Study Highlights All-Time Strangest IT Requests

IT professionals need more than technical skills and certifications to interact with end users and do their jobs effectively. They apparently also need a good sense of humor.

After all, how else are they expected to maintain their composure when asked questions such as these over and over again: “My computer is telling me to press any key to continue; where is the ‘any’ key?” “How do I get my computer’s coffee-cup holder to come out again?” and “Where can I get software to track UFOs?”

A recent survey conducted by Robert Half Technology reveals some of the strangest requests received by IT support staff in the United States.

“I’ve talked to endless managers, and they all have their funny anecdotes about strange questions — questions that have nothing to do with IT sometimes,” said John Estes, vice president of strategic alliances at Robert Half Technology.

Examples of these range from “How long does it take to bake a potato in a microwave?” to “My daughter is locked in the bathroom; can you pick the lock?”

Wacky IT support requests — which occur more frequently than one would imagine — not only break the monotony of the day and serve as fodder for watercooler conversation, they also underscore some of the critical skills needed for help-desk professionals, Estes said. To communicate effectively and have a good rapport with end users who have varying levels of IT knowledge, support staff must develop first-rate people skills.

“Patience, understanding [and]…

Deanna Hartley


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