Now, SPENDING money -- that's an issue

Pilot fish takes a job as the solo IT guy at this small company. His mandate: Get things working right -- and money isn't an issue.

"Management knew their systems had lots of major issues that needed to be remedied," says fish. "I explained that this was not going to be cheap or a quick fix and there would be a few hiccups, but in the end all would be OK.

"They assured me they understood and I had their support."

Fish takes a few weeks to learn the business's processes and talk to users. One thing is clear: Some of the PCs are outdated, and the rest were junk from the start.

So at his first monthly status meeting, fish explains that the PCs need replacing as soon as possible so users can get used to a new OS and upgraded applications can be tested.

To fish's surprise, he can see the owners are furious at his recommendation -- to the point of getting insulting.

But fish has bigger concerns. "Within a few days, a road crew working on a nearby street accidentally cut the cable for Internet service to the area," he says. "This brought business to a halt, since it also affected the VOIP phone system."

Fish calls the network provider, and they're on it -- fish can even see the repair crew at work in the street. But when he updates the owners on the situation, they tell fish to keep calling the ISP and demand the problem be fixed.

Fish points out that the ISP is working on it, and that switching to a new ISP won't help because they're all reselling service using the same cable. The owners can't seem to understand.

Over the next month, fish gets the blame for everything that goes wrong, even as he's getting new servers in place, configured and tested. And a week before the date to cut over to the new servers, management hires a network engineer -- who says he wants to start again from scratch.

"The night before the scheduled cutover, this network engineer began work on his server start-over," fish grumbles. "He wiped out everything I did -- then decided to call me at home because he needed certain information related to email, IP addresses, server names and more.

"The next day the users were howling mad at me that nothing was working at all. I was yelled at, cursed at and more. Finally, I walked out. I erased that job and company from my resume, explaining in interviews that I just decided to take a break for a few months.

"And my current employer is very appreciative of what I'm doing for them."

Sharky would appreciate hearing your story. Send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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