Budgets are really tight these days at the company where this sysadmin pilot fish works, and that has consequences.
"Since we can't hire new people to backfill for those who leave, we've resorted to remote administration and other such tricks to balance workloads," fish says. "Also, repairs are sometimes postponed longer than may be advisable."
Late one afternoon, fish gets an instant message from a colleague at another building: One of his servers in fish's building has crashed, and it doesn't have a remote console yet, so can fish please reboot it?
No problem. Fish walks down the hall to the data center and brings the server back up.
Then he turns to leave -- but he can't. "The data center door wouldn't open," says fish. "The knob just kept turning and turning as I twisted it back and forth and around and around.
"There's another door at the far end of the room and I could have gotten out that way in an emergency, but I'm stubborn -- isn't that part of the standard system administrator job description?"
Fish keeps twisting the knob, and finally it catches and the door opens. And as soon as he gets back to his office, fish dashes off an email message to his boss, describing what happened and offering to request repairs if he'll tell fish how to start the process.
Boss's reply: It's the new strategy announced this morning to make people work harder and longer hours. If you're stuck in the computer room you might as well work all night, right?
OK, only kidding. I will have Fred put a work order in to get that repaired.
Sighs fish, "I'm glad he made it clear he was joking..."
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