Strange requests the help desk gets

Your IT team is no doubt accustomed to being called on to get users out of all kinds of pickles, but has it been asked to fix a toilet lately? Believe it or not, some help desk somewhere received this request, according to a survey of more than 1,400 CIOs in the United States.

The survey, sponsored by Robert Half Technology, found that help desks tend to get requests for assistance with a wide range of matters outside of the realm of IT. For IT pros, this means exercising patience and understanding when their skill set does not match the request.

Employees everywhere seem to think of IT pros as the go-to fix-it folks, endowed with far-reaching powers to make anything and everything work. The survey revealed that they've been called on to repair microwave ovens, vending machines, washing machines, desk chairs and car cup holders.

A little bit closer to home, one user called the help desk to find out how to clean cat hair out of a computer fan, and another called to have a sesame seed removed from a keyboard. Perhaps the saddest was the caller who asked, "Can you come over and plug in this cord for me?"

The help desk also seems to be widely viewed as a general information desk.  CIOs reported requests for recommendations on finding a dry cleaner, pirating software and locating a video of Elvis Presley online.

One help desk call received far too often: "I dropped my phone in the toilet. What should I do?"

For more:
- see the survey from Robert Half Technology

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