At work today I needed to log into a particular system I haven't used for quite some months. My user ID and password did not work. I thought it was supposed be the same user ID and password as for two other related systems that I have used recently, but when I tried accessing those systems, they didn't work either. I have no memory of changing this password. I tried to login again, and again, and again, attempting absolutely every password I have ever used on any system at work or home in the last ten years. Nothing worked. All I can figure is that the system automatically changed it for me without any kind of notice.
So I went to the web form where I could change my password or have them e-mail me a new one. But instead of my usual user ID, it wanted my organizational number (not my personnel number, which is totally different) and its accompanying PIN. Well, I didn't know the PIN, not having needed to use it for more than two years. To get it e-mailed to me, I needed to enter--you guessed it--the user ID and password. To get A, enter B. To get B, enter A. Chicken and egg. "Congratulations, you are screwed."
With my personnel number and its password--which worked just fine--I could easily get into one of the other staff systems. (As you can probably guess by now, there are several, and they don't play nice with each other.) Of course, from that system, there is no way to get or change a password or PIN for any of the others.
So my next step was to contact the help desk. They told me I needed yet another PIN, and that to get this, I needed to go to the other building. Okay, fine. So I went to the other building, and with the help of two different staffers, I discovered that I have two different PINs associated with the organizational number. Both of them are valid in different places, and I can not change one to make them the same. To get the password for my user ID, I need to enter the organizational number with the correct one of the two PINs.
Finally, it was done, I had a new password, and I was able to get into the systems I wanted to get into. But by that time an hour had passed and I was too frustrated and disgruntled to actually do that task. So I went back to my regular work, which was in ample abundance to keep me occupied for the rest of the day.
But here it is in a nutshell. For work, I have three different unique personal identifiers, beyond my actual name.
1) a user ID, which doubles as an e-mail alias and triples as a network login, and requires unrelated passwords for all of these manifestations.
2) an organizational number, which has two different PINs for different subsystems.
3) a personnel number, which has yet another completely different password.
And, I'm told, there is yet another system with yet another PIN that some people (not me, thank goodness) have to deal with.
How on earth do they expect people to remember all this crap?
Corridors of Blood
10 months ago