Friday, November 11, 2011

Usernames and Passwords Dilemma

Every year when it is time to re-enroll for annual benefits, i.e. renew health, dental, eye care, life, disability insurance, flexible spending accounts, legal aid and whatever benefits are available to my coworkers, those who are not computer savvy never fail to ask me for help, and one of the first things they tell me is they are unsure of their usernames and don’t remember their passwords despite having to do these renewals year after year. Even when I’ve helped them in previous years, I make it a point not to look at their usernames and passwords and constantly remind them to remember the information. Some even forget passwords to their own personal email and look at me as if I know what it is. I’ve blogged in the past about my uncle, who when I see his caller ID on my phone, I answer by saying “technical support”, because more likely than not, it’s a computer question he is going to ask. He hasn’t called me lately so maybe he found another source of technical support.
I don’t blame my coworkers entirely because in my workplace there are different websites to visit to check your timecard, paycheck information, benefits enrollment, email, and to enroll for required classes like CPR or assaultive behavior management. That’s computer overload for people who don’t like using computers in the first place. Heck, I myself have to save all that information in a file so I can look at the hints to remind me of my passwords!
Oh by the way, if they are able to remember, retrieve, or reset their passwords, they also ask for help in navigating those websites because they don’t know what to do next. All they really need to do is read and follow the instructions. If they can only take the time to see the whole picture of the webpage, they should be able to do what needs to be done without any help from anyone. But it’s easier to be spoon-fed rather than find the answer themselves, I guess.
Speaking of dislike for computers, one night I caught one of my coworkers writing out checks to pay her bills and jokingly asked her what were those things she was writing? Despite having internet at home, she still hasn’t attempted online bill payments. Later that night she asked me if I can recommend a printer/scanner/fax machine. I asked if anyone even uses fax machines anymore. Most printers nowadays don’t carry that capability anymore and even if they do, my coworkers’ home phone service is through VOIP, which from what I’ve read, unless you know how to tweak your fax machine, doesn’t work too well or at all. I mean it would be too technical for my coworker to consider (me too). We did find her a nicely priced wireless all-in-one Canon printer on closeout for $49.99 at Walmart. This, for a woman whose only wireless experience comes in the form of a bra. Ok, ok, don’t shoot me, I only jest!
Come this time next year, I won’t be surprised if the same username/password dilemma comes up again. Maybe I should include my coworkers’ info in my files and charge them for safekeeping.
Oh my, here is another instance on some people’s dependence on me after I helped them in previous years. I was out running on my day off yesterday and I got a phone call from a coworker asking me if I can help him re-enroll in our work’s benefits program. It never ends, doesn’t it?! Not only was that call a surprise, the bigger one was that I was out running. But that would have to be addressed in another post.

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