The Two Minute Warning

Life is a funny thing.  Faced with the regular irritants of everyday life, one develops little mechanisms to deal with them much like an oyster emits nacre to protect itself against a grain of sand it cannot expel.  In the case of an oyster a pearl is produced, but with humans it is often something else entirely.

When the irritant balance becomes too unwieldy I have a mechanism I call the Two Minute Warning; it’s the device that makes me realize that a lifestyle decision must be made, and it must be made now.  I have had several Two Minute Warnings in my life; the moment I realized that I could no longer be married to the man who is now my ex, the instant I realized that a college education was essential, and most recently when it became clear to me that a job change was in order.

At my district we have Tech Specialists who handle the day to day desktop stuff, leaving me to handle the network issues.  In their defense these are not well paid people, but the problem is that they tend to be computer enthusiasts and not people who understand networking. Because of that, they often do things unwittingly that cause me huge amounts of grief.

On Monday, like the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, a couple of things happened that made me realize I needed a change of scenery.  One of my Tech Specialists saved an 8 GB ghost image to the staff volume of my main server running it completely out of space, despite the fact that we have a server designated especially for such things.  It’s not a big deal to find the offending file and move it, but it disrupts people and causes problems with folks who auto-archive their email to their network space.  Shortly after fixing that issue, the chair of the Science department came to me because the Science Department folder containing years of shared documents was missing.  I took a look, and sure enough it was gone.

The great thing about my Novell network is that if a user deletes something it goes to a salvage area; deleted items stay there until the volume needs to reclaim the space.  When I did not see the missing folder in salvage I knew immediately that the system had purged the file to make room for the huge file my staffer had saved.  Undaunted, I assured the department chair that I could simply get the file from backup.

I created a restore job and after hitting “okay”, I got a testy message about the tape library being unavailable.  Huh?  I pinged the tape library and got no response.  Since it is not in my building, I drove over to the site where it is located and discovered that it was powered off!  Then I remembered the week before when another Tech Specialist accidentally unlugged one of the big heavy duty power strips fed by a UPS killing all the phones at the Middle School as well as the server.  Somehow in the fracas the tape library was never powered back on.

Argh!  I knew that even though the tape library was powered back on, the server was not going to “see” it until I rebooted, which was not going to happen until evening.  I had the rather unpalatable task of telling the department chair that I would not be able to restore the folder until the following day.  He was cool about it, but I could tell he was wondering if he was ever going to see his files again.

Later that evening I rebooted from home and was able to restore the folder for the staff member, but I knew that I had to make a change.  Running a large network is stressful enough on its own; I don’t need my tech staff making my job more difficult.  This sort of thing happens on a regular basis and repeated attempts to get my boss to hire more competent staff have failed.  He’s one of those nice people who never wants to rock the boat, so it looks like I will have to jump ship to save myself.

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1 Comment

  1. Sue said,

    January 22, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Sure you don’t want to come work with me?


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