This beard offends me.

Today has managed to plumb a new depth in regards to working in Information Technology – specifically support – and dealing with the public.

A customer calls in to voice how aggrieved they are with being presented with a beard. They found it “offensive”, and it needed resolving. Now. To the point, they had called in to discuss it, and make a formal complaint.

Now what we are talking about here is firstly, and most importantly to point out, not a technical matter. At best it is a design matter, at worst, a matter for a barber.

After further investigation, it turned out that they were logging out of a webmail platform, and being passed back to another page that had an image of a couple (male and female by appearance – how they identify I neither know or care as it matters not to how I perceive them) discussing something overly animately in front of a laptop or similar. The picture was in the background and truncated. This was not A BellamyA Blessed, a barely-there, or even a flamboiant coiffeured affair – it was just a beard beard – an ‘average’. The very type that at least 50% of the dwellers of this office have had in recent memory. None the less there it was, here they were: “He – has a beard!” very much in the tone of: How dare he!’ and ‘How dare we?!’

This is a sequence of unfortunate events is in my opinion comment-worthy due to the random nature. At times technical support can be a hostile and highly strung environment because people will only really get in touch when something has stopped working, they are annoyed with something, or it’s billing – in which case ‘see the first two’. They may be in a hurry, think they are losing money, or the general vicious undertone of “IT’S YOUR FAULT!” with a side of “I HAVE TRIED ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, AND NOW I AM FRESH OUT OF IDEAS!”.

The severity of the matter may equally have long lost perspective and timescale. This is ALL okay, as generally, we can envisage your needs with the depth and richness of seeing a million other similar configurations, and as many problems with them. We are a methodical, specific, and logical bunch with moments of weaponized autism – but you need to have this kind of focus to get things done. The good people are the ones who can maintain this and still relate, resolve, and communicate with Joe Q Public, retain the jobs…. AND the remnants of their mental health.

I digress.

The point is rational thought is pervasive here – usually. Sure we all have our moments – but the norm is for logic, calmness, and generally trying not to tread on emotional landmines. Then – out of the blue – like that truck you somehow didn’t see – BAM! – Beards.

Now while I can understand that people have irrational fears. I do. Loved ones with phobias of buttons, or ketchup of all things. It happens. However, this was disgust, offence, and apparently the impression we should be offended too. How dare we?!

Nothing can prepare you for that.
No training.
No experience.
Wow.
Just wow.

I can only imagine that the ‘outside’ and the ‘Big Blue Room’ are hostile and hateful to them, and with more than a twinge of ‘what must have happened to you to leave you this damaged’ – balanced with a counter of ‘Save your f*cks for something that actually matters’ madam.

So here we are, in the conversation minefield, looking around for clues…. and a safe, reasonable, logical way to safety.

Nope.

Screwed.

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