Managing IT is easy: Just don't listen!

The IT department where this pilot fish works has gone through an endless succession of managers and layoffs, but things seem to be settling down after a new manager is hired and a contractor is installed as fish's team lead.

"After a month or so of this new arrangement, we started having some major issues with our Exchange 2010 servers," fish says. "The Out-of-Office function was working marginally at best. Some people were successful at getting it turned on, but then it wouldn't turn off. Other people were unable to get it to turn on."

As fish investigates, he discovers a simple fix to turn off Out-of-Office messages. He mentions it in passing to his team lead, who immediately tells fish to create documentation to give to the help desk, so they can take the load off fish's team.

Later that day, fish is doing a high-priority restore at the same time as he's trying to get an RFC out to update Exchange when the team lead shows up at fish's desk.

Have you created that documentation? he asks fish. Do that instead of the RFC while you're waiting for the restore to complete.

"I told him all I needed to do on the RFC was hit Send," says fish. "He told me to not do that and complete the documentation, and left my office."

While fish continues to monitor the restore, he gets an email from the team lead, with the manager cc'd, asking fish the status of the documentation.

Fish responds that he'd rather not multitask and risk screwing up the restore, that he'll get the documentation to the lead the next day, and that he thinks the RFC is more important, because it might fix all the Exchange issues.

Manager's response: "It's not for you to decide. The lead will manage your priorities."

Fish completes the restore, sends out the RFC and goes home. He has the next three days off, but that night he emails the team lead, voicing his concerns about letting the help desk do the workaround, since it requires full access to users' mailboxes and could easily be screwed up.

Next day fish gets more email from the lead: He wants the documentation done by 9 a.m., and he clarifies that he wants it to document the fix for users not being able to turn on Out-of-Office -- which fish never suggested his fix would do.

"The RFC wasn't approved because it impacted the whole business," grumbles fish. "And I didn't complete the documentation because it wasn't going to be used and I was on vacation.

"I wonder who'll be the first to be let go -- me, the lead or the manager?"

Sharky's listening. So send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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