But that's what it said!

This engineering company has multiple locations in a metro area, all networked together -- and it's changing network providers over a weekday lunch hour, says a networking pilot fish on the job.

Actually, that's not as bad as it sounds. "The switches have been pre-configured so the switchover would be just a mere blip and business could continue as usual," fish says. "After the change, we did some testing to ensure that it was a successful project. Job done, kudos for everyone.

"Then came the phone calls: People starting calling saying they couldn't access the network shares and that some people could and others couldn't and the ones who couldn't were screaming Chicken Little about the change."

Oddly enough, everyone can access the Internet. If there was really a problem with the new circuit, that would be very strange indeed. Fish suspects some sort of user error -- a somehow very widespread user error.

But before he can even begin to field the complaints, he gets a call from his own boss at one of the company's locations to let fish know there's an issue. Fish tells the boss that he's currently in the switches verifying that all switch ports have the correct VLANs and that nothing freakish has occurred, and that he suspects a wetware problem.

Boss assures fish that can't be the case -- one of his telecom technicians is having issues as well, and he can be trusted to know what he's doing.

Fish strongly suggests that the boss go to a user's PC that's experiencing the problem and go step by step to see what's not working. But before boss can get to someone's machine, fish hears a conversation over the phone.

Boss: "Can you access the network shares?"

User: "No, I haven't been able to access the network drives since the changes you guys did. All that shows up for my network drives are little red Xs."

Fish, through the phone: "Is this user on Windows 7?"

Boss: "Yes."

Fish: "Just click on the @#$%! drive mapping anyway. It's got connection, the X icon just never went away!"

Sighs fish, "Sure enough, the user clicked the mapped drive and, like IT gypsy magic, the network was 'restored'!

"I'm so glad to know that my boss and his technically trustworthy telecom sidekick have things handled when I'm on vacation."

Sharky would be glad to know that your true tale of IT life is on its way to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

The Best of Shark Tank includes more than 70 tales of IT woe submitted by you, our readers, since 1999. Which all goes to prove, conclusively, that hapless users and idiotic bosses are indeed worldwide phenomena. Free registration is all that's needed to download The Best of Shark Tank (PDF).

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon