Your password will expire in 4 days. Would you like to change it now?
All of us have received a similar message. I usually get it after having ignored the previous 6 messages of the same topic and will likely ignore this and the next 3 as well. At which time I’m greeted with:
Your password has expired and you must change it now!
Passwords are everywhere in both our private and corporate worlds. Keeping track of them is a migraine in the making and, in the case of my company, requires tremendous patience.
You see we have passwords for our main login, our HR portal, our CRM system, our support system, our expense report system, the travel agency we use, that cool flex benefit system and probably two or three more that I have yet to be forced to change. But hey, this is the 21st century. This is Silicon Valley. Clearly all of the passwords are synchronized so I only have to remember one right?
Wrong! Do not pass go. Do not collect $20 (before taxes) and oh by the way you must change your password now!
You see in my company none of these are synchronized. I know what you’re thinking – Surely I could just use the same one for all. Oh but wait, I forgot to mention they all have different expiration periods. Some are every 3 months, some are every 6 months, some never require a change. Ok that’s manageable.
However, not only are the expiration periods different, but so are all the rules for what’s considered an acceptable password. I have one that requires it to be 4 digits – all numbers. Sweet, that’s easy.
Some require both both letters and numbers. Ok, a little more complicated, but I can handle this.
But, I believe my favorite is the one that requires at least 8 digits. These digits must include both letters and numbers. Further they must include symbols – you know things like #, !, $. Oh, don’t forget there needs to be both at least one capital letter and one lower case letter.
Getting more complicated now…
Last but not least, the password you choose can not be one that you’ve used in the last 12 previous password choices. Come now, I can’t remember my current one how the heck can I remember the passwords I’ve used over the past 3 years?
Ok I think I’ve got this now. Let me try:
Yeah that will work! And, likely will get me a visit from HR. 7th time this year baby!
Today was the day on one of our systems. I got the message that I had to make the change now or else I’d forgo my next 4 paychecks. Crap this is important. So, I desperately try to remember my current password, because you need to know it in order to pick your next one. Focus. If I don’t get the current right on one of the first 4 tries I’m screwed – Locked Out. Come Back Later.
On the third attempt, I got it right (Score and with 1 to spare!). Now time to pick the new one. Ok, must be 6 digits. Needs to have both numbers, letters and symbols. Ok, got one. So, I enter the new one: ****** (that’s how it’s shown to me). Ok, now to enter it one more time to confirm: ******
I’m sorry your passwords do not match.
Crap! Ok, I can do this. Take your time. ****** And, one more time. ******
I hit enter and wait for what seems like an eternity while the little rainbow circle spins. At least I know I entered the two the same. I’m on my way now baby!
Wait, what? Why is it still spinning? Crap, don’t hit Back. That’ll screw it all up. Ok keep waiting…it will be ok. And, a few seconds later I’m greeted with a new screen.
The system didn’t recognize your password. Click here to reset your password. You will receive an email with instructions within a few minutes.
Of course that email is likely destined for my spam folder.
Now if I could only remember what my password is for our corporate spam system. I need a nap.