My name is Dieter and I’m just a humble IT guy.
I do systems and network administration for a web development and hosting company. We have about 60 employees, a couple racks of servers, and there is only one guy currently in the IT department – me.
There is someone in the office who is the “IT Director” but he doesn’t really direct anything other than chaos. He had the title before I started here and I think the owner hasn’t changed it because he doesn’t know what else to call the guy.
If it were up to me I’d change his title to “man who talks out his ass about things he knows nothing about” – but that is a little long for a business card.
Not only do I support the office, but I’m often tasked with supporting clients. The “IT Director” often has clients drop of their laptops at my desk to fix a problem. Of course this is billable work, but it really is outside of the range of what I should be doing.
My comments on this to the IT Director fall on deaf ears.
I also prep client web servers, push new code to client servers, PCI test e-commerce systems, fix things that break on live servers, and other general server based things.
50% of the time I like my job – the other 50% of the time I get so busy with silly “rush” jobs I feel like my head is going to pop. You see, we have no ticketing system. No formal method to request support. No policy or procedure to track my time effectively.
Of course, this is not for my lack of trying to put something in place.
But change is hard for people.
Right now, if someone needs my help, they email me or come to my desk. The employees have learned if they come to my desk I will stop what I’m doing and talk to them about whatever the issue is.
If I’m too busy to look at it right away, they hover. They keep talking at me until I’m distracted from what I’m working on. Not all of them do this. But I’d say a good third of them do.
The problem is, the company has grown from a little 5-10 person operation to a proper little organization – it is having some growing pains – and I’m right in the middle.
The saving grace for me is my department is well funded. It is one of the few places I have worked where if I need something, I can buy it. If a server is getting old, I made a request and the purchase is approved. If it is under a particular dollar value, I can just order it.
This is really nice because in many places I’ve worked I have to fight to replace or upgrade failing infrastructure.
“Hey boss. You know that crappy old server that holds all your company files and processes your email? Well we lost one of the four drives in the RAID 5 array and last night the crappy old backup tape system died. I need to buy replacement hardware and get that shit fixed up.”
Then the boss says “Ok. No problem. Let’s talk about this at the quarterly meeting next month.”
Then I’ll say “Dude. This shit can die at any second. YOU. WILL. LOSE. EVERYTHING!”
“Well. Make sure you bring that up at the meeting next month.”
Yes. That is a real conversation (paraphrased) I had at a previous job. I didn’t wait around for the data to fail. I started passing my CV around that night and got out of there within a few weeks.
I never did find out if the crappy old server ate itself or not.
So, at least here, I’m funded.
The only budget I don’t have is with time – and often my sanity.
I decided, because fact is sometimes stranger than fiction, I’d document some of the conversations and situations I’ve had at work. All of these entries are real events that have happened.
I’m going to be perfectly honest however. I have changed the names of the people I work with. I have also simplified who they are by merging some events (and people) together.
For obvious reasons I need to remain anonymous.