Who knows what PEBKAC means? For anyone that has ever worked a tech support line you know what I’m talking about. Even Microsoft is getting in on this line of making fun to make a point.
PEBKAC is an acronym for “Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair” and the first time I heard it was from Olaf Wagner, a good friend at K2. Olaf is a techie and a great mountain biker rider too. He is one of the co-founders of K2 (the workflow/BPM vendor – not the sports company) and he used this term to describe a problem that was reported while he was the de facto tech support manager. When asked about a particular problem he said very nonchalantly “oh, yeah … that was a PEBKAC issue” to which I said “huh?” This was a few years ago and it came back to mind today because I saw the advert below for Microsoft Research. So, it seems Microsoft is getting in on the fun too. I like it. It shows a sense of humor and a bit of humility.
Microsoft is getting in on the PEBKAC game too
Thinking back a few years I think I witnessed what must have been a PEBKAC moment while I was working at Kofax. This was before I had ever heard of the the term but I’m pretty sure I was witnessing a PEBKAC moment in the making. It started innocently enough with a comment from Harold Gue. Harold worked the phones in the Kofax technical support center. He made a very courteous and calm comment to the person he was speaking to on the phone and it went something like “Excuse me, may I put you on hold for a moment?” and was followed with Harold standing up and letting out a head turning scream. After a deep breath he sat down and took the person off hold and calmly said “Ok, so where were we?” and moved on. While I’m sure Harold does not remember this particular exchange --- he’s probably had hundreds of them. I still remember it and it reminds me that he is a true professional – whether dealing with a PEBKAC moment or something else.
I’m sure we have had moments where we were the “Problem” and perhaps a few cases where we were on the other side of the phone – perhaps as a tech support / call center rep or maybe just answering questions from colleagues or family. I know I’ve been on both sides. Even though I’m loathe to admit it – there are times when the idiocy of my own actions proves that I am, in fact, the problem that exists between the keyboard and the chair. Fortunately, in (most of) these cases the person on the other side of the call was as smooth and as professional as Harold Gue. I hold him up as the gold standard.
What are your PEBKAC experiences?
Which side of the keyboard were you on when it happened?
If you dare to share your PEBKAC moment please comment here.
|Another example – In comic strip form:|
|Source: Iliad Link: http://tinyurl.com/7vbf3t|