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Finally, make sure that users get training for the systems they use. That may seem like an extra bother, but an hour or two of training goes a long way toward preventing problems. The number of incidents of EEOC will decline with a little user training.

Prioritize Your Problems

It is unlikely that as a network administrator or technician, you will receive problem calls one at a time. Typically, when you receive one call, you already have three people waiting for service. For this reason, you must learn to prioritize.

You start this process by asking some basic questions of the person reporting the problem so that you can determine its severity. If the current problem is minor and you have two more serious problems already facing you, your priorities are obvious.

You establish priorities to ensure that you spend your time wisely. The order in which you attempt to solve your networking problems, from highest priority to lowest, might look something like this:

■    Total network failure (affects everyone)

■    Partial network failure (affects small groups of users)

■    Small network failure (affects a small, single group of users)

■    Total workstation failure (single user can’t work at all)

■    Partial workstation failure (single user can’t do most tasks)

■    Minor issue (single user has problems that crop up now and again)

Mitigating circumstances can, of course, change the order of this list. For example, if the president of the company can’t retrieve her e-mail, you’d take the express elevator to her office as soon as you hang up from the call. Also, a minor, persistent problem might move up the ladder.

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