The Secret Diary Of An On-Call Girl

The call came late into the evening. One of my clients who I had been involved with from almost the time I started was frantic on the other end of the phone.
He sounded stressed as he breathed “I need you right now. It’s urgent – please – I need you to come right away!”

“Can’t we do this over the phone,” I asked “it’s late and I’m across town at the moment in no fit state to be seen.”

“No no no – I need you here. Please – you know I never call like this unless it’s urgent.”

That’s true – of all my clients he’s always been the one who was most considerate. Most people think that because you’re doing it for money they can order you to do anything at anytime of the day or night but it doesn’t work that way. I do this because I enjoy it. Well, maybe not all of it, but most of it.

“OK,” I acquiesce “I’ll get ready for you and be over as quickly as I can.” I know where he’ll want me to show up and it isn’t that far for me.

“Oh thank you so much! I’ll pay you double for this!” he almost seems in tears on the other end of the phone.

I grimace, still not used to that kind of talk. “Usual place I assume.”

“Of course” I hear him smile down the phone slightly and ring off.

Luckily, I know that occasionally I’ll have to go out quickly with little notice so I have a box of tricks I can grab quickly and easy to don outfits suitable for visiting a client in. In this industry clients do expect a certain style of dress no matter how little lead time they give you.

My ‘box of tricks’, which is actually a bag, contains everything I’ve found most clients require on a visit. Some items are never used, some are often required. Quickly washing and jumping in to something I know the client will appreciate, I head out to hail a taxi on the street.

I find that it’s always best to call the client in these situations so they don’t wind themselves up too much “Hi… I’m on my way now. I should be with you shortly”

“Oh thank goodness. I can’t wait – please hurry” he moans. Sometimes I wonder about my clients mental state but this one I know. I can imagine him right now and what he’s doing waiting for me. I’m fairly sure alcohol will be involved and I know other things will already be going on. In fact, I’m sure he’s started without me knowing him.

Pulling up outside the place I look up. One of the swankiest places around, it always takes my breath away. I walk in past the man at the front desk who looks me up and down disapprovingly as I go to the elevators. It’s very late and few people are up and about right now.

Arriving at the 5th floor, one of the doors is slightly ajar and going towards it, I can see inside a flickering light. He has started without me and I know something of the mess I’ll find. Straightening up my outfit, I knock on the door.

“George? George are you in there?” I raise my voice slightly as I poke my head in through the door.

“Yes, back here” I hear him call along with a slight rustling of fabric. He has started without me.

I walk through the front area and come across him on all fours under a desk. Biting my tongue against my immediate reaction of a snide remark, I clear my throat and he bangs his head in an attempt to crawl out quickly.

As he emerges, I see a tangle of wires and a few hard drives hanging by wires and nothing else. “Everything crashed and the mail server is down. I just need you to recover that for me now and I can get everything else done overnight.” Which is easy really but for some reason it seems difficult.

Taking less than two hours, the mail server was back up and in less than six the whole system was repaired.

For the post number 555 I thought I’d get all nostalgic about technical support days gone by.  Sometimes nothing happened when I covered 24h support, sometimes I never got a moment’s paid sleep and sometimes I helped a customer find a problem so obscure for which they were so thankful I got chocolate :-)

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6 Responses to “The Secret Diary Of An On-Call Girl”

  1. pratt says:

    Eww, I always cringe when my clients start without me. Somehow they always make things take longer. Entertaining post!

  2. MK says:

    LMAO @ “I walk through the front area and come across him on all fours under a desk.” – oh man i was balling at this point expecting something perverted!

    I was so waiting for this story to get better, you have a pretty cool writing style. :P

    Great post!

  3. Brandon says:

    Great story. I just subscribed to your blog yesterday and I’m delighted to see a mix of fun and informative posts already.

  4. @pratt always a mess to clean up when they start before you. Usually much worse than if they’d waited

    @MK there’s only so far you can take the joke :-) THANKS!

    @Brandon Thanks! It’s a great place to blog and the mix keeps it interesting.

  5. QualityGal says:

    This was priceless. I was just waiting for the twist, to find out what your client really wanted… and I read greedily all the way until the end.

    If only everything I read for work was so entertaining!

  6. [...] you Judith for this post that is certainly worth passing on to a wider [...]

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