In the spirit of Nora Ephron’s “Six stages of E-mail”…
Stage 1: Your password has expired
EVERY NINETEY DAYS YOUR PASSWORD EXPIRES. YOU MUST SELECT A NEW PASSWORD THAT CANNOT REPEAT ANY PREVIOUS PASSWORD AND MUST BE EIGHT TO TWELVE CHARACTERS AND… bla bla bla. I hate this. Don’t those tech people know it’s LESS secure to require password changes? And my last password was so hilarious and perfect that I never forgot it and it always made me smile when I typed it. Why won’t they let me be?
Fine. Time to think of something that is somehow simultaneously meaningful (so I won’t forget it) and meaningless (so no one else will guess it). Then slap some numbers into it. Then change a character to a symbol. I hate it, but at least it passes all the requirements.
Stage 2: Mourning
Every single time I type my old password instead of the new. Sometimes it takes me two or three times before I even realize that my old word is gone forever, murdered in the name of security. Oh, how many more innocent victims must be claimed in the war between hackers and the IT department?
Woe is me. Locked out is me. Calling the helpdesk and feeling stupid is me… and then writing down my password on a nondescript post-it kept on or around my monitor. Explain to me again how this is supposed to increase security?
Stage 3: Typing Slowly
At least I’m no longer typing the old password… now I can reliably mis-type the new one. I hunt and peck slowly, managing to log on in as little as two tries and under three minutes. Maybe four, tops. It’s progress, I suppose. I’m learning this new string of gibberish… and these are brain cells I can never use for anything else.
Stage 4: Mastery!
Now my fingers fly over the keyboard, hammering out the string of characters in the blink of an eye. It feels good! It feels natural! And I smile every time I—EVERY NINETEY DAYS YOUR PASSWORD EXPIRES. YOU MUST SELECT A NEW PASSWORD THAT CANNOT REPEAT ANY PREVIOUS PASSWORD AND MUST BE EIGHT TO TWELVE CHARACTERS AND…