BOFH Strikes Again

Long story short, had a big migration to perform at the job over the past few days.  It’d been planned well in advance, but that didn’t stop ‘ol Murphy from showing his fat Irish mug and tossing a few pints onto the problem.  We’d been switching from one provider to another, doing it in the middle of the day so that if something went wrong, help would be there.

So the old provider tosses a monkey wrench into the works by starting part of the move 3 hours early – insult to injury, they move the bits to the wrong damned company.  Not only do they screw that up, they won’t move it for us because we don’t show up as the owner.  Real fine.

So in the mean time, I had a contingency set up, spare bits that’d keep us covered in case something bad happened.  Well, the new provider didn’t have the bits ready.  I told them about 3 weeks ago to have them ready in time.  After much gnashing of teeth they finally gave me a list of bits… just no guarantee that they’d work.  The day before the change I’m being told that the spare bits aren’t important, that there’s no chance we’ll get hosed.  Go figure, come time for the migration and they’re still not ready.

So now instead of utilizing the weeks of time to get everything in play, they’re rushing the bits into place so we can be back in business.  While that’s going on, 99% of the bits have been migrated from the old provider to the new one.  It’s that 1%, that critical 1% which just happens to be the primary batch of bits that we’d been using for over a decade.

Now we can just grab ’em from the old provider – but they won’t do it without the permission of an exec.  What do they do?  They go home.  That’s right.  I’m already there 3 hours overtime trying to un fuck this cluster and they’re gone.  The contingency is in place, we’re technically back in business, but the job isn’t done and they went home.

Not only that, but nobody’s answering any calls.  Each call goes to voice mail, each email goes into the nether.  I’m close to losing my mind, so I finally throw my hands in the air and leave.  Sure, it’s working – but I don’t like leaving any job like that.

I get home late, have a glass of red, and try to forget the day all the while trying not to think about the next.

Wake up, rinse, repeat.

I get into the office and come to find that nothing has progressed.  The 1% is still not working.  I start reaching out.  Now we’re not just waiting for the guy I know to approve grabbing the bits – we’re waiting for some unknown VP to approve them.  No real answer, no ETA, we’re waiting.  Just like we were night prior night when everyone went home and left me holding the bag (well, me and a few fellow victims of that bastard Murphy).

If I told you how miniscule the cost was that had been holding this whole mess up – you’d laugh.

So now I’m livid.  I’ve snapped.  I strap on my BOFH armor and get to work.  Fire up the browser, open Google, search the company’s name.   I find it, not only do I find it, I find their stock offering.  All the execs are listed.  All I know is I’m waiting for a VP to approve a pittance to put an end to this debacle.  I pick the VP’s, and fire off an email with everyone, including them, included.

Within 2 minutes responses from the underlings start rolling in like waves during a tsunami.  My direct contact calls me, inflamed like a raging hemmorhoid, pissed that I pulled a BOFH.  “It’s the other provider’s fault” he says, I put him on hold.  Let it sit for a bit, then get back on the line.  “My job is to get this done by any means possible I’m waiting for some mystery person who I don’t even know to resolve this when I can’t even get the regulars to respond.”  I don’t apologize.  I didn’t intend to light a fire under their asses, I intended to light a fire under the ass of the nameless, faceless executive who was too important to be reached last night and was already ruining my morning.

It worked, within a half hour, all was resolved.

The punch line, I got all the email addresses wrong.  The names were right, the addresses were wrong.

I’ve discovered through trial and error, mainly error, that when I need to depend on someone I don’t work with directly to do their job – I get screwed, royally.  I don’t want to micro-manage, I don’t want to be a BOFH every single day, but it just seems that when I’m not there, in the face of the whoever is holding things up – nothing will happen.  It’s a recipe for burnout and I like what I do far too much to let that happen.

Next big project?  I’ll be paying attention to every bit – hoping that everyone’s doing their part.  If they’re not, I won’t hesitate to escalate.  Being a laid back nice guy IMHO is why I got stuck like this and I’m really sick of opening the door into my nose every time I expect someone else’s ducks to be all lined up for me.  I can’t be a nice guy all the time and still be a sysadmin.  That’s a surefire way to get stepped on and passed over.  I know when to be a BOFH, and when to be a nice guy – I just can’t flinch when it comes to being the BOFH, some people just need to get a foot in the ass to realize they’re standing still.

BOFH = Bastard Operator From Hell, btw.

This entry was posted in Ramblings.... Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *