Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

It's Not a Glamorous Job

For all you folks out there that have never worked anything classified or top secret and think it sounds cool, think again. It’s a pain in the neck. Fortunately, I’m not doing that in this job. You can’t talk about your job when you work a project like that. It’s best just not to talk at all in case you slip up, so you just.don’t. Not that I ever talked with my spouse about what I did when it wasn't classified. It’s called… compartmentalizing. I may have brought home personnel issues, but never the real meat of my job. Once I got home, I didn’t want to deal anymore. Plus, he couldn’t identify. (He never really knew what I did.) I’d talk about my job more with The Great Omnipotent One than anyone else… he was a pilot. He knew how all this stuff worked. Otherwise, I left it at work.

OK, back to security. I don’t work classified stuff, Thank God, but I do work in a secure facility. Getting in and out of the building, although more of a hassle than my old company, has been NO adjustment to me at all. Others violate security all the time, but for me, it’s a routine and no biggy.

It’s the IT crap that is making me bonkers. All the damn passwords. I have no less than 6 systems... and every damn week I'm introduced to another… and there seems to be this weird crap you have to do when it is time to change your passwords… stand on your head, tap your feet together and yell, “There’s NO Place Like Home!” and the computer Gods then just MIGHT shine upon you granting you a password change without having to call the two DIFFERENT help desks located in two DIFFERENT states. Did I tell you it was a pain in my ass?

First month of work, 30 days pass, I get a notice, time to change my password. But because it took so frickin’ long to cut through all the red tape and get access to ALL the systems, they don’t all come due at the same time. Lovely. I’ve been in the engineering business since 1988. I’ve had more passwords than you can shake a stick at. I was on computers at work when PCs only had those 5” floppies and they held something like ONE spreadsheet. So I think to myself when I see I have to change my password, “No biggy. I can do this.” Little did I know, that inside all that paperwork I got my first day was a BOOK, YES, A BOOK, on how to change your password. Because I am a secured subcontractor working for a secured contractor in the defense industry, we have all these firewalls and there is this sequence of events you MUST do or you get locked out of every system. All of them. Boom, you’re hosed.

Needless to say, I got locked out. Feh.

That was December. I learned my lesson.

Flash forward to last Tuesday. I have a FRICKIN’ keyboard failure and EVERY single system I went into, I got locked out of… OK, it was worse than that. I got in my main system. Once. Then I tried to get in my other systems, one at a time, and you have 2 tries before you get the ‘You’re a big fat loser’ message locking you out and telling you that you’re SOL. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. So I walk away from my desk to see if anyone else is having troubles and my screen goes into lock since I was gone for more than 2 minutes… and I CAN’T GET BACK ON!

Hours… I’m telling you HOURS, I spent with people from every help desk. What a frickin’ waste of my time. Hours. And Hours. And my boss kept telling me, “Don’t sweat it. You’re still getting paid” and I want to scream, “I’m paid to work!!! If I can’t work, I have a life at home I could live!!! Don't make me be idle! I HATE being idle!”

They get me up and running. Today, I walk in, I type the password into the most important system I work in and I forget to hit the shift key, because God forbid should you be able to pick any password, instead it has to be a certain length, and have a certain amount of frickin’ weird characters, and capitals, and all sorts of protective bull shit, that you as tax payers sitting in the safeness of your cozy American home should take comfort in knowing, but me as the employee wants to scream at the top my lungs and say, “I can’t F----ing Take it No MORE!”


So I screw it up first go round and even though I’m SUPPOSED to have TWO tries, I get the “You’re a Big Fat Loser” message and I get locked out.

Four help desk guys and 5 hours later, I’m still a big fat loser, but now I’m a really seriously pissed big fat loser.

Every time they reset it, they would say, “Now you have to wait an hour for the system to reset itself” and every time, it wouldn’t work.

Finally the last guy got on and I said, “Look, be truthful with me. When you look at the coding does it say it hates me?” I get, “Computers have no emotions… it can’t hate you.” I replied, “Yes. Yes, this computer system hates me. You can’t tell me it doesn’t, because after 5 hours I STILL CAN’T get in and NOBODY has been able to figure out why.”

Come to find out, they were resetting the wrong damn system. GRR.

Luckily I had Compliance Training to think about. (Above post.) Unluckily, once you mandatorily reset your password (yes, another frickin' password), you must WAIT 24 hours before you're allowed to take the test. GRRR.


Blogger VW said...

Repeat after me - I love my job. I love my JOB. I wanted a job. GRIN.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Contagion said...

Can you manually change your PW prior to the time frame changes? I have 7 systems I need to log into daily that all have PWs. I change mine all at the same time and I have a series of PWs I use so that they are all similar, thus easier for me to remember.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Quality Weenie said...

You think they only do that crap in the defense industry?


The auto industry is the.same.exact.way.

Nope not kidding ... and I've had to make that call of shame way to many times, but it's even worse when your a supplier cause your 2nd class.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Harvey said...

mmmm... Sword :-)

10:20 AM  
Blogger Ogre said...

Luuuhooo...Zeer! :)

(Harvey said Sword)

1:19 PM  
Blogger Sissy said...

I was going to blog about this tonight but I'll just send everyone here! This is what I'm going through right now because of our recent merger...the new company can't get their shit straight so I can't access the internet or any of our systems. I'm using Morrigan's computer just to get into my email. I have figured by this point it's the morons on the other side of the phone with their thumbs up their asses that are too freaking lazy to find an answer to a simple log in issue. I'm going freaking stir crazy!!

1:29 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I got such a good laugh from this post and also the one about "Compliance Training"!

I, too, work in the defense industry, and like you, I work on unclassified stuff now.

At one point I had 13 passwords to keep track of -- all seemingly with different rules (password length, characters required/not allowed, frequency of change, etc.).

Fortunately, some manager in IT screwed up and decided we needed to synchronize and standardize the various systems. Now I only have to keep track of 4 passwords.

It's amazing that work actually gets done around here!

1:30 PM  
Blogger _Jon said...

I got about 6 to keep track of - that are personal. I've got three more that are "group id's" that I log onto after I log on as myself.

We have similar rules, and some are stricter than others. The newest one, "mixed case" is a real pain.

But I support 30+ unix/linux/win servers, so we have to keep the passwords synchronized on those. I wrote a program in Ant that telnets into each of the systems in the list and sets the password. Now I'm getting flack because I let other people use a copy of it (dumb), and it uses Telnet - send the password as "plain text". I'm on a SECURED NETWORK. Morons. Now I've got to convert *my personal utility* to use SSH, or I'll get fired if I run it again. Morons.

Oh, and my trick for personal passwords is to use the same "base word" and put numbers after it (or before) that match the month of the year. Twelve is enough of a gap that the "recycle" rules don't catch it. fwiw.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

I think I'm getting more passwords. I'm waiting for the IT police to come down one day and say, "That's it! You're too dumb to work here!"

When I had my keyboard failure, I think the one guy actually wanted to come to my desk to replace it to put a face to the flake that keeps harrassing him.


10:51 PM  

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