GBU

Good

Applicants for clerical positions at this company take a test for computer skills, says IT manager. "One candidate was presented with a spreadsheet containing column headings showing the years 1999, 2000 and 2001 and was instructed to format the range as text," IT says. "The end result was new column headings reading: one-thousand-nine-hundred-ninety-nine, two-thousand, two-thousand-one."

Bad

Sys admin can't figure out why one supervisor loses her mainframe connection a few times each week. "We checked everything and even hooked up a sniffer," says fish. But a few weeks later, he's having lunch with a mate from the helpdesk. "He asked if I remembered the supervisor that everyone despised," fish reports. "He said that, a couple of times a week, he would dump her connection -- just because he could. After that lunch, the problem mysteriously went away."

IT replaces a dumb terminal in his company's parts department with a PC that's locked down so it runs only a Web browser to access new warehousing software. But parts manager doesn't like it -- he tells IT to remove the mouse. "I don't want people here wasting time browsing the intranet," he says. IT points out staff will need it to use the warehousing application and thinks he's finally convinced the manager. Well, not exactly. "When I returned later, I discovered the manager had hidden the mouse behind the machine to stop time-wasting Net surfing," IT sighs, "as well as use of the Web app."

Ugly

Call centres, do you really know who you are speaking to? Female inmates at a Singapore prison are working 12-hour shifts as telephone call centre operators and telemarketers in a state campaign to rehabilitate lawbreakers. "It's pretty much the same as a commercial call centre, except it's behind bars," said Vincent Chan, a senior manager at the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises. Sure, there is very little difference to the usual call centre ... really! He said the call centre, at the Changi Women's Prison and Drug Rehabilitation Centre, is a cubicle-filled room about the size of a basketball court. The duties of the 38 inmates working there include answering questions about prepaid mobile phone cards and consumer products.

The call centre has 10 clients including a telecommunications company that doesn't want to be named. The next time you are on the line to a call centre don't be too concerned if the operator says: "Help. Get me outta here."

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