Wow. Its very nearly February 2014 and frankly it might actually be by the time I post this… we’ll see how it goes.
I don’t really even know where to start this post but by Cthulhu a lot has happened since I last posted on November 5. Huge amounts of things. Life altering and breathtakingly staggering things. It will take several posts to cover everything and there is a lot that I can’t talk about, but here goes nothing.
In mid December I was offered what, at the time, I believed to be the challenge that I’d been seeking. A chance to walk into an established business with more of a professional (read: white collar) clientele than I had previously been dealing with and as they say in the HR world “really make the role my own”.
If you’d asked me three weeks ago, I’d probably have told you that far from me making the role my own, the role was making me its bitch. Every. Single. Day.
Call it arrogance, or ego, on my part but when taking the role I truly believed that the owners had over-stated the challenges facing the business. The longer I stay, the more I believe that not only was my assumption resoundingly wrong, the owners were, if anything, drastically under-stating the monumental scope of the challenge I’d signed up for.
If you’d have asked me on the 15th of December when I accepted the job, this role was going to be one in which I could learn some new things, but also one that wouldn’t really stretch me in any way.
How very wrong one person can be.
I have to be very careful as to what I say next because there is an ongoing legal proceeding in which I might be called as an expert witness.
I was taught years ago that no matter what else you let slide, good, usable, tested and trusted backups are worth their weight in gold. Your clients pay you to cover their asses because they don’t have the knowledge, inclination and/or time to do for themselves what they pay us to do.
The backup regime put in place by my predecessors is an absolute travesty.
It’s hard for me to properly express in words the gravity of what I have discovered while auditing the backups on the sites that I have been allocated. Where scripted backups should be occuring on a daily basis via scheduled task, most of these scripts have been either disabled, straight out don’t work or both.
On the larger sites that have a third party backup solution in place, not a single one of these has been functioning correctly when I’ve audited it.
I should put this in perspective for you. A large majority of the clientele that I’ve been looking after for the last 6 weeks are in the medical industry. These clients have responsibilities and duties under Federal statutes that cannot ever be voided and come with zero limitation of liability. One of those responsibilities is record keeping. most of these practices are required to keep accurate records for 25 years from the date the patient was last seen. “We had a server crash and lost everything” simply doesn’t cut it.
Its not just the Medical Practitioners that the inability to limit liability extends to. If you guessed that it extends to the IT services provider as well you would be absolutely, positively correct.
Add into the mix that we have been experiencing nearly 40 degree heat this last month and that several sites have thrown drives in their RAID arrays and you can see why my days have stretched out from their normal 10 (or so) hours out to 15 -21 hours.
Add to this out BAU efforts, the fact that there is 0 (zero) uniformity, even between sites rolled out on the same hardware plans – the jury is still out on whether this was intentional or just incompetence – and that we are still engaged in the normal and never ending process of building, commisioning and decommissioning servers and it all adds up to an extraordinarily hectic schedule.
Don’t get me wrong though. I’m not in anyway complaining about any of this. On the contrary, I feel compelled at this point to let you in on a secret:
I genuinely believe that I have stumbled on the opportunity of a lifetime.
In December I thought I was signing up for a job that would give me security and the opportunity to add a little diversity to my skills. These last 6 weeks have instead been a baptism of fire and every single day I’ve had to put my money where my mouth is. This role is testing me in every possible way, not just as an IT technician, but as an IT Professional.
I can tell you, though it may sound arrogant, that I’ve learnt more in the last 6 weeks then I had learnt in the last 3years. I’m without question twice the technician I was 4 weeks ago. In another month I’ll probably be twice the technician that I am right now.
I’m growing as an IT professional too. In the later days of working for myself I feared (almost constantly truth be told) that I was stagnating. That my skills, while I was pushing myself to develop them, simply weren’t being stimulated enough or even in the right way.
There are no such fears anymore.