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Confessions of IT support

Posted by marko, 25 October 2011 · 377 views

Here's how NOT to impress your boss in IT support!!

A few years back I was asked to travel South, think it was Manchester and decomission a warehouse for a major drinks distributor.

So, off I went on an overnight stay, got down there and received a call from my manager.   Chatting casually he asked if I had a set of "secateurs".   I didn't even know what they were, let alone own them!.  He duly explained they were for pruning things like rose bushes, etc - and when I enquired why exactly I would need those he explained it was to severe the cabling from the site's patch panels.

Now, for those of you who don't know what a patch panel is here's a picture:

What happens here is throughout the building we have data and voice points connected to desks, floors and walls, etc - these are the points which telephones and computers are connected to give them internet and network access.   The corresponding cables go from those points, through the building and eventually reach the patch panel.   At the other side of the patch panel, we can then route the signal to/from that patch port to a switch which in turn is connected (usually via fibre cable) to a bigger network (like other depots, warehouses,call centres and, of course, the internet via controlled means).   The ultimate aim of it all is to allow communications to flow freely between people, buildings and other devices in a secure manner.

Now when my manager explained everything "past" the patch panel had been decommissioned already and all previous communications going into the building had be re-routed I felt a sense of dread.   I asked him more than once if he was sure that was the case and I wasn't going to cause the loss of communications for anyone yet he insisted that the entire building was dead (literally speaking of course).

So the next morning I made my way to the site, met with my small team, and they began disconnecting and packaging all the computer equipment whilst I made my way down to the comms room where all the patch panels were located.   I nervously began snipping away at all the wires and cabling till eventually my hands ached and I had to take a break.   Some 10-15 minutes later I returned and set about the rest of the task, reaching my way down to the very bottom of the panel where we had fibre cable running into some BT kit.   Hmmm, I thought, now I know fibre cable is quite expensive so I called my manager once again to explain what I'd came across - "SNIP IT" he exlaimed!.   "You kidding" I replied .. "Naw! It's BT kit, we can't open it, just severe the lot and remove the patch panel cabinets".

OK, I thought ... using two hands to grip the secateurs I eventually snipped off all the fibre cable.   Finishing off, I removed all the cabinets and cleaned up, by which time the rest of the guys had completed their work too, so packaging everything neatly on pallets for a future uplift we said our goodbyes and made our way home.

I was about 40 miles gone when I received a phone call from my manager.   "Are you still in Manchester?" he asked ... "Er, no, I'm about 40 mile gone".   He explained I had to go back .. British telecom and Siemens were already on they're way to the warehouse .. the entire South West sales lines had went down - apparently they WERE being routed through the warehouse despite me repeatedly asking for confirmation nothing was being routed through the site.   Now, under most other circumstances this probably wouldn't be a major drama, but this was the biggest drinks distributor in the UK and as such they were loosing orders left, right and center by this time.

I managed to get back to the warehouse about an hour later to find a couple of engineers sitting in the now vacant comms room scratching their head whilst cradling the severed fibre optic cables!!.   As I walked in they asked if I was responsible for this carnage - I duly replied that although it was I who cut the cables, it wasn't me who made the decision to cut them - that was the decision of my manager.   They explained that there was little point in me being there as they were in the process of re-routing all communications at the exchange side (i.e. "past" the patch panel like I was told it already was!!) - I said my goodbyes after leaving my managers mobile number with them and I still don't know to this day what became of the situation - just glad I was a monkey in those days and not the organ grinder :dance:

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LOL Superb, just superb
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