable LED stress ball.
Should not pop portions of the dismantled novelty squishable LED stress ball into your mouth.
Definitely should not swallow any portion of the dismantled novelty squishable LED stress ball.
The Superman punching bag is not a phallic symbol.
Should not use the Superman punching bag as a baseball bat.